How to Take Pictures of Succulents

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Succulent Plants

You have a beautiful succulent plant which you can't identify, so you decide to take a picture and post it so people will see it and tell you what it is.  But your picture is awful, grainy, dark, and out of focus and no-one will help.

How to Take Pictures of Succulents


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I get people asking me all the time what they have, but the picture that they send is of a dark corner, out of focus, or there is so much clutter in the background that the plant disappears.

Plants in pots are easiest because you can move them.  For a plant in the ground, see if you can slip a piece of white fabric behind it for its photo shoot.

Trying to see what the plant is will give you eyestrain, so here are a few tips to make it easier and more enjoyable to show off your plant.

  • Display your plant against a white or pale colored backdrop.
  • Take your picture in bright indirect light.

The white backdrop can be a painted wall in a light color, or even a bed sheet from the thrift store.  Use a chair and drape it over the back of the chair, and set the plant on top of it on the seat.

Here are some examples of pictures that don't do justice to the plant.  For some of them, if you didn't know the plant, you won't recognize it - click on one of them to open the gallery;

Bright indirect light means not in full sun.  That creates shadows which distort the look of the plant.  Natural daylight reflected off a white wall, or using a sheer curtain inside a brightly lit room to diffuse the brightness of full sun will give you the best look. 

Artificial light from an incandescent bulb will make everything appear yellow in the picture, fluorescent light gives everything a blue tinge. 

How to Take Pictures of Succulents
Although I have a larger digital camera for special photo shoots, I routinely choose my point and shoot digital camera for everyday use. My other camera is a slightly more expensive digital camera but spending a lot of money isn't necessary. I find that pictures taken with each one are comparable. I know a lot of people use only their phone for taking surprisingly good quality pictures, so if this is all you have, use it keeping in mind my two tips; use bright indirect light, and avoid cluttered backgrounds.

Use these tips to make your plant stand out from the background and show every tiny detail.  It makes the job of identifying them so much easier!

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