A Guide to Photographing Cannabis Flower

A Guide to Photographing Cannabis Flower

A Guide to Photographing Cannabis Flower was posted on Leafly.

[Editor’s Note: Look no further for a great ‘How-To’ on photographing cannabis.]

This two-part series will show you how to photograph cannabis, regardless of your experience level. Get tips on how to take pictures of live plants, harvested buds, and concentrates, as well as how to shoot indoors and outdoors. There’s something for beginners, experts and everyone in between.


We live in a day and age where photography and technology have enabled anyone at any skill level to easily capture the beauty of what they see. This is true for cannabis enthusiasts as well, and we can share our experiences with such a visually stunning plant in a way that has never been done before.

In this installment, we’ll focus on photographing cannabis flower in its different forms. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have any experience with photography. With the proper tools and a little bit of knowledge, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to create captivating images of cannabis.

Eliminating the Barrier to Entry

photographing marijuana
(Jakob Owens/Unsplash)

Getting into cannabis photography is easier now more than ever, with technology like smartphones bringing people together and making it easier to take pictures.

Not only do more people own devices capable of taking photos, but this abundance of devices has lowered the cost of high-end equipment like DSLR cameras, as technology manufacturers compete for the attention of consumers. Today, taking high-resolution images is simply more accessible to more people, regardless of budget.

The stigma around cannabis is lessening, thanks in large part to digital platforms. Major social media outlets are now beginning to demand that cannabis-related content be treated fairly. Creatives are engaging in social media to share their experiences with cannabis and the trend is gaining momentum every day.

Why Photograph Cannabis?

If you identify as a creative, the intrinsic value of capturing the beauty and aesthetic of cannabis may be the only reason you need to start taking pictures. But there are many other reasons to get started.

Share on Social Media

Utilizing and leveraging social media to share photos is a great way to gain inspiration, present your own portfolio, and connect with fellow cannabis creatives. Instagram, Reddit, and a host of other social media platforms have communities where you can view and share cannabis photography.

Keep a Grow Journal

One of the best ways to inspire creativity with cannabis photography is to grow at home. Capturing cannabis as it transitions through the grow cycle will allow you to take different types of pictures as your plants change and mature. Taking pictures of your harvested crop will also make for great content.

Keep a Strain Log

Maintaining a photographic strain log is a great way to track the various cannabis varieties that move through your collection.

Create Art Prints & More

The sky’s the limit for you to share your work across various mediums. Creating art prints for canvasses is a tangible alternative to digital sharing, and cannabis prints translate well to other formats, including textiles for upholstery and fashion.

Getting Started to Photograph Cannabis

If you are brand new to photography and not sure where to start, fear not. Start small and use what you have. You don’t need to invest in expensive camera gear to get great shots of cannabis.

As mentioned above, cameras on smartphones are very capable of capturing stunning images with ease. You can even make a few modest improvements to your mobile phone setup without breaking the bank.

There are a few key differences between photographing living cannabis plants and photographing cured flowers. These differences will impact everything from the gear you need to the types of images you will be producing, so choose your subject beforehand.

Living Plants

(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

Living plant subjects will either come from your own garden or from gardens that you visit. Shooting in gardens will give you more variety in subject matter. As plants grow and transition, you’ll be forced to shoot them at different angles and in different lighting conditions.

But shooting in a garden has its disadvantages. Often, you will have very little control over lighting. Using filters is imperative in some lighting situations—like when purple LEDs or yellow HPS bulbs are around—and be sure to adjust your in-camera white-balancing. Keep in mind that modifying photos in post-production may be your only hope for achieving certain shots.

Unless you can physically move plants to a controlled area, which is highly unlikely if you are a guest in someone else’s garden, you will need to operate as a mobile setup. This will limit your ability to provide additional light sources, modify backgrounds, and achieve stability with external hardware like tripods.

Cured Flowers

(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

The easiest and most efficient way to approach photographing cured flowers is to treat it like product photography. You will have total control over all environmental factors: where the light comes from, how strong it is, and what spectrum it’s in.

Background color and distance are also in your control. You can shoot with or without props, on location or in a studio, and even in a light box. The downside to photographing cured flowers in a studio is that certain composures may require you to spend money on additional hardware.

Practice Makes Perfect

You will become a better cannabis photographer with every picture you take. Experiment and try the following:

  • Shoot the same subject from multiple angles
  • Experiment with contrasting backgrounds and creative foreground props
  • Don’t be afraid to zoom out for an establishing shot or to get in close, even really close, for a good macro
  • Shoot from above, from below, or even through a filter
  • For living plants, photograph everything from the leaves and stems to the seeds

Try to take a picture of every strain you come across. Having a social media account will inspire you to post more, shoot more, and engage with like-minded cannabis photographers.

Advanced Gear for Cannabis Photographers

Try out cannabis photography for a little while, and if it’s something that you want to pursue seriously, either as a hobby or as a potential career path, below is a list of recommended gear to help get you ready to take professional-level images.

DSLR Camera

(Tom Pumford/Unsplash)

For high-resolution images, you’ll need to invest in a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera of some kind. This will allow you to change lenses, control advanced composure settings like white balance, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, and it will produce raw images that allow for a much greater level of control in post-production image editing.

Tripod

Detailed close-up shots of cannabis require physical stability of the camera. Even when using a professional-level DSLR equipped with an image-stabilizing lens, producing a blur-free, hand-held photograph is incredibly difficult. Keep a tripod on hand to eliminate blurring and to allow you to operate hands-free.

Supplemental Light

In order to create a dynamic composure, additional light is often required, especially for macro photography. For optimal control of the image, use supplemental lighting equipment such as flashes, strobes, or continuous lights.

Macro Lens

(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

For extremely close, fine-detailed shots of cannabis, you will have to invest in a macro lens. These lenses allow you to produce vivid detail that is difficult to recreate with a wider lens.

Remote Shutter Control

A remote control for your shutter will eliminate shutter shake that occurs when you press the button on your camera. This will allow you to go hands-free and will greatly improve your ability to stabilize photographs, especially macros. Many DSLR cameras have Wi-Fi capabilities that let you control the shutter through your smartphone.

Recommended Settings for DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras will give you much greater control over the composure of your image. Each situation will require a different setting on your camera, but below are some recommended settings to get you started working with cannabis as a subject.

Use Low Shutter Speeds for Tripod Shots

With a stabilized camera on a tripod, using a low shutter speed will let in more light and create brighter images by keeping the shutter open for longer. Since most cannabis-related images don’t require movement, this will help you use the maximum amount of available light to illuminate the details of your subject.

Adjust White Balance for the Light Spectrum

When shooting in gardens that contain yellow lights such as HPS, you will need to balance the light in your camera. Adjusting light balance to a “Tungsten” setting will help tremendously. For some images, post-production editing may be required for better light-balancing.

Increase the F-Stop for Macro

Setting the aperture can be complicated to master. To help understand aperture better, adjust it according to the focal distance to your subject. Since cannabis is highly contoured, close-up images will require a big, open F-stop to capture as much depth and detail as possible and to eliminate blur in the background and foreground of the image.

Always Aim for a Low ISO

As a general principle of photography, only increase the ISO in your DSLR if you absolutely need to. A higher ISO will add noise and graininess to your photos, which isn’t easily fixed in post-production.

The Art of Post-Production Editing

(Patrick Bennett for Leafly)

Post-production editing software is one of the best tools to clean up and organize your cannabis photographs. Even basic photo-editing software that comes with most computers will give you the ability to make many adjustments to your images. There are a lot of options available on the market, but it ultimately comes down to preference. Keep in mind that post-production editing can get very technical, and some of it will require a level of mastery that only comes with experience.

Whether you begin your cannabis photography journey with your smartphone or from behind the lens of a DSLR, there are limitless options for how to catalog your favorite aspects of cannabis in picture. Experimenting with different styles is key and it’s one of the most thrilling parts of your new hobby.

Original Post: Leafly: A Guide to Photographing Cannabis Flower

A Guide to Re-Vegging Cannabis Plants

A Guide to Re-Vegging Cannabis Plants

A Guide to Re-Vegging Cannabis Plants was posted on Leafly.

Ed Note: Re-vegging extends the life of cannabis plants into another season of flowers. This article has basic ‘how to’ info how re-vegging cannabis plants.

Cannabis is an annual flowering plant, its life cycle limited to just one flowering season. Once that season ends, the plant will senesce and die, its seeds responsible for carrying genes through to another growing season. But it’s possible to hack this process to give a cannabis plant a second growing season. A grower can manipulate a plant, forcing it to revert from the flowering state back to the vegetative state again. This process is known as re-vegging, and it’s simple and easy to do.

Cannabis displays a short-day photoperiod, meaning that it transitions from a vegetative period to a flowering period because it tracks darkness with internal monitoring. When days become shorter and nights become longer—as in autumn—cannabis will naturally change into the flowering cycle and begin producing either female (pistils) or male (stamens) sex organs.

Once flowering, cannabis will mature—the point at which you harvest—senesce, and then die. Re-vegging allows you to harvest buds from your plant and then grow the same plant again for a second harvest. Here are some other reasons why you may want to re-veg your cannabis plant:

Preserve a Phenotype

Proactive growers typically take clones of a plant prior to flipping it into a flowering state. But if a grower neglects to take clones at this time for any reason, that particular phenotype will get lost once it is flipped into flower. Re-vegging is the only way to preserve an exact replica of a particular phenotype once it has transitioned into the flowering state.

Eliminate the Mother Plant

Growers sometimes keep mother plants, which stay in the vegetative stage all the time, and pull clones directly from the mother, flipping those clones into the flowering phase when they are big enough. But keeping mother plants takes time and space. A lot of growers choose to get rid of mother plants as they won’t produce any buds and they take up time and space. Re-vegging allows you to get rid of mother plants, freeing up space in your grow for plants that only produce buds. It also saves time and resources, as you won’t have to tend to the mother plants.

Reduce Vegetative Periods

A plant that has undergone a full growing season will have a complex and robust root system. These plants can move through the vegetative phase quicker the second time around with their mature root systems, whereas clones and young plants will take longer to establish roots.

Growers looking for a faster turnover during the growing season may find that re-vegging plants can eliminate the long waiting periods that clones and seedlings need to develop strong root systems.

Increase Plant Yields

The process of taking a clone from a flowering plant is a re-vegging technique known as “monster-cropping,” and it can produce more vigorous and bushier plants. If done correctly, monster-cropped clones have the potential to create plants with higher yields the second time around because of an increased vegetative mass, stronger stems and branches, and more node points for potential buds.

There are a few ways that a cannabis plant can revert from a flowering period back to a vegetative period.

Post-Harvest Re-Vegging

Probably the easiest method, this will allow you to harvest a plant for buds and then re-veg it for a second growing season.

When harvesting, leave a few healthy flowers and branches in tact at the base of the plant. Readjust the plant’s photoperiod back to a 18/6 cycle (hours of light/hours of dark) from the 12/12 photoperiod it had when flowering.

You’ll also want to change its nutrient regimen, giving the plant nutrients more conducive to early-stage growth. It will need more of a nitrogen-heavy diet for root and leaf development, as opposed to the high amounts of potassium and phosphorus that it likely received during flowering.

Early growth on a re-vegged plant may exhibit stress-induced mutations like single-fingered leafs and odd node patterning, but these issues should go away after a few weeks, once the plant regains its bearings.

Post-harvest re-veg plants often take a little bit of time to take off at first and some strains may not even be receptive to this method at all. But plants that are re-vegged successfully have been known to display increased vigor after the initial transition.

Monster-Cropping Clones

As mentioned above, cloning a plant while it’s in the flowering stage is called monster-cropping. To successfully do this, take clones from the lower branches of a plant when it’s in the second or third week of flowering.

Take a clone as you normally would, but be sure to remove all visible flowering nodes from each clone. This will improve the clone’s ability to root out by halting flower production within the cutting.

As with post-harvest re-vegging, monster-cropping may result in stunted and mutated growth at first, but with proper care and training, this method can produce massive plants with increased vigor and foliage growth.

Accidental Re-Vegging

Cannabis plants will unexpectedly revert back to vegetative growth if there is any disturbance in their dark photoperiod (if they aren’t in darkness for at least 12 hours a day).

This can occur both indoors and outdoors, usually because of a light leak or a light-timer malfunction for indoor growers, or from planting outside too early in the season for outdoor growers.

Even the tiniest of changes in a cannabis plant’s light cycle can cause it to flip back to a vegetative state, and some plants may even turn hermaphroditic, growing both male pollen sacs and female flowers.

Original Post: Leafly: A Guide to Re-Vegging Cannabis Plants

What Is Cannabis and What Is a Cannabis Strain?

What Is Cannabis and What Is a Cannabis Strain?

What Is Cannabis and What Is a Cannabis Strain? was posted on Leafly.

Cannabis is a fascinating plant genus best known for its mind-altering and medicinal properties. Its use and cultivation date back as far as written language itself, and its therapeutic and spiritual utility spans many cultures around the world throughout history.

But despite its ubiquity, you may not fully understand what cannabis is or why there are thousands of different named strains flooding markets worldwide. Here, we’ll take a dive into how the plant is defined, how cannabis has been used, and why it’s taken on so many forms since its earliest uses in human society.

What Is Cannabis Used For?

Today, cannabis consumption is generally divided into two primary uses: recreational and medical. Recreational cannabis consumers may use cannabis for a variety of purposes, such as enjoyment, stress relief, and creative stimulation. Medical consumers use cannabis to alleviate symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, appetite loss, and more.

Cannabis contains hundreds of active compounds (e.g., cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) that provide a range of medical benefits. THC and CBD are two of cannabis’ most well-known compounds, although there are many more that offer a unique range of effects.

The cannabis plant is also an important agricultural resource. The strong fibers of hemp have been used to make ropes, clothing, textiles, building materials, and more. It also produces nutritious consumable seeds filled with essential amino acids, protein, and other valuable minerals. Cannabis byproducts can also be manufactured into cooking oils, and can even function as a sustainable biofuel.

Getting to Know the Cannabis Plant

Cannabis is an annually flowering plant that displays either male and female reproductive organs, meaning a male must pollenate a female to create seeds (unless the plant expresses rare hermaphroditic features).

A female plant that does not receive pollen within its reproductive cycle is often referred to as sinsemilla, a Spanish term that means “without seed.” These seedless females produce the large, resinous buds that are commonly smoked, vaporized, or processed into oils.

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Hemp refers to a different subspecies of cannabis most commonly cultivated for its fiber and seeds. It also produces a modest amount of CBD that can be rendered into cosmetics, oils, and other consumables.

What Is a Cannabis Strain?

Cannabis is believed to have originated in Central Asia, but over the course of millennia, conquest and exploration would carry the plant to virtually every continent. Cultivators selectively bred their plants to suit the needs of their communities.

Over many generations, variations within cultivars began to develop in each pocket of the world where cannabis had taken root. These variations became known as landrace strains.

Many of these landrace strains were collected from their native habitats and brought to the West, where they were crossbred with one another by horticulturists seeking to explore the plant’s potential. This process of hybridization—breeding different males with different females—has given rise to the thousands of named varieties we consume today.

You’ve probably also heard the terms “indica,” “sativa,” and “hybrid” when discussing cannabis strains. These three types primarily refer to the various plant shapes and structures, features that are important for growers. Consumers have long thought that indicas have sedating effects, sativas promote energy, and hybrid effects fall somewhere in between. However, research has largely debunked this effects-based classification.

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Today, cannabis classification more or less operates in the following categories:

  • High-THC, low-CBD (more euphoric)
  • High-CBD, low-THC (more clear-headed)
  • Balanced CBD and THC (mildly euphoric)

Each of these three “chemotypes” offer unique medical benefits and effect profiles. Learn more about how CBD and THC strains differ here, and try experimenting with different strains and potencies to find what works best for you.

Explore Cannabis Strains & Products Near You

Original Post: Leafly: What Is Cannabis and What Is a Cannabis Strain?

How to Shop for Your First Glass Flower Pipe

How to Shop for Your First Glass Flower Pipe

How to Shop for Your First Glass Flower Pipe was posted on Leafly.

Choosing Your First Cannabis Pipe for Flower

Purchasing your first cannabis pipe can be a bit confusing. Between finding reputable vendors, learning the lingo, and selecting a piece that suits your individual needs, there’s a lot to learn and consider before diving in. Fear not: this series will give you an overview of the purchasing process, including how to choose your first flower pipe or dab rig, where to shop for glass online, and an introduction to functional and non-functional glass art.


Glass pipes are a staple in the world of cannabis. These days, there are so many options to choose from that the uninitiated buyer can easily get lost in pursuit of their perfect pipe. Here, we’ll cover the differences between various styles of flower pipes while also considering other factors of the purchasing process such as pricing and features.

Size & Pipe Portability

From tiny one-hitters that fit in the palm of your hand to massive multi-chambered rigs that stretch several feet high, there is a pipe for every occasion.

Portability may or may not be a factor when purchasing your very first piece. For those who need a travel-friendly rig, consider a pipe that is smaller in size. On the other hand, if you plan on using this first piece as a tabletop centerpiece, you may want something larger.

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The size of your pipe will also shape your smoking experience. Smaller pieces afford the user a certain level of control when dosing a hit—something that is harder to achieve with wide chambered glass.

A table top water pipe that sits 12” high and contains multiple chambers will yield a much larger (and sometimes rougher) hit than a small hand pipe. Inexperienced smokers should avoid larger pipes and bongs until they’ve practiced pulling from smaller pieces.

Percolation: Dry Pipes vs. Water Pipes

(Courtesy of Smoke Cartel)

Pipes may be used with or without water. Hand pipes, sometimes referred to as dry pipes, typically contain smaller chambers without a reservoir for water. Dry pipes tend to be much more portable than water-filtered pieces, but without water to filter and cool the smoke, they tend to deliver harsher hits.

And then there are water pipes—any glass piece that contains a chamber designed to hold water can be considered a water pipe. Handheld, more portable models—sometimes referred to as “bubblers”—offer smaller chambers while still allowing for water and percolation. The word “percolation” simply refers to the filtration process the smoke undergoes when passing through water.

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Larger water pipes—often called “bongs”—are designed to hold more water for greater filtration. These larger pieces may also contain special features or percolators designed to further improve filtration.

The general rule is that a pipe with more chambers for percolation will provide a smoother, cooler hit. Percolation in and of itself will not affect THC absorption in any way. However, a larger pipe with more percolating chambers will allow for more smoke to pass through, thus delivering a larger dose of cannabinoids per hit.

Pipe Functionality

The functionality of a glass pipe can change drastically depending on its design. Although there is no rigid dichotomy, the glass community tends to split pipe functionality into two nebulous categories: production glass and art pieces.

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Production glass often maintains a functionality-focused design that can be easily reproduced en masse. One style of production glass that has become widely popular is “scientific glass,” featuring elements inspired by lab equipment. Scientific rigs will often have:

  • One or more percolators
  • A beaker or straight base shape
  • Modular or detachable features

Glass art pieces—or “heady glass”—lean toward an aesthetic appeal. Heady glass pieces may incorporate scientific glass features such as various forms of percolation. However, these types of pipes are much more difficult to mass produce due to their high level of artistry, and they tend to be more expensive as a result.

Durability & Avoiding Broken Pipes

(Courtesy of Smoke Cartel)

Not all pipes are created equal. Poorly manufactured glass is thinner and easier to break than a finely crafted piece. Many inferior pipe manufacturers will source cheaper materials or skip crucial steps when blowing glass, resulting in a thinner, weaker product.

If you’re in a position to discuss glass durability with a retailer, consider asking for products that are manufactured with 100% borosilicate annealed glass. Also, don’t hesitate to ask about glass thickness when purchasing larger rigs.

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Accidents will happen, especially with inexperienced consumers. This is why durability is such an important considerations for first-time buyers.

Pricing & Affordability

When shopping for your first glass piece, know that quality glass often does not come cheap.

Retailers base prices on several factors including artistry, size, and complexity. Whether buying online or at a storefront, there are usually plenty of options available at any price point.

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It’s important to note that a low price tag does not necessarily infer a loss of quality; many retailers sell affordable quality glass, both online and in-store. Look out for price reductions and sales when shopping on a budget. Buying from an artist directly at a convention or expo is another great way to save money on a purchase. These events are saturated with retailers and artists, resulting in competitive prices.

Shop for Pipes & Smoking Accessories

Looking to graduate from flower to concentrates? Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll dive into important considerations when purchasing a new dab rig.

Original Post: Leafly: How to Shop for Your First Glass Flower Pipe

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