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Guide to photography for
pest identification

Scientific Photography Tips

  • Use a simple, contrasting background to help the specimen stand out

  • Multiple photos can be helpful to show different characteristics

  • Include a scale to help show the size - this could be a pen, ruler, your finger, anything that is a more standard guide to size

  • Make the specimen fill as much of the photo as possible so smaller details are more visible.

  • Use the camera zoom and/or a macro lens

  • Add notes of any other features that may be helpful


Parts of a plant






Flower front and back


Leaf back


Leaf front


  • Take the plant, or part of it to a more sheltered area if it is windy so you can get a steady shot.

  • Take multiple angles of the plant.

  • Take a photo of the plant in its environment, as well as closer up photos.

  • Include the flowers, buds and seeds if there are any.

  • When photographing an individual leaf, include both ends of the leaf.


  • Take multiple photos and pick the best later. 

  • Insects are often moving which can make your pictures blurry.
    Popping them in the freezer for a minute and then taking them out can make them slow down.

  • Take photos of the insect's environment as this can often help with identification.

  • Juvenile insects are very difficult to identify from a photo. Information on the host plant; either having a photo, or if known adding that in the description to the observation helps.

  • Try and find adult individuals and if both adult and juvenile are present try to get photos of both.

Monilinia fructigena.jpg

Fungi host environment

parrot mushroom.jpeg




  • Fungi includes yeasts, rusts, mildews, moulds and mushrooms.

  • Take photos of any symptoms showing on the plants.

  • Try clearing around the fungi to help it stand out.

  • Take the photo up close to create a shallow depth of field which will help blur the 
    background. Use a macro lens - fungi are often very small.

  • Take photos of all angles you can. For large fungal fruiting bodies (e.g. mushrooms) take  a photo from the top, the side (to get the stalk) and of the base of the cap, i.e. the gills.

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