iNaturalist Observations – What Should I Photograph? Tips for Photographing Some Local Plant Families

Thank you for participating in the Imperial County Project on iNaturalist! To optimize the likelihood of being able to identify species from photographs submitted to iNaturalist, we offer these tips about photographing plants. Keep in mind that these guidelines are intended to optimize identification, but we want you to submit plant observations to iNaturalist even if you are unable to follow the guidelines.

  1. Try to obtain photographs of the plant as a whole, showing scale if possible by including a recognizable object in the photo. (e.g., for a large tree, have a person stand next to the tree; for a small plant, hold the leaves or flower so that your fingers are in the photo; or you can place a ruler or other scale in the photo.)
  2. Take close-up photographs of leaves (both upper and lower surfaces), flowers (straight-on and side views), and fruits.
  3. In most cases, it is helpful to photograph both flowers and fruits. While there are some plants that do not bear fruits and flowers at the same time, try to photograph both if possible. A botanist often needs reproductive parts of the plant in order to positively identify it. Including all representative parts of the plant makes it more likely that the species can be determined without having a specimen in hand.
  4. Try to have the sun at your back to provide the best light for your photos.

The attached document has tips to help you understand what you should photograph, depending upon which plant family your observation belongs to. If you do not know what family the plant you observe belongs to, follow the general guidelines above.

Posted on July 10, 2017 05:42 PM by judygibson judygibson


When I try to filter the observations in the project by "threatened", it doesn't seem to work. I results that include Eucalyptus camaldulensis, for example. Is there an effective way to do this? Thanks!

This is more of a general question for the project, so I'm sorry if it's in the wrong place.

Posted by leef 23 days ago

I sympathize but can't offer much help: the people running the Imperial County project are botanists, not iNat tech types. I'll poke around and see if I can find a better place for you to ask! And thank you for participating!

Added: Aha! On the top line under Community, there's a link to the iNat Forum, which is a place to ask questions about iNaturalist itself.

Good luck with your issue.


Posted by judygibson 19 days ago

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