How to Photograph Wildflowers for Identification

Photographing wildflowers to create a work of art to hang on the wall has quite different demands from taking photos of wildflowers for identification purposes. There are plenty of books and online resources that cover the technicalities of producing art well. This is intended as a guide for taking the photos that will help you to confidently name the flower. Wildflowers are not always identifiable by just their color and form unless they are truly unique, like the Colorado Columbine, Glacier Lily and Little Elephant Heads below.

You do not need an SLR camera and a bag full of lenses to take good wildflower photos but you do need to be familiar with your camera of choice. All of the photographs on this website were taken with a point and shoot camera, see the Photo Gallery for examples of my wildflower portraits. Nowadays smartphones also have very sophisticated camera capabilities. What is most important is to capture the unique features of the plant with a sharp image. Here are a few tips:


When you have taken your shots for "science" you can turn around and take the "art" shots; flowers next to a waterfall, interesting rocks, or mountains in the background, include a butterfly or your dog, get a variety of plant species and colors in one frame. Photographing wildflowers allows for a lot of personal creativity.

However short your walk in the quest for wildflowers, don't forget sun protection, rain gear, good footwear, water and sometimes bug-spray. Please don't litter. Please do not pick the flowers, however prolific they appear. All the photographs in this website were taken from the trail, so please stay on the trail. Do not step on the flowers or disturb the soil around them. If you come to a gate, leave it as you found it, and respect 'No Trespassing' signs.