How To Photograph Mushrooms

Photographing mushrooms is more rewarding than it might initially seem. They come in all different kinds of shapes and sizes, and can display a variety of unique colors and textures. Mushrooms also keep still, which makes them perfect photography subjects!

How To Photograph Mushrooms?

What’s also great about photographing mushrooms is that you can experiment with angles, natural lighting, bokeh, and even the surroundings. But what’s the best way to take photographs of mushrooms? This guide is here to help.

No matter whether you plan on heading out to find mushrooms or just want to be prepared in case you stumble across an attractive-looking mushroom on your morning walk, here are a handful of tips to help you capture better mushroom photographs.

1. Do Some Research First

If you plan on looking for mushrooms, especially mushrooms of a specific kind, then it’s well worth doing some research first. This can help you find out where to find mushrooms in your local area, as well as give you an idea of what mushrooms to expect.

At the same time, doing research can also help you find mushrooms relative to the season they crop up.

You never know, you might find out about a mushroom you’d like to photograph – one that only grows during a certain season. Overall, doing a bit of research first is well worth your time.

2. Photograph At Different Times Of The Day

The good thing about photographing mushrooms is that the photographs can come out looking great at different times of the day.

After all, night shots of mushrooms can be just as bold and dramatic as mushrooms photographed in natural sunlight, so think about the kind of mushroom photograph you want to capture and don’t limit yourself to daytime photography.

Sure, heading out at night and into a dark forest might not sound appealing, but it could result in an incredible mushroom photograph that will impress those you end up showing it to.

3. Experiment With Lighting

Since mushrooms can be found in various environments, such as forests and fields, this gives you the ability to experiment with the lighting, including how the mushroom, or mushrooms, are lit from different angles.

Photographing mushrooms in forests or trees (see also: How To Photograph Forests And Trees?)is especially interesting, as the light coming through gaps in the forest can provide a unique atmosphere for the photo and cast light on the mushroom in a number of ways.

So don’t just stick to one angle and try to be patient. Natural lighting is your friend when photographing mushrooms, so use it to your advantage.

4. Use An Off-Camera Flash Or LED Light

Even though using natural light to photograph mushrooms can help the photo appear more natural and authentic, nothing’s stopping you from using artificial lighting if you have to.

This can be especially useful in low-light situations, or when the lighting isn’t on your side – such as late in the day. In these cases, an off-camera flash will work best. You can also use an LED light placed near the mushroom to help it stand out.

In general, though, avoid using on-camera flash. The front-facing light can cause the cap to appear too bright, and therefore unnatural, which won’t result in a great-looking photo.

5. Photograph In The Rain – Or Make It Rain

Similar to photographing mushrooms at different times of the day, another good tip is to photograph mushrooms in different weather conditions. Mushrooms are versatile: they can look extra appealing in natural sunlight, but also attractively moody in the rain.

So if capturing a moody, somber photo of a mushroom sounds interesting, you might find the best results photographing while it’s raining.

Or if you don’t like the idea of getting wet, you can also use a plant sprayer to give the effect of rain, or even the after-effect of morning dew. Either way, it can result in an interesting, dramatic photograph.

6. Use A Macro Lens

Mushrooms are typically small. And for that reason, a good macro lens will, more often than that, be the best type of lens to use for photographing mushrooms.

This will help you to capture sharper details, including the colors and textures of the mushroom you’re photographing. In addition, using a macro lens will give you greater magnification than a regular camera lens.

You’ll also have the ability to achieve a bokeh effect, which will pull the mushroom into focus and make it stand out in environments where the background is messy or undesired altogether.

7. Use A Tripod

As you’ll want to capture the intricate details of the mushroom with a sharp focus, it’s a good idea to use a tripod for the job.

A small tripod is the best choice, as it will allow you to get close to the mushroom from ground level, without having to bend down or lie on the ground.

In the same way, a camera bean bag can also be just as effective for capturing sharp, focused mushroom shots when placed on the ground. Either way, having that extra stability will improve the overall quality of your mushroom photographs.

8. Play Around With Angles

Mushrooms are great natural subjects to photograph since they can look great on camera from a variety of angles.

Depending on the mushroom and the kind of photo you want to capture, mushrooms can look fascinating from a top-down angle, direct side angle, and even with the camera facing upwards.

In fact, most nature photographers will agree that capturing mushrooms from below is the best angle for detailed mushroom photographs.

This will capture the stem and gills of the mushroom, which, in some cases, can be more interesting and photo-worthy than the mushroom’s cap.

9. Use A Shallow Depth Of Field

Using a shallow depth of field is a simple, but highly useful, technique for photographing mushrooms.

This is especially true in environments where the mushroom’s backdrop is cluttered or messy, or for simply bringing the mushroom into focus to let more of its intricate details shine through the photo.

What’s also great about using a shallow depth of field is that it can make the mushroom appear larger. This will result in a bolder, more dramatic photo, especially if the mushroom lacks colors or interesting textures.

10. Bring A Polarising Filter With You

Similar to how using an on-camera flash can make the cap of the mushroom appear too bright in the photograph, you can avoid this by also using a polarizing filter.

A polarizing filter is therefore useful to take with you, simply because the mushroom cap can appear overly exposed even in natural lighting conditions.

Using a filter will therefore reduce the shine and allow you to capture a better photograph that doesn’t look unbalanced or unnatural.

11. Wait For Spores

If you’ve done your research, you might know when you’ve stumbled upon a mushroom that releases spores. It should go without saying that this can create an especially unique action shot, particularly when using a macro lens with a shallow depth of field.

In this case, waiting for the perfect shot—when the spores release from the mushroom—will be worth the wait.

Capturing shots of sporing mushrooms at night makes for an especially dramatic shot, which is another thing worth considering if you need a mushroom photo that’s sure to stand out.

12. The Details Are Your Friends

As mentioned earlier, mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes, with unique patterns and textures that almost do the photography for you. So when photographing mushrooms, remember that the details are your friends.

In other words, experiment with angles that do the details justice, consider which angle brings the mushroom’s best features out, and play around with nearness and farness to capture the surroundings, which may or may not pleasantly contrast with the mushroom’s appearance.

13. Adjust The Surroundings

If you find an attractive mushroom you’d like to photograph, but the surroundings don’t seem to complement the picture, nothing’s stopping you from cleaning up the surroundings, or even adding objects to the mushroom’s surroundings to enhance the photo.

For these reasons, think about whether the surrounding leaves, twigs, sticks, rocks, and branches are complementing the photograph. You can remove them if not, or include them into the frame if something seems missing from the photograph.

14. Be Respectful

Last but not least, respect the mushroom! This is especially true if you’re adjusting the mushroom’s surroundings, or getting extra close to the mushroom to capture a detailed close-up shot.

Mushrooms are living, growing things, after all, and the last thing you want is to accidentally damage it before you’ve captured the perfect photograph.


Mushrooms are always ideal photography subjects waiting to be found in the wild.

And since there’s always the opportunity to stumble upon an interesting and unique-looking mushroom, it’s well worth knowing how to capture stunning photographs of mushrooms that do the mushrooms justice.

To summarize, experiment with photographing mushrooms at different times of the day, use a macro lens and tripod, play around with various angles (especially from below), experiment with shallow depth of field, use the mushroom’s details to your advantage, and adjust the surroundings if it benefits the shot.

Laura McNeill
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