6 tips to photograph mushrooms like a scientist

Neoboletus luridiformis mushrooms, photographed in “documentary” style. Photo courtesy of Kate Mohatt
Neoboletus luridiformis mushrooms, photographed in documentary style. Photo courtesy of Kate Mohatt

The following guidelines will help you properly document the mushrooms you find on your forays, says Kate Mohatt, Prince William Sound Zone ecologist for the Forest Service.

  1. Show all the features necessary for identification. Show both the top and the underside. If possible, cut the mushroom in half to show gill structure and staining color. Remember, some species look virtually identical when seen from above.
  2. Include several mushrooms in the photo, if possible. Include both young and old mushrooms.
  3. Don’t include distracting objects like sticks and rocks.
  4. Fill the background with greenery to create contrast.
  5. If possible, include nearby plants in the picture. For instance, if the mushrooms were growing around a spruce tree, include a spruce cone in the image.
  6. Fill the frame. Don’t leave too much empty space in the photo.