Main Index


Backdrop

Lighting

Tripod

Depth of field

Preparation

Baseline

Editor

Camera


Thanks

Imperata cylindrica. Pot: Kevin Thompson.

Old Mister Crow's guide
to photographing bonsai
and kusamono.


Carl T. Bergstrom


When showing a bonsai, the little details make a big difference. When taking photographs of bonsai, the details matter too. My aim in this article is to share what I've learned about the technical aspects of photographing bonsai. None of the techniques that I've discussed here require expensive equipment or technical sophistication. If you have a cheap point-and-shoot camera (or better) and $25 to spend on a tripod, you can do just about everything I've suggested here without further expense.

Eight tips for better bonsai photography:

  1. Use a backdrop to isolate your image.
  2. Plan your lighting to bring out depth and detail.
  3. Shoot from a tripod for a sharp image.
  4. Create depth-of-field and minimize distortion.
  5. Prepare your tree properly before taking its picture.
  6. Provide a visual baseline in your composition.
  7. Use a digital photo editor, but use it sparingly.
  8. Don't blame the camera - even a cheap camera can give great results.

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Last modified January 7, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Carl T. Bergstrom
cbergst@u.washington.edu