How to photograph mushrooms for ID purposes (by )

How to photograph mushrooms for ID purposes


Having just finished the 46th fungus fair, I noticed a growing trend. Instead of people bringing in actual mushrooms to show the panel of taxonomists, there are more and more people taking cellphone photos for purposes of mushroom identification. In general it is more difficult to identify mushrooms from photographs, since often taste, odor, staining reactions or other tactile features are needed to identify to species. Shown below are some observations to make and tips on how to take photographs to give the identifier as much help as you can to correctly answer your, “what is this” question.

  • · Note the habitat where your mushroom was growing. Was it on wood or the ground? If on wood, what kind? What tree species were in the area?
  • Try to photograph multiple examples of the same mushroom species, showing different age groups (some old ones, some young, etc.)
  • Dig up a mushroom so that you can take a photo of the entire mushroom, showing the features of the stem including the very bottom.
  • Take good clear photos of the top and bottom of the mushroom cap.
  • Scratch or cut through the cap to see if you see any color changes.
  • Note any distinctive aroma – “mushroomy” is NOT a good descriptor!