A plea to crop your photos!

If a photo has no chance of being identified, it’s probably best to do a photoless observation. That way people won’t waste time looking at it thinking they might be able to ID it.

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No RAW photo shows the reality, no photo at all shows “true colours” as it’s how the camera could save it, not how it was.


My goodness I completely agree!!
I use the inaturalist app and I am able to crop my pictures from the app itself. I love that feature, maybe people aren’t aware? Or maybe they are using seek and don’t have option?
Maybe they should highlight the crop option on the app or have a pop up the first time someone uploads a picture suggesting cropping and pointing to where to crop the picture feature is?.

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It might also be Apple vs. Android differences, I know the Android App has many cropping options when editing photos. No clue about the Apple version.

Having just read through (most) of the posts in this thread I find myself in a state of profound mental confusion and chaos. The only sensible comment I feel I can make is: “knowledge is power”.
Now, I realise I’m a bit of a strange creature here in that only slightly behind my love of nature is my passion for photography. I’ve been at it since about 12 years of age (and I’ve now about five times as many), I shoot exclusively in RAW with a DSLR and lovingly post-process on a PC with (mostly) Lightroom. Cropping to show the “right” amount of detail is a calculated and essential part of my workflow, but it has no effect at all on the pixel dimensions of the image I post or the size of the image file in kilobytes (two very different things), as when posting, I export a fixed pixel size jpg, optimised for web.
This does absolutely NOT make my images any better for the purposes of iNat (sometimes they may actually be worse), it’s just what I enjoy doing (really!). But it is such a completely different process from shooting, processing and posting with a phone using the app (I’ve tried, it was a disaster) that generalising over cropping and such like just isn’t an option and can only cause and/or exacerbate confusion.
From this thread, it’s clear that there are as many ways of taking/posting images to iNat as there are iNat users, so I’m wondering if perhaps the only feasible way to improve general image “readability” wouldn’t be to include among the tutorials a simple guide to photography for iNat, explaining the basics, such as the difference between the pixel size of an image and kilobyte size of the file, specifying the optimum dimensions bearing in mind the fact that iNat downsizes, and (most important of all) stressing the importance of including as many details as possible, including (if relevant) an overall image showing the habitat/setting. This could be followed by a brief description of possible ways this can best be achieved using the most common combinations of camera + PC, iPhone/Android + App.
Obviously not everyone will follow the advice, but a clearly visible link to such a tutorial on the posting page might go a long way to helping users take the clearest possible images for identifiers to ID.


Good point, but in the vast majority of cases there is an extremely easy and accurate way of “calibrating” the white balance. Just take a photo in the same light with most of the image area occupied by something with a neutral grey/white colour - the ideal is to also include the subject, fine if it’s a plant/fungus or similar, but not so practical for nervous, flighty subjects such as most insects. Special neutral grey cards do exist, but I’ve found excellent results with just a paper tissue (unused is best :sneezing_face:). Most of the time the camera will automatically adjust the white balance and you can use this image to “calibrate” the others in post-processing. If the camera doesn’t get it right, most post-processing programmes include an “eye-dropper” white balance tool. The process works best if you shoot in RAW, but even a jpg can give excellent results.


If you would write us a journal post … I would read it. I take photos, but am vehemently not a competent photographer.

Hadn’t thought about that, but yes I might give it a try. Only for the “camera + PC” part though as I am totally clueless with a cellphone and the app :roll_eyes:.

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Thanks - I am camera, then laptop. Never sillyphone.

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One tool I’m not sure everyoe knows about: if a phot os too dark, you can sometimes see it better by using the “increase brightness” tool in Identify mode:

Of course, most sillyphones have the same tool, so you wonder why someone uploaded such a dark photo to begin with.


It really depends on the non-native plant in my opinion. Some of them are super aggressive and take over everything, not allowing any other plants to survive (whether they are native or not) which destroys biodiversity. There are tons of non-native plants that aren’t like that though. The problem is humans like to simplify things and look at things in black and white. So some people will just think all non-native plants are bad, and only native plants could possibly be beneficial.

There’s another plant that just seems to be a huge waste of water and energy that also ruins soil quality though, sod-grass. But we all seem to think we couldn’t survive without it or something. We aren’t hunter-gatherers sure but sod-grass isn’t really providing any sustenance for any species human or otherwise. I’ll get off my soap box now…


Lots of no lawn gardeners on iNat. On my third garden, never had a lawn!