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Tree of the Month

Water Jasmine, Wrightia religiosa
Carlos A. Morales Collection, Puerto Rico
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of the Month
  home mod tree

Stone of the Month

wen stone
Three Peak, Three Layer Mountain, Wen Stone
Joseph and Jana Roussel Collection, France
View All Stones
of the Month
  home mod stone

Photography literally means “writing with light.” Lighting the subject to highlight its features is key. A lighted background should be used to complement the tree or stone in tone and simplicity (gradients help). This avoids any details in the background competing with the subject itself. Flash of any kind on the subject tends to create harsh shadows that obscure delicate detail. The best light is indirect, even and flat, usually found outside on a bright, but quite cloudy day. The same type of lighting should be used indoors with the help of reflectors and diffusers.


Here are seven tips on photographing your bonsai trees and viewing stones to their best advantage.



  1. 1.To avoid distraction, backgrounds must be simple and plain as possible. Screen folds, screen support frames, lines, or object shadows of any kind will distract the viewer from the subject. Pro Tip: use a roll-up vinyl window blind, white or cream in color and no texture, and use it as a backdrop and surface for the subject. Create a gentle curve where the surface meets the wall.



  1. 2.Make sure the subject’s formal front is facing the camera. Place the camera so that it is level with the vertical centre of the subject. Pro Tip: use a tripod or other means of stabilizing the camera. This will allow slower shutters speeds, requiring less light, and prevent blurry or out-of-focus photos.



  1. 3.Don’t crop the subject too tightly in the viewfinder. Leave some space all around.



  1. 4.For digital cameras, choose the highest-quality image setting.



  1. 5.If outdoors, pick a bright, overcast day or if it’s sunny, place your subject in the shade to avoid harsh shadows and uneven lighting. If direct sunlight cannot be avoided, force your camera’s flash to fire. This will provide the necessary light to fill in the dark shadows created by direct sunlight.


  1. 6.If indoors, light the subject from the top, and left or right side. Try to avoid harsh shadows created by the automatic flash. If you don’t have supplemental lights, try bouncing your flash off a white ceiling or diffusing it with translucent material.


  1. 7.Don’t take down your set up until you examine the photo results on a large screen. If you see anything that can be improved with another attempt, your setup is ready and waiting.

How to use this website


Join BCI and benefit from an international perspective of Bonsai and Viewing Stone Appreciation. Find inspiration to help your practice and collection grow. Learn from our members and their achievements. Share your experiences, trees and stones with an appreciative audience The benefits of a BCI membership are many...

President's Welcome

BCI President, Glenis Bebb
BCI President, Glenis Bebb, Australia

As newly elected President of BCI, I find myself overwhelmed with the messages of support. I just hope that I can live up to your expectations. I am well supported by ...read more

Photo Contest: Best of BCI 2015

BCI photo book 2015

Finalists are featured in a case bound edition. Now accepting Photo Album Pre-Publication Orders at discounted prices. Details here.





BCI Instructors and Teachers

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Find BCI bonsai and viewing stone experts for your club’s next event.


Bonsai and Stone Events Calendar

Find an event near you, or list your organization’s event. Use our interactive form to list your bonsai or viewing stone event.


Join a Viewing Stone or Bonsai Club near you

Find a BCI Member Club and enjoy the sociable and educational benefits of bonsai and stone appreciation with like-minded people

resources species guide

Species Guide

Our members have created fact sheets that provide insights into many aspects of these species to help you in your research.


BCI Awards and Recognitions

For over thirty years, BCI has recognized dedicated and talented individuals in the world of bonsai and stone appreciation.