Photography equipment set up in studio

Photography: The Core of Cannabis Marketing

As a grower, cultivating the largest yield per plant of high quality cannabis is usually your goal; and as a dispensary, providing top shelf buds, extracts, etc is a must. Everyone is searching and striving for the very best, and most are willing to pay top dollar to grow or get it.

You’ve spent years building a business, honing your craft, and learning what it takes to make it in this industry and you’re holding this incredible product that you’re finally ready to take to market. “Wait until the world gets a load of what I’ve got” you say, “They’re going to go ape-shit!”


So you pull out your iPhone that costs a tiny fraction of a DSLR camera, and with no practice, expertise, or experience in photography you snap a couple pictures and throw them on your Squarespace page. (I’m not going to get in to how big of a mistake Squarespace & Weebly are, that’s for another article).



It amazes me because growers will spend tens of thousands of dollars on the right soil, LED lighting & quality nutrients. Dispensaries will compete for expensive locations & products. Yet in many cases, neither see the value in professional marketing or photography to present them to the world.

Here’s a fun fact:  people remember 80 percent of what they see, and only 20 percent of what they read.

So you can tell your target market all about how great your products are, but they’re far more likely to remember the imagery and make a snap judgment either diminishing or elevating the perceived value.

Need proof? Just make a list of all the leading brands in well established industries. Is their website broken and full of low quality photos? Do their social media posts look as if they were created with a cell phone camera?


Now I’ve put a lot of focus on the camera and I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression, so let’s clear something up. My digital imaging professor always said that taking the photograph is only 10% of the work, and that 90% is done in post-production (Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or something similar).

Understanding and learning to use these programs effectively takes years of practice. Contrary to popular belief, buying an expensive camera is only going to slightly increase the image quality, and does not make you a professional photographer.

Let’s use some comparable examples:

If I grew a couple plants in my basement with a florescent bulb, would that make me a professional grower? Does buying the most expensive lights or nutrients?

If I bought an ounce of brick weed and sold dime-bags to my friends from my living room couch, am I running a professional dispensary? What if it’s a pound of chronic instead? Still not?


Despite being shot with professional lighting and camera gear, this photo is much more appealing after post-production.

Hopefully you see where I’m going with this. Just because someone can take a picture, doesn’t mean they’re a professional photographer, and expensive equipment isn’t going to change that.



Good photography has the ability to skyrocket your brand’s value & dramatically increase your return from marketing campaigns.

Think hard for a moment about what most influences your purchasing decisions. People are psychologically drawn to good design and quality aesthetics, meaning the better your stuff looks, the more you will sell.

This is why I recommend hiring a professional photographer with experience in your industry for all digital marketing & print materials. It’s an investment that you will always see a greater return on. No matter what.

Ryan Michael

As the operations director of KindTyme, I lead meetings, schedule events & help keep the entire team on track. A majority of my day goes to our back-end development & networking systems. Recently I've stepped in to a part time role as a professional cannabis photographer.

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