INCREASE – Intelligent Collections of Food Legumes Genetic Resources for European Agrofood Systems

Guide to Taking Photos for the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment

Taking photos is an important way of data collection in the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment. As the experiment involves thousands of citizens, like you, who rigorously collect photos of diverse bean traits, this results in a massive collection of images. To help us analyse this large amount of data, we use artificial intelligence (AI). With the help of the INCREASE colour checker, the AI can automatically detect characteristics like the leaf shape or the seed size. For the AI to work effectively, it is important for the photos to be sharp and clear.

This guide will give you some simple tips on how to take great photos for the experiment. It also shows you examples of good and bad photos to help you get it right. However, we are fully aware that sometimes environmental conditions can make it difficult to follow all the tips. Therefore, please keep in mind that even if a photo is not perfect, we immensely value your contribution!

General recommendations

  • Please have the object well lit (e.g. avoid shadows)
  • Please have little distraction in the background
  • When taking photos of seeds, pods, flowers and leaves, please use the INCREASE colour checker to make sure that colours and sizes can be measured
  • When taking photos of seeds, pods, flowers or leaves using the INCREASE colour checker, please hold the camera straight towards the subject to avoid perspective distortions
  • Focus on few objects in the frame

Let’s see some examples…

Use the INCREASE colour checker in the background

  • Where possible, please use the INCREASE colour checker. This is the paper card that was delivered to you together with your beans (see good example below).
  • The use of the colour checker allows us to calibrate the colours and take measurements.
  • Please avoid shadows on the colour checker, if possible.
  • Please try to keep hands out of the color checker, even if we know this is sometimes difficult. ;-)
  • Be sure that the colour checker is shown fully in the image.
  • You can find a video tutorial here on how to prepare your colour checker for optimal and easy use during the experiment

Use the INCREASE colour checker in the background example

Place only a small number of objects on the colour checker

  • Please place only a few separate objects on the colour checker.
  • If too many objects are placed on the colour checker, we unfortunately cannot correctly detect the colours and the calibration grid.

Place only a small number of objects on the colour checker example

Avoid clustered objects

  • Arrange the objects onto the colour checker individually and carefully.
  • Make sure that there is sufficient space between the different objects (e.g. seeds or pods). This way the single items can more easily be distinguished by AI.

Avoid clustered objects example

Central positioning on the color checker

Take the photo with the object clearly positioned in the centre of the colour checker.

Correct positioning on the color checker example

Avoid perspective distortions

  • Capture or select photos that are taken with the camera positioned straight on to the subject, rather than at an angle.
  • Minimise distortion and perspective skew, resulting in a more straightforward, direct representation of the subject.

Avoid oblique positioning example

Avoid shadows

  • Please take photo without shadows, if possible. Shadows negatively impact the evaluation of the content
  • Tip: Take photos during the golden hours (just after sunrise and just before sunset) when the light is softer and more diffused, producing fewer harsh shadows.

Avoid shadows example

Stay in focus

  • Please avoid to take a photo with several objects at different distances . It confuses the automatic functions of the camera risks unsharp images.
  • Take the picture by isolating the objects that could cause a loss of focus.

Stay in focus example

Separate beans from the envelope

  • The envelope your beans came in should not be the background for your bean photo.
  • Use the colour checker as background as described above.
  • It is important that the calibration grid and the colour scale of the colour checker are visible.

Separate beans from the envelope example