How to Photograph Land Snails for Identification

This is a primer on how to maximize the chance of getting a correct identification on iNaturalist:

(1) For "wider than tall" snails, at least three views are needed: top, bottom, and side (see below). Actually, two separate side views are often better – one with the aperture, any teeth, and clearly showing the profile of the shell to help determine the type of spire - and one more close directly into the aperture showing the nature of any teeth. 

(2) For "taller than wide" snails, a front view of the entire snail with the aperture and a closer view of the aperture (especially if here are teeth in there)  will usually do (see below).

(3) Avoid holding the shell as your fingers can cover things to see - rather, lay the shell in the groove of your touching fingers and position it (see below). Clean out any dirt and debris. 

(4) If the snail is alive, try to gently tease it back in the shell. Even if you can't keep the body in to take a photo, if you can see the character, you can add a description in the notes.

(1) This one photo shows the three basic views. For iNat, there'd be three separate images.

(2) A "taller than wide" snail. Usually, that is all you need - as long as the aperture (opening with any teeth) is clearly seen. Get closer if you can for a second picture.

(3) How to hold a snail to see the profile and aperture for a photo.

Resources for Land Snails and Slugs

Resources for Aquatic Snails

My References