Taking Good Photographs for Farm and Food Businesses
Taking good photographs is becoming more and more important as businesses use social media and the web to promote their products.
- [Juliette] Welcome to Taking Good Photographs for Farm and Food Businesses.
I'm Juliette Enfield with the Penn State Extension Agricultural Business Management Team.
This video is a part of Penn State Extension's E-commerce for farm and food business workshop.
This educational piece on photography will help business owners improve their websites and social media marketing.
Why is it important to have good photographs?
Good photographs provide a sneak peek behind the scenes of making or producing an item.
This makes people feel special, like they are a part of your business.
Good photographs showcase your products, which will lead to sales.
Photographs communicate the story of your business.
We understand from the photograph here that this couple has a grazing operation for buffalo meat.
The couple looks happy and proud to be owning and operating their farm.
What other pictures could you include to tell your story?
Photos can be used in multiple places to create a branded look.
Customers will see your photo on your website, on your social media, and on brochures.
And it helps people identify your business right away.
What makes a good photograph?
Remember the following.
Layout, quality, color, and that your photographs are up-to-date.
Come up with a list of items to photograph that will tell your story and sell your product.
This list could include workers in the field harvesting and showing off produce, a close up of a flock in action, healthy cows or other livestock on the farm.
You could also include freshly cut items or newly packaged products for market.
You could also include photos of a truck being packed for market or a box being packed for delivery.
You could also include landscapes of your farm, pictures of fruit trees, or images of your products.
Let's talk about photographic layout.
An important concept is the rule of thirds.
When taking a photograph think about the entire frame and then imagine the frame as a grid, broken down into thirds, horizontally and vertically.
People's eyes are drawn to the inner sections of these grid lines.
You can create an interesting image by placing the focal point of the picture along the grid lines or at one of the intersections.
Make sure that the background has uncluttered scenery.
If you're using a cloth make sure that it is a solid cloth that is unwrinkled, or unsullied.
You could also use white to help illuminate the item.
Make sure that the focal point is well framed within the image.
Don't be afraid to get close or use a high quality lens or zoom on a camera.
However, on a smart phone, zooming too much can make a blurry image.
You can try different camera angles from below looking up, or above looking down.
When considering photograph quality, the basics include that the image is not blurry, that there is deep color, that there is sharpness of images, no red eye, no dark spots, or dark shadows.
The internet doesn't require as high a resolution as print, but using a new phone camera will give you the needed resolution.
Digital photos are pixelated.
The smaller the pixels the more of them there are, the higher the resolution and the clearer the image.
You can use attachable lenses on smartphones or zoom on a digital camera, but don't zoom too much, it reduces resolution.
Step in closer or adjust lighting for a crisp shot.
Ebay recommends that internet photos should be between 500 to 1600 pixels.
Be mindful when using props.
Too many props could confuse a customer.
However, they could be great for showing how an item could be used.
For example, instead of just taking a picture of the item itself, like a jar of jam, take a picture of the jam on toast.
Use people in your photo to show customer satisfaction.
Be sure that the product that you're showing is lit evenly, reducing shadows.
You can use a photography filter, a white sheet or gauze over a flash or use preset filters on your phone before or after taking the photo.
In this example, a filter was used to warm the sunlight in the photo.
You could also point the flash at a surface that will bounce onto the item, which creates a diffuse lighting.
Also you could use a light box.
There are step-by-step instructions on building a light box from a cardboard box, white cloth, white butcher paper, and desk lamps.
You can see how to make an inexpensive light box by going to wikiHow or YouTube.
You can also purchase inexpensive light tents for under $20.
Make sure that the final colors in your photo are realistic and that there is no unwanted tint to the photograph.
Make sure that the color is vibrant and that the lines are saturated and well defined.
What makes a photograph have good color?
In color theory, a color scheme is a choice of colors used in design to bring attention to the space, room, photo, or poster.
Color schemes are logical combinations of colors on the color wheel.
More advanced color schemes involve several colors in combination, usually based around a single color.
You can see in this image how different parts of the color wheel are used to create interesting visual effects.
Colors that create an aesthetic feeling together commonly appear together in color schemes.
A basic color scheme uses two colors that look appealing together, such as in this photograph with white and yellows against greens and blues.
Or in this photograph with deep purples and yellows.
Or in this photograph with reds and greens.
Remember to switch out photos seasonally, at least every three months, so that people can see what's happening on the farm throughout the year.
Remind customers that farm and food product availability change over the course of the year.
Show the various work on the farm throughout the year.
Show the beauty of your farmland throughout the seasons.
Photos should tell the story of the business.
Use a newer camera or cellphone to capture high resolution images.
You can also use a point-and-shoot camera as your equipment for photo taking.
They're small and lightweight so you can carry it around your farm and at events.
They may be cheaper than a smartphone.
They're simple to use and they often come with a photo resolution of eight megapixels or higher.
They also come with easy plug and play software that plugs into your computer in order to download photos.
Next you will need to download your photos to storage, save them and then upload them.
There are multiple free or low-cost options on the web to store your photos to the cloud, which is an internet-based site for photo storage.
There are many photo sites available, such as Flickr, Dropbox or Photobucket.
Oftentimes these sites include editing and printing functions so that you can use your photos in many ways.
This protects your photos so that if your computer crashes, your photos are still saved and they're safe.
Let's review everything we've talked about.
If you're trying to sell something, include a variety of pictures.
Think of the entire frame of the photo, not just the focal point.
Consider the background, the color, and remember to imagine the frame as a grid.
Be creative and show your product being used or the product being held to help people see what they're getting.
Show the seasons on your farm.
Tell your story.
Think about quality, color, and layout.
Update your pictures as much as possible.
Use a newer camera or cellphone to capture high resolution images.
Backup photo files using internet-based storage.
And don't forget to take lots of pictures.
The sources used for this video include eBay.com, lifehacker.com, photojojo.com, Digital Photography School and Small Farm Central.
Frequently Asked Questions