In today’s fast-paced, impatient society your farm product has to compete with a lot of visual noise out there. It’s easy to be seen on social media, but it’s harder to get noticed. The images on your website, Facebook page, or wherever you choose to advertise need to work for you.
Here are a few ways to make that happen.
Invest in Photography Equipment
A camera may be the last thing you want to spend money on when you’re starting a small homesteading business, but I truly feel it’s worth the investment. The higher quality the images you take, the more professional you will appear.
Some of the phones out there are really upping their camera game. If that’s what you have to work with then go for it!
Really use the best equipment you can afford. If you’re constantly disappointed with the images you’re collecting, if you’re wishing your photos looked like some on a favorite website, then spend a little time researching cameras. Stop in a store that sells cameras and ask some questions. Tell them what your photo goals are and what your price range is. See if they can suggest some options.
Get an inexpensive tripod and a photo light.
A tripod is like the photographer’s assistant. You can find a cheap beginner’s tripod for around $12. It also steadies your camera in lower (indoor) lighting situations so your photos aren’t blurry.
A photo light will keep your photos from being yellow from indoor incandescent light. They will also provide enough light so that your photos aren’t blurry, and so that you don’t have to use a flash.
Don’t use a flash unless absolutely necessary. The flash, when used in an automatic sense will wash out your photos. It will also cause harsh shadows and gives the image a “casual family-photo” feel. If your photos are blurry without the flash, it means there’s too much movement for the amount of light. Either add more natural light, or use a tripod to cut down on movement. Even the motion of touching the photo button can cause blurriness
Find a good Editing Program.
PicMonkey is extremely user-friendly. It also lends tons of options for signage, and labeling. I recommend using these frills sparingly, however. You want people to see your product, not the scrolling banners, stickers or props.
PicMonkey doesn’t do everything I need sometimes so I will use Photoshop where I have to. I used to find Photoshop a bit intimidating, but over the years I’ve learned some basics of the program.
Take a photography class
Or watch Youtube videos on photography. Study websites that you like and decide why their photos appeal to you. In other words, devote time to photography. It’s a good investment and worth the research.
Settle on a theme or style
When I take photos meant for our Iron Oak Farm website I have a look in mind. The photos I try to take tend to be higher in contrast, more shadowed and have a rustic feel. I try to carry that photographic theme through all our social media. I love to work with shades of browns, rusts and earth tones.
Since the birth of our U-Pick Lavender Farm (Misty Meadow Lavender) the photos that I take for that website are more bright, colorful, crisp and cheerful.
Take photos every day. With today’s advancements in digital photography, we are blessed in that we don’t have to buy film and that we can see results instantly.
You have a farm/homestead which means you have an endless supply of photographic opportunities. Play around with lighting, angles, and framing the subjects in the image.
A few Photography Guidelines
When photographing a product, or item of interest, crop out the background noise. You want the focus to be on the focus. Learn how to use depth of field to blur out the background in your images. Crop or remove distracting items from view.
Fill the Screen with the story.
When you take a photo, you have a rectangle of possibility to tell your story. Don’t feel like you have to center everything in the middle of that rectangle. Zoom-out to include things that speak about the process. Zoom-in to bring focus to the details of an item.
Don’t be overly artsy
Photography can be an amazing artistic outlet. However, when photographing products for sale you want your photos to be clear and concise. Save fancy filters, intense angles and other photography extremes for your art site.