1-Hour Photo Shoot, On-Farm
The following is a tutorial for photographing produce, written for small-scale sustainable farmers who take their goods to market.
The last week I was actively blogging for the Organic Farm at the Evergreen State College (Summer 2015), I was given the assignment to promote our abundant tomato, eggplant and pepper crops using our Facebook page. It was the morning we go to market, and every available set of hands was out harvesting.
With my farm-planning booklet I jotted down what time it was and then mapped out how long it took to photograph produce so that I could share it with you. The following is a quick breakdown:
8:15 - 8:30 AM Go collect a few flowers and a couple of pictures of organic produce on the vine!
8:30 - 8:45 AM Collect produce from harvest that needs to be sold including peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. Grab linens including two napkins one solid and one simple pattern that won't take away from the produce that is to be sold.
Collect a knife two small bowls one clear one white with maybe an interesting edge.
Bring two cutting boards. One that you will use in the photo, and one that you will use to cut vegetables. Don't forget the scissors and 2 small jars with water for the flowers!
If you have them, grab a table cloth or two. You're basically setting up a small close up version of what you're selling at the farmers market but you're going to be doing it online.
Remember to consider color when choosing your linens and your flowers all supporting elements should either complements contrast produce that you were taking a photo.
For example a brilliant red orange tomato will pop off of a solid blue linen. Photographed against a pale yellow may also look appealing.
Be careful not to use colors that aren't appetizing. For example a neon green linen might look pretty cool but it may not look appetizing it may look actually kind of toxic. Color itself speaks to the subconscious of an individual. It is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to encourage someone to make a purchase.
Red and yellow is the most appetizing color scheme. Stop for a moment and think about how many different restaurants and food providers use red and yellow in their branding.
8:45 - 9:00 AM find a place where you have diffused light at this time of day. This time of year the light at 9 AM is not too bad. Today (during my late publication a week or so later 9/3) at 8 AM the light can actually bring a little more drama to what you were trying to shoot.
But you don't always have that luxury especially when you're getting ready for market. So, work with the light you have! Just make sure it's not direct sunlight.
Now that all of your elements are ready collect them on the table and begin to arrange your small photo shoot.
Using your camera viewfinder to look at your products, frame the shot that you will be taking. Move the camera around and make sure that you won't be photographing anything that you don't want in the shot.
Try to get some greenery in the background. You want to give your audience the feeling of being on on the farm. You are allowing your customers to imagine how fresh the food is that you are bringing to them.
9:00 - 9:15 AM Clean up and put away all items.
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