How to Take Product Photos for Your FARM’s Online Store
Your Farm sells incredible products. You put effort into producing food that is sustainably grown using ethical Farming practices. Naturally, you want your potential customers to appreciate the quality of your product—-and know what they are getting!
Whether you are a selling heritage pork known for its lard, sought-after turkey breeds, or 25 varieties of heirloom tomatoes (one of our farmers has 300+ types of peppers!)—you’ll want to have photos of your products that do them justice.
You don’t even need a professional camera—mobile phones have become so advanced, all you need are a few key ‘best practices’ to get it right. We’ve distilled what you need to know to take great photos of your products down to three words: Light, Plate and Focus.
NUMBER 1: LIGHT
Lighting is number one for good reason. A lot of people make the mistake of turning the lights up all the way and wash out the texture of the food in their photos. It’s a good idea to set up your space so the source of light comes either from the side of the food, or is lit from behind. If you want to use natural lighting, you can set up next to a window—morning light is ideal.
Harsh, bright light can cast extreme shadows or wash out your photos entirely. For this reason, it’s best to rely on natural lighting when the day is slightly overcast or the sun isn’t at its highest point.
You may consider moving to a different part of your house with less light hitting the window directly. Be sure to stick with lighting that casts a softer look. While taking photos of outdoors, the rule of thumb is slightly different.
NUMBER 2: PLATE
To plate your food successfully, think about how it will eventually be prepared by the customer. Ask yourself—how do I like to eat my products? If you believe your beef tastes phenomenal served with roasted potatoes and mushrooms, consider setting a potato and a few mushroom slices beside the meat. This “sets the scene” for customers and helps them envision how they will eventually eat your food.
Maybe they will see the photo and feel inspired to cook beef stew. Play with setting complementary elements beside your food—an onion, chives, a few sprigs of an herb. Think about what will tantalize the viewer.
But keep it simple. Too busy is bad. Often the best item to showcase or offset your product is a simply background —- a wood board, an old cookie sheet, a piece of slate or cement. Depending on your product you might add a single bowl, plat or utensil against that simple backdrop. Make sure if you use a background and a plate, basket or bowl (see the wooden berry basket on gray wood background as an example, above), you do a quick color and texture check.
Color or texture contrast is a good thing, as long as your items are simple. See how the apricots above pop? The wood colors offer the ‘frame’ for the food. A plate or bowl can do the same. We highly recommend steering clear of ornate tablecloths or bowls with designs.
Time-saving tip: set aside time to take a series of photos all at once. Set the stage (wood board, cookie sheet etc.) then start snapping! This will also ensure a uniform look to your photographs. Brand consistency is an important element of marketing your farm.
Know that there is power in how you plate your food. Psychologically speaking, consumers will be more apt to purchase your products if they are shared beautifully. Since we are talking food ‘appetizing’ is a good goal and so is ‘actual.’ People want to know what they are buying - the shape and size and look and feel - is one piece of information in their ‘purchasing decision.’ Make it count!
NUMBER 3: FOCUS
Consider the focus. Sure you can have the whole photo in focus, but you be deliberate about the ‘focus’ of a shot. Where will Buyers eyes go? To your CSA box instead of the tablecloth, to the food instead of the bowl. You should be able to achieve that with Light and Frame, the tips above. But you can also draw attention within your shot to a point of focus, by having only part—-the important part—-of your photo be in focus. (On your phone just tap on the part of the screen where you want to prioritize focus).
For some products, you’ll want to get a closeup photo to capture the fine detail of what you are selling. When photographing eggs you may focus on just the first few and let the rest of the photo fade away (see below). Microgreens are another great candidate for up-close details!
Keep in mind, at the end of the day: done is better than perfect! Get those photos in so you can start selling—-you can always replace them later… plus the only way you learn to take good photos is to start taking photos!
When you sign up with Barn2Door, we equip you with self-service ordering for your Farm to help you increase your sales and save you time. As part of this process, you are personally paired with a member of our Success team who walks you through how to setup and market your online store. We do the heavy lifting, like uploading the initial inventory details, and even build you a new website (if you need one).
If you aren’t able to take your own photos, we can utilize stock photos as a placeholder. You can replace them anytime or leave them (easier with items that ‘look’ like your products!).
If you are not yet set up to sell online, request more information to see if offering self-service ordering to your customers might benefit your farm.