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We’re entering a season where farms and plantings look their best. It’s a great opportunity to visually capture your growing products or ingredients and building your marketing assets for year-round promotions. For food processors, you’re likely moving into your high production season, sourcing from vendors, and selling at farm markets, etc. These are all great photo opportunities.
You’re busy. We hear ya. But, don’t hold off until winter planning mode to do something about your image needs. You want high resolution images captured throughout every season. Even if you lack quality photo equipment you can use your smartphone to collect images that will work for some, but not all communication needs. The point is, you’re entering a season when things are bursting with energy, growth, and colour. Nowadays, social media and digital marketing are mostly about videos and images. That’s what grabs consumers attention. So, it’s important to continually grow your marketing assets!
Consider hiring a professional photographer or videographer so that you can capture the high-quality images that enhance your branding and quality position. You can never have enough high-resolution images of food products, food production, farm life, food growing in the field, people behind the scenes, and people enjoying your products.
Your audience is visual. Instead of capturing lifeless vegetables laying on a supermarket shelf, show your audience where their food comes from. Show them the vibrancy of growth, or what you procure or collect for your ingredients.
Marketing your farm, produce, or processed products happens year-round. You need imagery for your:
- Brochures/Rack Cards
- Social Media
Social media posts are easier in the growing season, because things are happening and changing every day. Come January, you may be posting less on social, but you can dig deeper into website or e-commerce upgrades, print material, and other promotional opportunities. Have photos ready in your marketing asset library, so that you’re not relying on poor quality images or stock photography.
If you don’t have the budget this year for a professional photographer, or don’t have quality camera equipment of your own, then using your smartphone is better than nothing. That can suffice for social media. But be aware, with some marketing mediums (website, magazines, labels, etc.) you must have high resolution, good quality images. Otherwise, the perception of your product quality and food business brand will suffer.
We’re emphasizing photo images in this post, but you also should highly consider video, particularly for social media and your website. You can make a significant connection with your audience using this format and its where social media as a whole is growing the fastest.
It’s important to create a list of what types of photos you need, and you know best when those photos should be taken. Your business either goes through different seasons or different cycles, so itemize potential dates to shoot video or photos. And what you miss this year, put on the calendar to capture next year. Imagery should always be as current as possible.
People can relate to the myriad of colour and textures of agriculture and produce. Don’t always make it about the end product that you sell, though. Give the audience mini-stories that capture your values, methods, and personality.
What kinds of stories can you show?
- Planning – what to grow, how much to produce, where to sell
- Planting – preparing the land, seeding
- Growing – sprouts, blossoms, fields
- Nurturing – water, pruning, pollinating
- Harvesting – equipment, people, bounty
- Packaging – for market, for shipping, for farmgate
- Processing – cooking, filling jars, labelling
- Tasting – fresh, cooked, facial expressions
Try to get shots of your family, employees, and customers (with permission). People are fascinated with what happens behind the scenes, not just what’s on the shelf to purchase. And don’t forget your livestock or pets. They can be a big part of your story, so make sure they’re on your photo and video stage, too.
Data shows that a quality image of a food product can draw interest. Put a person in that photo with the food product, and engagement with that product grows substantially.
The bottom line is to capture images and/or video at each evolving stage so that you have a quality photo library from which to draw on for current and future marketing activities.
If your budget doesn’t currently allow for a professional photographer or video expert, you may be able to use your smartphone to get some useable results. Start to learn how quality and resolution matter for the various media (digital and print) and then you’ll be able to plan in a smart way. Still take the shots and use them where you can.
When taking your own photos, don’t rush through the process. Have a purpose and intentional approach to what you’re trying to capture. Here are some tips to get you started:
To use your smartphone, make sure the camera settings on your device are set to take the highest resolution (largest file size) photo.
Outdoor: Sunny days can make things bright and cheerful, but direct sun on an object can be harsh and glaring. Try shooting in the morning or evening for the softest light. Also pay attention to where the shadows are falling. Is your subject lost in shadows? Change your angle in relation to the sun.
Indoor Product shots: Sunlight coming from a window can make great natural light photos. Or choose a well-lit room.
Mind the focus
Learn how you can choose the focus area on your camera or smartphone. The automatic focus tends to concentrate on the middle of the screen. First, assess your shot and decide what is the most important thing to be in focus. On smartphones you can touch the screen to where you want the focus to be.
Keep it simple
Check to see if there is unnecessary clutter in your photo and try to frame out anything that will distract from what you are taking a picture of.
Use your feet, not the zoom function
Zooming adds graininess and reduces the clarity and quality of your photo. When possible, just move closer instead.
Take more than one photo
The majority of photos are taken at eye level. Experiment – try taking the same shot lower, from higher up, move to the right or left, and see what happens to your photo composition.
Learn from others
Search the web for images you like and try and figure out why you like them. Then try and incorporate those lessons in your own photography.
Even if you think you may not have the budget for a photographer or videographer, it still may be worth a conversation. Farm Food Drink can help you with your shot list and planning for where you need high resolution, and where a smartphone is just fine. Because you need imagery over several months, perhaps there is a creative way to make it a longer-term project that also spreads out the payments. It’s worth discussing.
Do you need an introduction or referral to a professional photographer or videographer? We certainly know professionals across the province, but not everywhere. Or if you know some people who specialize in farm or food photography, we’d welcome an introduction.
For more ways to beef up your marketing assets or developing an entry level campaign, feel free to contact us to start a conversation.