How to Photograph Produce for Online Farmers Markets

Reader Contribution by Aaron Harris
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Traditional farmer markets are no longer the only way for growers to connect with local consumers. Online farmer markets and trade sites are bringing the trade market into the 21st century. 

For those selling produce online, how the product is shown is just as important as if you were selling it in person. You have to give the consumer what they want to see in person, but via the computer screen. To buy the product, the consumer needs to know it’s not going to be bruised or rotten.  The produce photos on whatever sites you’re using needs to show your produce is of the best quality.

Now, not everyone is a professional photographer. If a few things are done correctly, however, the pictures are going to come out just as well. The concern is not that the picture itself looks good, but that the quality of the produce is shown to the consumer. To do this, the produce needs to be prepared for a photo shoot.

These are just a few ideas to spruce up your produce photos and to taking better photos:

  • Make sure the produce is clean. Wash and dry the produce to make sure there’s no dirt. Drying the product will also help give it a shine for the photos.
  • Avoid flash.  When possible, take the photos in natural light. Flash leaves harsh shadows and glares on the produce.
  • Take photos from a low angle. The higher the angle, the flatter the product will look. Taking a photo from a smaller angle (10 to 40 degrees up from the fruit) will make the fruit larger in the picture.
  • Background, background, background. If you take a picture of a delicious looking apple in a dirty kitchen, it’s not going to matter how juicy that apple may be. 
  • Use contrast to your advantage. If you have a green cucumber, maybe add some squash to it to brighten up the picture. Using bright-colored baskets works well, too.
  • Pose the produce. If it doesn’t look right just laying on a tablecloth, prop it up.  Or vice versa.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Let the produce tell the story.  If the produce has been doctored in any unnatural way and the consumer notices it, you may lose a customer.

Be wary of trying non-natural “tricks,” such as petroleum jelly or shellac, to make your produce look even better. If the quality of the product does not match the quality of the picture, the consumer’s taste buds will notice.

Photos by Fotolia