Regularly reminding sales staff to build a bank of photos when they are out and about visiting farms, walking crops, etc., is a great way of capturing content, particularly when company products or services are evident and there is opportunity to demonstrate how they have benefitted their customers. The images can be used immediately on Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook to give a snapshot of events as they happen on that day, promoting your customer, their business and, in turn, your business.
Taking photos also generates images for your Marketing staff to use in promotions, brochures, and on social media.
An easy way to ask your sales team for images is to use WhatsApp. WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app. You send the message, for example, ‘I need a pic of winter barley’ and if anyone has a photo or can snap one, they send it on.
Taking the photo
You don’t need the latest high tech camera to take good photos. Camera phones today can take high resolution photos (usually in the file format .jpg) and produce good results however there are a few simple techniques on how to take and edit photos that can make a difference.
Humans look at the world in a few predictable ways. Our eyes follow lines and are drawn to, apart from the centre, four areas of a photo.
Use of lines – A path or fence in the shot draws the eye across the photo or cubicle shots leading into the barn. Think of lines leading the viewer into the photo.
Rule of thirds – Think of your photo divided into three lines horizontally and three lines vertically. The four intersection points where these lines meet are areas of an image that our eyes are drawn to, darting between them. (Picture shows silage rake placed at one of the intersection points.)
Also check what you want photographed is what the camera has focussed on. Try the zoom function, if needed, to get close-ups if you can’t move closer for farm safety reasons.
The sun is great for shots of fields and crops but avoid shooting straight into the sun. Let the sun come in from the side. But you don’t need a sunny day to get good photos. Cloudy days give less dark shadows and have a pleasant feel to them.
Taking photos at the start and end of a day gives a warmer tone to a photo. Middle of the day photos have a bluer tone.
When to take your photos
All the time, throughout the year. In agriculture everything is constantly changing and growing. If you work with crops, photograph a field of winter barley at the early stages and then later in the season. In the dairy and beef sector, all stages of the cattle life cycle and best practice outcomes from the use of your products and services should be captured.
Tidying up your image
You took the shot, had to run and now looking at it during a quiet time of the day have realised something has gone wrong. If you got the shot and it is pretty much in focus, don’t panic.
The most commonly used tricks by photographers are to check the Brightness, Contrast and then Crop a photo. If you need to work the image more, use a picture editor software like Adobe Photoshop Elements or Photos, an app available with MS Windows 10.
For example with Photos, you can do basic fixes: Rotate the image, Crop it, Straighten it up, and correct Red eye. It has Brightness to make the photo lighter or darker and Contrast which makes darks darker and lights brighter.
You can use Temperature (to make the photo cooler or warmer i.e. more blue or orange) or change the Saturation (A little extra saturation may be needed for a photo taken on a dull day. No saturation makes a photo black and white).
Get the shot
Finally, like family photography, it’s better to capture an image, any image, than worry if it has been taken correctly. Get the moment recorded and then decide how best to use the photo to promote your customers achievements and your business.