I have said it before, but what makes farming so difficult is that it is an entire business all at once. When you start a farm, you instantly become the manufacturer, distributor and marketer. For that reason, I will often hire out any jobs that need to be done really well or that I may not possess the skills or equipment to accomplish myself. Photography is one of those areas.
Countless times over the years, our farm has needed a nice photograph for one thing or another. Sometimes it’s a blog post for our shareholders, sometimes it’s for announcing our CSA, but no matter what the need, good photos come in handy.
Last year, we traded a share of our CSA to a photographer (whose photo you see here). This was far and away one of the best investments we have made in our marketing. And that’s why we’re doing something similar again this year. Where’s the value in such an expenditure? Here’s a short list that I will admit hardly covers all of the potential of a good photo package.
Good Photos Make Your Business Look Professional
Again, farming is a business. It’s a rural industry and a local operation, so it’s OK to be a little rustic. Nevertheless, it is a business. Having a folder of photos (I recommend 20 to 50 good ones) can really help with online announcements, making posters for your farm, business cards, or whatever you need to stand out above the competition. These photos should be a mix of candid shots; food and farm photos; individual and family portraits (those are vital); plus, of course, animals if you have any. This ensures you have everything covered for your promotional needs.
Good Photos Help Garner Press
When a local paper or publication wants to do a story on you (or if you would like to convince them to do a story on you), having a great set of photos helps make this all much easier. Make sure that whoever contacts you knows that you have photos that you can provide. One obligatory note about this would be to OK the use with the photographer and always give them credit.
Good Photos Give You Social Media Fodder
Posting regularly on your social media is a great way to grow your audience and retain regular engagement. Having a package of photos to choose from can offer you the opportunity to post something that inspires likes and comments at a time when perhaps you don’t have a lot else going on. (Looking at you, wintertime!) As superficial as those those engagements may seem, they keep you in the minds of your customers and again, help build your base.
Good Photos Help You Create Themes
As I said above, photos make your farm business look professional, and they also have an added bonus: They give your marketing push a theme, especially when all of the photos come from the same photographer and photo shoot thus have a similar texture. The value of a theme is that it can make all of your social media look cohesive so that when someone sees a flier out in a coffee shop, they may later recognize the images online when they are searching for a local farmer. It’s all part of the brand. It helps to bring customers in and reminds them that they need to sign up for that CSA they saw in the coffee shop.
Good Photos Are Just Fun
Lastly, let’s be honest. It is good to have photos every year to look back on as your farm and family grow. In a world of social media, where photos are fleeting and disappear quickly into your feed, it’s nice to have a way to reflect and see how far you’ve come. And when they are beautiful and really professional, all-the-better, right?