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January 13, 2012

By: Tim Sheets

Photography to Promote Your Farm

 

Think about the concept for your ad. What do you want to convey with this photo? Are you striving to capture an adorable baby alpaca? An elegant face? A herd sire with terrific presence? A close-up of fleece? A warm and inviting farm scene?

Once you decide on the concept, it's time to meet your subjects. If you are taking a field shot, wait till the light is right and simple hang out in the field with your camera set and ready. Get another person to help you. When the animal moves into a suitable background, have the other person stand in front of the animal and do something to get their attention, wave their arms, whistle or do whatever necessary get the alpaca to look at him. This is harder than it sounds. The key is to move slowly and have patience.

The correct stance for a natural side profile shot is to have the neck extended vertically and ears pointed forward. The subject should look alert, alive and well. The back should be straight and the back leg furthest from the camera should be slightly forward of the other leg.

Use fill in flash (or use a reflector) when the animal is backlit. These techniques can enhance an animal's appearance, revealing shadow detail and showing an animal's entire presentation. A portrait lens (telephoto) will ensure proper proportioning, although a normal lens will also produce a satisfactory image. A wide-angle lens, however, should generally be avoided in order to prevent any distortion.

If the photo is not to your liking, delete it and try again. You may take many pictures before you get the ones you want. That's the beauty of using a digital camera! Patience is critical especially for young animals. If the animal won't set up properly, walk him/her out and circle back to the set up spot. Keep trying until you get the result you want. If the subject becomes bored with the whole process and grumpy, put her away and try another animal then come back when she is rested.

A picture is worth a thousand words--but bad pictures of your alpacas can cost you plenty! Many potential customers' first impression of your alpacas and your farm is through a sale catalog, an advertisement in a breed publication or on the internet -- you want their first impression to be a good one.

Once you have taken all your pictures, be sure to identify them correctly. If they stored on a digital file, give them a descriptive file name and organize them in files created for each of your alpacas. If you make prints and place them in an album, be sure you have a reference to the digital file so you can easily make more prints. There are many ways you can use your photos, but make sure after all your hard work - put them where you can enjoy them! Enter them into a photo contest. Enlarge that special photo and frame it, use a digital copy for your desktop wallpaper, and keep a copy in your alpacas' permanent record.