I know I’m not alone in this but I love shooting at farmer’s markets. I’m a regular shopper/shooter at a few of our local markets here in Ottawa and when I travel I always look up the market days at my destination and make sure to stop by. Here are a few of my tips for shooting at the farmer’s market.
Capture the colours. Let’s face it, nature puts out some pretty gorgeous hues, from super-saturated berries to tomatoes in reds, oranges and yellows. If you return to the market throughout the season you can capture how the colours change as the summer goes on – from the leafy greens of spring to the pale yellows of corn and peaches in the late summer.
Celebrate the shapes. I loved the patterns of these round peaches in their rectangular boxes.
Find some great light. The canopies that are often used for the stalls at pop-up markets can act as giant softboxes, giving beautiful diffused light. As you wander around the market, look for spots where some direct light peeks through to add some interest. I loved the look of the varied light on these lettuces.
Look for great signs. Sometimes the stall-owners have great flair for lettering. I especially love to shoot signage in a foreign country as it gives the photo a great sense of place.
Get some action shots. Sure the produce is super colourful and pretty but the point of a market is shopping so try to get some shots that reflect that.
Show the vendors some love. We’re there to shoot but they’re there to do business. Engage with the vendors as you’re shooting. Ask about their produce. These people work hard to grow and harvest these beautiful things and, in my experience they are happy to talk to you about it and pleased to have it photographed, as long as you’re not in the way of commerce. And speaking of commerce, Buy Stuff! The best way you can show your support and gratitude for the opportunity to shoot their produce is to buy it.
Happy customer. Happy vendor. Happy photographer.