I love shooting farmers’ markets!
I have shot them in this country, France, Italy, and Mexico and on one of our trips, the entire trip was planned around visiting another market in another village, day by day. I like the freshness of the products that are grown locally and I like the social aspect of a market… talking with friends, sharing something to eat or drink, and meeting the people who grow the food. They are festive affairs and in Europe, they are a way of life.
Be aware, that not everything you see in a local market will be locally grown. Some things will be no different than what you find in the supermarket and indeed, may have their prices raised with people thinking it is locally grown. Know what is in season when you shop the market.
One of the wonderful things about local farmers, is the fact that they might grow a small crop of an unusual vegetable that you would not find in your grocery store and so it was when we visited the Rockwall Farmers’ Market.
Crazy Rick, the organic guy, (“no chemikills”) brought some rat-tailed radishes on the day we visited. He and Vicki know I like to try different things and gave me a taste, and sure enough… they tasted like radishes but looked like stringbeans and they grow on a vine and not underground. I had never heard of such a crazy thing. Since I particularly love food photography, I shot my rat-tailed radishes after I got home.
It is fun to include photos of the growers. Always ask permission and most people will be willing to let you take their photo.Rick is a particularly photogenic guy with his beard and his hair pulled back in a ponytail tied with a piece of string. He gives character to the foods he sells and is great fun to talk to.
A problem you may have when shooting at a market is the bright sun or even worse, the combination of shade and bright sun in the same photo. The camera does not see like our eyes and more than likely you will be disappointed with your shot due to the contrasty light. If you can shoot a shaded location or on a day with diffused light from an overcast sky, your results will be more reliable. Sometimes you can even use your body to shade the subject.
And always look for the freshest vegetables to shoot.
When shooting, be aware of your background. A background that is busy, will be distracting and will draw the eye away from the subject. If need be, get in closer and use a shallow depth of field. Shoot in aperture priority and remember, the smaller the aperture number the shallower your depth of field will be. As you increase the aperture number (your f-stop), for example from 5.6 to perhaps 10, you will increase the depth of field and thereby will increase the area from front to back that will be in focus. Shoot the same subject at different angles and also vary your f-stop and then you can choose the best one when you put it on the computer.
So get out there and shoot the local markets and have fun!