A picture is worth a thousand dollars? That might not be how the saying goes, but a good picture is worth a lot when offering your animals for sale online. While some people will still travel to your farm to look before the sale, a picture still plays a large role in every bidder’s purchase decision.
At the end of the day, a quality picture is clickbait. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. When browsing through the upcoming auctions on Showpig.com we see a picture we like, click on the banner, and end up on the breeder’s upcoming auction site. The picture is what gets browsers diving deeper into the set you are offering.
So how do you get that advertisement-worthy photo? Anyone else feel like you are herding cats when trying to picture a set of baby pigs? Well, those are great questions – and the Showpig.com team is here to help! Check out the tips below to make your next picture day a success!
Like most things in life, picture day success relies on how prepared you are. So how can you plan ahead for picture day?
Create a picture pen
Most recommend making the pen at least 10 x 10 ft. If possible, a square pen is helpful so you can easily readjust and take the picture at any angle.
If you can’t create a new space for picturing, there are a few routes you can take.
- – Picture the pigs in their pens. They are already used to the space and can sometimes take better photos where they feel most comfortable
- – Another option is to designate one pen for picturing and then run the pigs into that one pen so that the lighting and flow of the day is consistent.
Make sure the ground is level. Although it is trendy in the cattle industry to take a photo uphill, the doesn’t look the same with baby pigs and also limits the space, angles, and opportunities to get the photo you’re shooting for.
Lighting is everything. We realize most barns are poorly lit, so sometimes adding extra lights is needed. If that is your plan, make sure you are purchasing bright white lights. If you use yellow lighting, it makes the pigs look dingy.
- – The more lighting around the higher your shutter speed will be, allowing a sharper image as your final product.
If picturing boars or breeding stock, take them outside if at all possible, to take advantage of the natural light!
Get the pigs comfortable with people and different objects
Start as early as two weeks before sale time
Begin by sitting with the pigs in your designated picture space. Once they are used to humans begin trying to pose them with different objects. From pudding to shoes, everyone has their own picture day tricks.
Select the right gear for you and become familiar with it.
Most people prefer an actual camera over a smartphone, but if a smartphone is your only option check out Using your Smartphone to Picture Pigs
Practice with lighting and different camera settings. If you are new to picturing pigs and prefer to shoot in auto, make sure you have enough light to keep your shutter speed number high, getting more photos per second
Once you are ready and comfortable with your camera, there are different camera settings to take your photo to the next level. Keep your aperture wide, shutter speed high, and ISO as low as possible to avoid grainy photos.
If you want to purchase a lens beyond the kit lenses that come with your camera body, we recommend a 24-70mm f2.8 lens for the baby pig picture pen. This additional lens allows for versatile zoom when pigs make a quick move and a low f stop for low light situations.
The day you have been waiting for has arrived. It is time to picture for your upcoming sale. From our experience, most breeders like to photograph about seven days before the sale and have pictures posted five days before the sale to gauge interest in the set. So how do you make picture day as successful as possible? Check out our tips below!
Patience is a virtue, especially in the picture pen. Bring a positive attitude, enough people to help you through the day, and a plan. All of this will help picture day go a lot smoother. Remember, breathe.
The pigs can sense if you are frustrated and that never helps the cause. Keep a steady, calm presence throughout the day.
Clean pigs and a clean pen
Take the extra time to wash and oil the pigs—it will make them pop in front of the camera.
Wipe down the walls, especially if they are white.
Put down some fresh shavings,
- – Don’t bed them too deep, it is important to see where their feet and legs are in the picture.
Come with all the tricks
As mentioned above, it is important to come with a lot of things to help pose the baby pigs, you never know what they are going to take to.
Some days every pig will take to something different. When in a pinch it is nice to have an array of tools handy to adjust as needed.
There are a lot of different ways to keep your photos organized but it is important to find a system that works for you. Staying organized while taking photos will help you tremendously when you sit down at a computer to sort and select the best photos of each pig.
A super-easy way to stay organized, and one that we would highly recommend, is to write down the order you picture in and take a photo of the ground before moving on to the next pig.
Another way is to look at the photo number of your favorite couple pictures from the back end of the camera and write it down with the ear notch of the pig. You can then reference this on a bigger screen later to find your favorite shot.
When looking through photos on your computer, we recommend you rename your favorite photo of each pig with the ear notch to keep things straight.
Choose the angle to pose the pig and stay consistent
This is more of a personal preference from breeder to breeder. But browse the auction archive to see what angle you like and strive to make pictures as uniform as possible.
Unlike backdrop photos, it is popular to photo baby pigs with a three-quarter shot from the hip. This arguably shows the most views of the pig in one shot.
Some breeders prefer to stick to the traditional side view and often add a few other photos of the chest or rearview.
But wait, what about video?
Videos are becoming increasingly popular. A good, clear, short video that highlights all angles of the pig will help those buyers that can’t make it to the farm to see the pigs in person.
While getting the right photo is crucial, it is extremely important to remain ethical. In most cases, a pig will look better in person than in a picture. It is hard to capture everything with the click of a button. However, when someone says a pig looks better in person than in the picture—you should take that as a compliment!