Photography has always been a passion of mine. In college, I took multiple courses and even studied abroad to grow my skills. Looking through a lens and being able to capture moments, energy, personality, and someone's truth is a challenge I look forward to every time I get behind the camera. Now, I have the challenges of capturing what different companies do and why it matters. I get to tell their story through photography.
Agriculture is a key player in America’s economy employing over 950,000 people in 2019, but rarely gets talked about outside of the people in the ranching and farming communities. Many ranchers and farmers have passed their land and knowledge for generations all over America, and Fort Worth is no exception to that. Families are beginning to verticalize the process and provide quality products from the bottom up.
When we were approached to showcase a family-owned company that verticalized their ranch to provide quality beef from the breeding of the cattle to the harvesting and processing of the animals, I was excited for the challenge. The preparation that needed to be done was extensive to present deliverables in the most authentically honest way with the utmost sensitivity to their designated industry. We spent time in meetings with the client to garner their expertise, deep-dive into research, and tour the facilities.
We had three separate photoshoot sessions within a month to capture: the feedlot, the processing facility, and the finished product. Each session came with unique circumstances and a lot of teamwork. Our first photoshoot was at the facility. I had never been to a processing facility before so it was important I listened carefully to their safety guidelines and rules to make sure the photos were appropriate for their industry. I may have been holding the camera, but the team helped me by guiding me through, telling me to watch my step and keep me aware of important attributes of the facility. It was important for me, throughout this session, to focus on the task and not allow the challenges from the environment to affect the deliverables.
Our second photoshoot was at the feedlot. The important shots to get at this location were the wide-open feeding pens that gave a natural environment for the animals and the specialty Bonsmara cattle. They were absolutely beautiful. We hopped in the pen with the cattle and began photographing the cattle. It was incredible to be so close to these animals and see how well they were being treated, and how calm they were.
The last photoshoot session we had was at the facility to shoot the product. This was a particularly difficult task, as we had to be in a refrigerated room to keep the meat's rich purple and red colors. We brought in a light-box that had to be sanitized between each new product being shot. As we shot the products, we had to be sure that the marbling was being shown. This saves us time in the editing process and puts our clients' best foot forward.
After all the photos were shot, and all the research had been done, it was time to edit. I went through each photo carefully picking the very best to edit. I edited the feedlot photos with rustic tones, allowing for the color of the cattle to be shown and gave a sense of warmth. It was important to show the cattle being calm and relaxed at the feedlot because relaxed cattle make higher-quality meat during processing. This shows the customers that the cattle were well taken care of and the meat they will be purchasing will be of the best quality. You can see below in the gallery that each photo has cohesive coloring and shows the lots of land in the pens.
The product shots took time and focus to ensure that all the details of the meat were as they should be. I pulled shadows off of the sides to make the true color of the meat show. I made sure each photo had cool tones to get the rich purple tones to show through. It was important to go slowly and enhance the clarity of each image to display the texture and the marbling of the different meat products. Once the color was up to par with industry standards, I cut out each product and put them on a plain white background to make the colors pop and to remove the creases of the light-box. Below is the gallery to see the different selections of prime beef, all color perfected and uniform to be used for websites, social media, or print advertising.
Overall, the experience of shooting a company in the agriculture industry was a challenge that furthered the development of my skill set and helped me grow for future opportunities as we are constantly adapting and evolving. I am proud of the end-product we delivered to the client and am more proud to work for an agency and with a team that works to tell the stories of important industries that are not typically in the spotlight. I look forward to seeing more of the agriculture industry from behind the lens.
About The Author:
My name is Haley Sparks and I am the Content Strategist at the Bogle Agency. I’m just a 'Plano' girl with a southern heart and a drive for success as big as Texas. My passion for people lead me to Texas Tech University where I had every intention of pursuing a career in law and politics. Quickly into my studies however, I found my true calling and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Public Relations. PR is the cheese to my wine, and the hot sauce to my taco! This field not only allows me to be a voice for people, but also help them and their organizations to become the best version of themselves. I thrive in high intensity situations and bring a unique outlook into every room I walk into. I know that the secret sauce is building respectful, hospitable, lasting relationships with the client. My goal is to take YOUR vision, dreams, and ideas and give them that extra “Spark” that makes you shine bright.