How to Be a Polite Human While Taking Photos at the Farmers Market

August  2, 2016

For farmers market goers, berries, peaches, and corn are our Kardashians (Kim is obviously a peach). But as produce paparazzi, snapping every hook-up and hairdo, we are unregulated—and shouldn’t be.


A photo posted by caro (@carolange13) on

For the sake of respecting the produce, the farmers, and the other market-goers, here are some pointers that we should all try to follow (pretty please?):

  • Take the picture! It adds to the allure around the market, which yes, may make it a place more of theatrics than food but ultimately brings more people to the market. Moreover, sharing what’s available at the market is all-around beneficial.
  • Be inconspicuous. If you’re going to wield around your over-the-shoulder video camera, come early. Before I’m awake. If you have to photograph at the busiest stall, come back around when the swarms subside.

The babiest radishes of all.

A photo posted by sarahjampel (@sarahjampel) on

  • Get out of the way. Do you know how many pea tendrils I’ve passed up because someone was getting their perfect shot? It’s a tragedy. Do not be an obstruction: Preventing people who want to buy things is aggravating for farmers and shoppers alike. Let the people get their wispy tendrils, then go back to getting your photo.

  • Do not take your time. If you’re primping the produce for their debut, buy them instead. Set up the shot in your own space, on your own time. Then you get to eat the food!

  • Respect signs that say no photos. Duh.


A photo posted by Ali (@itsalislagle) on

  • Be a shopper too: Actually buy things from the stands where you take pictures. That way, they’re benefitting as well.

  • Speaking of, when posting the image on social media, do your best to tag the stand so that the farmer gets credit for the beauty they’ve grown. And hey, you might get a regram.

  • General photography rules apply: If you are taking a picture of a person, ask them first. If you consider the produce the farmers’ children, ask the farmer if you can take photos.

  • General human etiquette applies: While you’re looking through a viewfinder (and especially when you’re not), respect the pace of the walkway and the direction in which traffic is flowing. Exceptions given to dogs and children, who know no direction.

What are your rules for farmers market behavior? Share with us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Thomas
  • Scott
  • Rita Marmor
    Rita Marmor
  • SKK
  • scruz
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Thomas August 14, 2016
Is this article saying it's common practice for people to wait in line, spend 10 minutes taking photos when they get to the front, thereby not letting ANYONE shop, and then walking away without purchasing? That sounds a bit unbelievable. It sounds more like this article is saying people are annoyed at the photo-taker's presence in general. How small are these stalls? One person takes up the whole area? To the point that you can't even reach past them and grab an apple? Who's manning these stands? That person just stands there in silence watching someone take photos, ignoring anyone else who walks up and asks for something? Or is it that five people stand there taking pictures, effectively blocking the whole stand for everyone else? Because that's a bit far-fetched, too. What's really going on here? Is this click-bait to get people to read more articles on the site? These "rules" have very little to do with farmer's markets and more to do with being being a courteous photographer anywhere in life, on top of everything else I've mentioned. I guess I don't understand why this was necessary at all. You could have just said, "Follow the same rules when you're shooting farmer's markets as you would for ANY OTHER public place."
Scott August 3, 2016
"For farmers market goers, berries, peaches, and corn are our Kardashians..."

Spoiled, overexposed, a bit rotten, and not deserving of the hype?
Rita M. August 3, 2016
with all due respect to this website that I enjoy / I find this article a bit annoying. If you want your "PeaTrendials" that bad simply say excuse me and get them... why make such a fuss about people taking photos of food in a market?? Markets are generally a busy bustling place , a simple smile and pardon me can go a long way with those trying to take a picture.
Honestly this article which I'm sure was meant to entertain makes this website look a little bratty and pretentious .... I'm looking forward more of those good articles on making food !
SKK August 3, 2016
Why take photos when you can purchase and enjoy? And give the growers credit? Missing the point of this article.
702551 August 3, 2016
Some people who attend farmers markets are from out of town with no access to cooking facilities (e.g., staying at a hotel) or are about to leave.

Clearly, some attendees are accompanying others who are the primary shoppers. For sure, I've spotted regulars at my farmers market with people who are clearly out-of-town relatives.

A couple of times a year, I go to San Francisco's overhyped, overpriced Ferry Plaza farmers marke with a couple of others. Usually we buy one or two things we can't get in our own farmers markets, but mostly we just peruse since our primary reason for being there is to dine at one of the nearby restaurants. For sure, the Ferry Plaza market is *PACKED* with tourists. Those just two examples of how different people may be in a given place for different reasons.

The reasons for you doing something aren't always going to be the same ones that drive the actions of others. And not just about farmers market, about almost anything in life.
scruz August 2, 2016
that is so funny seeing this article after i just got back and had taken a pics of gorgeous apples and heirloom tomatoes. i sent them to two friends. and did not cause any kind of traffic jam or anything. inconspicuous.
702551 August 2, 2016
Forget trying to be inconspicuous. Whether you are using a smartphone or a DSLR, people will see that you are taking photos. Focus on being polite and respectful, everywhere, not just at the farmers market when you are snapping pictures.

Don't forget that a photo of boxes of farmers market blueberries will look like a shot taken twelve months earlier. Same thing with radish bunches, same thing with peaches. And they will look like other people's shots taken at nearby markets in the same timeframe so get it out of your system and snap away for a year or two.