I get a lot of questions about what food photography equipment I use. I'd love to say I have a giant studio with every photography gadget out there, but that would be lying. The truth is, I shoot on my kitchen table. My small apartment, with zero storage, forces me to stick to a few key pieces.
If you're getting started with a new food blog or starting to snap a few pics, you don't need to bust the bank to get some good quality food photography equipment. Below is a list of what use now, and what I started with.
The essential food photography equipment
There are a few essential pieces that every food photographer needs. These are your four basic must-haves:
- A decent quality digital SLR camera. Sure, you can start by snapping pics on your iPhone, but if you want to progress, a camera is a must.
- A good quality lens.
- A reflector.
- Bonus: a light. You can use daylight, but chances are you'll want to take your pictures in the evening. At dinner. Having a proper light source will save you a lot of headaches.
This is the food photography equipment I use
This is my baby. It's the camera I currently use and absolutely love. The picture quality is so good it's almost ridiculous. Warning: it comes with a steep price tag. It's not a camera I would recommend if you're starting out, but if you're looking to upgrade this is one beautiful machine.
This is the lens I use for all my food photography. The pictures are incredibly clear and the super low f-stop (f1.4) makes it easy to shoot in the dark. I almost never take advantage of the low f-stop for food photography as the bokeh (the blur) is too much, but it's great for taking pics at dinner parties in really low light.
This was my first digital SLR camera and the one I began my food photography adventure with. It's a small camera so it's very easy to use and takes great pictures. The price tag is also reasonable for a digital SLR camera. I would recommend the Nikon d5100, or the newer Nikon d5300, for anyone getting into food photography.
This is the lens that I used with my d5100 for the first 3 years of food blogging. The images are clear and, when it's used with a DX model, has a focal point of 50mm. It's reasonably priced and a great lens to start with.
I use my Ego light every time I shoot, even during the day. It's colour balanced so I never have to worry about my photos having a funny colour to them. I love that it's small and compact. I live in an apartment and it's important that I can put my food photography equipment away after I use it. This one lives in my closet and comes out only when I'm using it. My only complaint is that the light is a bit harsh, but I cover mine with a white t-shirt and it diffuses the light enough.
I use my reflector the least out of all of my food photography equipment. Once I purchased my Lowel Ego Light (which is colour balanced) I had a lot less need for the reflector. If you're working primarily with natural light, you will find this pretty handy.
What I use as reflectors are two large pieces of white plastic that stand on end.
Other food Photography Equipment I Use
I have a collection of background boards that I've either found, bought at hardware stores, or my handsome man has made for me. Keep your eye out for random pieces of weathered wood. The board I use a lot lately I found discarded in an alley. ?
Ink and Elm sell printed vinyl photography backdrops. I've bought a number from them in their 2×3 size. My experience with them is the brighter colours are better for food photography. The backdrops that look white or like weathered wood aren't as real looking as I'd like them to be. My favourites are this one and this one.
Every food photographer needs props. While it's easy to go overboard you can get away with surprisingly few. I've put together a list of 10 items you probably already have around your house that make great food photography props:
I use Adobe Lightroom for all my photo editing. It's a powerful photo editing tool and it's relatively simple to learn.
If you have any questions or comments about the food photography equipment I use don't hesitate to ask me in the comments below!