Tag Archive for: business

Food Photography Equipment You Need

Let’s talk about food photography equipment because who doesn’t love a chat about what gear you need as a professional food photographer?

Throughout this article, I will show you what food photography equipment I currently use and what I’m using it. So you’ll get a good glimpse into what a professional photographer needs to create their stunning work. But remember that building any collection, whether prop or gear, takes time. I only had some of this gear when I first picked up my camera!

Let's talk about food photography equipment because who doesn't love a chat about what gear you need as a professional food photographer?

Note: This page may contain affiliate links to products and services I love to use and recommend.

Camera and lenses

Ever since I started photographing food, I’ve been using Canon. I am currently using a full-frame camera, Canon EOS 6D mark II. However, I started with a hobby crop-sensor camera, Canon EOS 600D, which I still use for some of my behind the scene and styling session photos.

The lenses I currently use are:

Canon 100m 2.8 macro

Canon 50mm 1.8

Canon 85mm 1.4

Canon 25-70mm 2.8

I used to have a Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens, which I adored and would recommend anytime since it produced beautiful photos and which survived a huge fall. However, it is only applicable to crop-sensor cameras.

Unsure how to use your camera? Be sure to read all about Manual Mode. Or you might want to read about camera angles and which lens to use when.

Natural light gear

Working with natural light usually requires a modifier of some sort. I mostly use my large 5-in-1 120x90cm diffuser to soften the light coming through the window. I love that it can use covers in 4 different colors to use as reflectors or black flags. Often I don’t need such a big reflector, which is when I use a smaller Neweer 60x90cm 5-in-1 diffuser/reflector.

Whenever I need to modify light with smaller modifiers, I love using a cardboard self-standing A3 reflector or a 5mm white/black foamboard which I can cut to the needed size. (Note: The foamboards in the links differ from what I use since I bought them locally, so I can’t guarantee the quality.)

Let's talk about food photography equipment because who doesn't love a chat about what gear you need as a professional food photographer?

Artificial light gear

I prefer using a flash over continuous light when working on stills. You can check my Artificial Light for beginners workshop if you want to know why and learn more about working with artificial light. 

Currently, I’m using three Quadralite Stroboss 60 C units, which are 60Ws speedlights. And I use the Godox SL60 continuous light for video and some stills.

Working with artificial light requires careful manipulation. There are many options out there. The main softboxes and umbrellas I currently use are:

Quadralite 60×60 softbox

Foldable Godox 60×60 softbox (for on-location shoots)

Godox 70×100 softbox

Soonpho 22×90 cm stripbox

Godox 120cm octagon umbrella

Studio gear – tripods and stands

I started with very basic tripods, which I still own and use from time to time, but I’ve fallen in love with my Manfrotto 058B Triaut Camera Tripod (discontinued). Having a sturdy tripod makes work so much easier. I’m using the tripod with the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3-Way Head, which is incredible for making precise adjustments. 

For on-location shoots, I use the Neweer tripod with a central column with a ball head; however, I prefer a geared head from Manfrotto, which is much more precise and easy to handle.

For top-down photos or as a stand for modifiers, I’m using the Neweer C-stand.

Another piece of gear I love are the Neweer metal clamps.

Editing software

I use Adobe Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos and DaVinci Resolve for video editing.

Join my free Lightroom webinar replay to learn a few tricks and some of my favorite Lightroom shortcuts and watch me edit a photo in Lightroom, 

Organizational software and more

In running a business, the organization of the process is crucial. I use Asana for my schedule, content, and business process organization.

How to build an email list as a creative or a food photographer

I had an open discussion about the future of social media with a colleague last week. It got us thinking about all the different platforms out there and how much energy it takes to constantly create new content without ever being sure that the right people will see it.

And we both agreed that there is one platform (not usually called social, but in a way, it is just that!), and that’s our emails.

You should start and build your email list no matter what you do. If you are a content creator or food photographer then this is for you.

Building an email list allows you to reach people genuinely interested in what you have to say and offer. If you post on Instagram (or any other platform), only a tiny percentage of your followers will see your post. But when you have an email list, in theory, all of your email community members should get your email. I’m saying this because deliverability is usually not 100%, but still, a number close to that.

You can see the big difference between an Instagram post and an email reach.

The people who get on your email list are there because they took the time to type in their name and email address, which takes much more time and effort than most people will give you on Instagram, TikTok, or any other social media platform. Which is why you will know that these are your people. And it is much easier and often more rewarding to speak to them than to write a post on Instagram. It feels more personal and will also be for our subscribers.

And that’s what we want to build our engaged communities.

Does this mean you don’t need social media and should only focus on email?

Definitely not. Social media gives you exposure to new people who would otherwise have a harder time finding you AND GETTING ON YOUR EMAIL LIST. Both of these together can be magical. So let’s see how you can leverage your current audience to build an email list.

How can you start an email list?

Simply put, an email list is only a list of email addresses you own (unlike your social media followers). 

Everything you need to gather emails is a landing page or a form on your website, which is why email newsletter providers are super handy, and they let you send emails to all your subscribers at once.

Besides, you need to incentivize people to subscribe to your email. A promise of what they get – an opt-in. This could be a PDF, an ebook, exclusive content, free courses and webinars, checklists, guides, and whatnot. Get creative with what you have to offer.

I’ve been using ConvertKit for three years now, and I love how simple it is to use and how time-saving all the automation features are. I can’t recommend it enough.

You should start and build your email list no matter what you do. If you are a content creator or food photographer then this is for you.

How can you grow your email list?

I’ve been building my email list since I started my blog in 2015, and it took a lot of work before I realized how to do it properly.

Unfortunately, once you’ve created an email list, you can leave it there. Instead, you need to find ways for people to see it.

Here are a few ways you can market your opt-in:

  • Adding forms to relevant posts and other places on your blog 
  • Sharing the landing page link to Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube… or any other platform you are using and do so regularly, not just once
  • Add the link in your bio on Instagram and your description on Pinterest.
  • Share it on Facebook groups when relevant.
  • Ask people you speak online and feel would benefit from your opt-in if you can send them the link (You won’t believe how effective that is!)
  • Be creative and constantly search for new places to share your opt-in!
You should start and build your email list no matter what you do. If you are a content creator or food photographer then this is for you.

What to include in your newsletters?

People sign up for your newsletter to not miss anything new you create. So share your latest blog posts, Youtube videos, podcasts, or any content you create. Let them know you have something new.

The good thing is that you can include whatever you are already sharing on social media. Not everyone sees those posts (as we already discussed!), and they definitely want to make sure to see them, so repurpose your Instagram content, especially when it resonates with your IG audience. That’s content your email community will want to see.

An email is also a place where you can be more personal, share stories you don’t share with others, and let your community be a little closer to you.

You can also tell them about your new books, courses, workshops, or whatever you offer that your community will find helpful.

ConvertKit also offers a paid newsletter, which is super helpful when you want to add even more content to your fans and have it delivered straight into their inboxes.

It’s easy for bloggers and educators to share an opt-in. But what if you’re a food photographer?

You can still have an email list even if your audience is food brands, restaurants, and other food-related businesses.

You will also need a very useful opt-in that will help their business and is somewhat related to food photography.

Those are businesses, so make sure to respect their time. It’s enough to send a newsletter to brands only a few times a year. Just enough to keep your name on top of mind in case they need a photographer and not think of you as spammy.

If this is you, I’m giving you a task today.

Think of three topics you can write to your food brand email list. What would they benefit from? What do you have to offer? Do you provide a new service, and how does it help brands? Can you share a photoshoot story to build authority or a behind-the-scenes that they’d enjoy? Or anything else they’d benefit from!

I hope this was helpful!

I’d love to hear your thoughts or worries about building an email list. Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re searching for a great newsletter provider, I can’t recommend ConvertKit enough. I moved from Mailchimp to ConvertKit three years ago, and it was such an easy move and an enjoyable experience to use the app. That said, choosing which provider is not as important as starting your email list today!

This article includes affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the links provided on this page. Note that I only recommend products I love and enjoy, regardless of whether I get a commission!

How to create a cohesive Instagram feed

With this easy tutorial on how to create a cohesive Instagram feed you'll be able to create a beautiful eyecatching IG feed!

So I’ve been asked this questions so so many times and for me personally creating a cohesive Instagram feed is a mix of trusting what my eyes see and having a plan and theory behind all that.

I’m going to show you exactly how I plan my feed (when I’m not eyeballing it).

In fact, after I started really carefully planing my grid, I immediately saw that people liked what I was producing. I was gaining much more followers than before. After a while, I started to do planning less theoretically and trusted my own eyes more and more. I got used to how my feed looks and took me less time (and less thinking!) to create a feed that flows.

So if you’re having trouble making your feed consistent and cohesive, I suggest you start with theory (that’s where this article comes in) and after a while, you’ll see that you’ll do it more and more spontaneously. It’s going to become second nature.

It’s hard to start, when your feed looks all over the place, right?

Start with planning at least 9 images ahead (12 or 15 are even better). This way you’ll actually be able to see how your new and shiny feed will look like!

So here are the steps that you need to take in order to create a stunning visually pleasing and cohesive feed:

  1. Use a planning software
  2. Choose a style and color palette
  3. Choose what type of content you’ll share
  4. Decide on the layout of all the different types of content
  5. Color theory and shapes are super important
  6. Consider negative space and angles
  7. Perfect is not always the best
  8. Use the highest quality photos you can.

Use a planning software

There a few ways you can plan your grid online with software. The ones I like are Later and Planoly (not sponsored). They are free for les than 30 posts a month. You can use them only for planning the grid or you can post from their software as well. You can use either their app on your phone or plan via their website. Either way, that’s probably the easiest way to start planing how your grid will look like.

Choose a style of the grid

Do you prefer darker photos, lighter photos, do you like everything very colorful, do you love monochromatic images, desaturated, warm, cold, vintage, modern, natural, a specific color palette… so many styles and colors to choose from.

Choosing one style doesn’t mean you can’t integrate other styles too, but one or maximum of two is the best.

Choose what type of content you’ll share

Will you be sharing only photos or you’ll also share videos, text, graphics… you should consider all the content you want to share with your audience and what type of content they’ll appreciate. Just make sure they all look great together. If you’re including any graphical elements, thy need to work togeher as well and they should match the style of other content in your feed.

Decide on the layout of all the different types of content

If you are sharing more than one type of content then it is essential to decide how often you’ll share each type of content. For example, if you’re sharing photos and text, then you could share a one-to-one ratio, so every second day you’ll share text and all other days a photo. You can consider some other ratios too. I love 6 to 1. Six photos and one text image. Be creative!

Color theory and shapes are super important

When I plan my Instagram grid, I always take into consideration the colors in the photos. I usually have one or two main colors in a photo. When I plan a grid, I’ll place images with the same main color on the different parts of the grid so they don’t all touch each other. I post mostly dark images but I include brighter ones as well and I follow the same principle there too.

Same goes with shapes. If I post a photo of a round cake in the middle of the frame, I won’t post other images with similar shape so that they fall in a line (unless it’s a diagonal). I also don’t want to squeeze them all in one corner.

One way to creatively use color theory is to have a color-coordinated grid, where you post one color only for a specific number of days and then continue with another.

Consider negative space

Balance is the magic word when it comes to a cohesive Instagram feed. Try to think of your image as having weight. Some weigh less (meaning they are less busy), some weigh more (busy images with big elements or multiple elements). Now imagine your feed being an old fasioned kitchen scale. You should place the images in your feed so that your scale is in balance. Just like with colors and shapes you need to consider placing images with same ‘weight’ in oposite parts of the grid to balance things out.

The same goes for angles. I post photos from different angles in my feed and that also takes some thought. Just like, with color, shapes, and negative space, I like to spread mix photos taken at different angles so that they don’t compete with each other.

Perfect is not always the best

Please, don’t go and follow these things I just wrote about very very strictly. Like I wrote in the beginning, sometimes something will look better and you won’t necessarily have a clear explanation. Follow your gut and your creativity.

Use the highest quality photos you can.

You might say, but I’m not a professional yet, I don’t have high-quality images. It doesn’t matter, use what you have, but be picky at the same time. Choose the best photo you have and if you’re unsure and decide between two or three photos, use stories to ask your followers. As an IG user, I can say that I love voting and people really do love engaging in things like questions and anything that requires their input in the stories. So why not ask your followers? This way you’ll also learn what type of content they like seing from you. Win-win!

It doesn’t stop at a cohesive Instagram feed

While creating a cohesive Instagram feed takes some preparation and careful planning it’s not the only thing to do if you want your IG channel to attract followers (aka ideal followers). One of the most important think about running an IG feed is being personal and showing who you are. Poeple love following real people not machines!

Let me know if you found this useful in the comments below or on my IG.