What equipment do I need for food photography?
There is so much photography equipment out there but is all that necessary to create beautiful food photos. No, definitely not! Today, I’m sharing a few food photography equipment essentials, that I feel are necessary to produce great shots.
What Are The Food Photography Equipment Essentials
1. A Camera
Now, that’s an obvious one. It doesn’t need to be fancy schmancy to get you started, though.
Go to your local camera store and ask to try the cameras to see what feels the most natural. I tried an old Nikon (maybe it would be different with a newer one), but I felt like Canon was more intuitive for me personally. You might be different, so I won’t suggest which brand you should buy. They are all good, you just need to figure out what’s best for you. If you have the option to rent a camera, I’d suggest doing that.
Can you use a phone? Sure, you can! I’ve seen beautiful photos shot with a phone. Now personally, I’m not a fan of phone food photography. I like to hold a big old camera in my hands. It just feels different. But if you’re on a budget and already have a good camera on your phone, you might start from there. But, if you’re going to shoot commercially, then you’ll want to do with a DSLR.
Crop Sensor vs. Full Frame?
A crop-sensor camera has a smaller sensor and therefore crops out a part of the image. Crop sensor cameras are cheaper but also produce smaller images. A full frame sensor has some other advantages like a broader dynamic range and better low light/high ISO performance. But all in all, crop sensors can produce stunning images too. Scroll through my old posts. All posts before May 2019 were shot with the old crop sensor camera.
When you’re buying lenses, you should think about how you can use those lenses once you upgrade your camera. If you’re starting out with a crop sensor camera, you can still use lenses designed for a full frame camera. But you can’t use lenses designed specifically for crop sensor on a full frame camera. Lenses for crop sensor cameras are cheaper, but if you plan to upgrade eventually, you might be better off buying the full frame lenses.
One more thing, when you’re considering buying equipment, I recommend spending more on lenses than you do on a camera. They really do make a difference.
Want a great cheap lens?
You probably heard of the nifty fifty. I find this lens worth so much more than the 100€ (a little over a 100$). Before I had my full frame the 50 mm was on practically 99% of the time. I used a 30mm for wider shots and flatlays. Now I use the nifty fifty for wider shots and flatlays and I still find it amazing for the money I paid.
3. A Diffuser
Diffusers are used to diffuse the light. The surface of a diffuser is matte and therefore disperses the light in different directions making it less direct and creates softer shadows.
You can use a collapsible translucent diffuser that usually comes in a 5-in-1 pack with a black, white, gold and silver sides. All very useful. I love it because it folds to a very small size and is super transportable and light.
If you’re only shooting at home, you can just as easily use a thin white curtain or a big sheet of tracing paper. I used this one for a very long time and I still use the curtain a lot.
4. Black And White Foam Board
These too are super important and very cheap. Write those two down, cuz’ you’re gonna need them!
A black foam board is used to block the light from reaching the subject. Placed on the opposite side of the object it sucks the light and creates deep shadows.
On the other hand, white foam board is used to bounce the light back on the subject and make the shadows softer and brightens up the part of the subject that would otherwise be in the shadows.
5. A tripod
A lot of photographers like to work without a tripod because using a tripod makes you more stationary and it’s hard to move around.
I personally have used tripod since I first started, and I love it. It is especially helpful if you’re shooting in low light situations where you need to use a slower shutter speed. By holding a camera in hand you’re risking a blurry image.
One other thing, by using a tripod you can clearly set your focus is. May I suggest using manual focus at this point 😊
But I don’t have the cash?
Don’t worry. I’m all about cost-effective solutions. For the longest time, I used an old crop-sensor camera (my Canon EOS 600D). I just recently upgraded to a full frame, so that’s not essential. At first, I shot with a kit lens and I think it’s completely okay when you’re just starting out. When you feel like upgrading without spending too much, the cheaper you can go is by buying a nifty fifty. That’s a 50mm f1.8 lens. Until recently I used a very very cheap (also not very sturdy) tripod, which was completely okay. The reason I upgraded is to buy one with a horizontal arm.
Really, you can start food photography on a budget and still produce beautiful imagery. So don’t get overwhelmed by what other people are using. Use what you have or can afford and build from there. The most important thing is to work on your photography skills, not the equipment.
I hope this little guide was helpful. If you have any further questions ask in the comment section and I’ll try my best to give you the answers.
Thanks for sharing informative article, I really like this post.
Glad you enjoyed it, Naresh!
hi. i love your blog, your vlogs and ig! and i saw that you have Nikon D750 camera. Is that a full frame camera that you are talking about when mentioning you switched to full frame? (asking because i went to Nikon store the other day and the guy was convincing me that that camera has cropped sensor. now im lost.
I only use Canon cameras and don’t have experience with Nikon cameras, but I did a quick research and it seems like it’s a full-frame camera. The full-frame camera I use currently is the Canon EOS6D mark II. Hope I helped!
Thanks for sharing such an informative article I am always reading your blogs. I am also a food & product photographer based in Delhi India reach out to our website for any query.
I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying my articles.
A large amount of photographers like for work without a tripod because which has a tripod makes you will more stationary and additionally it’s hard move around.
I personally manipulate tripod since Document first started, and I need it. It is most definitely helpful if you’re photographing in low lgt situations where you should utilize a slower shutter accelerate. By holding a camera available you’re risking a fabulous blurry image.
The next thing, by which has a tripod you may well clearly set any focus is. May I imply using manual focus at that time.
Tripod is definitely essential in low light situations. But even with good light, you have so much more control over settings and compositions if you’re using a tripod.
I know those blurry images, I used to have so many of those!!!
Thanks for stopping by!
Hi, I am a newbie in food photography with no knowledge in photography and am an aspiring food blogger.
Could you please help in those features of the camera to know before starting food photography
Nice to have you here. I’ll definitely include camera settings in one of my future posts. Thanks for the idea!
First of all, you should be need a good resolution camera for better food photography. Then you need to know how to use all the features of the camera. Two things are helping us to make food photography good.
A good quality camera definitely helps in terms of the technical quality of the image. Knowing the features I think matters even more. I would say though that, for beginners learning light and composition is far more important than getting the best camera there is. And a good lens.
Hi. I am hoping to be a professional photographer eventually…..meaning making money instead of spending it. I have lots of gear but your tips are the best ever. Thank you. Would love to know how to tether to the computer and what is needed to do so. You can really tell how the photo looks versus the small screen on back of camera. Thanks.
This is definitely a topic I need to cover in the future. Because I agree, the small camera screen can be very deceiving!
Thank you so much for taking the time and read through my article 🙂
Anja, ravno sem prebrala tole o fotografiranju – super čudovito, večkrat sem se spraševala, kako ti uspejo tako dobre fotke in evo, zdaj vem. Zelo uporabno, zelo nesebično .
Upam, da ti je všeč mafin v Diti, zdaj ima tudi izračun prehranskih vrednosti.
Za avgust i pa spet kaj izbrala, lahko?