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10 Pieces Of Gear You Need For Food Photography At Any Price Level

By Wendell Weithers on August 28th 2017

While it may be true that you don’t need the most expensive gear to produce good photography, each genre of has its specific tips, tricks, and tools. The various fields are very advanced and are filled with some amazing photographers who employ a variety of techniques and gear that may leave you puzzled as to how you should get started.

If you follow the work of someone like Kayley McCabe or Andrew Scrivani, you’ve seen high-level work worth emulating. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll embark on your photography journey under their tutelage but, you shouldn’t slight small beginnings. Here are a few tools to help you get started in food photography.

1 – Camera Bodies

*Always be on the look out for good used or open box deals.

DSLR

Full Frame

APS-C

Mirrorless

Full Frame

APS-C

Micro 4/3

2 – Macro Lens

*Always be on the look out for good used or open box deals.

There are some advantages you should consider before you rely on a lens that doesn’t have a true macro capability.  First, they enable you to get in close for those wonderful detail shots while conventional lenses usually have minimum focusing distance that keeps considerably further back. Second, the ability to stay close to your subject gives you the ability to make the most of your shooting space, especially if it’s on the smaller side.

DSLR Lenses*

Mirrorless Lenses*

3 – Tripod w/ Lateral Arm

Stability and precision are key in food photography just as with product photography. The need for a tripod only increases with your megapixel count; so if you’re shooting on a Nikon D810, Canon 5DSR, or Sony A7RII, the extra detail these sensors provide will make it more difficult to avoid blurry images.

4 – Reflector
A 5-in-1 reflector is a common accessory for almost every genre of the photography and there is no exception here. It provides a means to reflect, subtract, and diffuse light to help you sculpt the image you want. They come in different sizes, shapes, and price points and you’ll be able to easily find the one to meet your needs.

5 – Bounce Card
If your reflector is a machete, a small bounce is a scalpel. You can make more subtle adjustments to the lighting on your food subject. It can flag light or create small openings that allow slivers of light to fall on just the portion of the subject you want to highlight.

6 – Scrim Fabric


If you’re fortunate enough to have access to good sunlight in your shooting space, the ability to soften your window light with diffusion will be extremely useful. But if you have to rely on artificial lighting, this works just as well for that too. This can transform any light source into a soft light that wraps your food.

7 – Lighting

When looking for artificial lighting, you can find a wide range of options to choose from online. If you are just getting started, you can find inexpensive softbox kits on Amazon. They won’t be the top of the line lighting, but the light you pay for will certainly meet your needs.

8 – Tethering Cable

close up of tether tools cable for tethered shooting

You may be accustomed to trusting what you see on the back of your camera but, when you’re shooting food, you typically have more time to pay attention to the details and reshoot until you get what you want. Reviewing what you shoot on a larger screen will lead to better results.

Tether Tools Cable – $36.95

 

9 – Spray Bottle

Sometimes, capturing a crisp and fresh look requires a bit of moisture and the best way to apply it is a simple and refreshingly affordable Spray Bottle. You can find them at your grocery store, hardware store, or online and they won’t hurt your budget.

Soft ‘N Style Fine Mist Spray Bottle – $3.95

 

10 – Props

Everyday kitchen utensils such as wooden cutting boards, bowls, and napkins help create the setting that makes your shot more dynamic. A trip to the clearance section of your local Target or Ikea could hold the missing element of your next photographic masterpiece.

More Food Photography Articles

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY IMAGE STACKING TUTORIAL

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS & ‘HOW TOS’ FROM A YOUNG INSTAGRAM DOMINATING PHOTOGRAPHER

5 TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED IN FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

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  1. Mariano Moreschi

    Very interesting post. Thanks for all the information. Could you tell me which camera and lens did you used to take the two first pictures in this post. Thanks a lot.

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