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Photography Tips | The Best Lens For Food Photography

By Holly Roa on February 11th 2018

When first building a photography kit, versatility is key. You’ll want to start your gear collection with pieces that will offer the most bang for the buck. Of course, what you need will depend on the types of photography in which you specialize. If your niche happens to be food photography, this new video from food photographer and YouTuber Dennis Prescott in which he names his favorite lens for the job will offer some valuable insights. 

Prescott has been around the food photography block and has some helpful advice for those starting out in this specialty as well as those who may have already begun but could use some perspective. To him, the shot is all about the story, and the tools you choose should be the ones that can best deliver your intended narrative. For Prescott, Canon’s 100mm f/2.8L Macro has proven to encompass what he needs to tell his food stories.

In food photography, you want to transport the viewer, to entice them to experience the food, to want to eat it. An effective way to do this is through close-up details. Things like water droplets on ingredients or the way food glistens are well-captured with a 1 to 1 macro lens like this Canon. By showing them life-size, you bring the experience of the food to the viewer. 

[Rewind:] The Canon 100mm Macro vs 100mm Macro ‘L’ For Fashion & Beauty Photography

But, macro lenses aren’t only for macro photography, and by pulling back and revealing the food in its setting, you can add context to your story. Even more, on a food shoot you may find yourself needing to photograph a portrait of a chef, and although that’s an entirely different type of work, the 100mm f/2.8L Macro can do that job, too.

As a bonus, the 100mm f/2.8L Macro is one of the best bargains in their L line-up, delivering tack sharp images with beautiful color and contrast for $799. If you’re a couple hundred dollars shy of that and ready to pick up a macro lens today, Canon does offer an even more affordable, non L version which is still quite nice.

If you don’t shoot Canon, worry not – here are alternatives for other systems:

To see more from Dennis, check out his YouTube and website, and check out the video below to hear everything he’s got to say about using this lens for food photography.

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Seattle based photographer with a side of videography, specializing in work involving animals, but basically a Jill of all trades.
Instagram: @HJRphotos

Q&A Discussions

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  1. William Emmett

    I was taking some photos of a party in one of New Orleans restaurants, and the manager/owner asked me about shooting some their menu favorites for a publication.  I have never done food before, but I agreed to give it a try.  My first lens selection was my Canon 100mm f2.8L IS USM. lens.  I knew all the shots would off a table, so the narrow depth of field was an asset for the shoot.  Plus, this lens is Canons best color rendering lens.  I just needed to light the table properly to the best results.  I shot the entire shoot off a tripod, no IS, and soft white lighting, using ring lights.   The photos are still on his menu.  

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