Discover what I’m using everyday for my food photography! Either you’re a novice or an advanced photographer, you will find useful tips to help you choose your equipment.
Let’s answer one of the questions I get asked the most on Instagram : what camera and lens do you use for your photos ? In this article, I have listed all my own photography gear, and you will be surprised to see that it’s pretty minimalist. Indeed, you don’t need a tone of last generation super expensive equipment to start making beautiful pictures. Come follow me in the depths of my camera bag.
Just a little note before to start : many of the equipments listed below are professional and so can be expensive. This is my everyday work tool. If you’re just starting food photography you don’t need such a heavy equipment. So I’ve also added recommendations either if you are a very beginner or if you already are into it and want to upgrade.
My camera : canon EOS 5D Mark III
I’m of the Canon team. After using a Canon 450D for years, followed by a Canon EOS 5D Mark I during my very beginnings in food photography, last year I upgraded to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. And this was life changing. There was such a big gap between the first version and the Mark III that I instantly saw the difference and all improvements. I absolutely love this camera I cannot recommend it highly enough if you are serious in photography. This camera is handy, very reliable, shows very good performances, responsive and an optimized image sensor. It also features a good ISO sensitivity that allows me to shoot in any conditions of light. Despite its high price I’ve never regretted that purchase.
If you are a novice and just getting into photography :
The Canon EOS Rebel Digital SLR is made for you. I’ve personally never used this camera, but I heard a lot of amazing things about it. It’s a good camera that will allow you getting into photography, familiarizing with all the fundamental settings and starting to make beautiful pictures. And without having to invest huge amounts of money. I recommend you to get the kit with the EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens for an easy start.
If you are already familiar with it and want to upgrade :
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a very good option for quality without breaking the bank. It’s already a semi-pro DSLR camera with good performances, that is actually used by many professionals. Among other devices, it features a rotary screen which can be very useful in food photography. For this one, I don’t recommend to buy a kit. Prefer to buy the body and a separate lens specific of your use.
My fixed focal length lens : canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
This is the very first one lens I bought to pair with my old 5D Mark I, and I love it. It’s the only lens I’ve used for almost a year when I started food photography, and I still use it time to time. Having a 50mm fixed focal length lens with a large aperture is a must in your camera bag. This lens is very light and compact, and shows amazing image quality, with fine grain and a beautiful cinematic style. It’s also very polyvalent. I can use in studio, for restaurant photo shoots, portraits and travel photography.
This lens is perfect either if you are a novice or an advanced photographer. However, if you are looking to upgrade, I recommend you the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM, which is their “professional” version, but also much more expensive.
My zoom lens : canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II
If I had to only keep one lens, it would definitely be this one. I love it because of its adaptability and amazing quality. Because of its great focal range, this is the perfect all-in-one lens for food photographer, especially if shooting in a restaurant. The 50-70mm range is perfect to shoot food, either in a studio or in a restaurant. It allows you to get single-dish shots as well as close-ups. While the 24-50mm range is works great for wider shots like tablescapes or interior and landscape. This lens is really of great value, but also very expensive.
I’m conscious that the 24-70mm f/2.8 II is really expensive and I don’t recommend it if you’re a beginner or even not a professional. If you don’t already have a zoom lens, the best option is to buy different prime lenses (fixed focal length lenses). They will provide you with the best performances for their specific focal length at a lower price. Some of my recommendations include :
- The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 which is actually a fantastic lens
- The Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM for closer shots
Also if you buy a camera in a kit, it often comes with a 24-105mm lens. This can be a good option to start, but I really recommend to upgrade as soon as you feel more comfortable.
My tripod : Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 with 3-ways head
Having a good tripod is definitely a must for your food photography. It provides you stability and flexibility to get sharp and clear shots in low-light conditions. It’s also a great solution to make actions shoots and use your hands when you’re alone. I absolutely love my tripod because it is very reliable, robust enough to safely carry my camera + lens while being lightweight and compact. It also has a tilting column, very useful for overhead shots and tablescapes. The best price-quality ratio.
- Light Diffuser – Having a light diffuser is very helpful when shooting on a sunny day and handle direct light. I don’t have a proper light diffuser but I use a large sheet of white nylon I hang in front of my window. It gently softens the light for a more even lightening.
- Softbox Lightening Kit – I always shoot with natural light as far as possible. But sometimes during dark winter days I have no other choice but using artificial light. I have a ESDII continuous lightening kit with two 800W softbox and use white boards to adapt. It is not the best but does the job for me, and the more I practice the best the results. It’s also very handy for packshots. Buy the ESDII lightening kit.
- Bouncing boards – Perfect to reflect the light and reduce harsh shadows. I’m using simple white boards I’ve found in a DIY store.
Thank you so much for reading that post, I hope it was useful. Don’t hesitate to ask all you specific questions about camera and lens below in the comments, I would be very happy to answer you.