I get questions all the time about what equipment I use for my food and lifestyle photography, and I am so flattered that you guys love my work! But as I have learned, photography is something that you need to constantly be practicing in order to get better. I am by no means an expert, but I can definitely share my learnings over the years, as well as what equipment I have.
I was one of those people who invested in the best equipment right out of the gate. I wanted to have the best camera and lenses and grow into my equipment as I improved. I also looked at it as an investment, and when you purchase the best equipment right away, you won’t be constantly looking to upgrade, and you slowly learn how to use the more advanced features, because they are already on your camera.
I know that everyone has a different budget, so definitely stick to that. Another thing you can do, if you are looking to purchase better equipment on a budget, is to purchase used! Photographers love to sell their lenses and equipment on Craigslist, and most photographers are meticulous about caring for their equipment, so it’s a great chance to score!
Canon EOS 5d Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
People come in two camps: either you shoot Canon or you shoot Nikon. I am a Canon person. Why? Because it’s what I learned on and I find Canon super user friendly. I went for the best of the best camera, the EOS 5d Mark IV. It’s an advanced camera, but at the same time, it’s not too intimidating for a beginner. How do I know that? Because I am one. But I do love that all the advanced features are already built in, so when I am ready to push my skills, it’s so fun to play around. I can’t recommend this camera enough, the photos are simply gorgeous. All of my recent food photos were taken with this camera.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera
This is such a fun, compact camera, and it takes fantastic photos. This is the camera that I take with me when I don’t want to lug my DLSR around town, because let’s face it, it is a royal pain in the ass. This camera also happens to be the one that most Vloggers and Youtuber’s use to create their videos, and I know why. The quality of the videos are unparalleled and it’s easy to use. I am going to start using this camera for my recipe videos!
There are 3 main lenses that I think every food blogger should have: the 50mm, the 100mm, and the 24-70mm. All three of these lenses are indispensable to me and they each serve a different purpose.
50mm Lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4): This is the most inexpensive lens of the bunch and it is a must have. I love using the 50mm lens for overhead, flay lay shots, and also for portraits!
100mm Lens (Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L): This is a macro lens, which means that it is fantastic for those extreme close up shots. In food photography, I really like to photograph those bite shots. It’s just such a fun lens to play with and it allows you to get up close to your object.
24-70mm Lens (Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L): This is my most favorite lens! It also happens to be the most expensive one. I love this one because it is fantastic for both food AND lifestyle, and allows you to shoot both far away and up close. And anytime I shoot lifestyle content using my camera, it is with this lens.
Just like there are a million cameras on the market, there are also a million tripods, and they all serve different purposes. When I was in the market to purchase one, again, I used my same philosophy as I did with my camera, and that is to buy the best one that would serve almost all of my needs. That way I wouldn’t be spending money unnecessarily down the line and having my house look like a collection of photography equipment. Here’s what I have!
Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column. My friend Rosanna from Yoga of Cooking recommended this one to me, and you guys, it does everything! You can shoot from pretty much every single angle and the quality is unparalleled!
But don’t forget, you can’t just get the base. You also need to purchase the ball head that attaches to the base. You need to pick up the Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium Ball, which I’ve also linked for you.
I don’t use my DLSR camera for everything. In fact, I use my iphone for a lot of food related photography, but especially my recipe videos. Of course my digital camera produces better quality video, sometimes I’m lazy and just need to get shit done. And so you need to get yourself an attachment so that you can film from above. This one is the absolute best; it attaches to a table or countertop and you can then move your phone every which way. It’s my best purchase of 2020!
Whatever you do, do not forget your memory card. Can you imagine taking photos, only to find that you didn’t put the memory card in? Luckily most cameras these days will have some sort of setting that lets you know that you don’t have a memory card in to avoid said fiasco. But when you are looking to purchase one, be sure to get one with lots of memory. There’s also nothing worse than being in the middle of the shoot and seeing that “card full” pop up, which then means you need to delete photos off the card to make room for new ones. Don’t skimp on the memory card.
Backdrops back food photography POP! I don’t have a huge collection of backdrops, but the ones I have have been carefully selected by me so they match my photography style, which tends to be on the moodier side! These are the three places I shop from for backdrops. Note, Woodville is in Russia, but their customer service is excellent and shipping time is about 1-2 weeks.
I hope you found this post to be helpful, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me anytime. Again I am not an expert when it comes to photography, but I have come a very long way, and I am proof that you can make an excellent living as a food blogger even if your skills aren’t quite ready for Bon Appetit Magazine. The most important thing is to remember is to be consistent with posting, because that is what builds a loyal community of followers and readers. And of course, practice, practice, practice!