Is there any moment that suddenly occurs to you that you should capture the elaborately cooked food in a photo? Have you ever wandered about what gears were used when looking at the mouth-watering and stunning food photos on social media? Here comes the 10 gear you must have for food photography.
A phone camera can product wonderful food photos with proper editing apps. To seriously start your photography journey, a DSLR camera is still an essential must. You can not only experience different light, ISO settings and various depth of field, but also get much sharper and more professional photos.
What camera is better for food photography, a full-frame or a crop-sensor? Honestly, both work well in food photography. The key difference lies in that full-frame has a larger field of view to easily achieve the bokeh effect. Obviously, there is no need to take bokeh photo all the time. Therefore, the best camera still depends on your budget and the specific use. You can have a try in the camera store and pick the one you feel natural and love most. You can also choose a second-hand camera or rent one for your beginning period.
Lens really plays an essential role in the final results. So we recommend to give a larger share to lens than camera. Fixed lenses endow the photo with more sharp and realistic appearance, which give the photo a jump-off effect. Compared with zoom lens, fixed lens is also smaller, cheaper and faster. Besides, most fixed lenses have a sufficiently wide aperture for food photography. Typically, a 50mm lens can do the trick in most circumstances. A wider focal length is more functional for wider shots and overhead shots.
To further level up your food photography, a macro lens is the one you can rely on. With a macro lens, you can close up enough to capture more wonderful details in your photos. It can also makes things possible when working in limit space. You may be obsessed with the much crisper and sharper images with the macro lens.
Natural light is always the best choice for food photography. Many professional food photographers prefer natural light in most of their photography. Unfortunately, it is not always sunny outside or there is not enough light in the shooting pace. Then you may turn to artificial light. Artificial light is also a necessary when time is limit with the melting ice-cream or steaming soups.
As a beginner, you can start with the inexpensive softbox. It is not the top one gear, but worth every penny you pay and can certainly meet your needs in food photography. If everything goes well and there is a need to level the lighting gear, you can also choose strobe light, LED light, umbrella or speedlight to imitate the natural light or fulfill your specific demands.
Mostly, the natural light is a little more direct and may cast harsh shadows in the photo. With a diffuser, the light becomes less direct and the shadows more softer. You can easily find one in Amazon. Put the diffuser between your light source and the camera, it will create a softer light and help to avoid harsh shadows.
You can also DIY your own diffuser. When taking photo beside a window, you can place a semi-sheer white curtain to cover the window. A white paper or white baking paper is also workable. Moreover, cloud is considered as the perfect and free light diffuser. Never waste the chance to shoot in cloudy days.
A reflector or bounce board is another must-have in food photography. A white surface reflector is used to bounce the light back on the subject. It helps to soften the shadows and brighten the dark part. A black one is used to block the light and add more shadows to the photo.
There are a variety of materials that can be used as a reflector. A foam board is the most cheap-but-functional one. You can get it at any craft store. Besides, the V-flat foam board can stand on itself. The most versatile and cost-efficient one is the 5-in-1 collapsible translucent diffuser. There are four color sides in the pack, white, black, gold and silver. It can be folded in small size and lightweight for travel.
A tripod is not a must-have for all photographers, but for serious photographer. A tripod is really functional for overhead shots. It also improves your shooting procedure. You can firstly set you camera angle to fix the shooting frame. Then you are free to style the composition and presentation within the frame.
It can also fix the problem when shooting with lower light. If the light is low, you have to adjust the ISO or shutter speed to have a sharp picture. But a high ISO or low shutter speed may also cause blurry images with shaky hands. A tripod enables you to get the perfect ISO and F-stop settings without worrying about the blurriness with a low shutter speed.
In food photography, a tripod with a rotatable multi-angle center column is highly recommended, which is really helpful in overhead shot. If not, you may also need a tripod arm extender when shooting from above.
- Remote Trigger
When preparing the composition of the dishes, it is impossible to stand by the camera all the time. Then, a remote trigger is essential to capture some moments. It also makes the shot more flexible when you want to get an action shot or show your hands in the scene.
A remote trigger is also a bonus when shooting with low shutter speed. To keep the camera stand still and avoid all kind of shake, a remote trigger is the best choice without even pressing the camera button.
- Color Correction Card
If there is no white subject for reference in the scene, you may need a color correction card to get rid of the unflattering color hues. It is also easy to use, manually adjust the white balance in you camera with the cards until the delicious food appear.
- Extra battery
It seems to be not a big problem as almost all camera battery can be charged. What if the battery goes dead when shooting the melting icy cream and steaming dishes? It must be the most unexpected thing. Therefore, an extra battery is essential in food photography.
A nice counter or dining table is great background for food photography. You can also use paper piece or wooden board to get more composition. Given the portability and durablity, a vinyl backdrop is perfect. You can choose the color, texture and size you like to highlight your food. Moreover, the stains and smudges can be easily removed by wipes and washing detergent. More details in How To Store And Clean Your Vinyl Backdrops and HOW to clean your FOX vinyl backdrop in Cake Smash.
Food photography is a perfect way to practice photographic skills, lighting adjustment and compositions techniques. Have a try with the gear you have and start your photography journey!!
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