Food Photography Equipment Checklist - dummies

Food Photography Equipment Checklist

By Alison Parks-Whitfield

Part of Food Styling and Photography For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Taking great food images requires a good bit of quality photographic equipment. Unfortunately, this equipment can be somewhat expensive. A hand-held point-and-shoot camera or smart-phone camera simply won’t do. The following list can help get you started in food photography:

  • A DSLR camera: If you’re serious about food photography and hope to make money off your images, spring for a DSLR with a full-frame 35mm sensor ($2,000 and up). If photography is more of a hobby, you’ll be happy with a crop-sensor DSLR ($500 and up). Forget about even high-end point-and-shoot cameras. They may offer a lot of megapixels, but the physical size of the image sensors in these cameras simply isn’t large enough to capture the image detail you need.

  • Lenses: Look for high-quality lenses in the 40mm to 85mm range with a lower f value (such as f/2.8 or lower) to get yourself started. These lenses will allow you to take a wide variety of shots. As your budget grows, you can add a wider lens and a telephoto lens to expand your shooting options.

  • Camera stabilizers: Keeping your camera stable in low-light situations can really make a shot. Quality tripods and monopods can help you capture some really beautiful, clear images that would otherwise would not be possible if you were supporting the camera by hand. Avoid the flimsy $20 tripods found at low-price retailers. They aren’t stable enough to use with a DSLR.

  • Lighting: Unless you plan to only photograph in natural light, you’ll need a main light, filler light, and back light. These lights need to be good and diffused to create a soft lighting environment to best show off your food subjects. You should also consider investing in a soft box light, reflectors, and C-stands.