I get quite a lot of questions concerning the gear I exploit in my meals and nonetheless life images, significantly from these simply beginning out in these genres. Shopping for the fallacious gear may be an costly mistake. This can be a record of the most effective digicam gear I’ve discovered to work for me and quite a lot of the nonetheless life photographers that I do know.

That being mentioned, take the time to analysis what works for you and your finances. Additionally, take into consideration your finish objective. When you’re a blogger, your wants shall be totally different than these of a photographer capturing product promoting.

still life of cake and coffee - The Best Camera Gear for Food and Still Life Photography


First, it’s worthwhile to determine if you’ll use a digicam with a cropped sensor or a full-frame digicam. This may seemingly be decided by your finances.

A cropped sensor is cheaper for a digicam producer to make, which makes respectable digital cameras obtainable to all kinds of shoppers. Take into account that the focal size of your lenses shall be totally different on a cropped sensor digicam. For instance, on a full-frame digicam, a 50mm will behave like a 50mm. Put that very same lens on a digicam with a cropped sensor, it is going to behave extra like an 80mm. Your pictures shall be nowhere close to as extensive.

Additionally, guarantee that the digicam you select can shoot RAW photos–not simply JPEGs. When you intend to shoot professionally, file dimension issues. In case your work is going to be printed, you want at the very least a 12-megapixel digicam.

I shoot with a full body Canon 5D Mark II.

As a meals or nonetheless life photographer, you’ll discover that you simply gained’t want many of the bells and whistles that the fashionable digital cameras in the marketplace supply. Search for the element the digicam will present, particularly in the event you’re capturing professionally. The digicam ought to have a number of focus factors and deal with noise comparatively effectively. It also needs to have a tethering function. When you can afford a full-frame digicam, I might spend money on one proper off the bat.


Each digicam producer has a collection of lenses for the beginner and one other for the professional photographer. Nonetheless, in case you are a professional shooter, this doesn’t imply that it’s best to solely stick to a professional collection, such because the Canon L-Sequence, for instance. There are some good choices with out the hefty price ticket {that a} professional collection brings. That being mentioned, lenses are the place it’s best to spend nearly all of your finances and it’s best to take a look at them as a long-term funding in your craft.

Your most urgent issues when searching for a lens is the sharpness, so your focus must be on prime lenses. Prime lenses are sharper than zoom lenses.

The Best Camera Gear for Food and Still Life PhotographyThe Best Camera Gear for Food and Still Life Photography

A wonderful lens to have in your package is a 100mm macro lens. This lens is not only for macro or shut up pictures, though clearly, it’s nice at this. By pulling additional away out of your set, you will get very good portrait-style pictures as effectively. The focal size gives you that pretty blurred background that’s so coveted in meals images.

I’ve the client grade 100mm f/2.eight from Canon and it’s razor sharp. When you can solely get one lens, that is the one I’d advocate.

I additionally advocate a zoom lens, reminiscent of a 24-70mm f/2.eight or 24-105mm f/4. I’ve each in Canon’s L-Sequence and discover the 24-70mm a lot sharper than the 24-105mm. The 24-105mm is the package lens if you purchase a Canon 5D.
Though the 24-70mm is a zoom lens, I discover it very sharp.

Lenses I exploit.

The 50mm will also be a helpful lens, particularly in the event you don’t have a zoom. This lens is nice for overhead pictures and tablescapes. For meals and nonetheless life images, 50mm is taken into account a large angle lens. When you’re capturing solely an merchandise or two straight-on or at 45 levels, you’ll seemingly have an excessive amount of of the background and floor in your body.

You will have to have giant backgrounds in the event you use the lens this manner. When you get a 24-70mm, then you possibly can shoot your overhead pictures by setting it at 50mm.

When you’re undecided which lenses it’s best to get, strive renting a pair. Verify the sharpness and focal size earlier than spending a big sum of cash. Photographers have their very own fashion and thus are inclined to shoot inside a most well-liked vary of focal lengths. For instance, I’m normally between 60-80mm on my full body digicam.

This meals picture was shot at 50mm (left) and one other shot at 60mm (proper). You possibly can see the 50mm leaves an excessive amount of adverse house and the background just isn’t sufficiently big. These had been shot with the digicam in the very same place, near the scene, and so on.

Studio Lighting and Modifiers

If you wish to shoot meals or nonetheless life professionally, you’ll have to grasp studio lighting. You possibly can lease studio lights or purchase your personal. Even when don’t have your personal studio, you’ll profit from having your personal lights in the event you can afford them. Many studio rental locations don’t open early sufficient to let you transport and arrange your digicam gear earlier than the arrival time of your shopper.

When you’re a blogger venturing into the world of synthetic lighting, you could wish to begin with a steady mild, like an LED. I like to recommend that you don’t get a set of these Lowel EGO lights that so many bloggers are loopy about. They’re too shiny and on the similar time, don’t have sufficient unfold.

You want to have the ability to work with strobes if you wish to shoot professionally for purchasers. These are costly lights, so attempt to make a sensible choice initially with these. Make certain they’ve at the very least 400 to 500Ws (stands for Watt-seconds, is a measurement of flash output) energy and that you’ll be able to modify the sunshine with grids and softboxes.

An instance lighting setup utilizing a big softbox as the sunshine modifier.

Nice lights at a medium worth are the Hensel Integra Professional plus 500, or my private favourite, the Elinchrom ELC HD Professional 500w set. The Elinchrom monolights have clear and constant mild from shot to shot, and so they hearth quick sufficient to freeze movement or liquid splashes, a function discovered within the high-end and expensive lighting techniques.

For a less expensive system that’s nice to begin with, try the Bowens Gemini 500. The massive good thing about utilizing Bowens is that its S-mount is a typical modifier mount, which lets you use quite a lot of cheap modifiers along with your strobes. In phrases of modifiers, get at the very least one softbox within the largest dimension you could find and afford. The bigger the softbox, the softer the sunshine.

When capturing meals and nonetheless life, additionally, you will want a big diffuser to melt the sunshine because it hits your topics. I exploit a 59×79-inch diffusor positioned proper up towards my set. This creates a big, tender mild supply and prevents any undesirable mild from spilling onto the set.

Get a great reflector as effectively to bounce extra mild into shadowy areas when wanted.

You too can use plain white boards as reflectors in tight spots. Get some clamps to carry them in place as I’ve carried out right here.

Shot with a big tender mild supply.


A tripod is important when capturing meals, product, or nonetheless life photos as a result of the target may be very sharp photographs. This usually means capturing at decrease shutter speeds, which may introduce digicam shake into your photos in case you are hand-holding and dealing in pure mild.

Capturing in these genres is about making a scene, which is a technique of constructing and assessing. You’ll end up always adjusting your set-ups, including objects or taking them away, or in any other case transferring them round to get the right shot. Such a images just isn’t about catching a decisive second, however about intentionally creating a visible story by the location of objects. It’s essential compose to the digicam.

Working with a tripod can also be essential in case you are doing a collection of pictures and want consistency in your set-ups, or in the event you’re focus stacking or utilizing scripts in Photoshop.

A tripod is important for framing your pictures.

Software program

You will have an expert grade picture enhancing software program program to get probably the most out of your meals or nonetheless life footage. Adobe’s Lightroom can provide you many of the instruments it’s worthwhile to create superior photos at a comparatively low worth. It’s a strong program that’s intuitive and user-friendly. Not solely does it have nice enhancing capabilities, it additionally acts as an archive for all of the picture information you’ve got in your arduous disk.

Lightroom capabilities finest as a world editor. It helps you make changes globally to the entire picture. In distinction, Photoshop is a pixel editor. It helps you’re employed with the precise pixels in a given picture. There’s a lot you are able to do in Photoshop you could’t do in Lightroom, reminiscent of compositing (combining a number of photos into one).

As an expert photographer, I do most of my enhancing in Lightroom. Then I take my photos over to Photoshop to do what Lightroom can not, or doesn’t do as effectively. Photoshop has the highly effective instruments that I want to present me the refined look I’m in search of.

Learn my different article: The way to Edit Meals Images Photos Utilizing Lightroom

The distinction between the earlier than and after photos is refined however processing your meals photos is essential.

When you’re simply beginning out, Lightroom will ship the whole lot it’s worthwhile to make nice footage.

When you’re engaged on skilled packaging design, Seize One Professional is necessary. With this program, you possibly can add an overlay of the packaging paintings to find out the place the weather within the picture ought to sit on the packaging. It’ll make the capturing course of go lots sooner and a artistic director will seemingly count on you to work this manner.

Shot and processed to be darkish and moody.


When you’re critical about meals images, you’ll have to shoot tethered.

Tethering is if you join your digicam to a pc by way of a USB cable so that you’re in a position to view a bigger rendition of your picture in software program reminiscent of Lightroom or Seize One Professional. With the ability to see your photos on the pc as you shoot them is vastly advantageous.

Photographing meals and nonetheless lifes is a detail-oriented course of. A misplaced sprig of basil can destroy your picture or create hours of be just right for you in Photoshop. Such errors can simply be averted when you possibly can see your work dropped at life on a a lot bigger display than your digicam LCD can present.

When you’re working with purchasers, they’ll count on you to be capturing tethered. Capturing meals, specifically, is a collaborative course of that usually entails a artistic director and a meals stylist, who each play a task within the ultimate composition of a picture.

To tether to your laptop, I like to recommend a gold-tipped USB cable known as a Excessive-Velocity USB cable Sort A to Mini B. The gold ideas stop them from corroding. Guarantee that the cable is not more than 10-15 ft lengthy. The longer ones are inclined to have issues transferring knowledge. All the time have at the very least a few them in your package so that you don’t get caught, as issues don’t all the time final so long as you’d hope.

Capturing tethered setup. You get to see the picture on the pc display shortly after you shoot it and it seems routinely when tethering is on.

Different Miscellaneous Gadgets

In addition to further reminiscence playing cards and batteries, there are just a few different objects you have to to spend money on in the event you’re critical about meals and nonetheless life images. Listed below are the fundamentals:

  • Shutter Launch –  This can be a system that you simply connect with your digicam to depress the shutter. Even in the event you’re engaged on a tripod, urgent the shutter could cause a small vibration that may introduce digicam shake that may make your photos lower than sharp.
  • Backup Drives – All the time again up your work to an exterior drive. Ideally a couple of. Onerous drives fail on a regular basis, so that you want at the very least two if not three copies of your information, saved in separate locations. You also needs to be backing up whilst you work.
  • Backgrounds – Meals and nonetheless life images require backgrounds and surfaces to boost the topic. These may be bought expensively on-line, or you can also make your personal. Considered one of my favourite fashion of backgrounds that I exploit repeatedly in my work is painted canvas. You should buy a big canvas painters drop material at a ironmongery store and minimize it into items, which you’ll be able to then paint to fit your wants. You should buy paint samples on the ironmongery store too. These painted items of canvas make cheap backgrounds that may be rolled up and put away with out taking on quite a lot of house.
  • A Degree – One other buy from the ironmongery store is a small stage, the type you employ in development or when hanging footage. A stage positioned in your digicam as soon as it’s arrange will present you in case your digicam is straight. This is essential when taking overhead pictures (just like the one under).

pizza margherita_darina kopcok_DPS

pizza margherita_darina kopcok_DPS

In Conclusion

It’s simple to go loopy with gear. Don’t fall into the entice that you simply want tons of the most effective digicam gear to shoot correctly. On the similar time, don’t purchase the most cost effective model of what you want.

High quality is essential and can take you a great distance in getting the most effective pictures you possibly can. Begin out with the naked requirements and make investments as your finances permits.


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