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Gear and Tips for Great Food Photography

Food photography can be pretty challenging. The stylistic approach to placing each morsel of food on a backdrop while positioning the right props that properly tell the story of the meal are all very important to creating the perfect photo. This genre of photography doesn’t have to break the bank, so we’re giving you some simple and budget-friendly tips for capturing the yummiest photos.

Photography Gear:

Whether you’re a pro or amateur photographer, there are a variety of camera bodies, lenses and accessories that you can choose from to help you capture the tastiest photos!

Camera bodies:

Canon EOS Rebel T5I Digital SLR , Starting at $349.00 on KEH.com

The Canon Rebel T5i is the perfect  budget friendly camera for the beginner shooter

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR, Starting at $1,599.00 on KEH.com

For the more advanced shooter and others with a bit more budget to stretch, why not splurge on the Canon 5D Mark III? This camera is a workhorse and a solid choice among pro photographers.

Nikon D3300 Digital SLR, Starting at $278.00 on KEH.com

If you’re a Nikon user, a great beginner and budget friendly camera is the D3300.

Nikon D610 24.3MP Digital SLR, Starting at $822.00 on KEH.com

Professional shooters ready to raise the bar and their wallets might opt for the D610.

Camera lenses:

When it comes to photographing food, there are no boundaries! Get up close and personal with your subject with a macro lens. In food photography, the details matter—capturing a prominent perspective is key to telling the story of your photograph.  Dedicated macro lenses are the best options, but many other lenses have some macro capabilities. When in doubt, go with a shorter focal length like a 60mm, rather than a longer one like a 200mm. Most photographers will do just about anything to get the perfect shot, but it’s much easier to crop pictures than to stand on a step-ladder in your kitchen.  If your budget allows for a perspective-control/tilt-shift lens, you’ll be able to control what is and isn’t in focus more creatively and have additional framing options.  If you’re lens doesn’t have macro capability, you may be able to augment it with extension tubes or close-up filters, but they’ll probably slow you down.

Tripod:

Depending on your setup, a good tripod is a must-have to make sure you’re capturing the best angles for your photos. You’ll probably have your hands full moving around props and positioning your foods— tripod can help free up your hands and steady the shot. Here are a few of our favorite brands:

Silk Tripods

Manfrotto Tripods

Gitzo Tripods

Lighting:

Natural light can take you far and it is sometimes the best light! Try finding a well-lit room with soft natural lighting. You can even use reflectors to manage the amount of light your subjects need. If you’re a studio shooter with minimal natural light, you can set up an inexpensive lighting setup with a soft-box, bulb and stand.

Setting the Scene:

Now, the fun part—adding complimentary props and placing your meals on the proper backdrop. Be sure to practice styling your photos so your food looks appetizing! Depending on the food you’re photographing, a simple backdrop might be the best to allow the colors and details from the food really stand out.  Remember to use props and settings to tell the story of your spread.

The following photos from food photographer and former Top Pic of the Week, Alex Louv demonstrate how to tell the perfect food story. The fresh blood oranges are the main complimentary piece of this photo. Imagine removing the blood oranges—readers wouldn’t fully grasp what makes this dessert special. In the first photo, using the hand-held torch shows the final touches needed as we move to the final photo. The depth and angle of each photo change as the tart moves to its final completion. Natural light was used in the production of these photos, with a light backdrop helping to avoid any shadows and allowing the main ingredients to really stand out. In order to tell the whole story, a busy backdrop or multiple props aren’t necessarily needed. At last, a trail of crumbs leading to the tart is used as a prop to symbolizes its completion!

These photos tell a whole story using a variety of props. Every person will see a different story when looking at your photograph, but it’s your job to set the scene!

* Please note prices on KEH.com are subject to change. Prices are dependent on grade rating of item.

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