What kind of camera and lens do you use? What camera should I buy? These are the most common questions for me. However, before I answer these questions, I have to remind you that I’m not an expert and I can only tell you what I personally use. That’s why I just give you my short list with my camera gear.
My camera gear
- Nikon D750 -(I bought the body with a kit lens 24-120 mm because when I bought it, then the kit was just cheaper than the body alone. It’s a nice lens for traveling, but I still prefer bigger aperture. If you would like to buy this lens on its own, then I don’t recommend this lens. There are way better lenses). For food images, I don’t use the 24-120 mm at all.
If you don’t have a camera, then just read some reviews and buy something that is good for your budget. I upgraded to D750 in August 2017. Compare to my old D90 it was a massive upgrade for me.
- NIKKOR 50mm f/ 1.8G AF-S – This is quite a cheap lens if I compare it to other lenses. It might be cheap, but it’s very powerful for food images. I must say that when I started to shoot with this fixed lens my food photography went 100% better. The images were just sharper than before. It costs around 200-250 $ and is much better for food photography than some zoom lens which costs around 1000 $. Most of the time I use this lens for food images.
- Tamron 90mm F/2.8 MACRO VC – I did a long research before I bought this Tamron lens. I watched almost every Youtube video and read a ton of articles. After that research, it would have been stupid for me to spend all that money on Nikon lens when I could have Tamron lens. Almost all the article or videos said that Tamron, Tamron, and Tamron. It’s just the best lens for that price. It doesn’t matter if you have a Nikon or Canon camera body. The same Tamron lens is available for Nikon and Canon. In my research, I found that some technical parts such as object distance, length and weight are even better than Nikon 105 mm f/2.8 lens. None of the measurements weren’t worse than Nikon lens. Most of the measures were just the same or even better.(You can order Tamron 90mm F/2.8 MACRO VC for Nikon here and Canon here.
- Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S – This one I bought mostly to shoot nature images. However, sometimes I use this lens for overhead shots. Especially when I would like to capture the whole table. It’s perfect for gathering images.
- Studio light kit – Usually I use natural light. However, in winter time there is sometimes only about 4-5 hours of daylight in Estonia. There are days when the weather is just so cloudy that it is dark almost all the time. Firstly I just ordered some softboxes, but I realized that it still wasn’t enough and I end up ordering the whole kit. Also, to get some backgrounds for the images. However, I feel that I’m still in the learning process with the studio light.
- Adobe Creative Cloud – When you would like to improve your food photography, then you should never stop learning. If you already don’t know how to edit your images, then you just have to learn how to edit your images. Master Adobe Lightroom. I think it’s the best editing software you can have and I’m not going to hide that it’s my FAVORITE program. Many years ago I tried Picasa or other free software but now it’s only Lightroom! It seems to me that almost everybody is using Adobe Creative Cloud. I do need to pay monthly for this (about 12 euros per month) but in my opinion, it’s totally worth it.
What do you get for that?
- Adobe Lightroom – This is my favorite and I use it almost every day.
- Adobe Photoshop – I don’t use this one as often as Lightroom but it’s still useful.
- Other programs such as Spark and Illustrator that I recently discovered. I mostly use this for graphics (when you would like to edit videos with Adobe Premier, then it’s a little bit more expensive).
- App for your phone – You can quickly edit your images straight on your phone. I honestly can’t image my life without that app.
- Cloud – You can sync your images to the cloud and you can make sure that you will not lose any work and you will always have a backup.
- Adobe Stock – You can purchase images from there or purchase images there.
- Organize images – You will have the best catalog system for all of your images in Lightroom! You can even catalog your hard drive which is one of my favorite parts. There are even options for smart previews which mean that you can be sure that your computer hard drive isn’t full all the time. That means you can have the access to your images all the time and you can even edit. When you connect your computer to your hard drive, then it makes them all the adjustment that you have made with editing.
There are so many places where you can learn Adobe Lightroom. Some of my favorites channels on Youtube are B&H & Adobe Creative Cloud.
The problem with Youtube videos most of the time is that there aren’t a lot of structure but with paid courses, you will get everything on your plate with structure. You just have to watch the videos or read about it and you will learn so much about editing. Because almost every photographer is using it, then it’s easier to find courses for this as well. You can learn everything! I still don’t know everything about Lightroom and there are just so many features to explore. In the future, I’m going to take some new courses.
- Circular polarizer – You might notice that these images here have a little glare. It might not be that hard, but once I see it, then it usually starts to bother me. I find that some of the hardest things for food photography are forks and glasses. It just gives that glare that doesn’t always have to be there. Sometimes it might be okay, but other times it’s just so annoying that I can’t digest it. One of the best solutions here are some white cards or polarizer filter. Make sure that you check your lens diameter before you order. For example, for my 50 mm 1.8 lens suits 58 mm filter);
- Photography backgrounds – The truth about backdrops is that you can spend A LOT of money on these. I have seen some online shops where one backdrop costs about 100 to 200 dollars. These backgrounds are amazing and will last forever. However, the international shipping to my place costs about the same price as the board itself. Almost. So, I rather make my own or find some cheap ones. No more than 20 euros. Thanks. In the end, I get tired of them quite quickly.
The only background that you can buy and I can recommend is the cheap “marble” backdrop that costs only about 7 to 10 USD. I even have three different marbles. Two white ones and one black “marble”. White is still my favorite and I would like to use it almost all the time.
However, I still suggest you stick the “marble” on some kind of board. Just get some wooden boards or painters canvas and stick this marble to your “board”. Otherwise, it will be rumpled after some time (I have tried to skip that part, but I ended up ordering a new “marble”).
If you don’t know anything about photography, then I suggest you start with basics. You can take a basic course and you will learn a lot. When I started then I really struggled with this because I didn’t really want to learn the technical side. I’m usually not good with technology. As you can see in this image 2015 it’s bad. I didn’t shoot this image RAW. There’s a problem with focus, exposure, and light. I shoot this in a dark room and didn’t use manual mode. The image from 2017 I shoot in a RAW file and manual mode. I used natural light and stand next to the window without direct sunlight. The most fun part is that I used the SAME CAMERA!
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