There’s no question that food photography gear is crazy expensive. If I look at some kind of food photography lens, then the prices get even worse. Yet, I’m a simple girl & started a simple food blog on a budget. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a camera gear. What was my solution?
But first, a quick backstory ….
When I started my food blog I had a Nikon D90 camera & a ZOOM kit lens. I struggled hard to capture food images. If you don’t believe me, then keep reading. I have proof.
Still, after all the images my biggest problem that I didn’t manage to capture powder sugar images. I failed. I underestimated this 200 $ lens & I almost wanted to give up ….
Understand the term “NIFTY FIFTY”? Stop reading!
If you know anything about food photography, then I’m sure you know all about the “NIFTY FIFTY”. So, if you understood that term, then you can STOP reading right away (maybe you can find some value from my other photography posts here).
What LENS do I need for food blog? CHEAP option?
Since one of the most common questions I get is that what lens should I buy for food photography, then I thought that I should share my own experience with this lens and how it CHANGED my photography “game”.
FIXED vs ZOOMED? I was completely wrong!
My big problem was that when I started, then I used a zoom lens instead of the fixed lens. I remember that when I didn’t have this classic food photography lens (Nikkor 50 mm/ 1.8 LENS), then I just thought that how big a difference can it be?!
I already had a 16-85 mm F/3.5 zoom (KIT) lens back in 2015. Still, I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG since I underestimated the power of good glass back in 2015.
I underestimated the cheap nifty fifty lens! Big time!
POWDER SUGAR VS RAIN? Google helped
I remember clearly that in 2016 I tried to capture the POWDER SUGAR with my zoom lens (16-85 mm). I even used manual mode and Googled like crazy. Still, all I GOT was powder sugar RAIN.
I FAILED WITH ZOOMED LENS + deleted the evidence
My disappointment was huge! For a second I thought that I’m never going to manage to shoot it. I failed and to cover it up by deleting all the evidence. That’s why I don’t have any images to show you here from my powder sugar rain. Still, I didn’t want to give up.
I couldn’t succeed with powder sugar image
The time went on, and I had that powder sugar image still in my mind. I realized that I should focus on learning more about photography technical things (also, some of my tips to improve food photography here).
PROGRESS? Cheap online coures + Youtube
I Googled like crazy, read books, watched Youtube videos and took some CHEAP 10 dollars Udemy courses. Finally, I got a little bit better with my setting and manual mode. I understood that I need high shutter speed and a better lens to capture that powder sugar.
If you are interested, then I can also write exactly how I shoot these action shots …
Kit lens + I blame myself
In 2016 I still had my old Nikon D90 and KIT lens that is not good as a food photography lens. Probably my skill wasn’t good as well. I’m not saying that I’m the best right now. Far from that. It’s a journey, and I’m still learning. I blame my KIT lens.
Cheap lens saved me: powder sugar image success
However, in early 2017 I realized the difference between fixed and zoom lens, and I FINALLY decided to buy the classic food photography lens (“nifty fifty” (50 mm/ 1.8 lens)), that cost only something like 200 $. Yes, compared to other prime lenses on the market it’s cheap. My macro lens is about 500- 800 $ . Cheap lens saved the day!
SHARP & BLURRY? At least that’s what I thought
I remember the day quite clearly when I got that lens. It was the first time I managed to get the SHARP image with the BLURRY background. At least that what I thought back then. Now I’m looking back at those images, and I can see so many “mistakes”. Read my post here about my mistakes.
Still, that experience was just so MINDBLOWING, and my only thought was that “what I have been doing before?!”
I was in the darkness
Glad that it didn’t take me longer than that to understand the difference. I was in the darkness for TOO LONG. I’m not good at all the technical things. However, that one was just too naive from me (also, my full camera gear list is here).
CHEAP FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY LENS saved me
I’m not saying that it’s the best lens on earth for food photography lens. I’m just saying that this CHEAP lens changed my photography. I wish I would have bought this lens sooner. It’s one of the best and “cheapest investments” in my food photography where I saw results.
I know that everything has its own time but still … It has changed my journey for the last 1,5 years. Zoom lens just held me back for years. The end.
- Zoom (kit) lens killed my food photography;
- I manage to capture my first powder sugar images only thanks to the “nifty fifty” lens (50 mm/ 1.8 lens) & because I learned how to shoot on manual mode.