List of Food Photography Gears I Used in My Studio
If you like reading 「i am minamoto」 and thinking about starting your food photography business, or setting up your food blog, or creating your own instagram media channels, the following lists are some photographic equipments, tools and resources that I used in my studio, all of the contents in this blog are created by them.
However, before you read any further, please keep that in mind that these equipments, tools and softwares are constantly being updated and added with new features, and unless you’re pretty sure you will stick with this and look at it seriously, I would suggest that you take advantage of the tools you already have in your hands and learn how to use them better!
It always frustrates me to see people spending their hard-earned money on a bunch of equipments and thinking that they will have a successful career. Good equipments can certainly help build a successful business, but only if you know how to use them properly. We all have smartphones nowadays, and there’s no limit to what we can do with our phones.
From the early stage of starting up a food blog, while composing blog posts, and even taking actual food photos, as well as post-production editing, etc., A smart phone can easily handle all of those tasks, and believe it or not, that’s all you need, and all of these have been integrated into a small mobile device.
Starting from the minor matters, as long as you have the patient to learn, learn taking good food photography photos and writing blog posts and other skills that require you to spend a lot of time and personal enthusiasm. However, as long as you like it and hang on to it, you will be surprised at what you can achieve in the long run.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links, if you click and through these links, and complete a purchase of the product, I’ll get a small percentage of the sales as commission, and you won’t pay extra money for it. All of the following listed products are used are used by myself and only recommended them because I like them. If you have any questions of the following equipments or softwares, you are welcome to leave a message below, or send me an email to info [at] iamminamoto.com.
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Food Photography Gears I Used in My Studio
Sony A7iii is a well-balanced camera for both still life photography and video shooting. Its proper pixel count, great dynamic range and long battery life are some of the main reasons why I decided to pick the Sony A7III. The only drawback that makes me feel inadequate is its relatively weak LCD display compared to other competing products. The lack of multi angles adjusting and poor display quality will greatly reduce the user experience of using it. I hope Sony can update it on the future models.
A (affiliate link)YC Onion L Plate Bracket Quick Release Plate for Sony A7iii is installed on the camera body to enhance the handling and allow the camera to be mounted vertically on the tripod easily with its quick release feature.
Macro lens is essential of taking good still life and food photography pictures. Sharp, quiet, accurate and fast focus are the main reasons for me to choose this lens. The unique autofocus switching clutch design makes this lens one of the most intuitive lens to operate taking macro photos. Combined with its image stabilization built in the lens, it’s perfect for my occasional museum shots, and its F2.8 wide aperture ensures adequate exposure even in the dark museum environments, making it a highly recommended lens for Sony’s e-mount system
(affiliate link)Sony SEL50M28 FE and (affiliate link)Sigma 105mm F2.8 DGDN Macro Art Lens for Sony E-mount are also recommended for budget users.
The 24-70mm standard zoom lens paired with the large aperture of F2.8 is very suitable for shooting a variety of subjects as an all-around lens. From wide-angle landscape photos to telephoto portraits can be handled by this lens. And one of the features of this lens that I like the most is its macro capability at its wide end, which is amazingly good. I usually use this lens when I go to restaurants taking pictures. The only thing that makes me a little regrettable is its size and weight.
However, Sigma has always been famous by stacking high quality materials. It is very capable for such a high-quality lens with this relative low price. A slight sacrifice in size and weight is totally acceptable.
The newly released Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 DGDN Contemporary Lens for Sony E-mount and (affiliate link)Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 for Sony are also good alternatives for Sony E-mount standard zoom lens shopper.
Small size, light weight, very quiet focusing, accurate and fast, large aperture and a very unique color rendering of Zeiss, coupled with the surprising close focus ability are the biggest reasons why this lens got my eyes on. Its all-weather waterproof capability paired with the A7iii body are widely used during my travel.
(affiliate link)Sony Zeiss Sonnar FE T FE ZA 55m F1.8 and (affiliate link)Sigma 35mm F2 DGDN Contemporary for Sony E-mount are also two very nice fixed zoom lenses for the Sony system to be considered with.
Food photography often requires a circular polarization filter to eliminate reflections on tableware and glasses. A high-quality polarization filter not only eliminate the annoying reflections losslessly, but also improve the contrast of the photo to make food look more colorful, bright and appetizing. I recommend using the (affiliate link)Hoya 82mm NXT Plus Circular Polarizer Slim Frame，with its lightweight, and well constructed
Tips: You can buy the filter with the largest diameter from your lens group, and match it with a various sizes of (affiliate link)Step Up Rings, this way you can use the same filter on lenses of different size without purchasing lots of filters.
When taking pictures at home studio, I will use this cheap and easy-to-use (affiliate link)All-in-one Light Diffuser Kit to create soft lighting. The larger the diffuser is, the more soft the light will be. You can clip it with a clamp on the extension boom arm of a (affiliate link)heavy duty C-Stand, it can be easily fixed at any giving position.
I will use some cheap white foam boards to reflect the light from the main light source, or use these simple (affiliate link)Light Reflectors to stand on the table and fill in the shadows.
Tripods and C-stand
The (affiliate link)Manfrotto MT055Xpro3 Aluminum Tripod is the tripod I used the most. It is strong and reliable, and worth every penny you invest in it. Its unique extendable horizontal axis can easily adjust to the required height and adjust the shooting angle instantly. Paired with (affiliate link)Manfrotto Xpro 3-way Adjustable Gear Head and (affiliate link)Manfrotto Unique Patterned RC-2 Quick Release Plates, it can provide your camera a long-term stable and reliable support, and complete any tricky angle shoot.
When traveling, I like to use this (affiliate link)PeakDesign Travel Tripod, which design concept is completely opposite to the Manfrotto tripod. The extreme light weight and compactness are the main reasons why I love to took this tripod and go out to shoot pictures.
I also have two heavy-duty (affiliate link)Neewer Stainless Steel C-stands, which are mainly used to fix the camera when shooting flat lay photos, or to hang up the lights. The C-stand is my personal assistant. There are many times that I take pictures by myself at my home studio and it can be my third hand.
The (affiliate link)TetherPro USB 3.0 USB Cable not only provides a long enough distance to transfer the data from camera to computer quickly and reliably, but also has been certified by many camera manufacturers. Taking photo with tethering capture is a very practical technique. This small orange cable is one of the most recommended food photography gears and gadgets.
I mainly use the CaptureOne Pro to control the camera white tethered capture and manage the shooting catalog.
Camera White Balance Correction and Monitor Color Calibration
When taking pictures in restaurants, because the lighting colors of each restaurant may vary tremendously. I will use this small (affiliate link)Datacolor SpyderCubeto correct the white balance of the camera. If you want to know more about how to use it, you can click this article. You can also use this simple (affiliate link)White Balance Gray Scale Card to obtain an accurate white balance values. But I always find that the white balance corrected by the gray scale card will be slightly warmer, although this deviation can be later adjusted conveniently using Lightroom within the RAW files.
A monitor with the correct color is very important for food photography. I mainly use (affiliate link)BenQ PD2700U 27 Inch 4K Monitor with (affiliate link)Datacolor SpyderX Pro to calibrate the color deviation of the monitor, so that the most beautiful color of the food can be rendered correctly.
The (affiliate link)Godox SL-60W constant light is the artificial light source I use the most now. The constant light can be used with a mirrorless camera to achieve WYSIWYG photos, which is the most suitable match for beginners. Large enough power can provide sufficient brightness, even if you add a variety of Bowen’s mount light modifier, you are not going to lose that much of the brightness.
The (affiliate link)Godox V1-S On-camera Flash is a new artificial flash source I’m learning to use recently. With the (affiliate link)Godox S2 bracket and the (affiliate link)Godox XPro Wireless Flash Trigger Transmitter, you can use a variety of Bowen’s lighting accessories to modify a variety of interesting light effect. (When choosing a flash trigger, please pay attention to the camera brand you are using, and choose the appropriate interface) The small and lightweight on-camera flash can pair with (affiliate link)Godox Foldable Softbox, and can be used in an environment that is not at my home studio to take delicious and food photos.
When shooting bright and airy photos, I like using the (affiliate link)Godox Large Octagonal Softbox or the (affiliate link)Godox Large Lantern. These modifiers are able to create a bright and beautiful Light and Airy look.
And when shooting a dark and atmospheric photos, I will choose the (affiliate link)Godox Long Strip Softbox with honeycomb grid to create a soft but directional light effect, which can enhance the sense of drama and is very suitable for shooting Dark and Moody food photos.
Wireless Remote Shutter Control
I like to use this (affiliate link)Sony Wireless Shutter Remote Control to easily remote operate the camera’s shutter, so that I can adjust my composition at any time without standing next to the computer or behind the camera, just press a button to remotely capture my pictures.
SD card and external hard drives: I mainly use the (affiliate link)Sony Tough-G Series SD Card and (affiliate link)Lexar Professional 1667X Series SD Card. A (affiliate link)WD 1TB Wireless Portable SSD Hard Drive used as a backup device for my SD card has been silently helping me organize various files, and it can be wirelessly connected to the computer to quickly organize and use it. It is the best companion for all photographers.
Data storage at home: Data is priceless, I like using the (affiliate link)Synology 920+ NAS with 4 (affiliate link)WD RED 6TB Mechanical Hard Drives to back up photo files at home. A home NAS is like a private cloud storage server and can be conveniently used at home. Synchronize files between a desktop computer and a portable laptop or various mobile devices, as well as quickly access the data in the NAS from the outside.
Camera Bags and Straps Systems
The one I use the most now is the (affiliate link)WANDRD PRVKE 31L Photography Backpack, which is both beautiful and versatile, and it is fit comfortably and does not make me feel bloated even filled with gears.
I also occasionally use (affiliate link)Tenba DNA 15 Slim Messenger Bag-Special Edition, a low-key black messenger bag with lots compartments, very suitable for a short shooting trip at the museum.
(affiliate link)PeakDesign Tech Pouch is a very convenient small pouch that I use to organize all the small accessories of the camera.
The small red beanie hanging on the camera is the (affiliate link)PeakDesign Camera Strap, which is convenient and reliable and highly recommended.
Computer and Tablet
Most of the times I use this (affiliate link)Apple Macbook Pro 16 to complete most of the blog post writing, photo capturing and post-production.
My desktop computer is customized by myself, if you guys are interested, I can also put down the configuration of my computer in detail later.
(affiliate link)Razer Blackwidow v3 Pro Mechanical Keyboard；
(affiliate link)Razer Basilisk Ultimate with Charging Dock Wireless Mouse；
Beautiful-looking backdrop panels can add a lot to food photography. I myself use some high-quality vinyl background panels printed by Ink&Elm. The price of the backdrop boards sold on the Internet can vary tremendously, from dozens of cheap plastic backgrounds sell on Amazon to the expensive handmade custom built backdrop boards from Erickson Surface. No matter what kind of backdrops, you must choose a matte or non-reflective surface to best suitable for taking pictures. You can even consider DIY your own unique backdrops. For more details, please refer to the following article.
Various Photography Props
Food photography requires a lot of small props, ranging from sprinkled sugar on the table for decoration and parchment paper for baking. All of which can be used as props for food photography. I also sorted out some props that can be found at home that often appear in food photography. You can click on this article to view more.
At the same time, I also sorted out some props from major chain stores in North America, which are easy to buy and are beautiful. For more details, please click this article.
Food Photography Gears I Used in My Studio, Edited 3/1/2021