While I have always loved photography, I don’t think I became a “photographer” until well after I started my food blog.
Especially with food photography, there is a TON to learn, and the process is super fun, exciting, and extremely rewarding. Being able to capture moments in time AND to turn those moments into art is truly an awesome thing. Plus, food photography is a special kind of photography because food is such an interesting, common, and appetizing subject.
I often get asked what type of food photography equipment I recommend for someone either starting out or looking to improve. Because there is such a wide range of use, need, and skill level for photography, there is an equally wide range of food photography equipment. So, I wanted to share what I first started with as well as the current camera setup I use with the hope to help you to see the equipment that has worked for me.
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My Current Camera Bag
Approximate cost: $4000
In early 2014, I upgraded my Nikon D60 to a Nikon D610. I also upgraded to a 50mm fixed lens. One of the major differences with my new camera is that the D610 allows us to shoot video, whereas the D60 doesn’t have that functionality. Plus, the D610 has excellent photo quality and has a super cool double SD card slot so I can take tons of photos without needing to empty my SD cards. I use the fixed 50mm lens for all of my food photography and it produces amazingly vibrant, clear shots. While I LOVE my current setup a whole lot, I think my first camera was perfect for someone just starting out because it wasn’t too expensive and allowed me to get comfortable using a DSLR.
Previous Camera Setup
Approximate cost: $2000
In addition to the photography equipment I use, I also wanted to include a section on my video equipment. While there is a good deal of overlap between the two, there are clear necessities for video. Starting my own YouTube channel has taught me sooooo much and I would love to share all I’ve learned with you. Since I pretty much knew nothing about shooting video before I got started, I know how much information is out there and how confusing and overwhelming it can be. With this breif intro, I hope to give you a good understanding of what you “need” to get started or to improve what you may already have.
In addition to the equipment listed in My Current Camera Bag (above)…
Approximate cost: $600
Do I need to buy a DSLR to improve my photography?
No, you can learn the basics of photography and even take great shots with even your phone if you really wanted to. Deciding to purchase a DSLR is for those people who want total control over their shot. With a point and shoot camera, you aren’t going to get the same type of control over focus, aperture, shutter speed, white balance and all those types of features.
This is a lot of equipment. Is it all necessary?
Not at all. The coolest thing about photography and video equipment is you can buy it piece by piece and, each time you add to your arsenal, you improve and learn more and more.
If I had to pick just one item to buy first, what would it be?
If I didn’t yet have a DSLR, I would buy one. I’d probably get a low-cost set that contained a camera body, a lens (both a fixed lens and a zoom lens), and a case. I would focus on learning how to, well, focus. I would spend my time getting comfortable with shooting photos and what settings cause what effects and changes. Once I started getting all the basics under my hat (which is a process for sure!), I would then start to focus on lighting and extra equipment. No need to get crazy at first.
Is Nikon better than Cannon?
That is the question! Personally, I am partial to Nikon since that’s what I started on. For some reason, the camera body of a Nikon just feels better to me. I loved my D60 and now LOVE my D610 and will probably buy another Nikon in the future. That being said, Canons are amazing cameras. While I don’t own a Canon, Sean recently purchased a Canon 5D Mark III that we have been using recently to shoot our videos for YouTube. The word out in the market seems to say that Canons are more robust with video shooting and capabilities while Nikons shoot better photos.
Looking for more answers or other info?
Have a question that I didn’t cover? Feel free to email me at Lacey [at] sweetpeachef.com!