Camera for Food Photography
some of the things that you want to own are not budget issues. Okay. Um when it comes to light redirection or something else, but we're gonna talk about camera bodies first. Um Now this is my camera body. This this thing right here, this is a five D. Mark three a couple years back. Um a professional level DSLR camera Was about $8,000. These cameras now which are highly more functional than the ones that used to be that expensive Are only about $3500 for the camera body. Like what you see here without a lens still pretty expensive. Now, if you're a professional, it's a business expense. It's something you need to embark on if you are not a professional. Uh that's a very high price tag to go out and buy just the camera body. And obviously that thing doesn't take any pictures because you need one of these to put on it. So the idea of your budget is really important before we even get into what gear you're going to buy. The second question is how much space do you have? Because the amount ...
of equipment you own is going to take up space and the other things that you can buy and use in food photography can run you right out of your house. So again, that's my camera body. Mine looks a little different because I have a battery grip on the bottom because I have really big hands and I have really uncomfortable holding a camera that that way because my bottom three fingers are falling off the camera plus with the battery grip, I get longer life and I can shoot this way and still have controls because this has another set of controls on the battery grip. Um both my cameras, the five D. Mark two which is not here today. And this is the upgraded version, the five D. Mark three. Both are equipped with battery grips. The lenses I use. This is the that little cheapie 50 that I have on here Now I say Cheapie, I I don't mean to be like $0,300 is nothing but for professional photographer is not very expensive for a lens and I'll explain to you with the next one. This one is not a L series lens which most professional photographers use, but Canon doesn't make an L series lens in macro. They do now 400 their 100 millimeter lens is now which I have the old version but the the new 100 millimeter macro is an L series lens and it's really nice. It's about, those lenses are run around $1600.16 to $1800. They're pretty expensive. Um This one is a great bargain and quite honestly, it's one of the best lenses I own. It's just for whatever reason, it's like that little little miracle. The other lens that I use is the gold standard of macro lenses. This is Zeiss manual focus, 50 millimeter macro. Remember the peach shot with that little teardrop on it, that was the first picture ever took with this thing. This is a beautiful lens. It's also really difficult to work with because it's manual focus. So if you're not comfortable or you're not in a position to work manual focus, it's not always ideal. Plus it's super expensive. It's a great, great piece of equipment if you can afford it and if it's appropriate for your workflow, Okay, a light meter. We're gonna talk a little bit more about light meters tomorrow. This one kind of resembles mine, Mine is ancient but it still does the trick. The idea is that just because you're shooting digital and you're able to look at the back of your camera and decide whether it's too dark or too light is not an excuse because the idea is sometimes your camera's not calibrated properly. Sometimes you're looking at it in your screen and your screen isn't calibrated properly. The idea is getting your meter correct and the to be able to do that in a professional way, you need to learn how to use a light meter. And if you learn how to use a light meter, then you also understand the triangle between I. S. O. And aperture and shutter speed because this and that are the same. Okay, media now some of you are shooting SD cards which are great because you can plug them into a lot of the new machines. Um these cameras shoot both. This camera shoots both S. D. And that's a see it. This is a cf card I the reason I talk about media is because you see this one here, 32 gigs. I own a 32 gig card. The only time I stick it in my cameras when I'm shooting video, I want to talk about media because it's important that media can be really trustworthy in that. I haven't had that many cards crash on me over the years. It's solid state technology, there's no moving parts and they're really reliable but you don't take any chances. So if you shoot your whole job on one card and something happens to that card, that is the ultimate photographic nightmare because if you lose an entire job because you didn't back it up because it was still in the camera or crashed or you dropped it, he dropped it inside the bowl of soup. Mhm. I've done that. Um and you and you lose your meat and you lose your images, You're gonna be heartbroken. So, you know, choose your media. Well spend a little bit more on the better cards. The faster cards because this is this is your film. You know, okay, this is it's sort of you can't really tell what it is to tell you the truth. So I'll show you what it is because I have it right here. This is a smaller version of these, these flags, we call them flags. But they're really okay and I bring this because it was easy for me to carry out here, I stuffed in my backpack and it's really great. Um it comes with the frame and essentially what we're doing is re creating that thing over there, which is uh, that's a studio flag that you see in any television studio or um in a big photo studio, you'll see those. Um but these are kind of mobile ones. They're inexpensive and they're easy to set up and they're great. And this is the one I use every day. So here's our flag and it's put together and it just kind of straps in. And this comes with them. This one here, that's really for light diffusion and this is the one that I use most often. But the other ones are good as well. And obviously you don't have to have these. But this is a really great way. Like you're at a picnic, whatever you put it right up where right on the table top. And it kind of blocks out the mm the sun too. You know, and this is this thickness and this kind of opacity is the is really the one I like the most. But it also comes with like solid black and then ones that are like mesh to kind of knock down the light a little bit differently. Then, you know, there's this low budget stuff that we're gonna go over a little bit more low budget stuff, but for the most part this is this ratty piece of kind of reflective foil and honestly a good portion of these all come from the same source. So I mean this is like kind of just ratty paper and and beat up old pieces of cardboard but the reality is that whatever tool works you use and these are really kind of inexpensive things. But every food photographer has a bag of these little little white cards, black cards, great cards. It's the role, this is a show of the roles of the sheet cheating and paper that we use. Um it's sort of like this thin film of plastic and um I sometimes tape it in the window. Um right, cover the whole window with it. And the other thing I do with it is I'll cover a light with it. So if I have like a studio light that needs to be defused a little bit rather than pulling out a soft box like we have in the studio here, I would um I would wrap the light with this plastic sheeting and then you can get it at like a craft store. Um but quite honestly anything that's opaque can be, can be used to diffuse light. So it's one of those, one of those kind of things, okay, Light stands, most light stands like this are fairly inexpensive and they're good to have in a studio setting um Over here we have c stands which are a little bit more expensive but they're heavier duty and they they're great to have on set because they will do everything for you. They are an extra set of hands, they can become a wall support, they could do lots of things, You can have things hanging from them, you can they can hold your diffusion panel, you can do a lot with a few stands in your end clamps in your studio. These are called auto polls. These are what I have in my studio. Auto polls are these adjustable poles that go from the floor to the ceiling and then lock and you can put them in and create false walls. Or you can have them again like the C stands holding your cards up, you can clamp things to them. They make these things called super clamps that hold on to them. They're like this big thick looking hand and it holds the bar and then you can plug stuff into it tripod. We all kind of need a tripod in food photography. And if you're not using a tripod or some other kind of stabilization, then you need to find a way to keep your camera from shaking. And that usually means you gotta get faster shutter speeds, but that's not always possible because we like to shoot at a shallow depth of field. So having a good tripod something solid. And one of the things that people always neglect to tell you when they sell you a tripod is they should sell you a sandbag to go with it because if you put your camera on a tripod and you don't wait it down and it tips over, it's gonna destroy your camera. These are, this is a picture of two large white foam core panels, so the foam core that we use as light diffusion, they make them as big as a piece of sheetrock, right eight ft by four ft. And what we do in studios, they taped them together with white tape on one side and hopefully the other side of that is black and black tape on the other side, and they use gaffer's tape. Gaffer's tape is like a gaffer's tape is um it's like a standard in studios and for art, it's basically um duct tape except it's not shiny, it's matt and it's easy to tear. So it's a little different. Yeah, I grab some gaffer's and I can catch too, okay, this is gaffers and this is, you know when you're, when you're on a studio set and you get some gaffer's people protect it with their lives. But you see how it tears really easily. And then a lot of times you kind of tear it into shreds of kind of things and you can tack things up with the great thing about gaffer's tape is it's reusable, you don't just use it once, you know, So I keep this stuff like stuck all over the studio and I'm grabbing pieces of it and taping stuff off all the time. Um so you make these big things and you call them B flats. So like in studio terminology you would talk about these big, big white and black cards as V flats and then you would bring them out and you can create false walls with them, but you also can diffuse or bounce large amounts of light with them, an entire table full of light, an entire room full of light. So they're really helpful sawhorses. Now my studio table is basically created by putting the two sawhorses in front of the window and I have a permanent piece of wood that goes on top of it and then I can add whatever surfaces like the ones we had over here before on top of it and change it out to make new table surfaces. Um I use three of them in a row because my, the one thing I put on top of my table is this giant piece of granite that's black and you probably saw it in a lot of the pictures uh and it's not movable, it's about £ so it sits right on top of it. But the idea of having this too is if you want to climb up on the table, it's really sturdy. This is a trigger release. This is the reason I can get a lot of shots where I'm working alone between the timer and a trigger release. Um, this is a really great piece of equipment. Um, you can deserve kind of specific to the camera you buy. Usually this is for Canon, but you can buy them for any camera and it's a really a key piece of equipment when you're using a tripod. It's also when you're working at slow shutter speeds, um, you want to get away from the camera or the stand or the tripod so that you don't have any camera shake and then trigger trigger the camera that way. So I also keep a little eyeglass rag in my bag so I can clean my lenses because they get dusty. You can also use, you know, lens papers or some other thing to clean your lenses out. My stuff gets kind of dirty because I'm always with food so I try to keep them clean And we talked about the 250s, the macro lenses, but I also keep 100 which we talked briefly about. This is 100 millim. This is the old version of the Cannon, 100 millim macro lens and it's 2.8 aperture and then this is a 35 millimeter 1.4 L series lens. This is a great camera lens to carry around when you're doing lifestyle stuff and when you're doing travel stuff it shoots at a very low aperture 1.4, which means you can shoot it in almost darkness and still get some details. Um, and depending on how powerful your camera is, you can push the camera pretty far, shoot it at a really wide open aperture and shoot in almost darkness. So that's um that's essentially kind of the gear that I work with on a regular basis. I mean there are other pieces in my kit for different things, but for the most part this is a basic kit for um for a food photographer like me to do the things I do. Um And this is things that carry around in my bag.