Art and Photography

camera for food photography

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 10th, 2019 1:40 am
[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2018
462 posts
52 upvotes
Mississauga, ON

camera for food photography

Hi,

I'm a pastry chef and want to get a camera to take good quality pictures of my desserts for my baking blog and social medias (instagram, fb etc)

I read up a bit that food bloggers and food/product photographers pick canon over nikon for food/product photography

what do you recommend?

hopefully the upcoming black friday will have some camera deals
20 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
2911 posts
559 upvotes
Vaughan
Doesn't matter what brand. Composition and lighting is important with food photography. Getting the proper focal length lens helps as well. I would suggest buying a used mirrorless or dslr first, and learn the ropes. Buying a so-called better camera, doesn't mean you'll produce better photos. Let's put it in a way you can understand. If you buy are better oven, blender, or whatever tools you use. Does that make you a better pastry chef? possibly, but its your creativity that matters the most, not the oven you use. Same applies to photos. It really isn't about what's a good camera or not. You could even get by with cell phone photos if you're good enough.

At the end day, it isn't the camera that takes the photos, its the person behind the camera that matters. Also a lot of instagram photos are heavily edited and/or photoshopped, so don't believe everything was just done by clicking on the shutter button. If you do end up buying a dslr or mirrorless camera. Take the time to learn how to compose photo's, lighting, editing, etc...

Don't get caught up in the hype of nikon vs canon etc... I've used both brands in the past. Both brands are fine. I now shoot with a sony mirrorless camera.

Anyways, best of luck with the blogging.
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[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2018
462 posts
52 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
phuviano wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 12:09 am
Doesn't matter what brand. Composition and lighting is important with food photography. Getting the proper focal length lens helps as well. I would suggest buying a used mirrorless or dslr first, and learn the ropes. Buying a so-called better camera, doesn't mean you'll produce better photos. Let's put it in a way you can understand. If you buy are better oven, blender, or whatever tools you use. Does that make you a better pastry chef? possibly, but its your creativity that matters the most, not the oven you use. Same applies to photos. It really isn't about what's a good camera or not. You could even get by with cell phone photos if you're good enough.

At the end day, it isn't the camera that takes the photos, its the person behind the camera that matters. Also a lot of instagram photos are heavily edited and/or photoshopped, so don't believe everything was just done by clicking on the shutter button. If you do end up buying a dslr or mirrorless camera. Take the time to learn how to compose photo's, lighting, editing, etc...

Don't get caught up in the hype of nikon vs canon etc... I've used both brands in the past. Both brands are fine. I now shoot with a sony mirrorless camera.

Anyways, best of luck with the blogging.
lol I like the pastry analogy

It would be great if I can just use my cell phone lol ... save some money there, I have a pixel XL

My concern is the lighting because I know photographers like natural lighting and it hard to copy with artificial lighting since winter is here and coming... it already dark by 5pm and I work monday - friday 9-5pm which means I can only take pictures on the weekends

photographers were saying canon just got better colour on the food over nikon while nikon is great for landscape shots for example
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
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Vaughan
raptors87 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 12:48 am
lol I like the pastry analogy

It would be great if I can just use my cell phone lol ... save some money there, I have a pixel XL

My concern is the lighting because I know photographers like natural lighting and it hard to copy with artificial lighting since winter is here and coming... it already dark by 5pm and I work monday - friday 9-5pm which means I can only take pictures on the weekends

photographers were saying canon just got better colour on the food over nikon while nikon is great for landscape shots for example
When it comes to artificial lighting, yeah it not easy, and shooting in natural light is easier. However, mastering lighting is very important imo. I'm not a food photography by any means, but I know my way around a camera very well. I've heard the argument of canon having better colours. Ok lets say that's true. However, majority, if not all the people that are saying that usually shoot in raw. Most people don't shoot in jpg for the purpose of editing. Some pro's may shoot in jpg, and raw, and if the client was a quick preview of the photos, he/she may provide the jpg's for quick access to photos. Ok back to colour. Imo, colour isn't that important, especially if you're shooting raw. You're going to end up editing the photo anyway, and you can adjust to anyway you want it to.

Nikon is great for landscapes? in what aspect? why can't a canon be good for landscapes? or a fuji? or sony? lol. That's bologna.
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[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2018
462 posts
52 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
phuviano wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 1:21 am
When it comes to artificial lighting, yeah it not easy, and shooting in natural light is easier. However, mastering lighting is very important imo. I'm not a food photography by any means, but I know my way around a camera very well. I've heard the argument of canon having better colours. Ok lets say that's true. However, majority, if not all the people that are saying that usually shoot in raw. Most people don't shoot in jpg for the purpose of editing. Some pro's may shoot in jpg, and raw, and if the client was a quick preview of the photos, he/she may provide the jpg's for quick access to photos. Ok back to colour. Imo, colour isn't that important, especially if you're shooting raw. You're going to end up editing the photo anyway, and you can adjust to anyway you want it to.

Nikon is great for landscapes? in what aspect? why can't a canon be good for landscapes? or a fuji? or sony? lol. That's bologna.
what do you recommend to deal with the lighting? just shoot photo over the weekends? ... is there a viable product out there to create natural lighting?

(shoulder shrug) lol... on the canon/nikon on landscape... I think they were just debating on canon vs. nikon for different type of photography ... the usual decades old battle between the two brands
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
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raptors87 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 1:36 am
what do you recommend to deal with the lighting? just shoot photo over the weekends? ... is there a viable product out there to create natural lighting?

(shoulder shrug) lol... on the canon/nikon on landscape... I think they were just debating on canon vs. nikon for different type of photography ... the usual decades old battle between the two brands
Well, you'll definitely need a good external flash. Don't cheap out on the flash. More power is better, since you can always turn it down if the settings are too high. Where, if you buy a weaker flash, and the power isn't ample. You'll have to rely on adjusting the exposure in post processing. You may need or want multiple flashes. Maybe buy some light stands and umbrellas, soft box, reflectors and/or light box. I'm not a food photographer as i said early, so not 100% sure, but those are some options. I would suggest looking up some youtube video's on food photography with these items, so you can see what the results would look like, and where to place your lighting.
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[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2018
462 posts
52 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
Gin Martini wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 2:25 am
It's funny that your thread has the exact same name as another from November 2017. There's a lot of information in there that can help you:

camera-food-photography-2148330/
Hopefully it got some useful info


After checking the thread... Seem like it got mixed reviews

Think it a bit overkill, Do basic d3400 with prime or 50mm Len, get a pro to do it instead, don't do it because OP won't get pro quality shots soon (alot of hassle plus editing), get natural lighting or strobes for artificial, and a couple mentioned good budget ideas for background...I'm surprised the smartphone idea wasnt mentioned unless I missed it (my bad)

I personally wouldn't do white background like Op, I would like to do like a cutting board, wood or big slate tile and do like overhead or flat lay shot depending on the dessert
Sr. Member
Jan 18, 2017
539 posts
176 upvotes
As many posters have said, the camera is just a tiny part of the equation. What's vastly more important is the lighting and composition.

I would build a lightbox (https://www.jimdo.com/blog/product-phot ... light-box/; google/youtube for tons of examples), grab some lamps, and shoot with your cellphone to start. Grab an adaptor, tripod, and shoot delay shutter to get rid of all handshake. I think you'll be impressed how much sharper and better images come out just with those few things.

Once you get some practise; grab a used dslr/mirrorless camera with a hotshoe to trigger some external flashes. Godox, Youngno, Neewer make cheap ones. Literally any dslr/mirrorless camera system would work; grab something cheap from the last 10 years. Since you're shooting in a "studio" environment and have control over all lighting; you'll get great photos even with something old (first gen Rebel will look great properly exposed ISO100 on a tripod). A 50mm lens is affordable and sharp.

You can probably do everything for under $3-400. Good luck.
Newbie
Feb 12, 2017
48 posts
36 upvotes
Calgary
You don't even need a lightbox. Those are generally big cardboard boxes lined with white paper and outfitted with holes for pointing a flash head into the box. You can make one very easily, but if you don't like white backgrounds, go without one. One to three white or black foam core boards from a dollar store ($1.00-$2.50 each) placed around a plate and out of frame will give you far more flexible lighting. One flash is enough if you have foam core boards to reflect light to fill shadows. An even simpler approach is putting your table near a corner to utilize the walls for bouncing light and softening shadows. Here are examples with flash and window light and then flash, all taken with a white foam board or black boards.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zYW6epMYcrxocN8P8
https://photos.app.goo.gl/iZGbgRjKAJR1mcUn6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/U1u9XuTuabjdjnjR8

As others have said, any camera that lets you control it in manual mode (which is half of how you control lighting) will do. The other half of lighting control is adjusting the light direction, power, color, and reflectors. Personally, I usually like my food photos to have greater depth of field rather than less. So I have been happy with a Nikon APS-C camera, an Olympus mirrorless (Micro Four Thirds), and now a Panasonic mirrorless (micro Four Thirds). Window light is great in the day, but having flash lets me shoot at any time of day or night.
KevCnew wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 10:45 am
As many posters have said, the camera is just a tiny part of the equation. What's vastly more important is the lighting and composition.

I would build a lightbox (https://www.jimdo.com/blog/product-phot ... light-box/; google/youtube for tons of examples), grab some lamps, and shoot with your cellphone to start. Grab an adaptor, tripod, and shoot delay shutter to get rid of all handshake. I think you'll be impressed how much sharper and better images come out just with those few things.

Once you get some practise; grab a used dslr/mirrorless camera with a hotshoe to trigger some external flashes. Godox, Youngno, Neewer make cheap ones. Literally any dslr/mirrorless camera system would work; grab something cheap from the last 10 years. Since you're shooting in a "studio" environment and have control over all lighting; you'll get great photos even with something old (first gen Rebel will look great properly exposed ISO100 on a tripod). A 50mm lens is affordable and sharp.

You can probably do everything for under $3-400. Good luck.
Deal Addict
Mar 17, 2004
4902 posts
321 upvotes
What is your budget? If budget allows for then it makes sense to get a camera, light stands, soft boxes, flashes etc.. but if you're trying to keep it cheap it might be best to just use your phone and a small tripod and some cheap lights.

I'll preface my advice by saying that I have a few years of experience with artificially lit photography and videography (more photography). Any cheap lamp or light you buy whether its just a bunch of household bulbs or some sort of LED panel that claims it's for photography isn't going to be good enough. One single cheap flashgun is going to be several times brighter. But if you don't want to invest in that type of equipment then some lamps and bulbs are better than nothing.

If you need a high resolution image that isn't grainy for anything other than social media then using your phone and some sort of makeshift soft box and lamps would suffice. If you need more than that then I do recommend getting remotely triggered flashes. A cheap and affordable brand is Godox. The TT350 should be more than powerful enough for food photography and it comes in variants for Sony, Olympus, Fuji, and I believe Canon and Nikon TTL as well. You can get a remote trigger that matches it that allows for off camera flash. I'm not sure if you would need more than one light though, I'm not really much of a food/product photographer.

If you're looking to get camera, flashes, light stands, soft boxes, etc.. you might need to budget more than you're willing to spend.
Rough estimates I would say
Camera $500-800
2 Cheapo Light stands $50
2 Cheapo soft boxes $60
2 Godox TT350 + remote trigger $350

You're looking at probably spending $1000 at least.

I wouldn't buy a camera and then use crappy light bulbs or led strips, don't waste your money on them. They're not bright enough.

A large window during the daytime would be bright enough but then you're limited to weekends.
[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2018
462 posts
52 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
Kevin3840 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 2:23 pm
You don't even need a lightbox. Those are generally big cardboard boxes lined with white paper and outfitted with holes for pointing a flash head into the box. You can make one very easily, but if you don't like white backgrounds, go without one. One to three white or black foam core boards from a dollar store ($1.00-$2.50 each) placed around a plate and out of frame will give you far more flexible lighting. One flash is enough if you have foam core boards to reflect light to fill shadows. An even simpler approach is putting your table near a corner to utilize the walls for bouncing light and softening shadows. Here are examples with flash and window light and then flash, all taken with a white foam board or black boards.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zYW6epMYcrxocN8P8
https://photos.app.goo.gl/iZGbgRjKAJR1mcUn6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/U1u9XuTuabjdjnjR8

As others have said, any camera that lets you control it in manual mode (which is half of how you control lighting) will do. The other half of lighting control is adjusting the light direction, power, color, and reflectors. Personally, I usually like my food photos to have greater depth of field rather than less. So I have been happy with a Nikon APS-C camera, an Olympus mirrorless (Micro Four Thirds), and now a Panasonic mirrorless (micro Four Thirds). Window light is great in the day, but having flash lets me shoot at any time of day or night.
That's a cool idea .. I do have a couple black foam boards and one white foam board... Have a couple 4' cool white tube bulbs, I used to grow my vegetable/fruit seeds

Will do a few sample shots and tell me if it decent or not .. got a bad angle, basically trying to hold the foams from falling lol
Oni-kun wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 4:15 pm
What is your budget? If budget allows for then it makes sense to get a camera, light stands, soft boxes, flashes etc.. but if you're trying to keep it cheap it might be best to just use your phone and a small tripod and some cheap lights.

I'll preface my advice by saying that I have a few years of experience with artificially lit photography and videography (more photography). Any cheap lamp or light you buy whether its just a bunch of household bulbs or some sort of LED panel that claims it's for photography isn't going to be good enough. One single cheap flashgun is going to be several times brighter. But if you don't want to invest in that type of equipment then some lamps and bulbs are better than nothing.

If you need a high resolution image that isn't grainy for anything other than social media then using your phone and some sort of makeshift soft box and lamps would suffice. If you need more than that then I do recommend getting remotely triggered flashes. A cheap and affordable brand is Godox. The TT350 should be more than powerful enough for food photography and it comes in variants for Sony, Olympus, Fuji, and I believe Canon and Nikon TTL as well. You can get a remote trigger that matches it that allows for off camera flash. I'm not sure if you would need more than one light though, I'm not really much of a food/product photographer.

If you're looking to get camera, flashes, light stands, soft boxes, etc.. you might need to budget more than you're willing to spend.
Rough estimates I would say
Camera $500-800
2 Cheapo Light stands $50
2 Cheapo soft boxes $60
2 Godox TT350 + remote trigger $350

You're looking at probably spending $1000 at least.

I wouldn't buy a camera and then use crappy light bulbs or led strips, don't waste your money on them. They're not bright enough.

A large window during the daytime would be bright enough but then you're limited to weekends.
I'm flexible on budget

It just more on the line of do I really need all these stuffs for Instagram and possibly for a blog. Most likely I wont be doing anything outside of that
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Newbie
Feb 12, 2017
48 posts
36 upvotes
Calgary
raptors87 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 5:40 pm
That's a cool idea .. I do have a couple black foam boards and one white foam board... Have a couple 4' cool white tube bulbs, I used to grow my vegetable/fruit seeds

Will do a few sample shots and tell me if it decent or not .. got a bad angle, basically trying to hold the foams from falling lol

I'm flexible on budget

It just more on the line of do I really need all these stuffs for Instagram and possibly for a blog. Most likely I wont be doing anything outside of that
With some context now, I think the question is just how nicely do you want to show your kitchen creations? A phone will work fine if you want a basic picture. However, if you want to improve image aesthetics to elevate the appeal of your food/pastries, just one camera and flash with foam boards will go a long way. A little bit of equipment, know-how, and practice will make a world of difference.

If I can find some time, I'll shoot cup photos in my own way using only a flash and foam boards for bouncing light. No promises on when I can get it done yet so we shall see.
[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2018
462 posts
52 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
Kevin3840 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 9:50 pm
With some context now, I think the question is just how nicely do you want to show your kitchen creations? A phone will work fine if you want a basic picture. However, if you want to improve image aesthetics to elevate the appeal of your food/pastries, just one camera and flash with foam boards will go a long way. A little bit of equipment, know-how, and practice will make a world of difference.

If I can find some time, I'll shoot cup photos in my own way using only a flash and foam boards for bouncing light. No promises on when I can get it done yet so we shall see.
I do want to improve the asethetic of my stuffs... Make people want to buy stuff :)

Did google image light boxes ... It a bit small because sometime I would to do like a tray of cupcakes that getting ready to pipe frosting for example or put a couple props in the background

The tray of cupcakes pic is mine, probably took it like early in the year... The other pics would be nice to aim for... There was another pic I saw but forgot the Instagram name ... The person had baked goods on like medium grey slate look like, top view... Just different from the normal "everything white and cute looking" ... Want to add a little more manly touch to it like using wood, metal etc
thericyip wrote:
Nov 6th, 2019 9:56 pm
Oldie but goodie

Solid video
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