What is food photography without appetising images? Nothing! I totally agree. Food is as much a feast for the stomach as it is for the eyes. I am still amazed when I see cook books without any images. It can be so helpful to see the end result of a recipe. Not only if your result looks similar but also to decide if you want to make the recipe in the first place. That is why I have a lot of images on my blog.
It seems easy to snap a picture of a dish but it can be quite difficult to capture a dish in such a way that you want to take a bite. So what do you need? Beside an appetizing meal you need the right light, the right angle, the right background, the right composition and the right props. Sometimes you need to play around with all the “ingredients” of an image first before you get a great food photo.
On this page I give you some insight in what I use to capture my recipes. From what is in my camera bag to what I use as props and backgrounds.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links for which I earn a commission if you purchase through those links at no extra cost to you. All the products listed below are products I use myself or are from companies I highly recommend. Thank you for supporting The Tortilla Channel!
Canon 5D mark III – I started out with a Canon 5D mark II in 2010 as I was doing a lot of portrait photography. I upgraded to the 5D mark III about 4 years ago when I needed a back up camera. It is an amazing camera and never let me down. I never had any issues with any of my gear either camera body or lens that is why I use Canon. It shoots amazing images and also captures awesome HD video.
Canon 6D mark II – The down side of the Canon 5D range is that it is a very expensive camera series. For a starting food blogger this can be way to expensive to purchase. Fortunately Canon has a lot more cameras. Depending on your budget have a look at the Canon 6D or the recent update Canon 6D mark II. This is also a full frame camera includes Wifi and GPS transmitter.
Canon EOS Rebel T6 – A body and lens that is a great camera when you are starting out is the Canon EOS Rebel T6. This camera is part of the Canon starters range and includes a 18mm-55mm lens. Be aware that this time of camera does not have a full frame but cropped sensor not a full frame camera.
If you use a 50mm lens the result should be multiplied by 1.5 and equal to when you would be photographing with a 75mm lens.
Canon EF 50mm 1.2 is my all time favorite lens. The texture is so creamy and beautiful that I have this lens on my camera all the time. I bought it when I was doing a lot of portrait and wedding photography and this lens was great with details.
The same applies to food photography where all of it is details. As with the full frame camera body this lens is very expensive. Fortunately Canon has more options for the 50mm lens.
Canon EF 50mm 1.4 is the best bang for you buck. Solid lens with still a lot of aperture and almost the same creamy texture. It was the first lens I bought for my Canon 5D mark II.
It is lighter in weight and faster than the Canon 50mm 1.2. So you can’t go wrong with this lens and far more sturdy than the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 the cheapest in the range but also a great lens.
Adobe Lightroom Creative Cloud – When to use which application? I use Lightroom to first develop an image and perform my creative actions on the developed in Photoshop.
Lightroom gives me the opportunity to process my images really fast and to replicate these actions to images that were shot in the same conditions. I can be very accurate to adjust settings. You can purchase Adobe Lightroom together with Adobe Photoshop here for a bargain price of about $12,-.
Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud – To edit my photographs I use both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. Photoshop to create thumbnails for my video, Pinterest large images with text, to remove small blemishes or when I have to layer images.
Now it is even possible to take images from video with Photoshop.
Learning how to use a DSLR camera put it in manual mode and create beautiful images can be quite daunting. I had a SLR and then a DSLR for years thinking that it was just the camera that need to be upgraded. Then 8 years ago I decided to go back to school and learn how to use my camera.
I went to the Foto Academie here in Amsterdam and did they introductory course. I learn to appreciate black and white photography but most importantly I learned how to use my camera. The meaning of ISO, aperture and shutter speed and the effect its has on each other. I learned composition and camera angles how to photograph people and objects.
I never stopped learning after because even after an extensive training I still do not know everything. More importantly I can always learn something new something that I did not know.
The basics of Photoshop and Lightroom I have learned via Kelby training. KelbyOne is an extensive platform with lots of (famous) photographers with different specialisations that are their to teach you what they know. KelbyOne is a membership platform which is payed for annually. You have unlimited access to the video training courses through one year after that year you can renew your membership.
CreativeLive started as a small platform where mostly portrait and wedding photographers would teach a group of students at the headquarters of CL which could be followed online for free. After the live sessions were completed the courses could be purchased with live time access. CreativeLIVE has grown really fast and now offers multiple tracks concerning photography but also marketing, lifestyle, post processing and much more.
You can still watch courses for free and still purchase a course you like. They have courses especially focused on food photography but also learning how to use your camera or Lightroom and Photoshop. It is a great platform to learn from. Prices per course depend on the length of a course and the amount of modules you can view. This range from $29 to up to $199 for a 28 days course.
Food blogger pro
Food Blogger Pro is founded by the couple Lindsay and Bjork who run the successful food blog Pinch of Yum. To teach other food bloggers what they learned to grow they website and monetise it they started this platform.
You can enroll only a couple times per year just like you would when going to school. If you want to join outside the enrolment period you can join the Food Blogger Pro waiting list en participate once enrolment is open. You pay a monthly fee of $29 for this membership.
Plate to pixel
A great book from Helene Dujardin that teaches food photography and food styling. It gives you so many information from the basis of food photography to camera settings to the usage of light (artificial and natural), composition but also your workspace. You can find a separate chapter dedicated to food styling and post processing. You will learn so much from this books as Helene shows a lot of results that you can use to recreate.
Food photography from snapshot to great shot
The book Food photography from snapshot to great shot from Nicole Young contains lots and lots of images with tips and tricks. In-depth explanations on how to operate your camera but also what your camera settings should be like to achieve the same results.
It is easy to read and hands on a lovely book to learn photography and return to many times. You can buy it here.
Tasty food photography ebook
A go to book to learn the basics of photography and how you can improve your images drastically. Written by Lindsay Ostrom of the food blog Pinch of Yum.A lot of tips and tricks on basic photography skills, lighting, composition, props and styling tips.
But also editing and workflow. Besides the book you will also receive video tutorials. If you want to buy the book you can purchase it here.
The Food photography book
Another great example of a book thatcan teach you how to improve is this book that is written by Nagi Maehashi owner of the food blog Recipetineats.
In this 180 page book she discusses equipment, camera settings, lighting, camera angles, food styling. But also actions shots and shooting surfaces, props, composition and workflow. You also get a checklist. Interested in buying this book? You can purchase it here.