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Improving your food photography doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Check out the food photography equipment that I used to improve my food photography for less than $200!
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Alright friends, today we are taking a break from the baking to talk food photography. Since I began this blog in 2011, I knew absolutely nothing about photography. I knew my phone had a camera, and that was about it. I was always the last person to take a photo of a special event. But now fast forward 5 years! I have over the five years learned so much about food photography. I am by no means even close to being an expert. And the learning never ends. Which I have to admit I totally love that. #bignerd
I may be no expert, however, I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So this post is dedicated to 5 pieces of photography equipment- besides my camera and lens– that I could not live without. These five items will drastically improve your food photography and it can all be done for less than $200.
This list is all equipment that makes the food photography aspect of my job wa-a-a-a-a-a-y easier. And unfortunately for me it took a long time for me to figure out all of these necessary equipment beyond my camera. So let’s dive into these..some may surprise you!
Ok you know I couldn’t talk about food photography without mentioning using a tripod. I bought this tripod a few years back. I’ve debated on upgrading to a more expensive tripod, but for $30 this tripod does everything I want it to do. For less than $30 I think it’s a great deal and a great place to start. No matter what kind of tripod you buy, be sure to purchase one with easy adjustable legs that have a quick release. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you do.
Why do you need a tripod? For better photos of course! Even a slight movement of your camera will show up in your photos! Using a tripod can take your photos from amateur status to professional in no time.
Updated: I got this Manfrotto tripod – definitely quite the investment. However, I started making recipe videos like this one for my red velvet cupcake recipe. And an overhead extension arm was a MUST. I wanted a sturdy tripod that I knew would do the job. And I absolutely LOVE it.
#2 Memory Card Reader
Ok I know, not very exciting. But seriously this little thing changed my life. Ok that was way too dramatic wasn’t it? Ok it changed my food photography game. Does it improve your individual photos? Well, no. But it drastically speeds up the process of uploading them to your computer for editing. And I don’t know about you but time saved is absolutely priceless.
Before purchasing a memory card reader I would spend countless minutes waiting for my photos to upload directly from my camera. Enter my memory card reader. Now all I have to do is put my memory card from my camera into the reader, and connect the reader to my laptop. In like lightning fast speed all of my photos are uploaded to my computer! It’s crazy fast. Crazy genius. I am in love. I am not afraid to admit it.
#3 External Hard Drive
You are still awake over there right? I hope so. Trust me, an external hard drive is like super super important if you are a food blogger. Before my external hard drive, all of my photos were being stored on my laptop. Before you know it, those large photo files were seriously dragging down my computer. And then at some point, I just ran out of space on my computer. Then I got smart. And I got an external hard drive specifically for my food photos. I use this Seagate Expansion external hard drive, which can hold up to over 300,000 photos! I’m no where near that, but it’s nice to know I have that kind of storage waiting for me!
#4 Artificial Light
Ok. Let’s talk lighting. Great photos comes down to lighting. Raise your hand if you have heard the best lighting is from natural light. *raises hand* Yea me too. Ok now nod your head if you thought to yourself when you heard that Oh great I’ll never take a great photo because natural light and me rarely get a chance to meet up! *nods head* I am hear to tell you, natural light is great BUT you don’t need it. You can take great photos any time of day! As a person with a full time job living in New England, natural light is a fleeting thing. And the best lighting would be when I am working! So what’s a food blogger to do? Just accept poor quality photos? Heck no people! Get yourself an artificial light!
I own a Lowel Ego Light and love it. However if a Lowel Ego light isn’t in your budget (and I hear you on that) you can purchase these StudioPro tabletop lights for less than $40! I actually just purchased and love the quality of light. They are easy to set up and come in a pack of 2. I am able to now take photos whenever I want! As long as you turn off any other light in the room, and block out any window lighting (I use darkening curtains like these) you can get great light for your photos! This light is a life saver for those gloomy days or if you can only take photos at night!
Updated (January 2019): These are the lights I use now. I love the height that they get too. Making it possible to shoot videos in great light. It’s what made making my baking bootcamp course possible!
#5 White Balance Filter
So the last item on my food photography list is this white balance filter for around $10! What?! Yea, $10. When you take a photo you may find that at certain times of day, or certain foods your whites may not seem well white. Your photos suddenly have a blue or green hue. What’s that about? To adjust the white balance of your camera, you want to use a white balance filter.
This white balance filter allows you to quickly adjust the white balance. And the best part of this filter, besides the price, is it has a handle! So EASY. TO. USE. So adjust your white balance quickly and move on with your day.
#6 Reflectors and Diffusers
My photography was pretty much garbage before I started using reflectors and diffusers. Reflectors help to bounce the light back onto your subject. And diffusers can help to diffuse the light so it’s not as harsh. I always use both to photograph my food. They are inexpensive and will really transform your photos.
This 5 in 1 reflector is great because it folds up and I can use the translucent one as the diffuser.
Another great option for reflector are just large foam boards that I will place behind the food. You can simply fold one in half and place it behind the food for an instant reflector.
For diffusers, I have actually made my own as well. In a pinch I have used an old t-shirt that I used to place over my Lowel Ego Light before purchasing this set.
#6 Food Photography Books
How do you improve any skill? You READ. UP. ON. IT. I know you can google anything these days, but having an entire source of information you can flip through again and again- well there is nothing like it. Here are my top three books I own, read, and consult often…
There you go seven ways to improve your food photography blogging game for less than $200- use one of them or all of them! Hopefully you found this tutorial helpful 🙂 And don’t forget to follow me on: