One thing we didn’t talk about at our session was gear. So much to cover and so little time. Today I want to talk about the two lenses every food photographer – specifically every DSLR food photographer – should have in their kit bag.
1. A macro lens. Macro lenses allow you to get up very close to the food (usually as close as a foot away), and they magnify the food. They are perfect for food shots where you want to highlight the details of the food. For a full frame camera, a 100mm macro lens is perfect; on a crop frame camera choose a 60mm lens.My macro lens is my go to lens for about 60% of the photos I take in my home studio.
2. A wide angle lens or a telephoto lens that starts at 24mm (or 17-18mm for a crop frame camera). Wide angle lenses are used for top down shots, shots where you want to capture more of the table, or when you have people in the photo.
I use a 24-105mm lens with my full frame camera, and a 17-55mm lens with my crop frame camera. If you can, I suggest buying a lens with image stabilization, as this will likely become your travel and walking around lens. If you are using the camera almost exclusively for food photography, a wide angle lens might be your choice. I have been working with the macro and telephoto lens for some time, but I am now saving up for a great 35mm lens. The fixed focal length should give me a sharper picture with less distortion.
I am a big believer is buying the best lens you can afford. Rather than choosing an inferior lens, save your money until you can get what you really want. While the camera itself provides some great functionality, the majority of the differences in the quality of a photo (in addition to the choices the photographer makes in his or her camera settings) is achieved with the lens. The links in this blog post are for Canon cameras. Make sure you select a lens that works with your camera!
What are your favorite lenses for food photography? Why?