My approach to photography has always been about creative vision, however, over the years I learned to appreciate the kit too. Fancy gear won’t take pictures for you, but it can be a great support for your creativity. It will speed up the photography process, add quality to your work, and, if chosen right, it can help you translate stories that are inside your creative soul into arresting still life images.
Photography is a constant compromise between a photographer and the tool. The way you see and the way your gear translates it. That’s why it’s so important to buy gear with intention and find what suits YOU and your style.
Canon 5D Mark IV – I have used over the last 2 years, we really ‘speak the same language’ and helps me create my vision.
Canon 50mm lens has always been my favorite lens. I started photographing with a Canon 50mm f/1.8, which accompanied me at work for a few good years, then upgraded it to Canon 50mm f/1.2. This lens creates enough space in the frame for storytelling elements, allows me to play with shallower depth of field if I want to and it’s a perfect choice for (my favorite) overhead shots.
Canon 100mm f/2.8L is another lens I could not live without. Ah! This one always wakes up the curious side in me as it allows me to look much closer, notice the details I would normally miss, and turn ordinary into arresting details. Thanks to the compression it offers, it also makes the food portraits more proportional.
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 is my ‘walk-around’ lens. I usually choose it for lifestyle food photography rather than carefully arranged still life scenes.
It’s perfect in situations when I have to think and act quickly as I don’t have to worry about swapping lenses. I can use its ‘wider’ or ‘narrower’ abilities with a flick of a wrist which is so convenient!
In the studio, a tripod is always my best friend – I can’t imagine working without one now. It allows me to tweak my food scenes, take control of the smallest details, while my camera is always in the same position. It is a game-changer (if you are a control freak like me!).
My favorite set: Manfrotto 058B, Manfrotto 131D arm, Manfrotto 410 Junior geared head is always set up in the studio. It’s tall, sturdy, and reliable. A lighter one – Manfrotto 055 and Pro 3 head is a tripod I like to take out and about.
When working in the studio, I always shoot tethered too – it might take a few moments to set it all up and connect the camera to the laptop, but it saves me so much time in the long run.
I can see all the details on a larger screen, edit on the go, and save my images straight into a dedicated hard drive. When it comes to tethering, I highly recommend checking out Tethering Tools – they have everything you might need.
And while playing around and mastering your gear – don’t forget the most important piece of equipment – your eyes!
My book ‘How to Photograph Food’ is coming out in August 2020.