Sarka Babicka

Food, Travel | Last Updated: March 19, 2021

Hi my name is Sarka and I’m a food and travel photographer based in London, UK. My photography journey started after a move from Prague to London. What was originally only a hobby is now a full-time profession that I truly love.

My style is natural and minimalist. I draw my inspiration from everyday life, travel and the beauty of light. Whenever I take photos I strive to capture the intrinsic beauty of my subject.

I mostly shoot with natural light although I do own a pair of Alien Bees B800 flash units. They are absolutely amazing, portable studio lights, but I prefer not to use them unless I absolutely have to, which is usually only in situations where there’s no light outside.

Pictured is what I usually pack when I shoot on location. I like to keep my equipment as simple as possible. I love traveling and travel a lot both for work and leisure and don’t want to carry around a lot of gear. I use what I know works for me and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the latest model of a camera or lens.

I borrowed my first camera (Nikon D200) from my boyfriend and learned most of what I know shooting with that camera. Later I decided it was time to upgrade and I got a Nikon D700. I currently shoot with Nikon D800. The 36MPx sensor gives me the ability to crop my frame as I need to without quality loss.

My favourite and most used lens is AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G. It’s perfect for shooting food, I love its sharpness and versatility. It’s also light and a great walk-around lens.

My second favourite lens for food is AF Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D – it’s an old lens but still pretty amazing. It’s super sharp and has great bokeh. I can get very close and get some nice details of food with this lens.

I originally bought AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED for traveling but it’s quite heavy so I actually don’t use it so much. I also find my prime lenses much sharper but I like the flexibility a zoom lens offers.

Hoya 58mm and 77mm HD Digital Circular Polarizing screw-in filters – very useful for avoiding unwanted reflections on glassware.

USB cable + TetherPro USB 3.0 Active Extension, 16′, Hi-Visibilty – If I’m not strolling around food markets or capturing small artisan producers doing their magic, I always shoot tethered to a computer 15’’Macbook Pro with a SSD (not pictured) so that it’s easy for me and a client to view photos and make adjustments as I go. It really helps if a cable is visible – it already saved many potential accidents on set!

I use Lightroom 6 for most of my editing work. I’ve been using Lightroom since the first version and can’t believe how much it has evolved. It’s a fantastic user friendly software with advanced editing functions.

X-rite Color Checker Passport helps me to get white balance right.

Spare battery and a battery charger – it’s a must, I couldn’t make a day on set without those.

I travel with Gitzo GT2531EX 6X Carbon Fiber Explorer Tripod and Really Right Stuff BH-40LR Mid-sized Ball Head a lot. It fits in my suitcase and is not too heavy to carry around. My favourite part of the tripod is the centre column that can be tilted and rotated to any position which makes overhead tabletop shots much easier. I’m planning an upgrade, however, mainly because of the height limitation.

Since I prefer shooting with natural light I use wired shutter release cable for low light conditions to avoid camera shaking when pressing the shutter button.

iPhone – truth be told, iPhone is my favourite camera – it’s with me whenever I go!

I also carry a few miscellaneous items with me, including travel adaptors for photo shoots abroad. A pair of tweezers and a brush come especially useful when I work without a food stylist on set. I always have a few of my favourite napkins in my bag when I travel in case there’s no pretty surface to shoot food on.

I’m not a morning person, so early starts for food shoots usually mean no breakfast for me. A good quality protein bar keeps me going until lunch time because shooting food with an empty stomach is never a good idea.

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