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Thread: Equipment list for food photography .

  1. #1

    Default Equipment list for food photography .

    What must I need for taking food pictures which are comparable to recipe books type . I am able to rent the equips , but I need to know what I need first . Oh and i was wondering , is a macro lens needed in this case ? Likewise a studio layout ? If so then a white box and relectors ? Or flash guns ? If so then what light intensity fits it ? sorry for the many questions , just hope you can give a little helping hand . Thanksssssss !
    NIKON D90 | NIKKOR 35mm F/1.8G | NIKKOR 50mm F/1.8D | TOKINA 11-16mm F/2.8

  2. #2

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    high aperture lens to give shallow depth of field if desired.

    You may need to use several off shoe flash to create the "tasty" lighting.

    high competence in fixing colors using an image editor.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    So a high aperture is needed , but a macro lens needed ? I was hoping my 200mm can cover the dish well . Will extension tubes play a part here ?
    NIKON D90 | NIKKOR 35mm F/1.8G | NIKKOR 50mm F/1.8D | TOKINA 11-16mm F/2.8

  4. #4
    Member dingaroo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    A good cook to whip up the delicious looking dishes ... no amount of magic can make a food palatable if it isn't tasty in the first place.

    Read this

    Cheers!
    Last edited by dingaroo; 10th May 2010 at 07:40 PM.
    A picture a day keeps the blues away!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    hard to say...its more a point of making the food look good so in most cases, the food photographed isnt even eatable much less can be considered food if know what was done to make it look good in front of camera.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    I have read other thread and it said that choose either a 50mm with closeup filters/extention tubes OR a dedicated tamron 90mm macro . So which is better for recipebooks ? Now I have the lighting cleared , do I use studio ones or hotshoe ones ?
    NIKON D90 | NIKKOR 35mm F/1.8G | NIKKOR 50mm F/1.8D | TOKINA 11-16mm F/2.8

  7. #7
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by Reportage View Post
    high aperture lens to give shallow depth of field if desired
    Inventing new terms? The commonly used used for lenses with a wide (and constant) aperture is "fast lens".
    EOS

  8. #8
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by loozhengyuan View Post
    So a high aperture is needed , but a macro lens needed ? I was hoping my 200mm can cover the dish well . Will extension tubes play a part here ?
    There is no "high aperture", to achieve a shallow Depth of Field it needs a fast lens (with wide aperture). But then again, we see many examples where shallow Depth of Field is used just for the sake of it and the result is suboptimal. A macro lens is useful when you need to get close to the dish (for whatever reason). 200mm is a focal length, whether it provides enough field of view and Minimum focusing distance for your purpose is a question that we cannot answer. Why don't you just use a couple of lenses and dishes and try? It doesn't take much time and efforts to find out which focal length is needed.
    EOS

  9. #9

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by loozhengyuan View Post
    I have read other thread and it said that choose either a 50mm with closeup filters/extention tubes OR a dedicated tamron 90mm macro . So which is better for recipebooks ? Now I have the lighting cleared , do I use studio ones or hotshoe ones ?
    well...

    http://www.reseau-medias.ca/english/...g/food_ads.cfm

    follow the directions in the above link for,



    there are plenty of other tips out there but best is to try and see what you can get with your current gear.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    So I believe judging from your point of view , I should decide myself on which focal lens fulfill my requirements ? But then again in I were to choose my existing lens with an extention tube and a closeup filter , will it in anyway affect the difference between that as compared to a prime with the above mention accesories ? If I want a fast lens , the problem is that if I focus on a fried rice , the clear part is maybe a few grains . Any idea how to make the aperture just right to focus the dish itself ? Or is it just art ? I have a feeling that a prime is unneccesary because well it has a small focal length and the large aperture might not be needed . The macro lens likewise , would be unneccesary because it would probably not be enough to cover the dish and pointless to go so near . Can I conclude that way ?
    NIKON D90 | NIKKOR 35mm F/1.8G | NIKKOR 50mm F/1.8D | TOKINA 11-16mm F/2.8

  11. #11
    Member dingaroo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    In science, there is a method call experimentation.

    You could use that method in this situation.

    Cheers!
    A picture a day keeps the blues away!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by loozhengyuan View Post
    So I believe judging from your point of view , I should decide myself on which focal lens fulfill my requirements ? But then again in I were to choose my existing lens with an extention tube and a closeup filter , will it in anyway affect the difference between that as compared to a prime with the above mention accesories ? If I want a fast lens , the problem is that if I focus on a fried rice , the clear part is maybe a few grains . Any idea how to make the aperture just right to focus the dish itself ? Or is it just art ? I have a feeling that a prime is unneccesary because well it has a small focal length and the large aperture might not be needed . The macro lens likewise , would be unneccesary because it would probably not be enough to cover the dish and pointless to go so near . Can I conclude that way ?
    the only way is to try yourself and see what you get or find an expert to apprentice under.

    good luck.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  13. #13
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by loozhengyuan View Post
    If I want a fast lens , the problem is that if I focus on a fried rice , the clear part is maybe a few grains . Any idea how to make the aperture just right to focus the dish itself ? Or is it just art ? I have a feeling that a prime is unneccesary because well it has a small focal length and the large aperture might not be needed . The macro lens likewise , would be unneccesary because it would probably not be enough to cover the dish and pointless to go so near . Can I conclude that way ?
    Understanding Depth of Field
    EOS

  14. #14

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by loozhengyuan View Post
    What must I need for taking food pictures which are comparable to recipe books type . I am able to rent the equips , but I need to know what I need first . Oh and i was wondering , is a macro lens needed in this case ? Likewise a studio layout ? If so then a white box and relectors ? Or flash guns ? If so then what light intensity fits it ? sorry for the many questions , just hope you can give a little helping hand . Thanksssssss !
    Don't think you need a macro lens. Many food shots are done with non macro lenses (and even tele lenses)

    You need to read up more about the topic. (Google)
    It will involve technique as well a some equipment (what you can find online will help )
    You might also need someone who can whip up good looking food and styling

  15. #15

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    Don't think you need a macro lens. Many food shots are done with non macro lenses (and even tele lenses)

    You need to read up more about the topic. (Google)
    It will involve technique as well a some equipment (what you can find online will help )
    You might also need someone who can whip up good looking food and styling
    I'm doing this because my grandma wants to publish a book on it . And want the best for her .
    NIKON D90 | NIKKOR 35mm F/1.8G | NIKKOR 50mm F/1.8D | TOKINA 11-16mm F/2.8

  16. #16

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    then tell your grandma that you need time to learn or at most, find a photographer who can do the job.

    there is no shortcut.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    The 'best' is a professional Photographer specializing in food, and if your grandma has not prepared food specifically for photography before, get a Food Stylist. Not trying to be mean or anything, just truthful since this sounds like it's an important project to your grandma, and her family who obviously care and want to give her the best.

    Food photography is one of the most difficult photographic disciplines, which is why there's a saying, 'If you can shoot food, children and animals well, you can shoot anything'.
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 11th May 2010 at 12:24 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    loozhengyuan,

    here are my 'super short version' of to do list for your specific requirements:

    1. prep your grandma that she may need to whip up more than one time of the same dish if the results are undesirable. so prepare ingredients for more than one dish of the same kind.

    2. for the most basic method of making certain dish looks good, get your self a brush and some cooking oil. this is often needed to make the food looks 'shiny' to bring out the appeal. but don't go about spreading on anything and everything.

    3. in addition to hot shoe mount flash, you might need a few pieces of A2 white mounting board to reflect light and also to direct the light in a certain angle to create certain 'shades' and 'depth'. for me, i prefer monobloc lightng with softboxes. my preference is 3 lights with modifiers such as snood, striplights, grids... but again, you might not want to scare your grandma with your arsenal... hot shoe mount external flashes are fine .. just that too many shots will result in inconsistent power output.

    4. get a tripod if you are planning to shoot all the dishes in a consistent elevation and angle. otherwise, handheld is fine for creative as well as different elevation to bring out the effect of different dishes for different purposes.

    5. when styling, keep things simple, don't mess up the whole plate. Also, if things look boring, isolate certain key ingredients rather than mix them all up on the plate. You might want to add some garnishing to spice up the dish. choose your plates and cutlery set carefully. Shapes and colors play a very important part of the styling equation. Check out what your grandma is cooking in advance so that you can compliment the dishes with the right cutlery set. Don't forget napkins. They are of good use, such as folding them and putting the dish on top to add some colors to the whole setup.

    6. ok.. down to the camera equipment, you might want to have lens for closeup (macro is good, 200m works but you might need to go damn fall back to get the shot) and also lens for wider shot to get the whole table setup. Wide would be anything from 35mm to 50mm. 50mm would suffice and you just have to step backwards to get the effect.

    7. last pointer for you... keep your lighting consistent. don't mix color and don't shoot a few dishes with natural window light and a few shots of other dishes with strobes or flashes. making them consistent would look good when compiling them into a cookbook. color temperature calibration is important so don't forget your custom white balance.

    8. Book printing involves a lot more.. color adjustment, layout, selection of printer... etc.. but that is way beyond me. I only shoot and focus on shooting. the rest are done by the experts.

    Hope this helps. Dream Merchant has said it rightly. Food photography is a damn difficult subject. I am still learning every time i shoot a food dish.

    Enjoy...

    Quote Originally Posted by loozhengyuan View Post
    I'm doing this because my grandma wants to publish a book on it . And want the best for her .
    Last edited by oracle0711; 11th May 2010 at 08:24 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    true and not so true. A good cook is definitely needed to make things a lot simpler for the shoot. Without a good cook, you will have a messy dish to start with coz cooking is also another set of profound knowledge and involves great creativity....

    however, another set of truth is most dishes do not have salt added when they are being prep for photography ... likewise for other ingredients. that is why they taste yucky .. don't ask me coz i have no experience with cooking. I learn through observation most of the time...

    after the shoot, we always ask the chef to cook another dish but put in the necessary ingredients to make it edible.

    in all, we wasted damn lot of food just for a shoot ...

    Quote Originally Posted by dingaroo View Post
    A good cook to whip up the delicious looking dishes ... no amount of magic can make a food palatable if it isn't tasty in the first place.

    Read this

    Cheers!

  20. #20
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Equipment list for food photography .

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    The 'best' is a professional Photographer specializing in food, and if your grandma has not prepared food specifically for photography before, get a Food Stylist. Not trying to be mean or anything, just truthful since this sounds like it's an important project to your grandma, and her family who obviously care and want to give her the best.

    Food photography is one of the most difficult photographic disciplines, which is why there's a saying, 'If you can shoot food, children and animals well, you can shoot anything'.
    the master has spoken

    btw also note that the final image will be for a CMYK workflow, so keep this in mind
    bracket your exposures to get a correct exposure without PPing for a good original

    my preference is for a macro lens and a stable tripod, lots of reflectors to control the shadows
    and your setting should be for the theme of the food to set the ambience
    Last edited by ortega; 11th May 2010 at 08:50 AM.

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