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We often get asked what equipment and software we use for the photos on Slow Cooker Club, so we thought it’d be a good idea to summarise our food blog photography equipment in a post.
For Slow Cooker Club, we use:
- Canon 550D body (now discontinued, use Canon 800D instead)
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens
- Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS II USM lens
- Neewer Bi-colour 660 photography light, on top of a Neewer Heavy Duty Stand
- Adobe Lightroom
If you’d like some more detail on the what and why of our choice of food blog photography equipment, then read on…
What camera should I use for food blog photography?
The first thing you need is something to take photos with! We were lucky that we were already keen photographers and so had a good camera and lenses. As with everything – the more money you spend, the better quality your photos will be.
We use a Canon 550D which is a few years old now, but an awesome mid-level digital SLR camera. It also accepts EF and EF-S lenses (more on that here) which means you can attach budget or super-expensive professional grade lenses.
Sadly the 550D is discontinued, but you will be able to pick one up on eBay with a lens for less than £100 – a bloomin’ bargain if you ask me. If you’re not into second hand, then the modern equivalent is the Canon 800D which is a great starting point for any budding food photographer.
What lens should I use for food blog photography?
You can spend as little or as much as you like on a lens. If you’re new to food photography, you’ll discover very early on that you can spend a lot of money very quickly!
If you’re after a “just buy this” recommendation, then go for the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. This is the lens that we use for a lot of the food photography on Slow Cooker Club. It’s known in photography circles as the “Nifty Fifty”.
The Nifty Fifty has a very low aperture, which means that the focal distance is very short and it lets in lots of lovely light. This is important, as it creates a beautiful blurred background when you snap your pics. It’s also an amazing lens for taking portraits – so if you have kids this is the one to buy!
The downside to this lens is that it’s a “prime” lens meaning it has no built-in zoom – you need to enable “sneaker zoom”. Yes, that means you need to walk!
Do I need lighting for food photography?
Short answer – yes. Yes you do.
Longer answer – are you happy (or able) to time your cooking to finish exactly at the point the sun comes through the kitchen window, on a day where the weather is good and the sun is actually out? No, didn’t think so 😉 By using a photography light, you get the same consistent lighting for everything you shoot, at any time of day.
Consistent lighting makes your post-shoot photo editing SO much easier. You don’t need to individually edit every single picture for the lighting conditions at the time of the shot. As the lighting is consistent, the same settings can generally be applied to every picture.
What software do I need for food blog photography?
As above – if you’re looking for a “just buy this” recommendation, then Adobe Lightroom is the answer.
Lightroom has really powerful workflow and organisation tools, and will assist you in correcting the usual things like exposure, contrast and brightness. It won’t correct a terrible photograph, but it’ll go some way in helping you make it look less terrible 😉
Lightroom isn’t free, so you need to be prepared to spend a few quid to get started with it. Lightroom is available on a monthly or annual subscription plan, and if you use it regularly is worth every penny.
If you’re after an Open Source / no cost alternative, then check out Darktable (spot the similar name!). Most importantly it’s free. Whilst not quite as polished as Lightroom it’s a very powerful piece of software, and a very worthy alternative.