My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

It’s been a year since I did my last post on my Food Photography Journey.

In the year gone by, lot has changed – my skill set, styling, composition, creation and recently my gear. Yes, I finally took the plunge and bought my first dSLR. The first few shots from which I posted last week.

IMG_0040My confidence grew in last one year so did the acknowledgement for my work and capability. I got numerous comments on quality of photography, which were almost always accompanied with the disbelief that I was using a P&S.

I even started Revisiting: Through the Lens Series, where I re-shot my own earlier dishes with better knowledge but using the same camera.

Roasted Banana Ice cream with Lemon Caramel Sauce | #leftover

Roasted Banana Ice cream with Lemon Caramel Sauce | #leftover

2 weeks ago after seeing shots of Roasted Banana Icecream with Lemon Caramel Sauce, I was approached by a professional photographer to do a commercial Ice cream shoot with him.

I couldn’t take up the assignment but yes it did brought home the fact that I need to upgrade to a dSLR.

It was time to get out of my comfort zone of using a P&S and move onto the next level.

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

Once the decision was taken, the rest of it was easy. In 3 hours I had the dSLR, lens as well as a good configuration PC suitable for image processing ordered. Whoa!!

Each and every item was thought of, accounted for and calculated for before buying. I have been researching what I wanted, what was suitable and what I could afford for last 18 months.

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

I will list few thoughts & reasons on what I chose and why. I am hoping that some day some of you will be in my position and this post would be able to help you make the right choices or at least give you some food for thought.

1. Camera (Model) – Budget played a major role here for me. So my first step was to look at cameras which would be cheap, which immediately brought me to the starting range of a dSLR. I decided I didn’t want to go for totally lower range based on price but slightly more low-medium range. This gave me the option of choosing from Canon 450D, 550D, 600D and 650D – models which are cheap but at the same time do carry some good functions relevant to higher models. 450D & 550D are no longer produced. I compared 600D & 650D as well as reading about 60D. I found that the price difference between 600D & 650D was making my budget go haywire, so I settled on 600D.

Then again, the camera which I would have preferred to start with is Canon 60D.

How To Blanch Tomatoes | My First dSLR

How To Blanch Tomatoes | My First dSLR

2. Camera (Brand) – Canon & Nikon, both are considered at par and provide excellent results. Most professional photographers work with both brands. I chose Canon purely for 2 reasons – firstly, during my various reading on which brand to buy, a few did mention that for lower range Canon is very slightly better than Nikon. Second reason was personal – the comfort factor of already using Canon P&S for last 3 years. So a familiarity with the brand and little bit of controls etc was there. As I said both the reasons are more personal choice.

So any brand is a good game if you are willing to buy.

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

3. Camera (Body Alone) – The more I read about using a kit lens, the more convinced I got that it will not be useful for me. I say this because, usually “kit lens tend to be inexpensive zoom lenses that range from medium wide angle to mid telephoto for added versatility”. The price of body alone with a lens of my choice was almost same as camera with kit lens. I didn’t want to increase my budget by the same amount of money. So, for me it was an easy decision to go for body alone with lens of my choice.

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

That being said, you can get very good result with kit lens too to start with, just like a P&S has a huge potential if used correctly and my own photography is a live example of this.

4. Lens (Prime: 50mm, f/ 1.8) – This choice was easy as the most commonly used & recommended lens for food photography is a prime lens. And this specification is cheapest. Prime lens 50mm, f/1.4 is superior but the price difference is huge.

50mm, f/1.8 is an excellent choice to start with for food photography.

How To Blanch Tomatoes | My First dSLR

How To Blanch Tomatoes | My First dSLR

5. Accessories – Battery, charger, SD Card & camera bag, all came in as part of the camera for me from the shop I bought from. SD Card & bag you need to buy separately most of the times.

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

6. Personal Computer – It was a big decision due to the cost involved as well as the shift from using a laptop for over a decade to a desktop. Purely for the cost factor and ease of choosing my own parts, I decided to go for assembled PC. I spent a lot of time asking existing photographers their recommendations, minimum I need to have. Based on it, I went in for – 1 TB Hard Disk, 8 GB RAM, Intel i5 (4th generation) processor, 2 GB graphic card, USB 3.0 port, etc,.

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

For me a PC which is relevant for next 2-3 years was a big starting and deciding factor.

It is a longish post and I end here. Thankfully for all of you and me :) And I do hope that if you have stayed on and read till the end, you might have gained some useful information out of it.

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

My Food Photography Gear | Camera, Lens & Image Processing PC

I will tell you more about image processing software, workflow & tripod I am using in a future post.

I have shared some images here clicked in the last 1 week using the Canon 600D with 50mm, f/1.8 prime lens. As you can see it is giving good results for portrait, nature, candid shots and food with bokeh.

All opinions expressed are my own conclusions drawn basis on my requirements, budget & need. What is your food photography gear, how it came about? What is your food photography story? I would love to read.

  • I started with a P&S and when I upgraded with my 1st Canon Rebel I saw big improvements in my food pictures. I gave my son for Christmas my 1st Rebel and upgraded to the Rebel T4i with a 50mm 1.8 len like you. This lens is amazing. I do shoot in RAW, on a tripod, natural light only. I then process in Lightroom 5. It made a big difference in my work and companies started to approaching me and do food pictures. Would you tell me more about the your blue background with the tomatoes. Is is a piece of wood that you painted yourself? Thanks so much for the post.

    • Thanks Helene. The decision to move to a dSLR was a big one for me and I kept practising with P&S and tried do better with each click. Yes there is a huge difference with just upgrading to camera & lens. I have yet to start with RAW & post processing, which hopefully should start from next week. Thanks for visiting my space.

      Regarding the blue plank, its from a vintage wooden almirah that I purchased from my neighbour. They had it painted blue. It was used for many years and hence the worn look of the plank. But I believe painting boards blue or any other color is quite doable.

  • It’s quite a commitment isn’t it! Enjoyed looking through your camera bag :)

  • Varun Khanna

    Great going Deepali … finally started visiting your blog ! And am happy i finally did :)

    And i can so relate to this post … i went exactly through this phase sometime back .. and the nifty fifty is as well my always on lens .. !

  • Varun Khanna

    Great going Deepali … finally started visiting your blog ! And am happy i finally did :)

    And i can so relate to this post … i went exactly through this phase sometime back .. and the nifty fifty is my always on lens as well .. !

    I think on buying a macro 50mm but then that price tag keeps reminding of realities.

  • Varun Khanna

    :) even for me before i pic the macro, am planning to order the book you’ve recommended to brush up my skills. !

    • Yes that book is excellent. I recently shared that book with a friend who is interested in portrait photography and she is also finding it extremely useful.