Ever Wondered What Camera Equipment Professional Food Photographers Use?

Photography is a secretive business, but in this video I show you exactly what equipment I use as a professional food photographer.

I go over the equipment used in my day to day shooting as well as covering the cameras and lenses that I rent to work as a professional food photographer on projects ranging from small chain menu shoots to world wide print campaigns for house hold named brands. Food photography is a bit of an umbrella term and within the field there are loads of different niches, much like portrait photography, there is so much that can be clumped underneath this term, it makes it near impossible to give generic advice. With this in mind, the equipment that I use wont be for every food photographer, but I always find it helpful to know what other people are using to achieve their shots.

Having been a prolific Canon shooter from day one, for no other reason that being handed a Canon when I started out, my kit is based around the Canon 5ds. Alongside the standard 50mm and 100mm lenses that one would expect a food photographer to have, I also use a wide angle lens and two specialist tilt shift lenses. The tilt shift lenses are used for two separate reasons, creating a larger file and increasing the depth of field without losing out on image quality (I wrote an article about that here)

Although this is not the most expensive camera equipment available, it certainly wasn’t cheap, nor was it the equipment that I started out with. The kit was built over a decade. For most of the time I shot with Canon 5D and Canon 5Dmk2 bodies and the gold USM lens system which was far more affordable and almost as good. There are certainly diminishing returns are you spend more and more money, but there are also applications where the further investment does pay for itself.

What is in your kit bag this year?

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32 Comments

Scott Choucino's picture

Sounds like a nice set up :)
Thanks for watching.

Scott Choucino's picture

Cool. Everyone round here is using cambo actus with a 645 on the back or a few have canons on them.

Yeah scrims are a major part of municipal lighting set up for food work. Especially if we have very shiny cutlery

Scott Choucino's picture

Yeah, although the new phase one body has an amazing focus stacking system.

Scott Choucino's picture

I am getting one of each sent to my studio soon to do a comparison. Will try and make a video of it when they arrive.

Leigh Miller's picture

No...because every article/video/vlog for the past 3 years has been about "what's in my bag". Now we all (mostly) know.

Scott Choucino's picture

Probably if more interest to new comers than seasoned pros

Leigh Miller's picture

LOL do you think "BTS" is a new concept because "influencers" do it now?

Stuart Carver's picture

Love food photography so will check this out.

Scott Choucino's picture

Thanks. I’m putting together loads of new content over the next few weeks :)

Tony Clark's picture

It's good to hear a little insight into gear choices. I also shoot Food and Lifestyle and shot 1Series bodies until recently when I replaced them with a couple 5DIV's. I thought about the 5Ds but it's age made me a little nervous and I haven't needed the additional megapixels. As far as lenses, I love the 50L and 100L/IS combo while the 85L/IS is an option for Lifestyle shoot. I bought a 90T/S but it just didn't compliment my shooting style. I have a similar perspective on cameras, they simply capture an image and I've never used autofocus. I suspect that it's comes from a history of shooting medium format film.

Scott Choucino's picture

How did you find going from 1 series to 5 series? Especially for the lifestyle work?

Tony Clark's picture

Scott, I miss the brighter viewfinder, the feel and the sound of the shutter of the 1Series. The 5DIV's produce nice files and the lighter weight is nice when your handholding much of the day. I was ready for a change and have owned pro bodies dating back to the Nikon F4s in the film days and every 1Series DSLR. Remember how much an RZPro weighed with AE Prism, winder and 110mm on the L Grip? I'm sure that I'm showing my age now.

Carlos Teixeira's picture

"Photography is a secretive business" Is it? Is it really?

Scott Choucino's picture

Thanks for watching / reading :)

Carlos Teixeira's picture

oh no, I was caught! XD
But just to share my opinion, this hasn't been my experience, at all. All the people I've meet are really cool and we share everything about our work. I don't know if this trope is still true. Maybe I still haven't arrived at that level, maybe I don't want to.
Oh, I've seen your other videos, cool stuff. I would like to see more of your workflow though. Keep up the good work.

Scott Choucino's picture

I think people share to a limit. I would tell my friends what they need to know, but giving away the info that makes the difference between a $1500 dollar shoot and a $15,000 shoot has great value to it.

Carlos Teixeira's picture

Care to share that 15,000$ shoot info? Or aren't we there yet? :D Or maybe do a paid tuturial...
I think for some time now the ideia of showing and sharing is around, I remember seeing the first Peter Hurley's fstoppers video saying just that, and that was a few years ago. Even if other person as the same information, you still have the experience and personal style that makes the difference.

Tony Clark's picture

Are you surprised by those figures? I've had a number of those projects for Restaurant Groups and Food Manufacturers. They were projects where many factors were considered, including difficulty of shots, number of shots and usage among other things. One of those was a $10K day that I found online, I submitted a bid and it happened fairly quickly. The others were two or three day shoots that came out of a relationship with a previous client. These are all things that one learns while assisting and building relationships.

Carlos Teixeira's picture

Maybe different markets have different values? Not all of them have those values at mainstream jobs. And I said that tongue in cheek, so don't put so much value on what I said there.

Scott Choucino's picture

Details in terms of what the shoot was? mostly they are billboard, point of sale and packaging or perp buy outs of assets for brand use.

I might have a small job this weekend where I will do a youtube video going over how to plan it and execute it. I am not in a position with the bigger clients to waste their time making videos at the same time though. Maybe one day when I have been there for a decade perhaps.

I also agree that leading a horse to water and making them drink are two very different things. But it also took me a decade to learn what I know, get the agent I have, and to make my way into the position that I am in, I am not sure selling a tutorial would really be something that I would want to do with that information.

In the meantime though, I will be giving away information online that I think is of use and that I can personally afford to share. But as with everything, this could all change at the drop of a hat haha.

Carlos Teixeira's picture

I think what you said there is the most important thing to gather from this. Time and experience are maybe the most important things to have, knowledge is important, for sure, but you still have to know how to implement it.

always better to show than to tell, wish he showed some examples of how he use the lenses.

Scott Choucino's picture

Hey,
Yeah I’ve had that feedback from a lot of people. Still very new to YouTube (his was my second video). I’m recording more next week and taking all of the feedback on board.

Duane Klipping's picture

How to use that gear would be more helpful to many. This just leads to a GAS attack for many. They get the same gear and poor results because they can't put it all together.

Scott Choucino's picture

haha, I will slowly get more content out on those terms. Still finding it hard to talk to camera so picking off the easier topics first.

Richard Bradbury's picture

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the video and article.

In mine I have 35mm FF Canon bodies and lenses that range from 24-200mm. I have access (through friends) to other bodies and lenses if needed as well as additional lights so I don't see me adding anything else going forwards... unless I break something (which could well happen).

I am finally happy with the kit as it is. it covers all bases with offering enough redundancy for those oh S**T moments.

Scott Choucino's picture

Yeah it is nice to hit that " I am happy with my lot" section. I would like a 24mm 1.4 and a 135 f2 lens, but I don't really need them.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Nice video Scott!

My most usedd lenses for food are Schneider Kreuznach 90mm and 50mm Tils shift and for closeups Voigtländer 125mm/2.5 APO.

Extremely rare that I use anything wider than 50mm for food.

Scott Choucino's picture

I was looking through my catalog for lens choice. My 35mm rarely gets used, yet the two photos in my portfolio that I used it on are my two most popular images. Maybe I should be re thinking things.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Yeah, I can see 35mm for some specific semi-wide shots, but I'm absolutely allergic to wa distorted food shots. Care to share those 35mm shots?

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