Equipment for Food Video and Photo

Creating food photos and videos is something amazing, but it needs some minimal equipment for the magic to happen, right?

If you’re curious or what to know about it, I listed the most common equipment for Food Videos and Photos.

Equipment for Food Video and Photo
Photo: Lucas Favre on Unsplash

Camera: Canon Rebel T4i

Camera Gear: Canon Rebel T4i

Since I started working with food photography I use Canon as my go-to camera. It’s a personal choice and because I’m already familiar with the system.

For what I need, I still use the line Rebel which is a mid-range camera. Some can call a prosumer camera. It’s an old model, I bought this camera years ago.

The Canon Rebel T4i specs are:

  • 18 MP
  • APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm; 1.6x crop factor)
  • Video 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps).
  • Articulated screen

As you can see, very common and nothing fancy. Not full frame and/or 4k capabilities. For me, the lack of 4k video is the major issue. But for the type of camera I like and use, the technology isn’t there yet.

In the same lineup, Canon has the model Canon Rebel SL3 with 4k video. But there is a catch: the crop factor is bigger (2.64x) when recording at 4k. And the feature for better images, Dual Pixel autofocus, doesn’t work together.

And no, you don’t need the high-end camera for now. Like 5D Mark, Black Magic or Red. They’re expensive, and if you’re at the beginning, there isn’t a justification for it. But if you can afford, by all means.

My suggestion if you’re planing only/basic online photo and video: start with a basic model and learn about photography. I mean the technical stuff about photos and videos.

  • Canon Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon Rebel T7i


Camera Gear: Lens view from the front

I would say: it can be more important than the camera body itself. The optical magic is done by the amazing glass.

The choice, again, is very personal because depends on what aesthetic you want for your work. Been said, the most common lenses are:

  • 50mm f/1.8: the most basic and usually cheap lens (if the body is plastic). It’s a prime lens, meaning, no zoom. The 50mm is fixed. With f/1.8 you have a shallow depth of field: blurry background.
  • 24-70mm f/2.8: so versatile because it’s a zoom lens, varies between 24 to 70mm. It works for photos and videos as well, the Tasty Videos use this lens. With the zoom, you have a wide and close shot in the same lens and the f-stop is fixed, so the lighting setup is a little bit easier.
  • 100mm macro f/2.8: if you work with food, I highly suggest a macro lens. I took very long to do so, but it was a game-changer. Works for photos and videos as well. For video, you can get those beauty close shots.
Camera Gear: Lenses

For the macro, if your camera isn’t full-frame another choice is 60mm macro because of the crop factor.

But there is a catch: lenses are expensive. In some cases, it can cost more expensive than the camera body. But it’s an investment and normally, we don’t change or buy lenses all the time.

My lenses of choices are Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L and Canon 100mm macro f/2.8 L. The “L” is the Luxury line from Canon. Probably, you already saw then, the lenses with an off-white body and/or the red ring on the lens barrel.

There is a regular model of 24-70mm, but the f-stop is different: f/4. It needs more light than f/2.8 and no shallow depth of field.

Expensive? Yes. But the quality is noticeable in the photos when compared with the regular lenses. Even with my old camera. So, if you want to invest: buy better lenses.


Audio Gear: Zoom Recorders

The image quality is nice, but the sound must be amazing. Because if the image is a little bit bad, we still can watch. But bad sound normally is a deal-breaker. Well, if your videos have talking parts.

Depending on what style your videos will be, you don’t need a microphone or an external recorder. For example, Tasty videos are hands and pans without dialogue.

But if your videos will be like a TV show with a host, in this case, you’ll need it. The most common and simple is a wireless system with a transmitter and a receiver for the audio. Like we see on TV.

The catch: the wireless microphone system can be expensive. Again, if you can afford, be my guest. Back in the day, it could cost around +$600.

Nowadays, it’s less expensive, but still. Some brands like Rode and even Sennheiser offer kits around $300.

An alternative: a wired lavalier microphone plugged in a small recorder. So, you can walk around. It can be more efficient when you work alone.

Audio Gear: Zoom h1 and Audio-Technica Consumer ATR3350XiS

I use an Audio-Technica Lavalier Microphone with a Zoom H1 recorder, the combo cost around $85.

  • Zoom H1n 2-Input / 2-Track Portable Handy Recorder with Onboard X/Y Microphone (Gray)
  • Audio-Technica Consumer ATR3350XiS Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones

You can recorder the audio directly into the camera? I mean: plug the microphone on the camera? If it offers, sure. But recording externally is a fail-safe and improve the quality overall.


Light Gear: Softbox

If you can: LED.

Yes, a little bit more expensive. But thinking in the long run, it’s the choice. Because it’s smaller, less bulk, less heat and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, the fluorescent bulbs do the job. I used (and still use) for years. But the small footprint of the LED panel got me hooked.

Light Gear: LED panels

I have an off-brand LED panel (meaning, I don’t know the real brand), but one well-known brand in the filmmaking world is Aputure.

My suggestion would be: get an LED panel with a fixed color temperature because the bi-color panel will have only half the LEDs in each color.


Tripod Gear

Again, it’ll depend on what type the video you plan to make. If it’s hands and pans, or full body.

But either way, you’ll need some kind of tripod or support for the camera.

For hands and pans like Tasty Videos, you can use a tripod with a vertical column with 90º capability. Meaning: it’ll extend horizontally as well. Not all tripods can do it.

The only problem with a tripod-like that: the height of your table. It can be too close to the camera depending on your lens. It will affect the overall aesthetic.

Or you can use 2 c-stands with a horizontal bar with support in the middle. Tasty uses this system (I can confirm because I worked with them). You’ll have more control, but it’s bulkier.

Tripod gear: c-stand

For full body or head-shot, basically any tripod will work. But pay attention to the head (some professional tripod, like Manfrotto, you buy the head separated) and the maximum weight the tripod can handle.

  • Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod with Horizontal Column MT055XPRO3
  • Manfrotto 500 Fluid Video Head with flat base MVH500AH

Batteries and Stuff

Video gear: batteries

Get more batteries. Period. If you plan to make videos, it’s a must. They go quickly and it isn’t cute in the middle of the shooting.

Generally speaking, Canon camera lasts a little longer. But Sony (Alpha 7) goes faster, so get more. The same for the other equipment.

I usually have a mix of regular batteries and rechargeable ones. Sometimes, we’ll forget to charge them or run out. So, a backup plan is nice to have.

Oh, Hi! I'm Vitor Hugo!

Food Scientist and cook who mixed together two passions Science and Food: the best combination. Kind different, right? Read More…

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