MY GEAR

Photographer © Reka Csulak

If you are interested in food photography, you might want to see what equipment I use to take my pictures, so I’ve created a list of my gear, just for you.

Many of the members of my Instagram community and also my students requested to have access to a collection where I list the gear I use, so as requested, I did the inventory and created this page for everyone who is interested in the equipment that makes the photos in the blog posts, my portfolio and of course, on my social media platforms.

“When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.”

I suggest you to start with the equipment you already own or spend only on an entry-level camera. Learn photography foundations, master your gear, be confident about the settings, and introduce editing in your workflow. If you are surely stuck with your new passion and you need some reasonable upgrades that you will surely benefit from, trying to provide better services to your clients, then you are probably ready for an upgrade. 

I’ve started capturing food with my phone’s camera, edited in free apps, these images illustrated my blog posts and social media platforms for more than a year. I have clearly proven that blogging and food photography is really something I want to do. Originally I wanted to buy a KitchenAid, but my ex-husband suggested using the same amount of money and order a DSLR camera. 

Upgrading could be exciting and overwhelming at the same time, so if you have mixed feelings about it, you are not alone. I was super happy that my images will have much better quality, but I did not know my new gear, never edited in Photoshop or in Lightroom, and it seemed an additional time I need to schedule. Now I cannot be more grateful for having the courage to upgrade from mobile phone photography to my first DSLR because nothing is giving me more joy about my self-development than food photography and enhance my images in post-processing.

Be passionate but patient, always take the opportunity to learn from other creatives and spend time to expand your skillset. As a result of this personal growth, you will have the incredible results you never even imagined before!

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products listed below and recommend them because I use them and believe that you would enjoy using them too. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below!

“The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination
you want to create with reality.”

CAMERA & LENS

I guess you would buy your first DSLR camera with a kit lens. But do not forget: there is another option too: <em>buy the camera body and the desired lens individually. This way you invest almost the same amount of money and you don’t have to wait for the opportunity to get the lens you desire.

My choice was the small but smart Canon EOS 200D camera body and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. And yes, it’s really that small, so easy to deal with when I’m shooting from hand too.

As I needed versatile shots for different jobs, I got myself a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 lens for macro photography, and for wide-angle shots a Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 lens too.

I think it’s the best idea to invest in proper batteries for your camera since there is nothing more painful than a few hundred pounds of extra cost in case of cheap battery damages to your beloved camera.

TETHERING

I use the official Canon EOS Utility 3 software for tethered captures while keeping my camera on the tripod I can modify my scene in real-time which provides repeatability, which is crucial. My camera can connect to my laptop wireless, but I’ve found it slows down the processing at motion captures when I have to take multiple images in a short period of time, so I’ve invested in a TetherPro cable.

My new favorite tool is a heavy-duty laptop stand, which makes my life much easier by the opportunity to move my laptop around while tethering.

Normally it is me who is pouring, sprinkling, holding, cutting, doing whatever actions on my pictures, so I have a remote switch with a 5m extension cable, I can plug it directly in the camera. You can set a timer as well, but it’s very time-consuming in some cases to wait 10 seconds repeatedly between two shoots.

By the time I trust more in cable solutions than wireless options.

TRIPOD AND C-STAND

I received a gift card so had the chance to purchase a Manfrotto Action Tripod. I love it so much but unfortunately, it’s not one with the overhead shot option.

After I clearly understood what functions I need in addition to my tripod above, I selected my new top range Manfrotto 190 XPRO 3D tripod kit, which comes with a 190XPRO 3 section tripod that has a 90-degree column and an XPRO 3D head which makes it possible to adjust the camera’s final position and angle along with its 3-way precision system.

I also like to use a heavy-duty c-stand with a sandbag for overhead shots and occasionally to hold diffusers, large backdrops, or lighting equipment in my studio.

ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING

My workflow mostly happens at night so I cannot rely on natural light all the time. I tried a cheap led panel first, but its battery life was ridiculously low. Sometimes I spent hours with styling and shooting different projects so I’ve exchanged for this continuous light I can plug into a socket and won’t let me down as easily as the ones with a battery.

Since I’m focusing on actions very often when I’m shooting food, I needed some upgrade. This is how it happened that I’ve introduced off-camera flash to my workflow. I use this Godox V850II flash with this trigger and for advanced studio work, I got myself a Godox SK400II studio strobe with modeling light function.

DIFFUCER & REFLECTORS

I have a 5-in-1 reflector set that contains a diffuser too. For food photography, I mostly use the diffuser plus the white and black reflectors. Silver is rarely in use, the gold is not too handy when you shoot food since it’s negatively affecting the white balance, but it could be great for specific portraits.

If you do not want to buy a set like this, you can reflect the light with some cheap white and black foam boards or use white EPS, and a simple white fabric sheet could do as a diffuser as well.

When I’ve upgraded to flash, I’ve got an octabox with Bowens mount, which came with a double diffuser and a honeycomb grid.

For product photography I have two, 30 x 140 cm stripboxes that help me creating nice highlights on bottles in addition to the original features of a softbox.

BACKDROPS AND PROPS

I love to create my own wooden backdrops and some props by upcycling unwanted items, use the treasures I find at flea markets or simply transform something unusual into a prop.

PHOTO EDITING

I mostly use Adobe Lightroom Classic CC software for editing my images, nowadays I more likely to use Adobe Photoshop too for commercial work. On mobile, I use the Lightroom CC . For the consistent look on my Instagram stories, I use the full version of Word Swag and Unfold.

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