What lenses for food photography

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
AchilleasEmm Regular Member • Posts: 158
What lenses for food photography
1

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography. I will mostly shoot for a blog I intend to start around recipes , which i want to accompany with a nice photo of the particular dish.

After searching a little bit almost everyone recommends a macro, a 50mm and a 35mm. The latter two I will definetely buy as soon as they become available in my country. I don't know if I should buy a macro lens though. I know it is mostly used for a tighter crop on flat lays and a flattering 45 degree photo.

Considering that i will not use it professionally just for my personal usage is a macro needed? I would love to hear your opinions.

JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: What lenses for food photography
1

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography.

Do you have some reference photos of images you would like to mimic?

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I believe in wabi-sabi :a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. I appreciate beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" in nature.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/billpoplawski/albums/with/72157716942456506

 JeffSlade's gear list:JeffSlade's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm X-T1 GoPro Hero7 Black Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +7 more
OP AchilleasEmm Regular Member • Posts: 158
Re: What lenses for food photography

JeffSlade wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography.

Do you have some reference photos of images you would like to mimic?

These photos are downloaded from google but you get the idea

JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: What lenses for food photography

AchilleasEmm wrote:

JeffSlade wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography.

Do you have some reference photos of images you would like to mimic?

These photos are downloaded from google but you get the idea

This will help others who come along to reply with better knowledge than I have.

-- hide signature --

I believe in wabi-sabi :a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. I appreciate beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" in nature.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/billpoplawski/albums/with/72157716942456506

 JeffSlade's gear list:JeffSlade's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm X-T1 GoPro Hero7 Black Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +7 more
BBbuilder467 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,051
Re: What lenses for food photography
1

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography. I will mostly shoot for a blog I intend to start around recipes , which i want to accompany with a nice photo of the particular dish.

After searching a little bit almost everyone recommends a macro, a 50mm and a 35mm. The latter two I will definetely buy as soon as they become available in my country. I don't know if I should buy a macro lens though. I know it is mostly used for a tighter crop on flat lays and a flattering 45 degree photo.

Considering that i will not use it professionally just for my personal usage is a macro needed? I would love to hear your opinions.

A conventional prime lens can probably frame a subject about the size of a coffee mug. If you want to frame subjects smaller than that, you would likely need macro.

If you are standing above the subject on a tabletop, you're probably too close to use focal lengths longer than 35mm or 50mm or you would have to stand on something. That's probably why someone suggested the shorter focal lengths. You can barely fit a dinner plate in frame at 50mm in FF pointing down from eye-level.

if you aren't trying to be creative with shallow dof, I'd start with a kit zoom. That would have the range of focal lengths to work with and have reasonable magnification. You just won't get the shallow dof.

lehill
lehill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,979
Re: What lenses for food photography

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography. I will mostly shoot for a blog I intend to start around recipes , which i want to accompany with a nice photo of the particular dish.

After searching a little bit almost everyone recommends a macro, a 50mm and a 35mm. The latter two I will definetely buy as soon as they become available in my country. I don't know if I should buy a macro lens though. I know it is mostly used for a tighter crop on flat lays and a flattering 45 degree photo.

Considering that i will not use it professionally just for my personal usage is a macro needed? I would love to hear your opinions.

You don't say what camera these lenses are for. "Everyone" should have recommended a fast lens (like f/2.8 or faster) too.

  • Those focal lengths are suggested so you can be reasonably close to the food instead of 6 ft away (bad if you're at a crowded restaurant or don't have a high ceiling). They also don't have much noticeable perspective distortion.
  • A macro lens is usually suggested for food photography because you want to get a frame-filling photo of that hamburger or egg or blueberry or whatever. A regular lens can't focus that close.
  • A plain ol' kit zoom lens could work sometimes - they're designed to be versatile and can focus kinda close. But they're usually too slow to work inside a dim restaurant without using flash and disturbing other patrons.

Put these all together and something like a 50mm f/2.8 macro hits a sweet spot for food photography. What hits the sweet spot for you could be different depending on the list above.

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Lance H

 lehill's gear list:lehill's gear list
Sony a7 II Sony a99 II Sony a7R IV Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM +26 more
OP AchilleasEmm Regular Member • Posts: 158
Re: What lenses for food photography

lehill wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography. I will mostly shoot for a blog I intend to start around recipes , which i want to accompany with a nice photo of the particular dish.

After searching a little bit almost everyone recommends a macro, a 50mm and a 35mm. The latter two I will definetely buy as soon as they become available in my country. I don't know if I should buy a macro lens though. I know it is mostly used for a tighter crop on flat lays and a flattering 45 degree photo.

Considering that i will not use it professionally just for my personal usage is a macro needed? I would love to hear your opinions.

You don't say what camera these lenses are for. "Everyone" should have recommended a fast lens (like f/2.8 or faster) too.

I am in the process of buying RF glass. I have at the moment the 15-35 2.8 and intend to buy by the end of the year the 70-200 and a 50mm

  • Those focal lengths are suggested so you can be reasonably close to the food instead of 6 ft away (bad if you're at a crowded restaurant or don't have a high ceiling). They also don't have much noticeable perspective distortion.

I am not a pro food photographer. I will do it at my home with some basic setup and lights. I have bought and have crafted a few interesting backgrounds for the photos and want to buy a small strobe but thats it.

  • A macro lens is usually suggested for food photography because you want to get a frame-filling photo of that hamburger or egg or blueberry or whatever. A regular lens can't focus that close.
  • A plain ol' kit zoom lens could work sometimes - they're designed to be versatile and can focus kinda close. But they're usually too slow to work inside a dim restaurant without using flash and disturbing other patrons.

Put these all together and something like a 50mm f/2.8 macro hits a sweet spot for food photography. What hits the sweet spot for you could be different depending on the list above.

Thank you for your response. I say again that i dont intend to be a pro. Just for my personal use and enjoyment. I mostly shoot landscapes and travel. But i want to merge my passion of cooking with my hobby of photography

Anders_K Contributing Member • Posts: 892
Re: What lenses for food photography

First try to improve your photographic techniques before you think about optimizing your lens.

What do you expect to get from a macro lens shooting a steak ???

A dish picture must be sharp from front to rear including decoration, in good light, with 'salivating' coulours.

Focus stacking and decent but artful post processing are important elements too.

Begin with a photo ring light ....

JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: What lenses for food photography
1

AchilleasEmm wrote:

lehill wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography. I will mostly shoot for a blog I intend to start around recipes , which i want to accompany with a nice photo of the particular dish.

After searching a little bit almost everyone recommends a macro, a 50mm and a 35mm. The latter two I will definetely buy as soon as they become available in my country. I don't know if I should buy a macro lens though. I know it is mostly used for a tighter crop on flat lays and a flattering 45 degree photo.

Considering that i will not use it professionally just for my personal usage is a macro needed? I would love to hear your opinions.

You don't say what camera these lenses are for. "Everyone" should have recommended a fast lens (like f/2.8 or faster) too.

I am in the process of buying RF glass. I have at the moment the 15-35 2.8 and intend to buy by the end of the year the 70-200 and a 50mm

  • Those focal lengths are suggested so you can be reasonably close to the food instead of 6 ft away (bad if you're at a crowded restaurant or don't have a high ceiling). They also don't have much noticeable perspective distortion.

I am not a pro food photographer. I will do it at my home with some basic setup and lights. I have bought and have crafted a few interesting backgrounds for the photos and want to buy a small strobe but thats it.

  • A macro lens is usually suggested for food photography because you want to get a frame-filling photo of that hamburger or egg or blueberry or whatever. A regular lens can't focus that close.
  • A plain ol' kit zoom lens could work sometimes - they're designed to be versatile and can focus kinda close. But they're usually too slow to work inside a dim restaurant without using flash and disturbing other patrons.

Put these all together and something like a 50mm f/2.8 macro hits a sweet spot for food photography. What hits the sweet spot for you could be different depending on the list above.

i dont intend to be a pro. Just for my personal use and enjoyment. I mostly shoot landscapes and travel. But i want to merge my passion of cooking with my hobby of photography

My wife has a passion for cooking so we started a YouTube channel in March 2020 and we now have 428 subscribers. I learned a lot about video and audio in the process.

I know you are focused on photography and I think you said blog. That's great!

Just saying people passionate about food who are willing to learn simple video and audio are doing really well on YouTube!

Have fun!

-- hide signature --

I believe in wabi-sabi :a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. I appreciate beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" in nature.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/billpoplawski/albums/with/72157716942456506

 JeffSlade's gear list:JeffSlade's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm X-T1 GoPro Hero7 Black Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +7 more
OP AchilleasEmm Regular Member • Posts: 158
Re: What lenses for food photography

JeffSlade wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

lehill wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

Good evening

I want to get into some amateur food photography. I will mostly shoot for a blog I intend to start around recipes , which i want to accompany with a nice photo of the particular dish.

After searching a little bit almost everyone recommends a macro, a 50mm and a 35mm. The latter two I will definetely buy as soon as they become available in my country. I don't know if I should buy a macro lens though. I know it is mostly used for a tighter crop on flat lays and a flattering 45 degree photo.

Considering that i will not use it professionally just for my personal usage is a macro needed? I would love to hear your opinions.

You don't say what camera these lenses are for. "Everyone" should have recommended a fast lens (like f/2.8 or faster) too.

I am in the process of buying RF glass. I have at the moment the 15-35 2.8 and intend to buy by the end of the year the 70-200 and a 50mm

  • Those focal lengths are suggested so you can be reasonably close to the food instead of 6 ft away (bad if you're at a crowded restaurant or don't have a high ceiling). They also don't have much noticeable perspective distortion.

I am not a pro food photographer. I will do it at my home with some basic setup and lights. I have bought and have crafted a few interesting backgrounds for the photos and want to buy a small strobe but thats it.

  • A macro lens is usually suggested for food photography because you want to get a frame-filling photo of that hamburger or egg or blueberry or whatever. A regular lens can't focus that close.
  • A plain ol' kit zoom lens could work sometimes - they're designed to be versatile and can focus kinda close. But they're usually too slow to work inside a dim restaurant without using flash and disturbing other patrons.

Put these all together and something like a 50mm f/2.8 macro hits a sweet spot for food photography. What hits the sweet spot for you could be different depending on the list above.

i dont intend to be a pro. Just for my personal use and enjoyment. I mostly shoot landscapes and travel. But i want to merge my passion of cooking with my hobby of photography

My wife has a passion for cooking so we started a YouTube channel in March 2020 and we now have 428 subscribers. I learned a lot about video and audio in the process.

I know you are focused on photography and I think you said blog. That's great!

Just saying people passionate about food who are willing to learn simple video and audio are doing really well on YouTube!

Have fun!

Thats really nice! What lenses do you use??

JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: What lenses for food photography
1

AchilleasEmm wrote:

JeffSlade wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

i dont intend to be a pro. Just for my personal use and enjoyment. I mostly shoot landscapes and travel. But i want to merge my passion of cooking with my hobby of photography

My wife has a passion for cooking so we started a YouTube channel in March 2020 and we now have 428 subscribers. I learned a lot about video and audio in the process.

I know you are focused on photography and I think you said blog. That's great!

Just saying people passionate about food who are willing to learn simple video and audio are doing really well on YouTube!

Have fun!

Thats really nice! What lenses do you use??

I started in March using my Fuji X-T1 with it's kit 18-55mm. Then I brought in my Hero 4 and Canon 6D with a 35mm lens.

The X-T1 has a recording limit of 15 minutes but I liked the video IQ. I had some challenges color matching the footage from the various cameras.

These days I only use my 3 GoPro 7 Black's and Hero 4. I use TASCAM DR-10L audio devices. The GoPro's meet my needs right now.

I do have my eye on a Panasonic Lumix GH5. I'm starting to build a separate YouTube channel based upon local community impact due to lockdowns and the GH5 might be the camera for interviews.

-- hide signature --

I believe in wabi-sabi :a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. I appreciate beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" in nature.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/billpoplawski/albums/with/72157716942456506

 JeffSlade's gear list:JeffSlade's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm X-T1 GoPro Hero7 Black Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +7 more
MPrince Senior Member • Posts: 1,831
Re: What lenses for food photography

You can use any lens you want for food photography. I've used 25mm, 35mm, 40mm 45mm, and 70mm lenses and I've also used zooms, including 14-42, 40-150, 14-150, and 24-105.

I've used all of these lenses on various formats, MFT, APS-C, and FF.

I've also used the camera on my phone.

The first rule of photography is there are no rules.

The second rule of photography is THERE ARE NO RULES.

(Apologies to Fight Club )

JustUs7 Senior Member • Posts: 1,549
Re: What lenses for food photography

AchilleasEmm wrote:

I am in the process of buying RF glass. I have at the moment the 15-35 2.8 and intend to buy by the end of the year the 70-200 and a 50mm.

I am not a pro food photographer. I will do it at my home with some basic setup and lights. I have bought and have crafted a few interesting backgrounds for the photos and want to buy a small strobe but thats it.

If you’re shooting with an R series, you’d be hard pressed to beat the RF 35mm f/1.8 - 0.5 macro. Close focusing. If you have the RP, R6, or R5 you have automatic focus stacking is available. If you have more room to work, look at the RF 85mm f/2 - 0.5 macro. I only say that because you mention being able to set up at home. The 50mm you mention will be good too, but no IS or macro on that lens.

I have an RP and the 35 and 85 and I’m enjoying both.  I feel I should add, if you own the 15-35 2.8, which is by all accounts a great lens, what do you feel is lacking with that one?

 JustUs7's gear list:JustUs7's gear list
Canon EOS 1000D Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Canon EOS RP Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS +3 more
OP AchilleasEmm Regular Member • Posts: 158
Re: What lenses for food photography

JustUs7 wrote:

AchilleasEmm wrote:

I am in the process of buying RF glass. I have at the moment the 15-35 2.8 and intend to buy by the end of the year the 70-200 and a 50mm.

I am not a pro food photographer. I will do it at my home with some basic setup and lights. I have bought and have crafted a few interesting backgrounds for the photos and want to buy a small strobe but thats it.

If you’re shooting with an R series, you’d be hard pressed to beat the RF 35mm f/1.8 - 0.5 macro. Close focusing. If you have the RP, R6, or R5 you have automatic focus stacking is available. If you have more room to work, look at the RF 85mm f/2 - 0.5 macro. I only say that because you mention being able to set up at home. The 50mm you mention will be good too, but no IS or macro on that lens.

I have an RP and the 35 and 85 and I’m enjoying both. I feel I should add, if you own the 15-35 2.8, which is by all accounts a great lens, what do you feel is lacking with that one?

Absolutely nothing! Its just that i dont like wider than 35 for food photography. Plus i prefer primes for that purpose. My 15-35 is mostly for landscapes and travel and i intend to add a 70-200 for the same reason. I know they are expensive lenses but i have the feeling they worth every penny

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