A lot of people think you need a ton of expensive equipment to get started in your food photography journey. I promise you, you don’t! I started with just a few pieces of essential equipment and I was set. It wasn’t until I knew I wanted to make this a long term career that I decided to invest in some other helpful pieces. So let’s talk about all of my equipment!

The Equipment I Had When I Started Out

These pieces of equipment were the essentials that I needed to get started in my food photography journey. Again, you might need more or less of what’s listed below, but this is to give you an idea of what I started with. Links will be provided in case you want to check these products out yourself!

*I do make a small commission if you purchase through these links. Please know I would not recommend anything I either haven’t tried or don’t love!*

Camera – Canon Rebel t3i (I already had this camera from high school, so I didn’t have to buy a camera body. I recommend either renting a camera or purchasing a used one to save money). This camera is discontinued, but here’s another great option for canon users just starting out!

Lens – Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 STM Lens (known as the ‘nifty fifty’ in the food photography world – a great, inexpensive starter lens)

Tripod – Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3 Section Tripod (There are less expensive tripods out there, but I knew I was going to stick with food photography, so I decided to invest in a heavy duty tripod. It still works perfectly)

Joystick – Manfrotto New Joystick Head (attachment for the tripod so you can move your camera around)

Attachment to Tripod & Camera – Manfrotto Monopod Head Quick Release

Backdrops, Surfaces, & Props – I went to Home Depot and bought wood panels and concrete slabs for cheap when I first started out. I also made a few of my own backdrops. Here’s a DIY video if you want to make your own! All of my props were from Goodwill. I saved so much money going this route when I first started out.

Present Day – My Equipment as a Professional Food Photographer

I’ve been in business for almost two years now, so my equipment collection has grown tremendously. Again, you might find you don’t need as much as I do. Or you may realize that this list isn’t enough for your business. That’s okay! As small business owners, we all have different goals and expectations for our business. This is just to show you what I find beneficial and useful for my own work. Let’s dive in!

Camera – Nikon Z7ii Mirrorless Body

Lenses – NIKKOR Z MC 105 mm f/2.8 VR S & NIKKOR Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S

Tripod – same as above

Joystick – same as above

Attachment to Tripod & Camera – same as above

C-Stand with Boom Arm – NEEWER Pro

C-Stand Attachments – Rapid Adapter Converter (5/8″)

Continuous Light – Aputure C300d II

Flash – Godox V8600II

Flash Attachments – Godox S-2 Speed Lite S-Type Bracket, Bowens Mount

Flash Trigger – Godox X2T-N TTL Wireless Trigger

Rechargeable Batteries (for trigger) – Eneloop AA Panasonic

Light Stand – Neewer Light Stand

Rectangular Soft Box – Glow EZ Lock 31×47 with Bowens Mount

Umbrella Soft Box – Godox Portable 120cm/47.2″ Umbrella Octagon Soft Box

Stone & Wood Backdrops – Woodville Workshop

Vinyl Backdrops – Bessie Bakes, Everyday.co, Capture by Lucy

Diffuser Kit – Neewer 5 in 1 Reflector/Diffuser

Large White/Black V-Flat – V-WORLD V-Flat

Tethering Cable – Tether Tools (make sure you buy one that works with your camera and laptop!)

Laptop – 2020 Macbook Pro Apple M1 Chip (13 in, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB)

DragonFrame Stop Motion Software

Camera Level – Hot Shoe Camera Leveler

Camera Cleaner Kit

There you have it! If you have any questions about my equipment, please feel free to either comment below or reach out on Instagram. I hope this was helpful! πŸ™‚

  1. Kelly says:

    Hi Kaitlin, I really love your videos! I’m buying a new camera for video (Nikon z6 ii) I currently use a Nikon d90 for photos (not video) and shoot tethered into Lightroom. I’m wondering if you also shoot videos tethered, do you save the raw footage straight to your computer, or what do you do? I’m worried my computer doesn’t have enough storage space for that!

  2. Diane Aftimos says:

    Hello my dear I have been a photographer for more then 20 years πŸ™‚ but am now a little old fashion coz am not using presets, is it possible that u do online workshops to help with what kind of preset suits the food photography πŸ™‚
    And the post production πŸ™‚

  3. Elle says:

    Hi Kaitlin! This is such a helpful resource. Thanks for sharing all of your equipment. Do you have a tutorial you follow for cleaning your camera? I bought a cleaning kit years ago but admittedly haven’t ever cleaned my cameras. Thanks!

  4. Courtney Paige says:

    Hey Kaitlin! Love this post SO much. Could you link your memory cards that you use with your Nikon z ii please? Thanks so much.

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