Food photography tips · Photography

My lens for Food Photography

One of the most common questions that I hear is “what is the best lens to use for food photography?” This is a tough one to answer, because like so many things in photography, it depends greatly on the photographer.

The art of food photography is like product or still life photography – with one major exception; the subject has a very short shelf life. Once the food is in the front of the camera, you only have about ten or fifteen minutes to get your shot or the food will start to fade and look lifeless. With ice cream you have even less time.

If the photographer knows what they are doing, they will select a camera lens because of a combination of factors that pertain the reason for the photograph and to the individual needs of a particular subject matter.

I am a Nikon user, so, all I am telling you in this post is my personal opinion based on my experience. I will not try to make you change your camera or lens. All I am going to do is tell you about the lens I use for my food photography.

Even I have 3 lens, for food photography I use only 2: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. My third one is a tele photo : Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 which is amazing for other  types of photography.  So let’s begin:

Nikon 50mm f/1.8

I start using this lens after almost 2 years since I got it. It was a gift when I bought 24-70mm. I love it. Is a great lens and autofocus is fast and accurate. I used it when I want to  shoot with my camera  in my hand and I have  low light. I can keep ISO small and I will have less noise in my photo.

If I were starting out, I would probably pick the 50mm f/1.8G.

Prime lenses are the primary choice of the food photographer. The fixed glass produces a nicer image with less distortion than a telephoto or zoom lens.

honeydew melon smoothie


Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

While the 24-70mm is not a macro lens, it has a 37 cm (14.5″) minimum focusing distance. That sounds like a long way, but at 70mm you can get pretty close to your subject. If you are shooting on a high resolution sensor (16 megapixels and above) you will be able to crop in quite a bit and so you will be able to get some good closed photos. Bear in mind, this is not a macro lens, but if you want to get in close to a subject, really nice and close, this lens can do that. The sharpness and clarity is amazing, and it is good to have this ability on this lens.

brussels sprouts

traditional wine making process

Another great lens for food photography is a macro lens : Nikon 105mm f/2.8.  It is expensive and is on my to buy list. It gives you a lot of details within the shallow depth of field you choose. And if I want to see all those crazy details up close, the 105mm certainly has the reach . The Nikon 105mm f/2.8G may not be as versatile and lightweight as the 50mm lenses, but it still gives amazing results. Just keep in mind that if you have a big dish to photograph, you will need some space around you, especially on a crop-factor camera!

If you purchase a macro lens with a longer focal length, you will find that it will not only take great up close images of your food, it can work well as portrait lens for taking pictures of the people who make the food!

Like all forms of photography, having expensive gear will not make you a great photographer. You will still need to know about styling, lighting, and composition to make beautiful food pictures.

So…. Keep shooting and Make Time For Your Food Photography!


74 thoughts on “My lens for Food Photography

  1. I also use a 50 mm lens, a 60 mm macro lens and 105 mm macro. I own a 30-70 mm lens but haven’t used that in a very long time, but everything you mention about such a lens makes me think I should unpack it and get using it again…

  2. Wow….that is sharing a lot of great infos…. I will be back in this one more deeply later….I have a lot to learn from it…..thank you so much for your beautiful images and for sharing your expertise

  3. Loved your article! I just got my first DSLR, Nikon d3300, in December. There is still so much for me to learn about photography and food styling. I will be shopping for another lens soon, because I already feel the limitations of the one that came with camera. Thank you so much!

  4. Love this tutorial. I’ve been using the 50mm 1.4 my hubby got me for Christmas. (yes, I’m just a wanna be, but he spoiled me) Now I know why I love how the pictures turn out… thanks to you!

  5. I totally agree with you on the 50mm it was my favourite go to lens until I got a 100mm macro lens this christmas, which now is my preferred lens unless i don’t have enough space. I am sure you will love when you get the 105.

  6. Hopefully I’ll be able to invest in a good camera to improve my photos. Good post with some good tips, thx for the suggestion

  7. Great advice on the photography! Would love to get a macro lens…someday! I wanted to thank you for stopping by the homestead over at! Swing on in for a visit anytime!

  8. i love your shots. especially the close up ones. now i know you are using a nikon, it makes sense they came out the way i like them. because i am a nikon user myself. but mine is an old analog type, which sees more dust in the cabinet than day light now a days. one of these days, i shall get a digital nikon so i won’t always have to depend on my iphone for food pics.

  9. I’m the same and use my 50mm as well as my 85mm prime lenses. The 50mm works better though as it can get slightly closer then the 85mm and it’s easier to get the looking straight down shots. I haven’t tried my 24-70mm, as I wanted the smaller depth of field from the prime lenses. Lovely shots!

  10. I just came across this post while googling my new camera replacement (D5300) You really need to do more photography tutorials because your photography is simply stunning! 😅 I also have the same 50mm as you, and after seeing your photography, clearly I have no idea how to get the best from it, so please teach me haha. I loved this post by the way! 🙂

  11. Some good advice here. Since I’m eventually going to incorporate recipes in my own blog and some planned photo essays on food your posts are going to be a great help. Thank you.
    Like you I have my sights on a macro lens. A Canon lens is beyond my budget but I have found a Tamron lens that should suit my purposes.

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