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.
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.
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”
Love ur blog gabriela. It’s just so yummy!
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…
This is amazing! And your pictures are gorgeous!
VERY good tutorial, thanks!
Great post, thanks!
Thanks for the tips! Great post 🙂
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
Thank you for sharing you knowledge! Food photography is certainly a challenge, but your photos make it look easy!!
When I bought my camera I made the mistake of just taking the macro lens that the rep recommended. I like it but it isn’t what I would probably pick for myself. I really appreciate these posts!
Haven’t used my Nikon D5300 for the food part of my blogging yet. But probably would use my 18-55 mm as the other one I have atm is a 55-300 …
I think you can use both. Depends on what you want to shoot.
Haha im stuck with the iPhone cam 🙂
Me with my IPod 😁!!!
Still good photos to take.
True. Still, here’s to all non-camera bloggers! :p
ThaNo you for stopping by and liking my recent post. It’s greatly appreciated.
You are welcome
Thank you for visiting my blog. And thank you for the tips!
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!
Thank you. Good luck!
I think that a bit of suggestive poetry like you do is also a great tip. Raw is beautiful 😉 Happy days and well done!
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!
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.
I am also a Nikon shooter and use the 50mm 1.4 most of the time
I also use the 105 macro and the 24-70
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
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 standupongrace.com! Swing on in for a visit anytime!
You are so very welcome!
What a wonderful post, thank you!!!! I’ve wondered the same thing myself
very good advise..
Great post! As an armature in photography it’s always helpful to read posts like this, they help me push my own work and learn faster. Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading more!
Keep pushing yourself.
You have a great eye with your photos. You do a wonderful job and have inspired me to invest in a nicer camera.
Looks so yummy and so informative!
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.
Thank you.Nikon fan all the way.
Beautiful photography and excellent tips! 🙂
You are talented!
Thank you for this, so helpful. I have been using my first DSLR, a Nikon too, and have been learning so much each day. This is so informative and I am even happier to see tips by a Nikon user …thanks!! 🙂
You are welcome
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!
I also use 50mm and I cant imagine my life without it. Great tips
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! 🙂
Thank you. Is on my to do list.
Just the post I was looking for. Very well explained.
great tips! 🙂
Great post with wonderful photos, now I know I’ll start saving for the macro lens …
I’m so happy I found your blog! I need to get a new lens for my camera and this blog answers exactly of what I was searching for! Thank you! Great post!
Thank you. Happy to help
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.