Here are the food photography resources I have used to create the images on Lemon and Sophia. From my camera and software, to the courses I took to learn how to use them. I’ve also included books and websites which I love that help me to continue to improve. Hopefully, some of the resources listed here can be of help to others. If you have a resource that you love, please let me know in the comments!
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 they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy.
I shoot using a Canon Rebel T6. It is an entry-level DSLR and I love it. My favorite feature is remote live view shooting. This means that the camera connects to my phone with WiFi and I can see what the camera sees on my phone using the Canon Camera Connect app (you find this on Google Play and the Apple App Store free). This feature means I can position my hands in the frame exactly where I want them.
I bought the Rebel T6 from the Canon Store on Amazon. It came with a lot of very useful accessories like a tripod, a strap, camera bag, filters, and extra SD cards. It seems like they change around exactly what comes in the accessories bundle but sometimes you can get lucky as they have some really great deals.
Canon 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS II
The kit lens that comes with the Canon Rebel T6 is an 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens.
Pros: It can zoom in and out making it great for overhead shots. Because it comes with the camera, it’s not necessary to pay extra for it. It’s very versatile so it’s suitable for other types of photography too.
Cons: It doesn’t have a very wide aperture so it’s harder to get the blurred background that looks great with food photography.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
The other lens I use is a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens. This lens is fantastic!
Pros: It’s very affordable and has a really wide aperture. The bokeh effect that you can get with this lens is gorgeous.
Cons: It’s a prime lens meaning it has no zoom function, so you need to move the whole camera closer or further away. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it does limit the use of this lens to still subjects. I have tried to use this lens to take pictures of my baby Sophia but she moves too fast!
Editing photos is a huge part of making an amazing image. I never realized what a difference editing makes or how much time it can take. Now I finally realize why it took so long to get my wedding photos back!
Adobe Lightroom Classic is the software that I use to edit. This program makes it very easy to batch edit photos. There is a lite version that is very quick to learn how to use, however, it doesn’t have all the features you get with Lightroom Classic.
Below you can see how I used Lightroom to brighten the image, crop it to 1:1 ratio, and brush out the skewer which I used the hold the muffins in place. It looks like they’re falling, but I used the skewer to ensure they were angled to catch the light exactly the way I wanted.
Adobe offers Lightroom as part of a monthly subscription. You used to be able to buy specific versions for a one-off payment but with the monthly subscription, the updates are automatic so you always have the most up-to-date version. I have the Photography (20GB) plan for US$9.99/mo. It includes Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop on desktop and iPad, and 20GB of cloud storage. If you’re not sure about it, you can do a free trial first!
The monthly subscription includes Photoshop. While it is possible to edit photos in Photoshop, it is not as easy as it is in Lightroom. Because I’m paying for it though, I insist on using it and it is great for making Pins! I made a few different Pin templates and now I just drop in images from new recipes and change the text. It’s really easy and I love how my Pins look. You can follow me on Pinterest @lemonandsophia.
One thing to note about using the Adobe programs is that the learning curve is REALLY steep. I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out without help from the courses I enrolled in, and many, many YouTube videos.
Now here comes the fun part… Actually learning how to use the camera and software!
A graphic designer tipped me off to Foodtography school because so many people in her industry talk about it. Not going to lie, this course is pretty pricey. However, in my opinion, money spent on learning is money well spent.
I signed up in August 2020 and immediately noticed a difference in my photography. Below is a before and after comparison of how I shot pies.
The course was updated in February 2021 with new units. The school automatically gave all previous alumni access to the new course material free of charge which was pretty cool. They also run a scholarship program to help make the course accessible for everyone.
Food Blogger Pro
Once I felt like my images were good enough to put on a blog, I enrolled in Food Blogger Pro to help me get set up. They have a phenomenal amount of resources. Amongst them is a food photography course by Lindsay Ostrom, founder of the extremely popular food blog Pinch of Yum. The learning process never stops and I feel like you can learn different things from different teachers.
The nice thing about Lindsay’s course is that she is not a professional food photographer. This means that she explains things the way she understands them, so anyone can follow along without needing a background in photography. It’s really easy to understand what she’s doing and why. I’m sure it also helps that she is a former teacher!
Food Blogger Pro has 75+ courses for food blogging and at least 15 of them are related to photography. My favorite course was ‘Natural Lighting for Food Photography’. Lindsay takes you around her house to different windows, at different times of the day to illustrate how the quality of light changes. It’s a fun exercise to do yourself!
While I found video tutorials invaluable, there is a lot to be said for simply studying beautiful pictures printed in full color in a book.
How to Photograph Food: Compose, Shoot, and Edit Appetizing Images by Beata Lubas
You would expect any book on photography to include stunning images but this one takes the cake (pun intended). The images are not just beautiful to look at, they are each an illustration of a particular point that Lubas wants to convey. The double spread demonstrating the effect of different focal lengths on the same shot is a perfect example of this. She shot a chocolate bundt cake with berries and purple pansies with four different focal lengths (35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm) then explains the pros and cons of each lens. This helped me finally understand the differences!
Another thing I love about this book is that Lubas includes a wide variety of foods from sweet to savory. Very often I find that food photography centers on baked goods (probably because they are naturally more drool-worthy). Lubas has photos that make even the humble cucumber look delectable. And not only that, she shows you step-by-step exactly how to do it.
How to Photograph Food is packed with information which is great because that’s what you’re paying for. However, there is so much in there that I found it was beneficial to have a basic understanding of photography already to get the most out of it.
Two Loves Studio
Rachel Korinek is the photographer behind Two Loves Studio. She helps food photographers take amazing photos and has SO MANY great tips on her blog. The one backdrop that I currently have, I made using The Best DIY Food Photography Backdrop tutorial on her blog. Fun fact, she pops up in an interview in How to Photograph Food! In it, she gives her thoughts on editing pictures. She says she realized how important editing is after reading the following quote by Ansel Adams:
Here is a list of blogs with stunning food photography that I love to visit. Many of them I found through the Food Blogger Pro community. Do you have a food blog? Let me know, I’d love to connect!
If you have any questions about anything in this post (or if you just want to chat) leave a message in the comments, shoot me an email at email@example.com, or DM me on Instagram @lemonandsophia.