How to shoot dramatic food photography with cheap used camera gear

Tips & Techniques

Photography has been in the digital age long enough now that even a used $200 or less DSLR can produce some pretty amazing photography – when placed in the right hands. And with many restaurants closed, a lot more folks are eating at home, where you don’t need to be subtle with your smartphone to snap your dinner.

In this video from The Bite Shot, Joanie Simon shows us some great ways to shoot dramatic food photos using her $200 used Canon Rebel T2i (EOS 550D), originally released back in 2010. So, if you’ve got an inexpensive DSLR hanging around, or maybe you’ve spotted one or two online you’re thinking about getting for your kids, this is a good way to improve those skills.

As well as the camera and lens, Joanie also uses a light stand with a boom arm to mount the camera, a large diffuser over the window to help soften the light, a medium reflector to bounce some light back where she wants it, and a few sheets of black foam board to help minimise unwanted reflections and spill.

Joanie is a professional food photographer and understands the need that often pops up for higher-end kit. But the video just goes to show that you really don’t need it all the time, and certainly not for every shot. There is plenty that you can do with very inexpensive and “limited” equipment. And from looking at the final images, nobody would ever know if you shot it on a used 18-year-old $50 Nikon D100 or a shiny new $3,500 Sony A7R IV.

So, put away the smartphone, you don’t need to be sneaky in your food photography at home. So, pull out the gear and get practising!

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