Finding the best camera for food photography can cause more headaches than excitement with such a wide range of prices and camera features. Today, we’re giving you our top 6 tips for finding the best food photography camera based on camera features. Focusing on the camera features you actually want in a new camera can help you choose the best camera. It also helps you, so you don't waste money on features you’ll never use.
Equipment costs can quickly sap the excitement out of a new career or hobby. I remember when my wishlist was full of cameras with a price range of $500 up to $6,000 for that full-frame camera used by professional photographers. Shopping for a “professional” camera can easily return options costing hundreds to thousands of dollars. Yet, by 2025, the average price per digital camera is expected to rise to $189.97 USD. This may seem strikingly low. You just need to decide what features you need and want. Remember, most expensive, isn't always the best.
Adjustable Camera Flip Screen
One unique aspect of food photography is your proximity to potential messes. No one wants to drop a camera on a beautifully frosted cake. And you definitely don’t want to touch your digital LCD screen after arranging buttered croissants.
An adjustable camera screen and accompanying tripod are essential for a baker looking for technical and artistic shots. Without a stable setup for both, you could face destroyed baked goods and messy screens. Adjustable camera screens are typically stable in at least two positions, both facing the front and back of your camera lens.
This allows you to view the shot from either side of your food subject. This saves you time and gives you confidence in your shots. This is definitely a nice-to-have feature for your food shoots.
Remote Control Capabilities
Similar to the conveniences of adjustable camera screens, remote control capabilities are essential. They can help you achieve a variety of shots when you need to handle food in between shooting.
With the simple press of a remote control, you can take food photos without touching your camera. You can also ensure that accidental frosting or crumbs land on only your remote control and not the inner workings of your camera. Keep in mind that looking for a camera with Bluetooth capability is a great alternative to one that comes with a remote control. High-quality Bluetooth-enabled remote controls are easy to find separately, making them a good choice for your perfect camera.
Camera’s Ability to Shoot RAW Files
Learning about different photo file formats is essential to upgrade both your photography and photo editing skills. While JPEG files are handy to send via email and store on your phone, these files are only so large because your camera already processes them. This means that you’re missing out on additional metadata and photo detail that could be preserved in different file formats, ultimately affecting your image quality.
Shooting food photos in RAW files isn’t essential for every photographer but will offer you the most control over the details and quality of your photos. RAW files contain uncompressed grayscale picture data that allows you to alter white balance, tonal range, color saturation, and more without deleting data. In addition, you’ll always be able to revisit your original file when shooting RAW files.
When purchasing and using a camera to shoot RAW files, remember that you’ll have to manually set your camera to shoot in the RAW file format. Pictures taken in JPEG or other formats cannot be transitioned to RAW format after being taken. And I would encourage everyone to start shooting in RAW now. Don't wait! You may need a few more memory cards since the file size is so much larger, but it's a great way to have access to all the fine details of your images.
Continuous Shooting Mode For Food Photography
Continuous shooting camera mode consists of multiple photos taken in rapid succession. This mode is popular in sports shots or when taking photos of wildlife to increase the odds of getting a clear and beautiful shot.
This can seem counterintuitive as a need in food photography, as you’re taking pictures of prepared and unmoving dishes. But action shots are enticing in all genres. For example, eggs falling into a bowl and syrup dripping over pancakes are all mouth-watering shots much easier taken in continuous shooting mode.
Different cameras will have different frames per second rates, translating to a maximum number of photos taken in continuous shooting mode. While more photos to choose from is always wonderful, there’s no need to go overboard. All continuous shooting modes will give you more options than relying on your own reaction time alone.
Most of the time, you will be using a tripod when photographing food. But there are those times when you will not be able to use a tripod, and it may be darker than you want for an image. Low light is difficult to shoot without a tripod. To help you get through these low-light situations, a great ISO range is important to have with your camera. A higher ISO will let you handhold when trying to take an image. There is a sweet spot for your camera (they all have it), and sometimes it may be better than others in high ISO situations, but the noise in the image may still be prevalent.
Camera tethering consists of a photography setup where the camera is directly connected via wires to a laptop or computer. Instead of photos being saved and displayed on the digital camera, the photos are directly saved to the hard drive of the connected computer and displayed there. A lot of food photographers use this, and they will tether to Adobe lightroom.
One huge benefit of food photography is that many shoots are organized inside one’s own home or private property. This allows the stationery setup of camera tethering in many circumstances.
Tethering has the benefit of saving space on your digital camera’s SD card. But the main benefit is displaying larger and more accurate shooting results in real-time. So you’ll never wonder when you have to reshoot!
Finding the Best Camera for Food Photography
Finding the best camera for your food photography should be a balance between budget and features. Look for options that will make your shoots easier and more streamlined to make the most of your investment. Price points for cameras really do have a huge range. But the good news is that a costly camera isn't always the right camera for you when trying to capture high-quality images. Ready to learn more about food photography and camera modes? Give our Beginner’s Guide to Camera Settings a read today.
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