Equip, Lifestyle

Equip: 12 Essentials for Food Photographers, Week of April 19th

Martin Banks

If you’ve tinkered with a Nikon or even a Polaroid camera, you may know a thing or two about photography. However, if you’ve never tried to capture a steaming steak or bubbling glass of champagne, you might be a little unsure what to get the food photographer in your life.

Well, your search for the perfect gift ends here. This comprehensive list has something for everyone — and every budget.

1. Not Perfect Linen Napkins

These linen napkins are perfectly imperfect and add a beautiful texture to any foodie’s photographs. Made in Lithuania from medium-weight fabric, this set of eight gets softer and more supple with each wash. Choose from a variety of colors and three different sizes.

$63 from Etsy

2. Now Designs Terracotta Pinch Bowls

If your favorite photographer feels like their shots are missing something, it’s probably a pinch bowl. This set of six will add a dash of color and interest to their photos without overwhelming the viewer. Each one has a glazed interior and matte terracotta exterior to complement a variety of aesthetics.

$16 from Amazon

3. Tramanto Olive Wood Utensil 5-Piece Set

Salads, soups, and baking mixes will look even better with an olive wood utensil nearby. This set of five includes flat, curved, and slotted spatulas plus two different spoons. Coat them in food-grade mineral oil to keep them looking good as new.

$38 from Amazon 

4. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet

Whether your foodie specializes in pizza or omelets, there’s nothing quite like making and photographing meals in a cast-iron skillet. This pre-seasoned skillet is perfect for grilling, sauteing, broiling, and braising all kinds of food. Choose from a handful of sizes or add a lid at an additional cost.

$18 from Amazon

5. Anolon Pantryware White Marble Serving Board

If you have a bit more room in the budget, gift your photographer a marble serving board. Prep and serve cheeses, crackers, fruits, and more and take stunning pictures with it as a background. A teak wood accent adds a natural touch that pairs well with a wooden utensil set.

$40 from Amazon

6. Vardagen 7 oz. Glasses

Finding the right-sized glass for food photos is incredibly difficult, as they have to be short enough to not vie for the foreground. Luckily, these seven-ounce glasses are small and simple, lending themselves well to taking pictures of everything from flapjacks to three-layer cakes.

$4 from Ikea

7. Cocktails on Tap

Cocktails classify as food, right? Introduce your friend to a whole other side of food photography with this handy recipe book that features craft beers and craft cocktails. Put a hoppy twist on old classics and learn how to make more than 50 different drinks with tips from the pros.

$18 from Amazon

8. Westcott 306 20-Inch 5-in-1 Reflector

Shadows can make food look extremely unappetizing, so many photographers will use a reflector to fix them. Highlight the subject and produce high-contrast images with this five-in-one reflector. The kit includes five different colors to cast the subject in a better light.

$20 from Amazon

9. Neewer Wired Softbox Flash Light Diffuser

A diffuser can also reduce harsh photos by diffusing bright light into a soft glow. Neewer’s 40×40 cm diffuser lets the recipient directly connect bulbs, lamps, and slave flashes so they can choose their perfect level of softness. A portable design also allows for a quick and simple setup and tear down so they’re always ready to shoot food.

$24 from Amazon

10. Tether Tools TetherPro USB 2.0

When you’re taking photographs of food, every minor detail is important. However, you can’t get a good idea of how clear or grainy a photo is on a camera screen. Bring images to the big screen for close scrutiny with a tether tool. This cable attaches the camera to the computer so they can make adjustments to light or composition in real-time.

$37 from B&H

11. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum-Alloy Tripod Kit

Speaking of detail, capturing it takes a steady arm or, in this case, a tripod kit. Three-section legs allow the recipient to take photos at different heights without sacrificing stability. Meanwhile, a rotating center column permits 360 degrees of independent rotation so they can capture food from every angle.

$142 from B&H

12. Nikon AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm

Of course, they’ll also need a quality camera to place on their new tripod. If money is no object, consider gifting them a Nikon macro lens. This short telephoto lens features precise autofocus performance, a nine-blade diaphragm, and an extra-low dispersion element to aid in close-up shots.

$597 from B&H

Study the Subject

When it comes to fueling a photographer’s passion, it’s often helpful to reflect on their portfolio and find common ground. Which subject do they tend to shoot most often? Once you can answer that question, buying a tool or kitchen gadget will be relatively easy.

Martin Banks