I often get messaged on Instagram and asked what I use to take photos of my food for Instagram and my blog, so I thought I’d share with you, what’s in my camera bag . Up until 2 months ago it was my Ipad, which produced some nice results, when edited with a few of the best editing apps I have found. My favourite apps to edit photos are:
- Photoshop Touch
Snapseed is my favourite, I think it’s free and it’s the best app I have used. It allows you to edit photos as you would with the Photoshop software. However, I don’t get along with Photoshop on my computer, so I use snapseed to edit all my photos. I sharpen and adjust contrast, shadows and sometimes the brightness with snapseed and depending on whether I have tried to be creative with my photos, I use the brush tool to darken the background of my photos and vignette too. Then I head on over to VSCO and crop, sharpen a bit more and sometimes add a filter or two. Photoshop touch was my second favourite, up until they changed the app, the new version I am not fussed on, as it’s inferior to it’s predecessor.
Another tip when using a smartphone, is to use reflectors and natural lighting. These two can achieve you some great results, but never use a flash. Unless you know how to use flash then don’t, it achieves horrid results, which can wash out the photo and make the food look greasy and vile. Placing your food near a window and using a white reflector to bounce shadows is best and it creates more of a natural look. It wasn’t until I started using a DSLR that I started bouncing shadows and paying more attention to composition and styling. However, my photos are still nowhere near as good as some food bloggers I’ve seen and envied, but I learn more and more everyday.
So What’s In Your Camera Bag?
Enter the Nikon D5200; it’s an entry level DSLR, which is far more affordable than an FX camera and also as I am still a beginner, I don’t require anything other than an entry level at the moment. I love it. Take it from me when I say that, just because you have a decent piece of kit, it doesn’t mean that you are going to get decent photos; you have to learn how to use that camera to the nth degree and selecting the auto function is a complete no, no. I’m still learning how to use it and I have produced some horrible results with it, but everyday I learn something new and everyday my results get better – practise makes perfect. So far I have found the Nikon D5200 to be very user friendly, it doesn’t require much thought when taking a photo, the 3 main components: Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO; are right on the screen where you need them. Although, the camera is a bit slow to respond in live view and the battery doesn’t last very long at all, especially when using a flash gun, but for me right now, it’s perfect and it’s everything I have ever wanted.
I used the kit lens which came with the camera for a while and after noticing I always shoot around 50mm while using it, I decided to buy the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G Lens from Amazon, It’s relatively cheap and when used correctly, produces some nice images and dreamy bokeh and unlike it’s younger brother, it has auto focus too. I’m still trying to get the best out of this lens at the moment, but when I first tried it I hated it. It takes some getting used to, but when used with a speedlite flash gun, the images are near perfect, or at least as perfect as an amateur can get them.
Flashair 16GB Wifi Memory Card
This was one of my first purchases, I got it off Amazon and it links to my Ipad and makes editing and uploading to Instagram and my blog, a doddle. I shoot in JPEG at the moment, because my photography skills aren’t the best I don’t feel the need to use RAW, since I’m still learning; so this size memory card suits my needs. The only downside with this Flashair Memory Card is that when the screen of the camera turns off, the memory card and camera lose connection, so that’s infuriating and it can be time consuming, but you can also connect it to a laptop too.
Neweer Speedlite TT520 Flash Gun.
I only received the TT520 Speedlite Flash Gun this morning after I purchased it from Amazon with a £40 cashback card which I had after purchasing my camera. I already love it and when used with my nifty fifty the results are amazing and I can finally see what that baby can really produce. The flash gun was only £25 and it came with a little stand which you can attach the gun to and use as an off camera flash, it also looks like it can be attached to a tripod. I would definitely recommend this flash gun to any newbie photographers who are looking for a cheaper alternative to the bigger brands. The flash gun is well built, but it does feel cheap and plastic, apart from that it’s a nice addition to my bag; the only downside is that the flash gun requires 4 batteries and since flash guns require a lot of battery, it could get expensive.
Reflectors are important, they can bounce shadows, reduce highlights and are just brilliant at achieving better results with your photos. I was going to purchase a reflector from Amazon, but then I was in my garage a few days ago and found a silver reflective, window thing, it’s the type that you put in the front of your car window in the summer, to reflect heat I guess, so the car stays cool. As I photograph my recipes in my house, I don’t require any professional looking reflector at the moment, so that find was perfect and it stands up on it’s own too. Although, I do think I am going to purchase the Neewer Reflector in the future. Foam Board is another cheap method of reflectors and can also double up as a background too.
I plan on purchasing a tripod at some point, at the minute I can’t justify spending anymore more money on photography equipment, especially as I’m not making money from my blog so it would seem silly. However, tripods are definitely in my future and I already have my eye on a Manfrotto Tripod and also a Camera Cleaning Kit as they seem so useful and ironically, I also need DSLR Bag but apart from those few things, I have everything that I’m going to need for my purposes at the moment.
So I guess that concludes what’s in my camera bag. It started off cheap and cheerful, then when my passion for photography grew it got progressively more expensive. However, photography is one of my passions and food photography is just one thing I love to photograph, so I know it’s an investment well spent and with enough practise I plan to photograph my own recipe Ebook 😉