My Restaurant Shoot Gear
Restaurant photography has always been the bread and butter of my work. I’ve had to work really hard to get good at food styling and studio food photography, but there’s something about restaurant work that I just thrive in. I’ll never forget how excited I was after my very first shoot when I ran home to edit because it was the most fun I’d ever had on a shoot…ever.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about restaurant photography over the last three years as I’ve grown it into the defining part of my brand as a photographer, so I wanted to give you a glance into what I bring on a restaurant shoot so I can do my best work. Here’s what I make sure I have on hand every time!
My Restaurant Camera Bag
These are the only lenses I ever need on a restaurant shoot! I always have my 24-70 on my camera, but I will switch to the 50mm if I’m doing a movement/dusting shot since it gets me the best aperture for that kind of image.
I swear by my tripod! A big mistake I made starting out was not relying on it enough, and now I use it on every shoot. I don’t shoot tethered (though it’s something I’m going to explore more this year) so I find a tripod helps me to take a few seconds longer to examine my scene before pressing the shutter. It also helps me to ensure my angles are correct since there isn’t room for error on these fast-paced restaurant shoots.
Navigating lighting in a restaurant is always the hardest part of the job. I always have my bounce board on hand to help diffuse the light or bounce it back into my scene, depending on the lighting situation.
I don’t love using flash on my shoots, but it’s a necessary thing to know how to use, and it is always better to be prepared with it in case the restaurant you’re shooting in has bad natural light or the sun is just not helping you out on shoot day. I always have my speed light on hand with a diffuser and some light stands to hold everything up.
My worst nightmare is getting to a shoot and not having battery or having a memory card issue. I always have extras on hand so hopefully, this never happens!
Cloths/Rags and Tweezers
I don’t typically do a lot of food styling work on a restaurant shoot since we usually shoot everything the way that the food is traditionally plated by the restaurant (and it’s usually beautiful!) That said, I always have a cloth on hand to wipe the edge of plates as needed, and tweezers in case I need to adjust garnishes.
I rarely use a background on a restaurant shoot, but a few times I have had a client request to bring a background because the tables didn’t actually work well for the brand. When this happens I usually bring my woodville backgrounds, though this depends on the client brand and the color they want.
Laptop and Harddrive:
I like to backup my work even before leaving so that I know those images are safe and I can look through everything I shot before I leave.
That’s everything Hopefully this list helps you to nail your next restaurant shoot like a pro!