Your lens choice affects various aspects of your images, including field of view, the details in the image, and perspective. The same idea applies to food photography. The lens you choose affects the look and feel of your food photos. If you’ve ever wondered what factors you should consider before getting a lens to use for your food photography, photographer Lauren Caris is here with some guidelines:
There is no perfect focal length. It all depends on what works best for you and your setup.
Prime vs. Zoom Lens
A prime lens has a fixed focal length. You can neither go wide nor zoom in using a prime lens. The only way to do so is by moving the camera away from or closer to the subject. On the other hand, zoom lenses have a variable range of focal length, 24–70mm for instance. For food photography, Caris prefers a prime lens to a zoom lens. The important reason being that a prime lens is great at what it does in one focal length rather than being a good lens at a lot of focal lengths. The optical performance of prime lenses makes them a great value for their worth. If you find working at some specific focal lengths, try to get prime lenses close to those focal lengths for the best results.
Lenses with an aperture ring that can open up wide are called fast lenses. They let in a lot of light, allowing you to use a faster shutter speed. Their aperture values can go to low values like f/1.8 or f/1.4 or even f/1.2, and so on. At such aperture values, the lens will have a very shallow depth of field giving you a very blurry background. Caris likes to shoot somewhere between f/2 to f/5.6 depending on whether she’s shooting straight on or top-down.
Macro lenses have a magnification of 1:1 meaning that they can reproduce a full life-size image of the subject on the camera sensor. Macro lenses allow you to get really close to the subject and capture details. Although macro lenses are mostly used in nature photography, you can use them for food photography, too. For instance, you can use a macro lens to capture the details of fresh produce by getting close to it.
Although macro lenses can photograph at 1:1, it is not necessary that you photograph at 1:1 when it comes to food photography. Just get close enough to capture details where a non-macro lens wouldn’t be able to focus.
Lenses that have better optical quality have fewer issues like chromatic aberration and distortion. Choosing to get a lens that has better optical quality really pays off. Compare the optical quality of lenses from different manufacturers in different usage conditions before deciding to buy a lens.
Now that you have an understanding of what you should look out for when selecting your lens for food photography, I hope you’ll be ready for your next project.
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