Best Lenses for Food Photography

Best lenses for food photography by Angelina Hong Media.

My Favorite Lenses to Use for Food Photography.

Food was the first subject I started photographing, so I wanted to share the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years.

Why am I so interested in food? Well, first and foremost, I love to eat. Second, I view food as something so much more than just something you consume. Food sits at the intersection of so many things, like farmers, sustainability, culture, and history. It’s something to be shared at the dinner table and across family lineages.

So with all of this in mind, I always approach my food shoots understanding that most often, I’m photographing someone’s creation. This food came from a farmer’s hands, to the chef’s hands, to now my hands. How can I do it the most justice?

The Three Lenses I Always Keep in My Bag for Food Photography

The camera I use is the Canon 5d Mk iv, so the lenses I use reflect my current gear. Prices are current as of April 2020.

My Gear

  • Sigma 105mm f/2.8 – $469
  • Canon 50mm f/1.8 – $125
  • Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II – $1599

My All Around Favorite Lens: Sigma 105mm f/2.8

I love this macro lens because one, it’s cheaper than it’s Canon alternative, and two, because it is crisp and amazingly sharp. I also really like the depth it creates in the image.

I use this lens primarily for individual food shots since the frame is so tight.

An Arab bread called mana'eesh with cheese, pepperoni, and an egg on top.
Shot using my 105mm lens

My Favorite Lens for Flatlays: Canon 50mm f/1.8

This little lens is wildly powerful. It’s the cheapest one I have, but one I use pretty often.

I use this lens when the 105mm is too tight, and I need to include more food in the image. It’s also great for flatlays.

A plate of Vietnamese egg rolls with vegetables such as lettuce, pickled daikon and carrots, and sliced red cabbage.
Shot using my 50mm lens
A plate of falafels with a tahini dip surrounded by other takeout containers from Reem's California.
Shot using my 50mm lens

My Work Horse Lens: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

If I’m on the go and I need minimal gear, I’ll always choose to bring my Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. It’s the most versatile and allows me to work in a variety of spaces. I also like how wide the 24mm is. It allows me to grab flatlay shots pretty easily. It’s also just as crisp as my prime lenses.

Someone plating a fine dining dish of raw scallops with potato chips.
Shot using my 24-70mm lens

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