Read this before you skip to the equipment part.
The equipment you use and the amount of money you invest into your tech set up totally depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by “analysis paralysis” with the options out there. It’s happened to me many times! I can’t preach enough to stay focused on what you’re trying to accomplish before you just go buying a bunch of equipment.
When I first started out, I was taking photos on my iPhone 6. I started the Instagram account to document the drink recipes I made because I was tired of googling different drink recipes and getting 79 different options for one cocktail. I decided I wanted my own recipe catalog so my phone did the trick. As time passed, I got an itch to take better photos because I’m an obsessive personality and it’s impossible for me to just do something. If I do something and I like it I go into it full force.
To date, I’ve invested a little over $5,000 into my photography set up. To some people, that’s a hefty amount. To others in the industry that’s not a lot. But I love photography. I support myself financially with photography. I do content work with brands ranging from the world’s largest liquor brands to craft brands and small/medium sized businesses outside of Apartment Bartender. Investing $5,000+ into myself and my business was a must. I still continue to add better equipment to my set up especially now that I’m venturing more into video content and YouTube which is an entirely different world in itself.
Whether you’re just starting out as a cocktail, food, or lifestyle blogger or just looking to enhance the visual output of your current photos then I hope this information helps. If, as you read, you find yourself hesitant with the cost of the equipment just know I totally understand the feeling. Be smart financially, but think long term. You will never regret making an investment into yourself and your creative work. Investing in yourself will also light a fire under your arse to get creating.
My recommendation to someone starting out:
Camera Body + Lens:
Canon Rebel T5i – A great starter camera. There are cheaper cameras, but I recommend starting with this one. Starting out I used a Canon version below this, and I did well. After speaking with several other food bloggers and drink bloggers who take some of the best shots out there, they’re using this camera.
Canon EF 50mm 1.8 – A great starter lens that will capture sharp images with that blurred background effect that makes drink or food photos stand out.
Nikon D5300 – This camera is the Nikon equivalent of the camera I recommended above. I don’t use Nikon personally, but it’s one of the best.
Nikon 35mm 1.8 – The 35mm lens is wider than a 50mm and gives you more flexibility shooting interiors (example: bar or restaurant) while allowing you to get in tight and shoot food. A 35mm lens is also the go-to lens for lifestyle photos.
Nikon 50mm 1.8 – This is the Nikon version of the 50mm lens. Same opinion as stated above for the Canon equivalent. Excellent starter lens.
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