Photographing Food Without a Tripod

Food Photography of Milkshake

Shooting Food Without a Tripod

Traditionally, I have always used a tripod when photographing food.  I’ve done it this way over the years, for several reasons…

1. Until recently, I’ve use a view camera, with a digital back, to photograph food.  Have you ever tried to hand hold a view camera?  It’s impossible.

2. Most non food photographer don’t realize this, but food photography is a refinement process.  It’s not like you see on TV, with a fashion photography shoot.  Unless you have syrup or something like that, there really are no moving parts to most food photos.  The way most food photographers work is to “build a composition, element by element, until the desired photo is achieved.  This tends for me a refinement process that requires the camera to be in the exact same position, shot after shot. One of the first decisions that food photographer makes is the camera angle.  That decision may change as the shoot progresses, but for the most part, it needs to remain a constant, and therefore requires that the camera be on a sturdy tripod.

So all throughout my career, I’ve shot on a tripod.   Just recently though, I’ve switched to a 35mm DSLR for shooting food.  That fact had opened up some possibilities for me.  I still use a tripod every time I shoot, but now, if I have time after I’ve nailed the shot, I’ll take the camera off the tripod and take a few photos, just to see what happens.  The above shot is an example of what can happen when a food photographer takes the time to play a little…

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