Bryan’s 10 Essentials for Gourmet-Level Food Photography

Bryan’s 10 Essentials for Gourmet-Level Food Photography

Creator Image
Bryan Ngo
Food Blogger
  • Adobe
    Photoshop Lightroom

    Bryan Ngo

    Taking the photo is probably 50 percent of the work. The other 50 percent is what you do in post-production to really bring your photo to life. 

    Lightroom has become my primary tool for editing. There are just a ton of features and a lot of flexibility in the tools. You can work both on your mobile app or on your desktop, and the cloud feature lets you sync up! 

    I work on my desktop, where I view the final edits before posting through the mobile app. You can spend countless hours in Lightroom playing around with all the features and finding the style that works for you.
  • Neewer
    Portable 5-in-1 Multi-Disc Light Reflector

    Bryan Ngo

    One of the biggest things I've had to learn in food photography is lighting. This also applies to photography in general. While natural light is the best, it can be harsh when it's direct and may blow out the photo's highlights.

    When your lighting is blown out, it becomes miserable to edit the photos in post-production. A way around a situation in which you may not have the best lighting conditions is to use a reflector. Neewer's five-in-one reflector disc set gives you a bunch of options with which to block and redirect your lighting!

    I've used this tool at night markets and other low-light scenarios to create the shade I need on short notice! I've also used this to add some lighting to my photos when I feel it's too dark.
  • K&F Concept
    DSLR Tripod

    Bryan Ngo

    Being on the go is important when it comes to photography, but you want to take the time to frame the perfect shot on occasion. When that happens, you'll want a tripod like this one. 

    Framing a food shot takes time and effort. Maybe you want to move something on a dish an inch over, or you look through the viewfinder and realize you're not happy with it, that you want to add something into the shot. You can set up this tripod on the floor or your table; it has a wide range of adjustability in height, making it perfect for food photography.  

    Having everything stay in place as you make photography decisions are important. K&F Concept's tripod has a leg lock, ensuring that you'll have a strong, stable shot. The ball head for your camera also moves with ease and oiled smoothness. It really gives the flexibility and power you need to ensure that your frame stays consistent as you're making decisions.
  • Hpusn
    Softbox Lighting Kit

    Bryan Ngo

    I like to experiment with lighting. Sometimes I want my photos to be moody, or sometimes I want to add a lot of light to a photo. A softbox definitely gives the flexibility to do both! 

    Hpusn's softbox lighting kit comes with everything you'll need to get started: two mounting stands that can be adjusted up to 79 inches in height, two nylon reflectors, and two matching energy-efficient bulbs that produce 5400K color temperature for the perfect shot. 

    This tool is definitely more for stationary shooting, during which you can make quick adjustments to redirect light in different directions. You can easily add light to underexposed areas or give the overall vibe of the photo a brighter look.
  • Creatology
    Black Poster Board

    Bryan Ngo

    Once again, experimenting with lighting has been tons of fun. I pair a black foam board with softbox lighting or even with natural lighting. You can use it to create shadows on one side of a shot. 

    The beauty of having a light, mobile board is that you can reposition it however you want to create that extra depth of shadow to the photo. The concept of this black poster board is very similar to the foam board, but with the bonus being that you can cut it up into pieces and use them to block light. 

    Sometimes when I want a narrow opening of light to hit my subject, the flexibility of this poster board makes it possible to do just that. I suggest getting both poster boards and foam boards to play with shadows and add another dimension to your photos.
  • Ink & Elm Backdrops
    Photography Marble Backdrop

    Bryan Ngo

    You always want to give different vibes to your photos, and having a backdrop easily achieves that. For example, you could have a dark concrete-looking backdrop or an aesthetically pleasing marble backdrop. It really comes down to what you want to achieve in your photos. 

    I personally have the smooth marble backdrop, and I use it for most of the photos I shoot at home. These backdrops are made of durable vinyl and come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. I like how easy it is to take one with me on the go. 

    These backdrops' vinyl texture is nice to the touch and super easy to clean after every session. I just wipe it down with a light wet paper towel or, when things get super messy, I wash it with soap and water. These backdrops by Ink & Elm are truly cost-efficient, and they're handy to have around. 
  • Strapsbyelroobs
    Rope Camera Wrist Straps

    Bryan Ngo

    This product only really applies if you have a camera, but if you do, you probably know that the camera is an extension of yourself. Of course, that also goes for the accessories you have, especially your camera's strap. 

    With camera straps, you have the traditional neck strap or a wrist strap. I personally use a wrist strap because I think it's super convenient for a less decisive shooting style. 

    I love this wrist strap by Strapsbyelroobs. There are tons of different color combinations you can choose for the paracord, giving you a wide selection of unique looks. I think it gives a cool flair and adds to the personality of the camera and yourself as a photographer.
    LED Portable Camera Light

    Bryan Ngo

    Lighting, again, is always one of the biggest issues I come across, and this portable light definitely helps in those times when it gets super dark, super fast. It's packed with 176 LED bulbs and an adjustable brightness setting to help you create the photo mood you want. 

    I use this when I'm in a pinch and need some quick lighting. This portable camera light has what's called a cold shoe adapter, making it compatible with most camera and video equipment. 

    But the most important thing about Esddi's portable light is that it's easy to set up and easy to use. Thanks to the five-colored filters that come with it, you can change the warmth or coolness of the light in your shot. You can also change the intensity of the lighting as well, so there are tons of combinations to play with in terms of lighting.
  • Prvke
    Travel and DSLR Camera Backpack

    Bryan Ngo

    I've accumulated a few things that are must-haves when I go take photos. I really just need to put it all somewhere, and that's why I have a camera backpack. But you can't just buy a standard backpack for your photography gear; it's best to look for a pack that's specifically created to carry a camera and its accessories.

    I recommend Prvke's camera backpack because it serves two functions: it protects my camera with the camera cube insert, and I can carry other stuff in it as well. In addition, its fabric is water-resistant, so you don't have to worry about your tools getting wet on a rainy day. It also doesn't scratch or tear easily due to its nylon make.

    Prvke's backpack comes in two different sizes and a few awesome colors. I think it's a really cool-looking bag that gives you easy access to your camera. It also provides the protection your camera needs. 
  • MagicFiber
    Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

    Bryan Ngo

    Don't let a smudge of dust or a piece of lint be what ruins that perfect shot you worked so hard to achieve. Unfortunately, things like dirt sometimes can get onto your lens, whether it be your phone camera lens or your actual camera lens. Though small, they can definitely ruin your work. But, with microfiber cloths, you can keep that from happening.

    I make it good practice to wipe down my lens before and after every shoot, ensuring that nothing will ruin my photo. MagicFiber's microfiber cleaning cloths come with their own storage bags, so you don't have to worry about stray dirt from your surroundings or backpack getting onto your nice, clean cloths. They're also washable, meaning you can do your part for the environment by not creating too much waste.

    While it doesn't matter what type of microfiber cloth you use, I recommend MagicFiber's. They're cheap, safe to move around without getting dirty, and they get the job done. I can't ask for anything more at the end of the day.