Photoshoot pack list.
Here’s my go to list for on location photoshoots.
Read on for my go-to pack list for a food or product photoshoot. I always pack at least one strobe in my bag even if the client insists there is great natural light. You just never know what can happen – wildfire smoke, crazy storms, or unexpected location moves can all result in less than ideal lighting conditions!
Extra batteries + AC cable
I always pack a main camera plus a backup. My go tos are my trusty Nikon D750 plus my ever portable Nikon Z7. The Z7 also has the option to run off of AC power – never worry about dead batteries again. I’ve also rented the D810 and D850 many times, which are both great additions to any gear bag.
105mm Macro f/1.4
These are my top three lenses for food photography. I also love the 85mm for portraits and have used the 60mm Macro for overhead shots where space is tight but lots of fine detail is required. I love a Macro lens for the crisp detail they provide and my 105mm is a great go to. The zoom 24-70mm is great to have on hand for action shots and I often have it on my second camera body for quick grab and go shots, while my main body remains on the tripod with a fixed focal length lens.
Tripod + C-stand and extra head
A sturdy tripod is key. I’m partial to a Manfrotto professional with a geared head for stability and easy adjustments. I also bring a c-stand plus an extra head to create a stable rig for capturing overhead shots.
You can never have enough memory cards! In addition to saving to the memory card, I always backup my photos on set using my laptop and an external drive. I also upload to the cloud simultaneously to ensure the files are triple protected.
Tech + Software
Camera tether cable
Smart Shooter 3 or Capture One Pro
I always tether my camera during a photoshoot to allow the client to get a sneak preview of the shots, provide an automatic backup to disk and/or external hard drive, and to focus in on fine details to ensure each shot hits the mark.
Grey Card, Colour Checker
Light meter (optional)
Strobe + Modifiers
It’s critical to set a constant white balance at the start of every photoshoot and this is where you grey care comes in handy! Never leave your white balance on auto or you will forever be kicking yourself when it comes to editing. A reflector plus some black and grey cards are great for adding in or removing light from a scene as needed.
Finally – I always like to bring along at least one strobe as a backup. A large softbox (48″ octagon is my go-to) or a scrim is a great accessory to offer diffused light. A light meter can be especially helpful for shooting portraits or other scenes, helping you quickly select the correct shutter speed.
Nitrile and dustless gloves – no one wants food on their camera or fingerprints on their glassware!
Tweezer and tongs – help you carefully rearrange food
Sticky tac – hold food in place, fix props to a surface
Tooth / food pics – to ensure food stays put where it’s styled
A small spray bottle of water and glycerin to create water droplets
Dulling spray – to reduce reflections on bottles and glassware, create frosted glasses
Gaffer tape – key for keeping a safe set and anchoring any cords so no one trips.
Lens cleaning set – always check for dust on your lens and sensor
Sandbags – prevent expensive mistakes and always weigh down you strobes, tripod, and c-stands