The list ranges from Polaroids to iPhones.
The March issue of Food & Wine celebrates food photography in all of its forms – from highlighting the 40 photographs and moments that changed the way we eat to featuring what we call “cooks and shooters”: photographers who cook and chefs who take photos.
While it’s true that in this day and age anyone can take a picture of their #avocadotoast, professional food photographers continue raising the bar with their skills, experience and aesthetic. A good camera doesn’t hurt, either.
So, we asked 15 of the country’s best food photographers to reveal their favorite cameras. Some gave one word answers—others launched into longer odes to their instrument of choice, which range from Polaroids to iPhones. So the next time you find yourself itching to stand up from the table and snag a perfect overhead shot of your pizza, take a cue from these legends and think about how your image might look through a different lens.
“Pentax K1000. A workhorse at a fantastic price and value. No bells and whistles here, just pure simple basics: Set ASA, load film, set aperture, shutter speed, check and set match needle light meter, compose, focus, and shoot. Every now and then I still miss my 8x10 Toyo-View camera and shooting 8x10 Polaroids.”
Simply: “Leica Q.”
“The Mamiya RZ67. It was a beast of a camera but incredibly sharp. Slightly more technical and slower which I think helps you focus on your craft.”
Chris Sue-Chu and Alyssa Wodabek (Suech and Beck)
“Canon 5D Mark 4. It’s our workhorse and goes everywhere with us.”
“iPhone. It’s always with me. Always great picture and very forgiving.”
“I have a Phase One IQ3 100MP Trichromatic Camera System. It’s hard to find anything better!”
Dylan Ho and Jeni Afuso (Dylan + Jeni)
Dylan: “My favorite film camera would probably be the first Hasselblad 500 CW I experimented with when I was 18. I’ll never forget the sound of the shutter, the quality of the glass, and the imagery it produced. We also love our Pentax 67 II and Contax 645 medium format cameras.”
Jeni: “I still love my Contax 645, but it’s so huge that it’s difficult to carry around for a casual day of shooting. I actually have to plan my trip around that camera haha! Lately, I have been using our compact film camera, Contax T2, for travels and it has been so fun to shoot with.”
“My all-time favorite camera is the Pentax 67. I shot film for most of my career and have always loved the feel and images from that camera. I don’t get to use it as much anymore but its still one of my favorites.”
“I’m hard on my gear and typically break a camera within a year. The exception is the Canon 5D I used for two years while shooting Tartine Bread that still works despite all the flour and dough caked into the buttons. I’ve had ten cameras since that one – each an “improvement” over the last – but that 5D is a reminder that a camera is just a tool; what really matters is your vision, passion, and commitment to the project.”
If you're looking for other ways to up your food photography game, take a history lesson by diving into this coffee table book, play around with hacks like this 3-D camera app, and check out these kitchen accessories that will help you stage Instagram photos like a pro.