Need gear to start shooting with flash? Here are some of my recommendations in case you're not sure where to start.
The basic items that you will need will be a speedlight / speedlite and a trigger/transmitter that will attach to your camera to set off the speedlight. You'll also need a light stand and a mounting bracket so you can position your speedlight where you want it. Finally, you'll need something to modify the light. A great place to start is with a simple diffuser, but as you dig further into the course and practicing in your own space, you might want to add additional modifier options to your setup. And don't worry, if some of this doesn't make total sense now, it will once you go through the Flash for Food Photography Course. But, based on your camera and budget, here are some suggestions below.
The following are simply suggestions, but I highly recommend seeking out a professional camera store resource to confirm compatibility with your camera, budget and plans. A great place to go is B&H Photo Video and visit their LIVE CHAT feature during business hours. They'll be able to answer all of your questions and get you the right gear.
If you are looking to do “splashes and crashes”, commercial work with a wide depth of field, primarily shoot outdoors, or doing something other than standard still life food photography, you may want to consider a studio strobe light and I recommend seeking out specific recommendations based on your particular needs through a qualified photography retailer, like B&H mentioned above, or your local camera store.
Speedlights / Speedlites
A solid middle-of-the-road solution for Nikon users: Godox VING V860IIN TTL Li-Ion Flash with XProN TTL Trigger Kit for Nikon Cameras
One Sony Option: This bundle with a Neewer speedlight and wireless trigger.
Another Sony Option: Nissin Di700A with Air1 Commander for Sony
Fuji User: Nissin Di700A Flash Kit with Air1 Commander for Fuji
If none of these seem right or if you're worried about compatibility with your particular camera, visit the B&H Photo Video Help Center and they'll steer you in the right direction.
Stands & Accessories
For food photography, we shoot with the speedlight off the camera. So, in order to position it in the spot where it will light our food, we need a light stand and a mounting bracket. I have found this light stand to be generally sturdy, though you might already have light stands and those will do just fine. You'll also want to get a bracket to mount your speedlight and I have found this one to be universal for most flash units.
Speedlights generally take AA batteries and I suggest getting re-chargable batteries. I own this Eneloop set that comes with the charger and also has AAA batteries for my trigger.
I would very first start off with just a basic diffuser since this will also be useful for natural light photography, in case you don't own one already. Eventually, you'll want to invest in other modifiers, but the ones that I use in this video and use in my studio and on location for shoots include this 47in softbox (nice and big!) and this strip softbox with grid. You will need a speedlight adapater in order to use the strip softbox. You’ll also need a light stand for mounting both of these items.
Need help figuring out this new gear and how to create beautiful food images with it? Flash for Food Photography is an online course that can get you up and running with flash in only two hours and comes with support through a private online community. Enroll today!