When he's not sitting in southern California traffic, San Diego editorial photographer, Rob Andrew, spends his days freelancing from one gig to another with all his gear in tow. In order to stay nimble, Rob has developed a style of shooting creative food photography with a surprisingly minimal amount of gear. He recently published what he calls a "Bag Check" on his blog, outlining the tools he uses to get the job done.
Rob's kit is quite the opposite of mine, whereas I usually require at least one assistant (sometimes two) just to help haul my gear around on location, which is what I found interesting about his post in the first place. The other contrast to my kit is the investment his kit requires, which can be pretty minimal, especially if you look into preowned equipment. I thought it would be refreshing for anyone who doesn't have the desire or budget to invest in a ton of gear to see how someone who succeeds with very little gets the job done.
"One of the nice things about food photography is you don’t have to sell your little brother into slavery and mortgage your house to get professional results."
While Rob recommends a full frame DSLR if it's in the budget, he also explains why the latest/greatest camera isn't a necessity. He also says spending the extra loot for top-of-the-line lenses isn't entirely necessary, and that a solid macro and even a "nifty-fifty" can likely get the job done.
Rob calls himself a "super minimalist" when it comes to lighting too. Due to the space constraints in most restaurants, large stands and lighting equipment isn't always practical [or possible], so he travels with a tripod, a speedlight, a small stand, and a shoot-through umbrella. With a little foam-core and a few silver cards thrown in for bounce, he's got a kit that will fit in a small grip bag and produces imagery that's been published in magazines such as Woman's World and San Diego Home and Garden.
When he's on location, Rob captures tethered with a WiFi card and even shares a few tips to increase reliability. Rob says he carries a few styling props, just-in-case, including a couple acrylic ice cubes like the ones I mentioned in my previous post: Tips To Improve Your Beverage Photography: Secrets Of The Craft.
[Photos by Rob Andrew used with permission]