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What’s In My Bag: 1 Camera & 3 Lenses For Dramatic Food Photos & Videos

In this article, Jessica Hirsch gives us a look at the Sony Alpha camera and Sony lenses she uses to create compelling food content for her popular Instagram account @cheatdayeats. Keep reading to learn more about what’s in her bag.

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/3.2, ISO 1250

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 85mm f/1.8. 1/1250-sec., f/1.8, ISO 100

Jessica Hirsch's gear for food photos and videos

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/125-sec., f/3.2, ISO 160

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/5, ISO 1600

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/200-sec., f/2.8, ISO 250

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/125-sec., f/5, ISO 1600

Jessica Hirsch makes dramatic food photos & videos for her super-popular @cheatdayeats Instagram. With over 489K followers, the Alpha Collective member often partners with brands and restaurants to showcase their most popular eats. She uses features in her Sony Alpha gear to help make her photos and videos stand out from the rest. We connected with her to learn more about the camera and lenses you’ll find in her food photography kit.

Jessica Hirsch's gear for food photos and videos

See how Jessica Hirsch makes dramatic food photos & videos for her popular @cheatdayeats Instagram. We connect with her to learn more about the gear she uses to do it.

Camera

Sony Alpha 7S III: The Sony Alpha 7S III is my main camera. I love this camera for a variety of reasons but the main one being the 4K 60 and 4K 120 capabilities. I love to utilize slow motion to enhance my videos and really bring drama to a specific moment. Additionally, the flip screen is extremely useful during my recipe videos as I tilt the screen to get the perfect view of the shot. Sony cameras allow you to customize your buttons and settings which allows my workflow to keep up with fast chefs in the kitchen so I never miss an important moment.

Lenses

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master: I always wonder if another lens will replace my love for the 24-70mm G Master, but it still holds its place as my favorite. It's versatility allows me to be in the moment and know I am getting a great & crisp shot. What I love is the combination of shots I can get with the Sony Alpha 7S lll and 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. Not only can I zoom in with my lens, but even more so during post edit since I film in 4K and edit in 1080p.

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/5, ISO 1600

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/5, ISO 1600

Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G: I go to this lens when I am looking to get a very specific close up shot of a dish. For example, I will use the 90mm Macro G lens to capture a close up of piping icing onto a cookie cake. I will add this to a video to enhance the story and give extra detail to the audience. I gtend to use the 90mm a bit more for photo vs. video but it still has great value in both areas.

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/125-sec., f/3.5, ISO 800

Photo by Jessica Hirsch. Sony α7S III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/125-sec., f/3.5, ISO 800

Sony 85mm f/1.8: I use the 85mm f/1.8 lens when capturing images and videos where I am included (usually with food as well).

Accessories

Sony 64GB UHS-II Memory Card (SF-G64/T1): Since I film in 4K, I like that this card can keep up with data transfer speeds. Also at the end of the day it's so nice to just send over tons of data to a laptop, and it takes about a third of the time to complete transferring compared to some older cards I've used in the past.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster: While the cloth is great, some parts of the camera should not be touched and this is a great safe way to get dusk off the sensors. 

Spudz Microfiber Cleaning Cloth: Like the air blaster, it is important to clean your lenses before a video to remove any dust which can show up in the video and affect the focus.

Tascam DR-10L Micro Portable Audio Recorder with Lavalier Microphone: I record a lot of audio, whether it be a voice over, reviewing a dish at home, or at a restaurant, this mic allows me to get nice clear audio.  It's relatively inexpensive compared to some higher grade professional mics but I think it offers tremendous value, especially if you are new to the audio world or on a tight budget.

Datacolor SCK200 SpyderCHECKR 24: I will include this in the video during a few frames to help with color grading in post production. 

Think Bar: I always carry snacks with me and will often grab a protein bar before I plan to go to a photoshoot because there is nothing worse than having to film food for hours when you are hungry! 

Aputure AL-M9 Amaran Pocket-Sized Daylight-Balanced LED Light: This is great in a pinch if I want to capture a fun photo or video at a restaurant that is either dark or at night. Just be mindful of others around you. 

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Aluminum Tripod: I film a lot of recipes at home now and a tripod comes in handy. It frees up both my hands and allows for super easy transitions. It's solid enough to handle the weight of any camera/lens combo I throw at it and even in a vertical mounted position it holds very well.

See more of Jessica Hirsch’s work on Instagram @cheatdayeats.

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