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Lens testing for food photography on a tried and tested salmon/soy/orange recipe

Woodrow Studios

I got a new lens today. Woohoo! Nothing really fancy, but for me it's the first bit of kit I've invested in since getting my 450D Canon DSLR many years ago, so it is VERY exciting.
I have been reading about food photography and the best cameras and lenses for the kind of shots I take, and the 'nifty fifty' keeps popping up, and is quite reasonably priced (around £100) so it was time to buy.  I got a Canon ef 50mm f/1.8 STM.  Sounds sexy doesn't it?

 

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I must say here (if it's not already abundantly clear!) that I am not a photographer - my background is direct marketing and catalogue creation, starting with styling, moving up through product design and range planning, and ending in marketing and art directing (my career in a nutshell!).
That said, everybody is a photographer these days aren't they? Even if it's on your phone or an entry level DSLR like mine - it's intrinsic to social media and online marketing but also cataloguing products and building a website (which many of us do ourselves too).  I think it's something most crafters, bloggers, bakers etc need to and do invest time and a bit of wedge in.
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I'm going to write another post on the techy side when i have more time, but my first thoughts on the Canon 50mm lens are -
  • it doesn't zoom! Haha, maybe i'm thick (quite possibly) but I'm not used to moving my feet to get everything in the shot!
  • it needs a very steady hand - especially with the f/1.8 setting as of course you're reducing the depth of field so much you need to stay super still.  I'll get my tripod out next time but really this isn't ideal for my kind of work where I need to get quick content, rejig things for various cameos, details etc and am at the mercy of natural light.
  • It is very light sensisitve - again I guess because the aperture is so much smaller with a low f-stop? (I will check that!)
  • Regardless of all of the above, it does give a lovely mood and great shots of the 'foodporn' variety.  I need to practice more and I guess I have got lazy with my handy but very bog-standard zoom lens.

More on that later but for now, here is the recipe I shot to test the lens then devoured for dinner!

One-pouch Orange and Soy Salmon with Rice Noodles

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  • tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 peeled and sliced oranges
  • Thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • organic salmon fillets
  • Straight to wok noodles - I used rice ribbon noodles
  • Seeds to top - I grabbed linseed and poppy seeds

   

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  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Mix together the soya sauce, juice of the orange, ginger, garlic and spring onions in a shallow bowl or oven dish. Add the salmon, season, cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, irritate occasionally.
  • Create a foil package in an oven tray/dish and place the salmon and sauce in, lay the oranges on top and spoon some of the sauce over.
  • Wrap up and seal the foil on all edges, bake for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully unwrap after 10 minutes and add the straight-to-wok noodles, getting some juices over them.  Reseal so they steam in the foil pouch and return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
  • Tease noodles apart and serve on a deep plate or bowl.
  • Sprinkle some seeds on top, add soya to your taste.
  •  

    Note - I adapted this recipe to make it kid friendly - you may find you prefer less oranges/more soy and want to add a bit of chilli too.

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