Food Videography: My Gear and Equipment


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As a food blogger and YouTuber I’ve filmed tons of recipe videos and cooking videos. I also get asked all the time about the food videography gear and equipment I use. So today I thought I’d share a little insight into my gear and filming process.

As a food blogger and YouTuber I've filmed tons of recipe videos and cooking videos. Here's the food videography gear and equipment I use.

Every week I receive questions from food bloggers or aspiring YouTuber’s about the camera gear I use to shoot my weekly cooking videos. And tomorrow I’m speaking at TechMunch (a food blogger conference) about producing mouthwatering food videos.

So today, I thought I’d put together a handy list of all the camera gear and equipment I use. I’ve been shooting food videos on my YouTube channel for a little over a year now and while I still have much to learn, I feel like I’ve finally gotten into a video groove.

I shoot hosted, cooking-style videos in my kitchen and not the overhead, Tasty-style videos. I did this purposefully from the get-go because while the overhead videos are great for social sharing, my number one goal was to build a community. And it’s hard to build a community of healthy food lovers when there’s not an actual person in the video – someone the audience can identify and relate to.

My style of food videography definitely takes a bit more work as I’m a one-woman-show who films, edits and is the on-camera talent – but if I can do it, so can you!

Here’s what’s inside my camera bag (and my kitchen).

As a food blogger and YouTuber I've filmed tons of recipe videos and cooking videos. Here's the food videography gear and equipment I use.

My Camera

I started filming videos on my Canon Mark III in my parent’s basement with a makeshift studio backdrop. If you watch my older videos and see herbs on the back wall, these videos were all shot on my Canon Mark III.

The Canon Mark III is an awesome, full-frame camera but I had two challenges with it:

  • It doesn’t have a flip screen so that I can see what’s in the frame when I’m in front of the camera
  • It doesn’t have touch auto-focus and facial tracking as the newer cameras do.

So while I’m coveting the Canon Mark IV for my food photography, it still doesn’t have a flip screen for videography. Therefore, I recently purchased the Canon 80D which ticks both boxes. The Canon 80D is also one of the most popular YouTuber cameras.

I’ve now been shooting solely with that camera for a couple of months and love it. But it did take me a while to dial in the settings and get used to the fact that it’s not full-frame, so my shots are tighter.

My Lens

From the beginning I’ve shot with my Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. It’s an “L” series lens which means it’s a top-of-the-line professional lens with great glass. I prefer this lens over my prime lenses because I can zoom in and out on the food if necessary, rather than move my tripod. I also find there’s also a softness to the lens, which makes you (the on-air talent) look even better.

Now, if I had video assistants or others behind the camera doing all the work and focusing, I may opt for prime lenses…but right now my Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 gets it done.

As a food blogger and YouTuber I've filmed tons of recipe videos and cooking videos. Here's the food videography gear and equipment I use.

My Video Head

I use a ball head when shooting food photography, but it’s worth the investment to buy a separate video head for filming videos. The benefit of a video head is the pan fluid drag and built in counterbalance, for super smooth shots. The video head I use is the Manfrotto 502 Video Head.

My Tripod

I use a Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 aluminum tripod. This tripod has a center column that you can raise and flip horizontal, though I never actually flip it out for my food videography as I shoot everything straight on. It’s a fairly cheap tripod compared to many other options and it’s hefty and stable enough to hold all my gear.

My Slider

This is a nifty little contraption that’s fairly new and I bought it after seeing some awesome panning shots on fellow YouTuber videos. I bought mine from my local Samy’s Camera, but it’s very similar to this Newer Camera Track Slider.

A slider gives you those really smooth, gliding shots and you can see this in action on my White Sangria recipe video and my Pantry Organization video. The slider is a fun-to-have rather than a necessary-to-have piece of equipment.

As a food blogger and YouTuber I've filmed tons of recipe videos and cooking videos. Here's the food videography gear and equipment I use.

My Lights

When I started shooting last year in my parent’s basement, my filming spot was right next to a large window and I had quite a bit of natural light. And as most food photographers know, naturally light is always preferred.

In my current kitchen, it may look light and bright on video but there are actually no windows or naturally light. And I don’t use any overhead kitchen lights (even with daylight bulbs) as they create shadows down your face.

So I use this StudioFX 2400 Watt set of soft box lights. Right now I’m only using two of the lights – and I keep one directly in front of me and one off to the side at about a 45 degree angle. They’re reasonably cheap and I may upgrade to these LED lights in the future, but right now they get the job done.

My Microphone and Recorder

This is one of the most important pieces of equipment for hosted, talking videos. Because if the sound is echo-y or bad you’ll lose your audience immediately (and if you don’t already know, the sound that comes straight out of your camera is horrible).

So invest in a microphone and recorder. I use a cheap Audio Technica ATR3350 Lavalier Mic and record the sound into a Zoom H1 Recorder. Then, it’s simple to replace the camera audio track with the recorded audio track in post production.

Pro tip: If you watch my earlier videos you’ll see the microphone pinned to my top, but I never really liked the looks of that. Now, I just tape the microphone to my chest under my top so you don’t see it.

As a food blogger and YouTuber I've filmed tons of recipe videos and cooking videos. Here's the food videography gear and equipment I use.

Food Videography Tips & FAQ’s

What do you use to edit? Adobe Premier Pro

What are your camera settings? These change based on a variety of factors (including the time of day I’m shooting), but right now my intro is usually shot at f/2.8 (as the camera is further away) and the actual cooking at f/3.5. My ISO fluctuates between 320-500. And my shutter speed is always at 1/50 and my fps at 23.98 (for that movie-like quality).

How do you get all those different camera angles? I move around – a lot. Seriously. I’m constantly moving the camera in between shots. I keep thinking I should shoot a behind-the-scenes of my food videos because I’m sure I look like a mad woman behind the scenes!

Do you color grade your videos? No, not in terms of using additional software. I just do basic tweaks in Adobe Premier Pro, like adjust exposure, shadows, sharpness, vibrance, etc. I also shoot using a neutral picture style (with a tweak or two), which means it’s pretty flat. That’s just my personal style as I don’t like the overly-saturated look.

Do you shoot overhead videos at all? At this time, no. But after filming my full-length cooking video for YouTube, I’ll do a second edit of the same footage to create a 45-60 second Facebook video that I crop square.

What type of SD card do you use? This is actually really important as videos can take up quite a bit of space. I use a SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB card.

Any other tips? Make sure you always have extra batteries – for both your camera and microphone. There have been several instances when my batteries have died (video uses up camera batteries fast), so I always have backups now. For music, I highly recommend Epidemic Sound – it’s the best for YouTubers with an easy monthly subscription plan. I also recommend VidIQ for helping to manage your YouTube channel. Lastly, have fun! Remember that you’ll get better over time and with practice.

To see all of my videos (and not miss future videos), make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Hey Lisa,

    I just came across this blog post and want to say thank you so much for being available and sharing so much of your acquired knowledge. I will definitely be checking out your camera, etc information. It’s at times difficult to find the information, especially when I don’t quite know what I need. So thank you so very much for sharing. As you said though it’s trial and error, like everything else in life.
    On another note: I totally love your recipes! I have yet to make one of your dishes that is not ABSOLUTELY delicious. Keep up the fabulous work you do. Take good care!

    1. Welcome to the Downshiftology community and I’m so glad you’ve come across some helpful information on my website! Can’t wait to see what recipes you make Rafaela :)

  2. Hi Lisa…..
    You are totally amazing. Congrats on all that you do.
    You said you are a one woman show….but if you ever want/need a helping hand
    I’m volunteering :-)
    I just subscribed…also just cooked the perfect poached egg thanks to you
    …life is bliss (for the moment). (oh yep … dots same as you)

    Anyway…so hi if you want. And yes I would love to volunteer behind camera or whatever.
    I’m not far away…Encinitas.
    My web site is ‘’ if you want to check it/me.

    Meanwhile…cheers to life and wanderlust….where to next for you ?

  3. Kia Ora Lisa I am so pleased to have come across you and your channel. I am Indonesian who lives in Auckland so to know you were born there, it is just wow!

    And also through you, I enrolled in IIN to study the Health Coach Training Program! You are such an inspiration for me. You have a lovely voice, very approachable, have great content which are educational yet entertaining to watch. Thank you for being you and for all of your hard work! xx

    I am half way through my program and would love to start my own youtube channel sharing healthy recipes. BUT I have no clue where to start. Did you take a course on video editing and photography ? If so, what are your recommendations for a beginner like me?

    Thank you for sharing your gear and equipment! xx

    1. Kia Ora to you too! I didn’t take any courses on video editing, I just figured it out along the way and watched a bunch of YouTube videos to learn specific things. There’s so much info you can find online nowadays, so I’d just recommend Googling those things you’d like to learn more about. Best of luck to you!

  4. How do you know what to say without saying “um”or “uh” all the time? Do you use a teleprompter or write a script and memorize? I’m trying to look professional but I’m nervous and forget what I want to say.

  5. Thank you
    For generously sharing the information regarding cameras and settings etc
    Really appreciate 

  6. Thank you for sharing Lisa! Super helpful. I’ve been using it as a guide to update some of my equipment. Would love to see your behind the scenes video when you do these shoots :)

  7. Hi Lisa,
    Love this post. Thanks so much for sharing! I love your videos and IG stories! It’s so relaxing to hear you speak, not in a creepy way. My biggest problem is speaking in front of the camera. How do you speak so eloquently and naturally? You make it look so easy! Thanks again!

    1. Thanks so much Karen for your kind words! It really just takes practice, I was super nervous in front of the camera when I started (and honestly, I’m still not 100% comfortable – I’m an introvert!), but I just keep doing it because I get a little bit better each time. Repetition really can help you improve!

    2. Hello! Do you have photography tips as well particularly shooting flat lays? Mine always have shadows from the camera. :(

      1. If you have shadows from the camera it means that your light is coming from overhead. Make sure all overhead lights are off and move your flatlay closer to a window, so that the light is coming from the side. :)

  8. Thank you for sharing! The lighting in your videos is wonderful and I find them relaxing to watch. How often do you record your videos? How many hours do you work per week?

    1. Thanks so much Krista! I try to record and upload new videos weekly, though it’s been a bit delayed this summer. And I work far more than 40 hours a week. ;)

  9. Hi Lisa. Thanks for all the great info you are sharing. Im actually looking to upgrade my camera with a focus of making food videos. Not only overhead but with me in the frame, eventually! Im leaning towards Canon 80D. What do you think of the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens for the above mentioned style of videos? Thanks!

    1. Hi Penelope – yes, that’s a good lens. Especially if you’re looking for one lens to accomplish a variety of depths/angles.

  10. Thanks for sharing these tips Lisa. Do you shoot solely with one camera and move it around as you’re cooking to capture angles? If so, how do you ensure your camera stays clean from all the grime that is inevitable in cooking?

    1. Yes, I shoot solely with one camera. And because I’m not doing overhead shots, I haven’t had any problems with it staying clean.

  11. What about over head videos? what gear you , use for that, nice post by the way , thanks for taking the time to answer

    1. I use the same gear for my overhead videos. I shoot with my Canon 80D and my tripod has a horizontal arm. :)

  12. Hey this is so helpful! I am curious where do you keep the audio recorder during filming since it’s plugged into the lav mic? And then how do you up load the sound? Audio has been my biggest struggle! 

    1. Hi Heather – the recorder is usually just sitting in my lap when I’m doing my intro, but you could put it in your back pocket as well if you’re standing and talking to the camera. I then import the sound directly to Premier Pro and merge with the video clip (and remove the video clip audio). If you Google merging external audio with video I’m sure you can find some tutorials. Hope that helps!

  13. Hi Lisa, I just discovered you today and I’ve been spending most of my working day at the office sneaking in time to see your videos. They are so very well made I actually thought you had a crew working with you. I’m in awe of what you do, thank you for sharing your knowledge and recipes. By the way, I prepare guacamole exactly the same way as you do, and I agree it gets great reviews all the time :) Greetings from Mexico!

    1. Thanks for your kind words about my videos Yaz! Yeah, I’m a bit of a busy bee behind the scenes as a one-woman show. ;) And love to hear that you make guacamole the same way. That recipe is the best! Hugs to Mexico! :) x

  14. Thank you so much for sharing, great write-up. Very informative and I just learned the root cause of all the shadows I get in my videos and images. I’m getting the lights you have and shutting off all overhead kitchen lights. Great job on everything and thanks again for sharing this wonderful information.

    1. Glad you found this post helpful Oye! And yes, the proper lighting makes all the difference. Best of luck to you!