A Beginners’ Guide to Choosing the Right Tripod for Food Photography

With a bewildering array of tripods available, it can be a challenge as a new photographer to figure out what sort of tripod will best suit your work, a choice that’s made all the more stressful when you realize just how expensive tripods can be. This in-depth guide will definitely help.

Alongside all of the various heads, different build materials, and different locking systems, perhaps one of the most important considerations when choosing a tripod for food photography is to give yourself the option of shooting from overhead. This is where the footprint (to give stability) and height (to give versatility) can really be a factor, but it can get much more complicated than you might first imagine, which photographer Joanie Simon explores in this useful video.

If you’re starting out and looking to save money, it will almost feel daunting to spend more than $200 on something like the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 aluminium tripod and then pair it with the Manfrotto 327RC2 Ball Head, which at $230 is even more expensive! However, it’s worth remembering that this gear will last a long time and will save you a huge amount of time when it comes to shooting. 

Which tripod would you recommend to someone starting out in food photography? Let us know in the comments below.

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Benoit .'s picture

I get it, it's for beginners, but for food or anything that's table top in a studio, a camera stand is worth investing into. Fast to set, easy to drop down on the ground and lock like it is glued down. Tripods are easy to kick and typically will be in the way.

Nicolas Thulliez's picture

The MT055XPRO3 is the tripod I bought 3 years ago, it's heavy but it's near perfect, I'm far from being a pro, but a good tripod like this one makes things easier...

Deleted Account's picture

For many years I have had the carbon fibre version of this as my main tripod. Excellent.

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Patrick Snitjer's picture

Purely mechanical things, especially tripods, are far more worth it if you buy them used. I got a decent deal on a 3 section manfrotto carbon tripod for 150 euros. I bought an arca ball head for 100. Cleaned them thoroughly, and they are as good as new now. Of course it depends on the supply and demand in your specific area, but it never hurts to look into it!