We often receive questions regarding the tools and equipment we use to create the food and imagery you find here at Sprouted Kitchen, so we've compiled a catalog of our workhorse equipment. Some of the links below are affiliated, so we'll receive a commission on purchases made through them, but the products we mentioned here are ones we have purchased ourselves and reach for nearly every time we set to work.
For a more comprehensive list of camera equipment found in Hugh's bag, you can see here.
Canon 5D mkIII - I went through a handful of upgrades before landing on this particular body and I've been using them since 2012. It's a great piece of equipment, but it's not cheap. If you don't have the budget or the desire to drop the cash on this body, it's worth looking into Canon's 6D & 7D lines. Diamond in the Rough option: if you can find a Canon 5D (the original version) in decent working condition on the used market, grab it. I still have one from years ago and despite it's age and technical limitations, it's probably my favorite digital camera.
Canon 50mm f/1.2L - The 50mm focal length is my go to perspective for food photography. As with the 5D3, this lens is sort of the end of the upgrade road for me, so if you're looking for a more budget friendly option, take a look at Canon's 50mm f/1.4 version. It's a great lens in its own right.
Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro - When I want to get close up for detail, texture or abstraction, I grab this lens. It allows you to get unnecessarily tight. It will focus to infinity as well, though, so if you want one single lens for food photography, this is an option well worth considering. It's major drawback that I've found is that it doesn't handle backlight well and yields a lot of hazy flaring.
Canon 40mm f/2.8 Pancake - I mentioned this lens in a post a few years ago and I still stand by the recommendation. This is my "daily life" lens. It's a compact little guy at a fun focal length and it yields some quality imagery for the price point. It performs well when shooting food, but the real bonus is it's size. DSLRs can be obnoxious, and while this lens won't suddenly allow you to pocket your camera or anything, I've found it much more pleasant to casually carry around and photograph with compared to any other DSLR (or point and shoot, tbh) set up I've tried.
There is a quick food photography guide available on our shop page which may be helpful, especially if you’re shooting with your phone. Just some simple tips.
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Tripod Kit - I use a tripod on rare occasions for food work, but when I need it, it's indispensable. This tripod isn't bomb proof, but it boasts a solid load capacity for its size, decent construction, and the central column can be quickly adjusted to a variety of vertical or horizontal positions for overhead compositions.
PixelFlash USB3.0 CF Card Readers - I've burned through a variety of card readers over the years. I've been using these for a few years now with no issues. Fast, compact, durable.
Sandisk Extreme 32GB CF Cards - I've never had a SanDisk card fail. I can't say that for some other brands I've tried in the past, so I stick with SanDisk now. There are faster cards out there, but these are plenty fast for what and how I shoot.
LensPen - These are great little tools to keep on hand to clean your glass. There's a carbon cleaning compound built into the cap so you don't need liquid solution, and it works wayyy better than the hem of a t-shirt to get those greasy finger smudges off the front element.
Black Foam Core Boards - The unsung hero of food photography if you ask me. I use these all the time to shape light for the imagery here. Like every picture. The tri-fold version is nice if you're shooting by yourself as it can stand on it's own.
I will continue to add to this, but to get us started, I wanted to list a few things I use often:
Julienne Peeler - I use this largely for shredded carrots for salads or making zucchini noodles. It has stayed sharp and feels comfortable in my hands.
Kitchen Scissors - These were a gift from Hugh from Quitokeeto. Scissors are perhaps my most used tool and I never wanted to spend the money on a nice pair, but what a difference. These are just as fabulous and not quite the investment. Oh, or these, I love kitchen scissors.
Microplane Zester - I use this multiple times a day for citrus, parmesan and garlic. For things like salad dressing or a quick tahini sauce, grating the garlic helps the flavor distribute better so you don't have larger chunks.
Offset spatula - I don't do a ton of baking, but this is key with frostings.
Silicone Brush - It's small but is great for things like glazing loaf cakes or painting marinade onto veggies for grilling. I'm not tied to any particular brand but it's a good tool to have.
Benriner Mandoline (not pictured) - Again. Salads. This tool enables me to get delicate, thin slices of things like carrots, fennel, potatoes and the like. In the summer especially, I use it daily. It comes in a couple different sizes and I like the larger one because I can slice larger vegetables for gratin, ratatouille etc.
Food Processor - I know the Vitamix has come in to replace these, but I still love mine and can't imagine replacing it. I can do so much more here than I can with a blender. We use a nutribullet for smoothies. Yes, a food processor is large and takes up a lot of storage space but it does all my sauces and veggies burgers and hummus and date balls and is just wonderful. You could get a smaller one based on space, however, you can always do less in a larger size, but not the other way around. I also have a Kitchen Aid Proline that I received as a gift, but I honestly only use it for nut or oak milks.
Stand Mixer - Another big ticket item that I've had for 10 years with no issues. My aunt had her original one over 50 years! They are built to last. It's a worthy investment if you make doughs, cookies, whipping cream etc.. I don't bake super often, but I find this so helpful when I do.
Toaster Oven - We did not grow up with one, but my husbands family lived by it so we got one when we got married. I LOVE THIS THING. Perhaps this depends on the person, but it is likely my most used appliance. It heats up in a jiffy, you can set a timer to turn off, so if you go to do something else? No problem. The oven space is large enough for a frozen pizza or a small tray of roasted vegetables or for your kids to make their toaster waffles. We use this one so so much and I am so grateful for the counter space to house this bebe. It is pricer than a standard toaster, but also it 1000x more multifunctional.
Knives - A minimalist when it comes to only storing kitchen tools I actually use, I keep five knives total and haven't needed anything else. Mind you, I prefer a heavier knife to a light weight one. Mine are black, some of these links are for white handled ones because I wish mine were :) This chefs knife, santuko, large and small serrated and paring knife can cover all of the work I do in the kitchen even though I use scissors more often than I care to admit. I've had Cutco since we got married and the only knives I knew prior were old, never sharpened, hand-me-downs I stole from my parents house so the competition was not stiff. I don't know a ton about other brands but I do believe in taking care of them (sharpening, hand washing and drying) and don't believe the most expensive equals the best by any means.
POTS & PANS
Pans: I started with one All-Clad and I am slowly replacing what I have to be exclusively so. They are pricey but they cook beautifully and age well. I don't have a ton of cupboard space, so I do everything in a 10" or 12" skillet, 2-quart pot or 4-quart pot. I have one non-stick pan for eggs. They sell sets if you are fancy and investing all at one.
Cast Iron: I use Le Creuset for both their 10" skillet and a 5.5-quart dutch oven that I use constantly. As in everyday, those are my two favorite pans. The later is enameled, but seasoned cast iron needs to be cared for (scrub with a wire brush, no soap to clean, then wipe it with some avocado oil and leave it over the burner on low to reseason it after use), but I love them and they will live forever. I use a 12" Lodge for family size frittatas or crisps and crumbles etc.