Like many other disciplines in this field, food photography requires certain tools and skills. No matter what type of photography you are doing, one of the most important tools of the trade is a good tripod. Sometimes, you just need a locked-off shot, and this is especially true when dealing with culinary photography.
You want a tripod that delivers good height and stability, as well as a versatility of shot choices. There are a lot of options on the market that can deliver these attributes to you. However, this broad selection may make finding the right tripod for your food photography more difficult.
That is why we curated a list of attributes that are necessary to look for when making that decision. We used those attributes to find five of the best tripods for food photography on the market. The attributes we used to determine the credibility of these tripods are:
- Height adjustment capability
- Built-in leveling system
- Overhead and angle variation
Using these factors, we found the five best tripod for food photography options, and we will take an in-depth look at each in the hopes we can help make your decision a little easier.
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17.3" to 85.4"
5.5" to 60"
57.6" to 70"
18" to 60"
23.6" to 72"
Best Tripod for Food Photography Reviews
Manfrotto 058B Triaut Camera Tripod
Our first tripod is designed to be versatile and easy to use. On top of an amazing design, you get the brand's reputation and dedication to quality, and that is why the Manfrotto 058B Triaut is one of the best options we chose.
There is a lot to love about this tripod apart from brand recognition and reputation. Here are some of the main features:
- Load capacity – 26.5 lbs.
- Height (min) – 17.3”
- Height (max) – 85.4”
- Folded length – 37”
- Head mount – 3/8”-16 screw
- Weight – 13.6 lbs.
- Crafted in aluminum alloy and steel
- Fitted with a bubble level
- Crafted with a push-pull release leg lock
- Center-braced column
Typical of what you would expect from Manfrotto, the tripod is created with the highest-quality materials. The use of high-grade materials lengthens the lifespan of the piece by increasing durability. This durability also gives it a bit more ruggedness than some of the other tripods available today.
Within the design, this durability translates to stability. The unit is crafted with sturdy leg locks and a built-in level. This all helps make sure that the shot is perfect and that there will be a limited chance of getting blurry shots.
The height adjustment is nice as well, which may be the factor that makes it so perfect for food photography. You have the ability to adjust from just over a foot in height to a little over six feet.
Unfortunately, just because there is so much to love doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few things that we think could be addressed to make the unit even better. The first is the weight. Those high-quality materials come at a price, and the unit is a little on the heavy side.
On top of this, brand recognition also plays a role in regards to the price. For those working on a tight budget, this may not be the option for you.
Peak Design Travel Tripod
Our next tripod is perfect for the food photographer who loves to travel to exotic locations. It is compact and lightweight and yet still gives a professional quality performance.
This brilliant tripod has great features that make it stable for still food photography, including the following:
- Weight capacity – 20 lbs.
- Height (min) – 51.6”
- Height (max) – 60.2”
- Folded length – 15.2”
- Head mount – ball
- Weight – 2.81 lbs.
- Multiple accessories included with purchase
If you are a photographer who does their food photography in the field or for clients at their own workspace, then having a big setup with heavy equipment can be a hassle. This is when a travel tripod comes in handy, and that is exactly what this tripod has going for it.
The design allows for plenty of height adjustment, and when done, the unit folds down into a compact frame. In fact, it is small enough to fit in a backpack and take with you. On top of that, the weight capacity of the unit allows you the use of a heavier camera setup.
Speaking of cameras, one of the best features of this unit is its versatility. Not only can you mount your DSLR and take stunning photos, but if you do some work on your mobile phone, it is compatible with that, as well.
Along with that versatility comes the center column's ability to offer multiple angle shots, including some excellent low-angle options.
That being said, there are a few issues that we would be remiss without mentioning. The first is that there are two build types (we focused on the carbon fiber option). The option we chose to look at does seem a little steeply priced for the material used in its construction.
Other than that, the quick-release plate is not designed with a switch. Instead, you have to use a hexagon key, and that may take a few extra minutes of your time.
Vanguard Alta Pro 263AP Aluminum Tripod
This tripod from Vanguard brings with it an elevated level of stability and versatility. This makes it the perfect option for food photography, as it gives you more angles to shoot from.
Vanguard strives to bring tripods to the market that are versatile and durable. Here are the key features:
- Weight capacity – 11 lbs.
- Height (min) – 57”
- Height (max) – 70”
- Folded length – 28.5”
- Weight – 5.73 lbs.
- Head mount – Panhead
- Crafted with a quick-release plate
- Three bubble levels
- ISSL system
With the Alta Pro 263AP, they have certainly achieved their goal. Crafted with high-grade materials, the tripod is lightweight and sturdy. This will help with transport, as well as the life of the tool.
The unit is also designed with a wide range of height choices. This will allow the photographer to be able to get multiple shots at all different angles to create a layout for their shoot that is dynamic and interesting.
The other aspect that we like about this tripod is the stability it offers the photographer. When you are dealing with moving the camera and mounting your expensive camera to the tripod, you want a unit that can remain stable. This one offers amazing performance in this area.
All of this could easily come with a high price tag. However, with this unit from Vanguard, the price tag matches the value that the photographer will get from including this in their kit.
There are some issues that we found with this tripod that could affect the overall decision to make this your go-to tripod. The first is with the pan movement. It is rough, and though you may not use it that often with food photography, it is still a nice thing to have.
The other issue is that, if you have a heavier camera setup, you may need to take a look at another tripod. The weight capacity of this tripod is only 11 pounds, and that may not do for those using a more robust lens.
OverHead Pro The 2-in-1 Tripod Kit
This camera tripod is perfect for the food photographer who uses multiple cameras. It offers versatility in angles and uses, and that is why it is on our list.
There is a lot to love about this tripod. Here are some of the main features:
- Weight capacity – 22 lbs.
- Height (min) – 1.8’
- Height (max) – 5’
- Weight – 5.5 lbs.
- Head mount – ball
- Ball head allows for 360-degree panoramic shots
- Legs are constructed with flip locks
- Built-in level
There is nothing like buying a piece of equipment that can be used in more than one way, even when you are only focusing on one style of photography. The OverHead 2-in-1 tripod gives the photographer this capability.
The design of the unit is easy to set up and even easier to use. This makes a good fit for food photography. You may be working on your own, and being able to concentrate more on the final product instead of setup is a nice plus.
The versatility doesn’t stop there, though. This unit is capable of being used both with a DSLR, as well as a smartphone. By having this range of options, you will be able to vary your shots, and that can make the difference in any shoot.
The unit is crafted with durable, lightweight materials. This will help with the portability. By giving yourself a little more transportability, you will open up your jobs and your creativity, too.
The unit does have some drawbacks, though. The first is minor, as they have created a video to help with setting it up. However, if you're more of a person who likes reading the directions, you may find the lack of instructions a problem.
The arm is also challenging to switch positions. This could add some time to your shoot and may cause a little frustration.
K&F Concept 72 Inch Camera Tripod
Our last entry is a convertible tripod that offers a wide range of options and uses. The S211 is designed with a wide range of height choices that are perfect for that over-the-head finished plate shot.
This is a sturdy and strong tripod that has plenty in store for the user. Here are the key features:
- Weight capacity – 22 lbs.
- Height (min) – 23.6”
- Height (max) – 72”
- Folded length – 19.3”
- Weight – 4 lbs.
- Head mount – ball
- Center column moves from 0 to 180 degrees
- Multiple opening angles (x3)
This tripod is designed to bring with it a wide range of creative choices when it comes to angles. The height capability of the unit allows for use as both a monopod and a tripod.
This may not play much of a part in food photography, but having the ability to use it in this fashion could open up some creative choices that other photographers don’t have access to.
Other than this unique feature, the tripod is constructed with lightweight materials, which makes it a perfect destination shoot option. That, coupled with the easy setup, makes it good for travel food photography.
Unlike a lot of budget options, this unit comes with another unique feature - the tripod is designed with a counterweight hook. This allows for the tripod to be used with heavier camera setups and improves overall stability.
The legs are one of the points of contention, though. The legs' construction itself is not the problem, but rather the locking system. The locks are made of plastic, and that decreases the durability right off the bat.
Other than that, the unit is not constructed with a vertical adjustment switch for use when in monopod form.
You want to deliver the best photographs, ones that make the viewer hungry for whatever is being cooked or plated. This means having the versatility to take those shots at multiple angles and heights. You also need a tool that can be moved easily and that offers perfect stability for when you chose to do that locked off shot.
All of our choices offer some level of each of these qualities, and that is why they made the list. We took our time and sifted through hundreds of options using our criteria and experience. Hopefully, within these amazing tripod choices, you have found the one for you so you can start creating beautiful shots of that delicious food.