7 Best Tripods for Food Photography // 2020 Buyer’s Guide

You might be asking yourself, “I’m ready to go beyond the look of handheld photography but how do I know what tripod to buy?”

The truth is, there is no quintessential answer to that question.

Tripods come in all shapes and sizes.

If your photographic specialty is food photography, then you’ll find that the best tripod for food photography will not be the same tripod used by a wildlife photographer.

best tripods for food photography

As a food photographer, you have a very specific type of photo that you take.

Either you’re shooting food and products in a studio that demand clean and crisp photos or take an all-natural approach inside a restaurant where you’ll often be met with low light.

In both scenarios, you’ll want a tripod. But not just any tripod.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Tripod for Food Photography

There are a few general features as well as features specific to food photography that you want to ensure your tripod supports.

Making these considerations ensure that you find the best tripod for food photography.

Adjustable Height

You don’t need to concern yourself with the minimum height of your tripod—whatever you find will work.

However, you’ll want to buy a tripod that allows you to increase the height of your camera.

With food photography, you’re often shooting from the tabletop or close to the ground.

Often, you’ll need to put some distance between your subject matter and your camera so a tripod with height adjustment is a necessity.

Bubble Level

Any tripod you consider should have, at a minimum, one bubble level.

There is no other way to ensure your camera is shooting level, both horizontally and vertically.

Sure, you can fix leveling issues in post but when you’re way off you risk ruining your composition.

Overhead & 45-Degree Orientation

Food photography is typically taken from overhead or at a 45-degree angle.

Not all tripods will easily allow you to swing your camera down so that it will take an overhead shot.

Ensure the tripod you consider will allow you to do this while remaining stable.

The last thing you want is for your tripod to topple over where it can damage your camera.

Now, here are the 7 best tripods for food photography!

Click/tap on each tripod name to jump to that section. At the end of each section, there is a link to jump back to this table to make it easy for you!

Let’s dive in:

7 Best Tripods for Food Photography

Best Tripods for Food PhotographyRating
Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit
Dollar Amount: $$

★ Editor's Top Choice ★

4.4 out of 5 stars
Manfrotto 290 Xtra Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod
Dollar Amount: $
4.6 out of 5 stars
Manfrotto 058B Triaut Camera Tripod
Dollar Amount: $$
4.7 out of 5 stars
Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Tripod
Dollar Amount: $$$
3.6 out of 5 stars
Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 Aluminum 4-Section Tripod
Dollar Amount: $

★ Top Affordable Choice ★

4.6 out of 5 stars
STURDY TIGER 75” Camera Tripod & Monopod
Dollar Amount: $
4.4 out of 5 stars
JOBY GorillaPod Original Tripod
Dollar Amount: $
3.4 out of 5 stars

The Best Tripods for Food Photography

Manfrotto 055 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit with Horizontal Column and 3-Way Head

best tripods for food photography

This tripod includes a three-way head for one price point. What a deal!

For that reason alone, it is a great tripod to start with.

It also can do overhead shots without an extra piece of equipment.

A bit heavy of a tripod to use as a walk around, but if you travel by car, or motorcycle and only plan a few hundred yards walk to your subject, this shouldn’t be an issue.

However, if you plan on backpacking this tripod, be ready for the extra weight of this model. It will wear you down within an hour or so. It is by no means small or ultra-lite.

Top of the line for the money spent!

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Top quality build
  • Very sturdy
  • Great quality
  • Great “bang for buck”

Cons

  • The unit is durable but can be a bit heavy

→ Jump Back to Overview Table

Manfrotto 290 Xtra Carbon Fiber 3-Section Tripod

best tripod for food photography

Manfrotto is a great tripod manufacturer and this is no exception.

Sturdy tripod legs and a quality fluid head that doesn’t come loose and allows you to easily adjust the tension.

What I love about Manfrotto Tripods is that they all have a set screw in the part that attaches to the head to prevent the loosening of the tripod head. 

This tripod is absolutely worth the price.

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • The leg locks never get stuck and the legs always extend fully when you loosen the locks. It is terribly annoying when you think a tripod leg is extend all the way but it isn’t
  • The tripod is significantly taller and much sturdier at maximum height in comparison to plastic tripods

Cons

  • The handle can get in the way when collapsing the tripod a tad bit

→ Jump Back to Overview Table

Manfrotto 058B Triaut Camera Tripod – Replaces 3251 and 3051

best tripod for food photography

This tripod allows you to photograph from a high angle.

This is great when you need to capture those overhead shots.

 A tripod like this is great if you want to work at table level.

It is rock steady and the primary extension legs shoot out and extend at the touch of a button. The secondary legs are of the twist variety.

This is a great value tripod when you’re in the market for an excellent tripod.

 

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4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Unique leg release
  • Extremely quick set up
  • Aluminum and steel construction
  • Each leg can be adjusted individually

Cons

  • The secondary legs can be a little difficult to extend

→ Jump Back to Overview Table

Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Tripod Series 2 Carbon 4 Sections

best tripod for food photography

Between the two, both Gitzo and Manfrotto are the brand names you’ll hear most often when talking about the best tripods for food photography.

Now that Manfrotto has bought Gitzo, they are one-in-the-same yet still offer their own distinct personality.

While the 058B from Manfrotto is a powerhouse the Gitzo GT2542 is a tank. It will do everything you need and last you a lifetime.

Best yet, it gives your shoot an extra level of professionalism because it looks as good as it costs.

 

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3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)

Pros

  • The carbon fiber legs offer extreme durability while keeping the tripod lightweight
  • Supports up to 39 pounds, so every lens and accessory you have can be supported by this behemoth

Cons

  • This might be the most expensive tripod on the market
  • It does not come with a head — but at this price, you’ll want to experiment with your favorite

→ Jump Back to Overview Table

Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 Aluminum 4-Section Tripod

best tripod for food photography

This is probably the most “entry-level” tripod manufactured by Manfrotto.

However, it’s also their most compact model, which makes it perfect for on-the-go photography.

If you’re a food blogger then this is the perfect blend of high-end quality and versatility.

 

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4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Super lightweight and compact
  • The price is great for a high-end tripod

Cons

  • This might be the most expensive tripod on the market
  • It does not come with a head — but at this price, you’ll want to experiment with your favorite

→ Jump Back to Overview Table

STURDY TIGER 75” Camera Tripod & Monopod for DSLR, Professional 360 Degree Horizontal Arm Tripod

best tripod for food photography

This tripod has a quality build and comes at a valued price!

This tripod is lightweight which is great for travel.

In use, the head has a smooth feel and can lock in pretty easily.

The center column mounts to the tripod leg which is removable which allows it to become a monopod.

Overall, can be considered one of the best tripods for food photography and overhead photography.

 

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4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Quick release attaches securely
  • Easy to move and tighten legs
  • Creative way of incorporating a horizontal support

Cons

  • Can be a bit on the heavy side
  • The horizontal support can have some wiggle in it if not tightened correctly

→ Jump Back to Overview Table

JOBY GorillaPod Original Tripod

best tripod for food photography

If you’re a professional food photographer, then the GorillaPod isn’t for you.

However, if you’re looking to get more stable photos in low-light environments for your own amusements, your food blog, or Instagram, then the GorillaPod can be a fun solution.

It’s articulated legs are versatile and give you plenty of freedom—just make sure your camera is less than 11.5 oz!

 

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3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Extremely cheap
  • A fun way to experiment with tabletop photography

Cons

  • The weight limit is low — use a small camera or even just your cellphone
  • The articulated legs are great to experiment with but are not super stable

→ Jump Back to Overview Table

Best Accessory for Food Photography

No matter what tripod you end up with, I suggest you also buy the following accessory to give you an even more stable bird’s eye view of your product.

Manfrotto 131D Side Arm for Tripods with 2 heads on 90-Degree

best tripod for food photography

The Manfrotto 131D Side Arm will connect to your existing tripod giving you an unimpeded overhanging view of your subject.

There’s no easier way to take overhead shots and virtually no fiddling with legs and height to get your tripod to perfectly overlap your subject.

Armed with this, you’ll be taking overhead shots like a champ.

 

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4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Food Photography is About Clean, Crisp Photography

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

However, most people agree that great food photography is clean and crisp in its presentation even if it’s shot in low light.

To transcend your food photography, you absolutely need a tripod.

Specifically, ensure you get one that works well with on-the-go adjustments and that is easy to set up, transport and will remain stable even when your camera is taking overhead shots.

Luckily, all of the tripods in this article do just that although it’s entirely up to you and your budget which one you choose.

With enough ingenuity and intuition, you can surely make a cheaper tripod work for you.

However, if you have the money, investing in better tools will always make your life easier. When your business is photography than being more efficient means a wider margin of profit, so finding that balance is important!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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