Never have I ever claimed to be a professional photographer. In fact, before I started blogging, I had never even picked up a DSLR camera-- I was totally clueless! But over the last 4+ years of blogging, photography is one of the things that I've worked the hardest to master. And though I still feel like I have a long way to go, my images have improved tremendously since the very grainy and out-of-focus photos I shared in my first blog posts.
Many times I feel like peoples' biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to photography and videography are that they don't know which equipment they should be using. I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of all the equipment that I currently use and love all in one place. I mostly use the equipment listed below for blogging purposes, but it could also be helpful if you were looking to get into photography as a hobby or even just take some beautiful photos of your cute kids!
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My Favorite Photography and Video Equipment for Bloggers
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Canon 6D- This is the camera I currently use, and I LOVE it. It is a full-frame camera, which allows me to capture more in each shot, and it makes for clear, crisp, beautiful photos. All of the photos you see in my current blog posts are taken with this camera.
taken with my Canon 6D
Canon Rebel T6i- My first DSLR camera was a Canon Rebel, and it was a great camera to learn on. (Mine was a T3i. They are now up to the T6i.) This camera has a cropped-sensor as opposed to my current full-frame, but I was still able to use it to get some great photos of both my home and my kids!
taken with my Canon Rebel T3i
A note on Canon versus Nikon: Both of these brands make phenomenal cameras that take beautiful photos. I consulted a friend of mine who teaches photography before I purchased my first DSLR, and she advised me to go with Canon because in her opinion, they are an easier model to learn. I heeded her advice and have been a Canon girl ever since. I have also seen stunningly beautiful images from Nikon models, though, so you really can't go wrong with either of them!
I currently have three lenses in my camera bag, and each one serves a different purpose.
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8- This lens was one of the first I ever bought and is sometimes referred to as the "nifty fifty." It is very affordable as far as camera lenses go, and it is great for detail shots of interior spaces or for taking pictures of my kids. It's easy to get a lot of "bokeh" (the blurriness in the background of a photo, with just the main subject in focus) with this lens, which allows for a lot of artistic-looking shots. This would be a difficult lens to use to photograph an entire room, though, because it is more "zoomed in," so to get a full room in the shot, you'd have stand back really, really far, and many interior spaces are not set up for that.
taken with my Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 lens
Tamron AF 28-75 mm f/2.8- I use this lens for most of my mid range shots. It is a zoom lens and can cover a fairly wide range of shots, from close ups to full rooms.
taken with my Tamron AF 28-75 mm f/2.8 lens
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8- Every once in a while I need to photograph a tight space or a full room that the previous lens can't manage, so I pull out this wide angle lens. It has allowed me to get the best perspective on spaces like our master closet and my boys' shared room, which would have been extremely difficult to adequately capture with my other lenses.
taken with my Tamron SP 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens
I try to use natural lighting whenever possible, but occasionally there is a windowless space like a closet or bathroom that requires some additional lighting. I also often use artificial lighting when I'm shooting video. In these cases, I have three lighting options that I use to supplement.
Neewer Softbox Lighting Kit- This is my favorite artificial lighting option that I currently own. I feel like the colors of my photos still come out pretty true when I use these lights, and they really bring a lot of light into otherwise dark spaces.
taken with lighting from the soft boxes
Cowboy Studio Umbrella Lighting Kit- I actually owned this kit before I had the softboxes mentioned above. I like it, but I felt like my photos would turn out a little cooler with this kit, and I would have to warm them up some in editing. I will still use the umbrellas in addition to the softboxes if I need some extra light.
taken with lighting from umbrella light kit
Neewer TT560 External Flash- I don't use this flash super often, but if I'm in a really tight space where it's hard to use the larger lighting kits (or if I'm in a hurry and don't feel like dragging the light kits around), I will pop this flash on my camera to snap a few quick shots. (Tip: Point the flash upward so the light bounces off the ceiling rather than pointing it directly at your subject.)
taken with light from the external flash
Manfrotto MKBFRA4-BH BeFree Compact Aluminum Travel Tripod- The tripod I've used for the past few years is very similar to this one (just a different color), and I love it in almost every situation. It works really well with my two smaller lenses; however, my wide angle lens is really heavy, and so I've had some issues with this tripod being able to hold the heavy lens still enough when I'm using long shutter speeds. If you're not using any super heavy lenses, though, this tripod is great.
my tripod in use photographing printables-- quite the setup! 🙂
Vanguard Alta Pro- I recently picked up this tripod as a more "heavy duty" option that will work with my larger lens, and I love it! It changes position easily and always holds my camera firmly in place. It is shown in the photo below holding a smaller camera that we use for video, but I love it for my big DSLR as well.
edited in Photoshop
Lightroom- I am personally more comfortable with Photoshop, but Lightroom can be a lot faster because it gives you the ability to batch edit photos, rather than doing one at a time. If I have a group of photos that have all been taken in the exact same lighting and positioning, I will edit them in Lightroom to save time.
series of photos, edited in Lightroom for my KonMari Method of organizing clothes post
PicMonkey- For the first two years I had my blog, I used PicMonkey to edit every photo! It doesn't have as many capabilities as Photoshop or Lightroom, but it is a great place to start if you're just learning photo editing. I also still use PicMonkey any time I need to make a collage like the one above.
Finally, if you are looking to dive deeper into photography to improve the photos on your site, these are some of my favorite resources:
Rachel’s photography series at Maison de Pax. Rachel has taught me so much about photography, and she was kind enough to share all of her brilliant photography wisdom in a FREE blog post series on her site! (Update: Rachel has also recently launched a full photography course, which is phenomenal! Get all of the info about it here.)
Shoot Fly Shoot. If you're looking to learn the basics from step one, Shoot Fly Shoot has phenomenal online classes for beginners.
Food Photography School from Minimalist Baker. Yes, I realize that I’m not a food blogger, but this class was so good that I finished it all in one weekend! I learned so much and my photography immediately improved after taking it.
The Ultimate Photography Book for Bloggers by Aniko at Place of My Taste. Aniko has written an entire eBook specifically geared toward photography for bloggers, and it is incredible. She really knows her stuff!
In the past we have used the Canon 6D camera I mentioned above to record most of the videos where I'm in front of the camera, but recently we purchased a new camera specifically for video that I wanted to be sure to mention.
Panasonic Lumix G85- We love this camera for video because it shoots in 4K, which is a higher resolution that results in a super clear video. It's a mirrorless camera, so is much smaller than my Canon 6D, making it easier to hold and shoot video. It also has an amazing touchscreen and flip out screen, which makes a "selfie mode" easier when shooting video.
LogitechHD Pro Webcam C920- If I need to record a Skype call or a webinar where I'm sitting in front of the computer, I use this HD webcam rather than the built in camera on my laptop.
Rode smartLav+ Lavelier Microphone- This is the mic that I use if I am in front of the camera. It plugs into my iPhone, and I record into my "Voice Memos" app. Then we add the audio to the video portion in editing.
You can spot the smarLav+ on my lapel in this screen grab from my closet reveal video.
Rode Video Micro. We typically attach this microphone to the top of our Lumix camera and have been very impressed with the audio quality. It also works with a smartphone for Facebook Live broadcasts.
Blue Yeti Microphone- If I am recording over slides on my computer or doing a webinar or podcast interview, this is the mic I use. It's big and bulky, so it's not ideal if I'm actually on screen, but it works perfectly for screencasts or other audio tracks.
Screen Recording and Editing
ScreenFlow- When we need to record tech tutorials or show slides for our courses, we use ScreenFlow to make the recording. It also includes simple-to-use editing software, which is what we use to edit all of our videos.
eCam Call Recorder- Though we use ScreenFlow for almost everything, there have been times where we've wanted to record a Skype conversation and show both parties on the screen (in an interview format, for example), and for this we've used eCam Call Recorder.
So those are my favorite photography and videography equipment recommendations for bloggers! I know photography and video can be intimidating (especially video for me!), but they also have the ability to take your blog to the next level AND capture some really great memories of your family as well, so I think it is definitely worth the time to learn them!
Looking for more photography tips? These posts may help:
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Happy photographing, friends! Have a wonderful week!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.