When I started out blogging I had no idea what an expensive venture it would prove to be. Think that you just bust open your laptop and start typing? Think again. Blogging has now become a professional career path for many and bloggers are no longer relying on photographer friends or borrowed equipment to put a post together. Instead, we are becoming a one man (or woman) band – writer, photographer, editor, stylist all rolled into one. And damn some bloggers are good at it. And have the expensive gear to boot.
For the rest of us mere mortals, we have to try our best with what we’ve got. And when that’s not good enough you look on eBay.
Below are the essential items that I use to put all my blog posts together. I should note that you absolutely don’t have to fritter away your hard earned cash on any of the equipment below. If you are happy with what you are working with, for example it might just be your phone, then great! I actually ended up buying some of my more expensive pieces as an excuse to take high quality photos and videos of my son as well as for my husband’s business. And most of it I bought second hand. So don’t fret.
Obviously the main thing is writing – I recently splashed out on a brand new Macbook Pro as my old one was dying on me. I had to buy a separate CD drive and also invested in a Seagate Mac Portable Drive so that I wouldn’t overload the hard-drive like I did with my old one.
Despite many bloggers now investing in the latest photographic technology to take pictures for their posts, I still rely heavily on my iPhone 6. Personally, I think the picture quality is fine and I can then use all the editing apps and upload straight to Facebook, instagram, twitter etc. However, I do own a second-hand SONY NEX-5R (from CEX) which I use for big events or when I want to take a crystal clear picture. I originally used the Sony to take video as well but the format of the clips is not compatible with mac so I would end up converting each clip in order to import them into iMovie, which just proved such a hassle. Again the iPhone takes great videos and you can upload the clips easily.
Like I said, I still use my iPhone to take short clips when I am out and about but I recently bought a second hand Canon VIXIA HF S10 from eBay that also came with a high definition wide angle lens. Now that I have decided to expand my blog and torture you all with a few youtube videos (check out my channel here!) a camcorder was definitely needed. I also bought it so that I could take (even more) videos of my son and upload straight onto a DVD rather than having to tie all my little iPhone clips together.
So two birds, one stone and all that.
I often write my blog posts at night which was fine until it came to the taking pictures part. There is only so much editing you can do to adjust the lighting of a picture and as any decent photographer will tell you, lighting is the MOST important ingredient. So after doing some research and checking out advice from other bloggers, I have invested in a Neewer Dimmable Ring Light. The alternatives to the ring light are umbrella lights/soft box lights but you need a lot more space for these and let’s face it, I’m not about to become the next Rankin. The ring light provides enough light to take decent shots and video at night although so far I have been mainly using it to pluck my eyebrows…
Just a note – the dimmable switch is a bit rubbish but other than that, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
If you are going to invest in a top notch camera and/or camcorder, you must have a tripod. Don’t be one of those people who precariously balances their equipment on a chair, five books and a tin of biscuits… (yep we’ve all done it). I have two tripods – one for the light and one for the camcorder/camera. I bought the Photography Light Stand and a Photographic Camcorder Tripod both from Amazon.
To edit my photos I use iPhoto on my mac as well as Photoshop Express on my iPhone. I also sometimes use InstaCollage and another app called Woodcamera on the iPhone. Photoshop just seemed too expensive for me to use – whilst I really enjoy photography, I am not a photographer and this just seemed an unjustifiable waste of money. I use my editing equipment to brighten and get rid of blemishes as well as to add special effects on occasion. Photoshop is great but it is very complicated and definitely not something that I need at this point in time.
To put my blog post header photos together I often use canva.com. This FREE, wonderful website was recommended to me by a friend and it has been my saviour ever since. I used to find Microsoft Publisher would do the trick for all my layering and header needs but Canva gives you lots of templates to use which correspond to the direct header measurements needed for social media. Life is now so much easier!
I should also note that I often edit photos on my phone, even when I have taken them on the Sony. So I might do the initial editing in iPhoto, then send the picture to my phone where I go a little crazy using the tools on InstaCollage, then send it back to the mac and finish off in Canva. You absolutely don’t need to do this. Ever. But I like to mishmash. To edit my videos I use the latest version of iMovie. Simples.
So there you go. I really hope this post has been helpful and if anyone has any tips or tricks or useful apps that they would like to share please do comment below! 🙂