Over the years, some of the most frequently asked questions revolve around blogging; how to go about it, what do you need, what kind of equipment I personally use, and so on. With that in mind, I’ve created this page to show you my current must-haves, a few options for more affordable/alternative products, as well as resources to hone your photography or blogging skills. When it comes to photography, lighting is key–it will do more for your photos than upgrading equipment can (seriously, I have learned this lesson the hard, expensive way!). When it comes to blogging, I have learned you get what you put in; it is something that rewards creativity, hard work, and time. Keep practicing and plugging away at what you love, and you will find joy and success in it! :)

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Camera

Nikon D3s (Current)

A couple of years ago, I upgraded to the D3s after using the Nikon D90 extensively, and I love everything about the camera! It’s an incredible investment, so it’s not my first recommnedation for someone just starting out, but it is a great piece of equipment for when you’ve found a foothold in the blogging world. The D3s, just as a note, has been replaced by the D4. You shouldn’t feel the need to constantly upgrade your camera’s body (or even lenses), as a high quality camera will withstand the test of time.

Nikon D90

I started with this as my first DSLR, and it’s an amazing camera, all-around. It’s still considered one of the best Nikon DSLRs for your money. Its kit lens is an excellent starter lens for most photography. If you want to get the latest and greatest, the D7000 is considered the replacement for the D90.

Nikon D5100

I picked this up as a lighweight alternative to my D3s, which can be heavy to tote around, especially if I’m traveling or where I can get away with a few less features. This also works nicely for video, as it autofocuses while recording, and it has a flip screen, so you can see yourself while filming–two musts in the beauty world!

Alternatives to Nikon

Canon Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera

Canon or Nikon? That’s a question I’m asked regularly. I’ve never had issues using Canon, and I’ve heard many good things about the Rebel series, which is usually the go-to for someone looking to start with a DSLR. This camera will give you a great starting place to learn a DSLR with lots of room to grow and experiment to get your shooting style down.

Canon PowerShot G16

I have an earlier version of the Powershot G-series, and it’s a nice camera to have for events and places where I need to have my camera, but may not want to bring all my expensive gear or it might not be practical to carry all of my gear either. If you’re just getting started, you may find it a good, all-around camera that doesn’t require purchasing lenses and has some more automatic functionality that can help you grow into more advanced photography. I find this series to be somewhere in-between a full DSLR and a regular point and shoot.

Lenses

I primarily use Nikon’s 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S, which is a macro lens, and this is what I use to shoot products, close-ups, and swatches. For further-away shots, I like Nikon’s 50mm f/1.8G AF-S and Nikon 28-300 f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S. If you have a tight budget, don’t be afraid of trying Sigma’s lenses, which is a third-party that makes lenses for multiple camera brands, including Nikon. They’re great quality lenses!

Memory Cards

I’ve been using SanDisk’s memory cards from the get-go, and I’m always impressed by their speed. Consider how many photos you take in a session, or if you’re often traveling (so you may not be able to import photos to your computer as frequently), because smaller memory cards are cheaper. I also like having a few on hand, rather than one mega-sized one. I shoot with 2 x 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards, but for my D90 and D5100, I use SanDisk Extreme Pro in 32GB or 64GB.

Accessories

A quality tripod is absolutely key for taking photos of yourself, but believe it or not, it can really help make your tabletop photos look crisper and sharper. It also greatly reduces how many shots you need to take to get that perfect shot. I love my Slik Pro 700DX, which is very, very sturdy, tilts and adjusts, and will last a long time. Second, I love my Nikon Remote Release Cord, which is a remote control that is hardwired to the camera (just make sure whatever remote you get is compatible with your camera). Wireless remotes can work well, too, but hardwired is always faster, and since I don’t need to be far from the camera, it’s my preference to go wired!

Lighting

You can upgrade your gear over and over again, but lighting counts more than any other component to your photography. Great light will be the difference between a great photo and a poor one–no matter your gear! If you’re fortunate enough to live where sunlight is plentiful, you might try that, but consistent lighting can be important; being able to take photos when it’s winter, raining, or it’s ten o’clock at night. You could start with a Tabletop Photo Studio Kit or build your own with a tabletop (I use a white Ikea table), and then two to three lights (I use AlienBees B800s). With beauty, you want to look for a surface that you can clean easily, even if you splatter nail polish on.

Software

Adobe Creative Cloud, which now makes it easier for everyone to afford professional tools like Photoshop, Premiere, Lightroom, and so on.

References

If you’re really serious about turning your blog into a part-time or full-time job, I highly recommend checking out some of these books to understand more about taking your blog to the next level:

Blogging

WordPress/HTML

Photography

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