Hey Blogger Babes, this one’s for you!
Today’s post is just a quick roundup of some of my favorite blog and photography tools. I’ve written a similar post a while ago, but I thought I’d do an updated version since I still get so many emails with questions about my equipment and other blogging resources.
Here’s the thing though: it’s a lot of “stuff”. Especially when it comes to my photography equipment. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, all you really need to begin with is a laptop. Don’t think that you need every single plugin or tool that I mention in this post! A lot of them are very helpful, some I cant live without, but not every single one is a necessity. If there’s anything that I missed, or anything else blog-related that you want to know, ask away!
+Disqus– I was very hesitant about switching from my WordPress comment system to Disqus and now I wish I’ve done it sooner. I no longer have to moderate my comments (which can be a little time-consuming at times) and I get A LOT less spam. It’s also SO much easier to track and respond to comments. I can easily do so without switching between posts. I was also able to “transfer” a few years worth of my WordPress comments, without a problem.
+Google Analytics– connects Google Analytics with WordPress by adding your Google Analytics tracking code.
+Revive Old Post– sends out automatic tweets and promotes your blog posts. It’s a great plugin for anyone who doesn’t have much time to promote their content on Twitter.
+W3 Total Cache– improves user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
+Yoast SEO– I talk about this plugin non-stop for a reason: it’s a must! It helps you to not only optimize your content but also improve readability and write better posts. It’s very easy to configure and use, even if you don’t know much about SEO.
+BJ Lazy Load– improves page load times and server bandwidth. Images are loaded only when visible to the user.
+Canon 70D-I’ve been using this camera for a while now and love it (I previously had a Canon 60D which was also great, but upgraded because the video AutoFocus in 70D).
+Photoshop– my editing software and a serious game-changer when it came to editing my photos. It can be a little intimidating at first, but there are SO many helpful YouTube tutorials and once you get a hang of it, it’s actually very fun to use. Nowadays it’s also pretty affordable, as you can get a subscription for $10 a month.
+PicMonkey– in-browser editing software I’ve used for many years when I started blogging. +Canon EF 50mm f/1.8– “nifty-fifty” was one of my favorite lenses when I started learning photography. It’s very affordable and creates beautiful depth of field.
+Canon EF 50mm f/1.4– this one was an upgrade from the “nifty-fifty” Its f/1.4 maximum aperture provides clear imaging in low light situations and shallow depth of field. In other words, this lens is a little “brighter” than the “nifty-fifty” and a bit more sharp.
+Canon EF 40mm f/2.8– also called a “pancake” lens, this lens is very small and compact, great for traveling or taking some lifestyle shots when you’re out and about since it’s very light and sturdy. Also takes very sharp images, which I think, considering the price, is great.
+Soft Boxes– these are a must for me during winter when I work with limited light
+Umbrella Lights– I use these as well during winter
+Ring Light– I use my ring light both for product shots and when taking pictures of my makeup and occasionally nail swatches. I also used to use it when I made videos.
+Tripod– this is another must for me, especially if you’re after sharp images
+Reflector– this is probably one of my most-used and most-recommended photography tools, I use it every single time when taking photos for my posts.
+Canon Remote Switch– shutter release cable
+Portable External Hard Drive– pretty much self-explanatory. I use this to backup my iMac and any important files and blog images. I work with RAW images and they take-up a lot of space so storing them on an external hard drive works best for me.
Mindly– this will let you organize your thoughts- it’ll help you capture your ideas, group them and expand them. This is a great app for writers/bloggers for organizing ideas for content.
Brain Focus Productivity Timer– I have a very short attention span and sometimes find it difficult to write when I don’t necessarily feel like it. This app helps train your brain to stay focused for short periods of time and improve your concentration. It’s based on the Pomodoro Technique– an idea that when working on a large, involved task, breaking it down into short, timed intervals that are spaced out with short breaks will help you be more productive. This app basically manages both your work and your break sessions.
My most popular photography posts:
+Photography tips for bloggers– learn DSLR basics, composition and exposure triangle +How to take bright photos for your blogs– one of the most-asked question about photography is how I get my images to look bright, this post breaks down the process +My Best Photography Tips – this is also one of my most popular posts
My most popular blogging posts:
PS. If one of your goals is to collaborate with brands, I’d also definitely recommend that you create a Media Kit for yourself (if you don’t already have one!). Melyssa shared a template and instructions for making one right here.