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My Photography & Blogging Resources + Equipment

blogging-tipsMy Photography & Blogging Resources + Equipment

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!

WORDPRESS PLUGINS

+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.

blog-tips

PHOTOGRAPHY

+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.

OTHER TOOLS

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:

+How to Maximize Your Blog Content +How to Increase Your Pageviews +My Best Blogging Tips- Your Questions Answered +100 Resources for Bloggers

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.

50 Comments

  • Reply
    Dea Andriany
    August 27, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I always love your photography post, Paula! Thanks for the lens recommendation, I’m using “nifty-fifty” now, but I’m thinking of getting another lens somewhere next year, preferably something great for traveling, so 40mm sounds like a great pick.

    Selene Addicted

  • Reply
    Marianne
    August 27, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Thank you so much, Paula for sharing these sources :)
    xx
    http://mariannelle.com

  • Reply
    Megan Clarke
    August 27, 2016 at 4:21 am

    This is so useful so thanks!

    http://www.whynotblog.co.uk

  • Reply
    Amelia McDonald
    August 27, 2016 at 5:26 am

    This is such a lovely helpful post!! I really need to get better at photography!! Thank you for this post <3

    Amelia | Amelia Grace

  • Reply
    Tiffany Tales
    August 27, 2016 at 5:32 am

    This is such a helpful post. Thanks for sharing your tips x

    Tiffany Tales – A British Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply
    Karita Camille
    August 27, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Just perfect!

    -Divakarita!

  • Reply
    Ariadna Morell
    August 27, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Loved this post, but now there are so many thins I want to buy hahaha I guess if it’s to improve my blog I have an excuse… x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      August 27, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Haha! :) If there’s one thing I highly recommend (if you don’t already have one) it’s the reflector!

  • Reply
    The Sunday Mode
    August 27, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I bought the reflector you recommended a while back and it’s made such a difference to my photography! It’s such a lifesaver. I’d also like to get disqus as well but I don’t want to lose all of my blogger comments :(

    http://www.thesundaymode.com

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      August 31, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      It does make a big difference, doesn’t it? Ohh I didn’t know that you can’t import them with blogger! That sucks!

  • Reply
    Sara Elizabeth Urquidez
    August 27, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for sharing your favorite plug ins!! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to revive old content without spending all day scheduling it on HootSuite, so I’m going to look into that plug in and Disqus!

  • Reply
    mika
    August 27, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Such a great post, Paula! Always enjoy your photography and blog resource posts, as you seem to be so helpful and one of the kindest to help fellow bloggers out. We are all out here being full of creative ideas and I think it’s great that we can each reach out to each other equally and share what works for us individually! I love this kind of positive attitude in blogging, thanks for keeping up this atmosphere :) definitely need a reflector, I think that will help my photos the most! Is a Canon70D the same as a Canon T5i? I never understood the differences between them.

    I use blogger but I’ve been wondering about switching over to wordpress. I’ve heard that it isn’t too hard if you just follow the steps and whatnot, and I’ve looked at them and they seem pretty clear, but I might wait a bit until I do something like that. Seems like they have a lot of great widgets as you explained! I’ve used disqus for soooooo long, even one of my first blogs I used it, such a great commenting system and easy to use!

    xoxo
    http://www.hellohimawari.com

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      August 31, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Aww thank you so much Mika, so sweet of you to say that! I wouldn’t be able to live without my reflector haha! Especially because I usually work with limited light.

      Oh no, they’re different! 70D has more advanced auto-focus, built-in Wifi and has a higher shooting speed.

      I’m so happy I made the changed to Disqus is so much easier to reply and track comments!

  • Reply
    Abigail Alice
    August 27, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I absolutely love Disqus and Yoast they are such amazing blog tools!

    Abigail Alice x – Check out my Soap & Glory Giveaway!

  • Reply
    Eloise
    August 27, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Lazy load sounds pretty awesome! I’m still using blogger though and it’s pretty limited on the plug in front! x

  • Reply
    Emma Bought What
    August 27, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    This was really interesting to read because I’m always trying to improve my photography, thanks for sharing! I love my Canon 40mm lens, it takes amazing photos x

    http://emmaboughtwhat.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply
    Ambar Syed
    August 28, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Such a useful post – I’ve downloaded Mindly and I’m really enjoying it so far :)
    – Ambar x
    http://www.herlittleloves.co.uk

  • Reply
    Jennifer Frank
    August 28, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for the great advice! I think it’s time I invest in a Canon 70D
    Jen / Velvet Spring x

  • Reply
    Krystal // The Krystal Diaries
    August 28, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I just added the Revive Old Post Plugin. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Tess_Sequins are the New Black
    August 28, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Your posts are the absolute best!! SOOO helpful! I’m loving that productivity timer :)
    xx Tess | Sequins are the New Black

  • Reply
    Alina
    August 29, 2016 at 6:08 am

    This reminded me to take out my reflector more often and start putting it to good use. I am on the hunt to update my photo props and hopefully make the most out of my camera (which isn’t a DSLR). Hopefully I can start improving the quality of my photos soon x

    Beauty with charm

  • Reply
    Jenelle Witty
    August 29, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Very true! I use quite a lot of these programs and camera goods! I have been using Co-Schedule as well, to make sure that I can plan my content to be shared automatically across a bunch of social platforms, and re-shared a day, a week or a month later so the content is not lost.
    Great tips!
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com/

  • Reply
    Akanksha Swami
    August 29, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Thanks so much for this post! Super helpful, I love your photography posts. Could you do one about blog photography backgrounds? Your favorites, where you got them, etc? You have some of the best pictures I’ve seen.

  • Reply
    Dany Queen
    August 29, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Your posts are always so informative! I come back to them all the time to try and improve aspects of my blog and photography. I’m looking to move to a DSLR in the near future so hopefully that will help my photos even more.
    xx Dany | The Queens Empire

  • Reply
    steff @ brighterdarling.com
    August 30, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Can you do a post on how-to-use-a-reflector-for-dummies lol? That’s one of my biggest problems (the ugly shadows/reflections) but just can’t understand how to position the reflector properly. -__-

  • Reply
    Kelly
    August 30, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    I love reading your posts about your photography because your pictures always come out beautiful. I really want to get the Canon 70D but it’s pretty pricy and I want to get it when I feel like I’m really into photography and when I have more time for my blog. You should do a how to post as well!

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      September 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks so much Kelly! It’s an investment, definitely. What kind of How To post did you have in mind?

  • Reply
    Samii Hedges
    September 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    great tips! im just beginning to blog and i feel there is so much more to learn. reallly wanting that beautiful cam~

  • Reply
    Jennifer Rose
    September 26, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Great tips! This was very helpful!

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