Realistically, all you need to start a blog is a smartphone, laptop of some description and wifi! However, having some equipment can make the whole process a lot easier and transform the quality of your content. If I had a pound for every time somebody asked me how I started my blog, my youtube channel and what equipment I use, I’d have.. well, only about 100 quid to be fair! – Still, for a blog that hasn’t yet celebrated it’s one year anniversary, that’s quite a lot!
Technically, I started my blog back in March this year as that’s when my first post went up, however I’d decided to start blogging about 6 months before that. I spent a few months faffing around(!) ‘researching equipment’ I may potentially need and I had my list ready in time for Black Friday – the perfect time for buying camera equipment. I also had a list of other little bits to hand just in case anybody asked what I wanted for Christmas! ..By that I mean memory cards and spare batteries, as oppose to a DSLR!
I thought I’d put together a little post, showing you all the bits and pieces I use and what I’ve learnt along the way. So, without further ado, here are the items I have and would recommend to other bloggers and vloggers looking to produce quality content.
Whether you’re blogging or vlogging, my first tip is to get organised! I’d be lost without the notes section on my iPhone and a genius app called Wunderlist. It’s an app for making multiple to-do lists, you can also download it onto your macbook and sync them together, making the list accessible on all your devices. You can also share the list with others, so I find it particularly useful to send ‘helpful’ reminders to the husband for any chores that need to be done! -Hehe!
I like to use a content calendar for my blog and youtube instead of my diary which is more for personal use. I came across this blogger who designs beautiful (free) printable calendars. I used one of her designs this year and have just printed off my 2016 calendar. I simply trim the edges and stick them in my blogging notebook so I can keep everything in one place.
Another essential – a notebook! I carry mine around everywhere, and jot every idea down, no matter how ridiculous. It can sometimes feel like the list is forever growing and some ideas may never amount to anything. However you may use the idea or parts of it for future content so it’s useful to have it written down all in one place.
Once you have all your content, schedule everything ahead of time!
It goes without saying that you don’t need a DSLR for blog photography and there are plenty of bloggers that either use their smartphone or a simple point and shoot camera.
I use the Canon Rebel T3i/EOS 600D, a great DSLR for beginners for both filming and blogging. This has now been discontinued and the upgraded version is the Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i which I’ve heard is a lot more user-friendly, with fewer buttons and longer battery life!
I find mine really easy to use and I’ll admit, I was clueless when it came to photography. I still am to an extent and find that I’m constantly experimenting and learning new things! I take my camera out with me all the time to try and practise different types of photography, and love that it’s so lightweight in comparison to the more advanced DSLRs.
If you’re looking for a great quality, affordable point and shoot camera, I also have this one which I use for vlogging on the go and out in restaurants. If I want to capture an amazing meal in a quiet restaurant, this little camera is slightly more discreet than pulling out a big DSLR!
If you live in the UK, you’ll know that we barely have any daylight, especially at this time of year, and so you may want to invest in some studio lighting (I’ll discuss this in more detail in the next section).
For filming, this is the perfect camera as it has a flip out screen so you can check that you’re in focus. There’s nothing worse than filming a video that’s completely out of focus or with your head chopped off. Been there, done that.. and I doubt that’ll be the last time! Grr!
As I said I’m no pro with my camera but I am still learning every day. I tend to just play around with the settings until I am happy with them and find this camera makes it a lot easier to do that!
In my opinion, the SanDisk Extreme 64 GB Memory Card is the best one as it’s HD formatted so it works really well for HD videos and can hold around 5 or 6 videos. It’s really handy for bulk filming and saves a lot of time so you don’t have to go back and forth transferring your footage. It’s also a lot cheaper to buy on Amazon, as is most equipment as the price in shops are often ridiculously high.
Although it will take a while to fill up the memory card, unfortunately, your battery won’t last as long! I have a couple of cheap unbranded batteries, so I don’t waste time waiting for mine to charge. These Canon LP-E8 Spare batteries are compatible for both the Canon 600d and 700d.
If you’re investing in an expensive camera, the last thing you want to do is balance it on a pile of books and risk it falling off, so a tripod is essential. There are some really expensive ones on the market, but as an amateur, I have this inexpensive Vivitar 52″ Professional Tripod that works well for me. It’s really lightweight and comes complete with a carry case, making it really easy to store.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a camera remote! It will be your best friend for filming and photography. There are so many uses for it such as thumbnail photos, OOTD, selfies without your arm in the shot and checking that you’re in focus. Again, I bought a couple of cheap (unbranded) remote controls Wireless Shutter Release Remote For Canon T5i which work perfectly!
As I mentioned, I use the PhotoSEL Softbox Studio Lighting Kit for sit-down videos and some photography. Natural lighting is always the best but it’s a nightmare for filming if you live in the UK. I’ve tried it a couple of times and the light kept changing throughout the video – it’s such a pain and by the time I waited for it to settle, it started to get dark. For make-up tutorials in particular, you need to show a true representation of the colours and I find that extremely difficult with poor lighting and a lack of sunlight. For me, these were a no-brainer and the most treasured piece of kit I own!
I generally use my kit lens that came with the camera out of pure laziness, but I also have the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 Lens. This one produces better quality images than the kit lens as it creates that blurred effect and has a great depth of field. It’s great for a professional looking video as you can blur the background of your videos and is really affordable (for a lens!) too at just under £70!
VLOGGING ON THE GO
A DSLR is impractical if you’re planning to vlog out in public, I love the Canon Powershot S120 for both filming and photography. It’s smaller and more compact than some of the newer models as it doesn’t have a viewfinder. I prefer that it doesn’t as I would be too distracted by it, and wouldn’t look into the lens when vlogging.
Every camera needs a spare battery and again, I have a Duracel branded Canon NB-6L battery as it’s a lot more affordable than a Canon one. At the moment, I use the same SanDisk Extreme 64 GB Memory Card for both of my cameras as I never need to use both at once!
Whether you love or hate them, selfie sticks are awesome for getting good footage of yourself. It’s lovely having your surroundings in the background when vlogging, and this camera screws onto the stick which feels a lot more secure than the phone holder!
I’m not sorry to admit that I’m unashamedly in love with my selfie stick!
Photos and videos in particular take up most of the space on your laptop so an External hard drive is vital. I learned this the hard way, and while editing my second video on holiday a message kept popping up saying ‘out of storage space!’ so I had panic buy one from a local shop. It’s definitely cheaper to buy on Amazon, and you can even get some wireless ones now that look a bit more stylish. I would recommend starting off with 1TB, you’d be surprised at how fast you can fill it!
Headphones are optional, but I find them really useful for when I’m editing on a flight, or in Starbucks which is where you’ll find me on most days! I don’t have any fancy ones with noise cancelling features, just some simple Dr Dre Beats.
ON MY WISHLIST
I have my eye on the Walimex Ringlight to use alongside my existing softbox lights and an iPad mini. Not just to add to the apple family, but so I can blog on the go as it’s a hybrid between a phone and a laptop.
What’s on your wishlist?
I hope I haven’t missed anything out and that you found this post helpful. Do you have any other blogging equipment I should know about? What equipment do you use the most? Let me know in the comments below.