One of the best things that has come out of blogging for me is a love of photography – I always loved photography but now I have somewhere to channel my creativity and I love that the blog encourages me to improve my photography skills every day. I’m far from an expert on the subject, but I’m now at the stage where I’ve acquired quite a bit of experience, some great tips and also quite a bit of kit along the way.
So here’s my photography essentials and the tools I couldn’t do without.
I’ve had my Canon 1200D now for over a year and I still love it. I did quite a bit of research when buying what would be my first DSLR camera – I wanted a camera that would take great quality photos, but that would also be fairly easy to use and not over complicated, since I was pretty inexperienced. I have to admit that I haven’t dedicated as much time as I would’ve liked to becoming a ‘pro’ and I still take the majority of my photos in the Creative Auto mode…however, I’ve always been really pleased with the quality of the images and it’s also proven to be a good camera for video too. I would definitely recommend this to other bloggers wanting to make the leap to a SLR.
USB card reader
For ages I was using the USB lead that came with my camera to import my images to my PC. It used to take an age for them to load up and I’d often start another task, forget I’d been opening the files and have to start all over again! I then got a card reader that enables me to quickly open and upload my latest images within no time. It also means that I don’t have to haul my camera around and I can upload them to any computer. A lot of card readers accept numerous memory cards, so you can use just the one even if you use multiple cameras.
Up until recently, all of my images from my camera and phone were backed up on my laptop. And when I say all, what I mean is probably about 40% and the rest were taking up precious memory space on my devices. At the start of the year I decided to get more organised with my work and I invested in a hard drive to store all of my photography – so I no longer live in fear of losing it all. Of course you can also purchase cloud storage, but I quite like having something tangible (and old school!)
I finally took the leap and started vlogging at the end of last year, which was quite a big step for me since I’m pretty camera shy. I’m still finding my feet and have a lot to learn, but so far I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m also trying to take more photos with me in them, and since my hubby is a useless photographer (plus he would just laugh!), a tripod is now a must in my photography tool kit.
I initially purchased a cheap tripod online which I came to regret as it was so flimsy and wouldn’t adjust the way I wanted it to. Now I use the Calumet 7100 4-section tripod which is so much better! It’s simple to use, easy to set up and doesn’t take long to adjust in between shots. I also find it really sturdy and robust so I know it will last me for years. I also have the tripod bag which is essential for travelling with the tripod and for setting up photo shoots outside the house.
Online photo editor
One of the most useful things I learnt when I started to blog is that there are a number of free photo editing websites – great for cropping, resizing and improving your images. I wish I’d known about these throughout my PR career and I now use them loads for my freelance clients, as well as for my blog and social media. PicMonkey is still my favourite for quick fixes, and I also love Canva, which is great for bigger branding projects, such as creating a portfolio, a new logo or a Pinterest image.
Photo editing apps
Although I try to take most photos for my blog with my SLR camera, the camera on my phone has to suffice when we’re out and about. In fact, most of the images on my Instagram and other social media channels are taken on my phone, so I definitely think its essential to choose a phone with a decent camera (I’ve had a Samsung Note 4 for the life of the blog which I’ve just traded in for an iPhone 7)…Photo editing apps like VCSO and Snapseed are great for editing the images on your phone and adding various filters and effects. There are also apps that can add cool font over your images and those that enable you to easily create a collage that I find useful for social media posts.
Free image download sites – for when you don’t have the time!
In an ideal world we would all have ample time for daily photography shoots, but in reality they can be so time consuming. For those days when you simply don’t have the time or the energy there are some excellent websites that offer free images to download for your blog. Unsplash and Pexels are my two go-to sites and have an extensive range of high quality images for a range of topics. Chloe over at Life Unexpected has written a fab post listing the best sites to find images for your blog, which is definitely worth checking out.
What’s in your photography toolkit? Have you discovered a love of photography through blogging?
Disclosure: I was sent some of the items included above from Calumet, but all opinions are my own.