Continuing my mini series on my blogging and photography essentials, below are my photography essentials including my camera, lens, and props.
Canon 700D camera with 50mm f1.8 lens and 18-55mm kit lens:
When I start hobbies, I have a tendancy to buy everything I might need, and then never do the hobby again. When I started blogging, my partner asked me to wait a year before committing to the bigger items like a camera, out of concern for my bank account. After I had been blogging for about a year, I started the research to work out what I wanted, and what kind of deals I could get. I decided a Canon 700D was my best bet, as I had heard they handle photography and filming well, and I still hope to incorporate filming more into my blog. Almost everyone I actually knew had a Nikon camera and recommended those however, so you can’t really go wrong!
My camera came to less than $700 from The Good Guys, and came with the 18-55mm kit lens, which is a great all-rounder lens. I really love the soft focus effect in photography, so I asked for the 50mm f1.8 lens for Christmas from Cody and my family as it was quite expensive (just under $200), and I have loved it ever since! The main things I would note about this lens is that you generally have to stand quite far back to get objects in the frame. You wouldn’t get a room shot in frame for example. I also use a tripod with it, as my hands shake when holding my camera, and this lens needs more time to take the photo (You can see I am not the most technical person…).
I started by using the camera on Auto mode and gaining more confidence before starting to learn Manual. I still have very little idea of what the other buttons on the knob between Auto and Manual do, but I have learnt a bit about what I like to do with Manual and my aperture etc, to get the airy photos I like. I wish I remembered anything from my year 9 and year 11 photography classes!!
Photography backgrounds from Bunnings and SvpplyCo:
I own a big piece of white chipboard I purchased from Bunnings for less than $10, and before this I used to buy white posterboard and then white foamboard. I only recommend the chipboard out of those three as they are the longest lasting.
I previously used a piece of foamboard covered in marble contact paper from Kmart #bloggerlife, and an image that I purchased as a stock photo, and then had printed as an A1 image from Officeworks. The first one is very cheap, the second was quite pricey. Neither was the best option. I managed to ruin my poster from Officeworks on the first day, just by using bluetak on it, and it ripped off some of the image, and I have spent the rest of the year covering it with products so that you couldn’t tell.
Currently, I purchased some thick proper flatlay specific photography backgrounds from SvpplyCo. They were pretty exy, but I bought the display versions so I got 40% off as they were the last of the available batch! They look realistic enough that they work well as backgrounds, and the marble version that I purchased is “white marble” so hopefully, it won’t give me the blue tinge I always received from my homemade version with Kmart contact paper.
Soft box lighting:
I bought a soft box lighting pair from ebay earlier this year, when I realised it would be super handy to have options when you live in a rental, and you can’t just put extra windows in, you know? I don’t have a link handy but if you search “soft box lighting” on eBay, and look for ones from within Australia, you won’t have any issues and it’ll come quite quickly. I have one permanently set up as I am too lazy to put it up and down constantly, it just lives in the corner of my room. I think I only paid around $50 for the pair, which is fantastic.
I picked up a cheap tripod from Ted’s Cameras for only $40. This is the one I have here. It works really well, and now I mainly just clip my camera in to the attachment as I got sick of screwing it in and out. It’s adjustable across three main legs up to one metre I’m pretty sure. I’ve seen people do some crazy things in terms of creating their own tripods, but I didn’t want to endanger my expensive camera, so I just picked one up cheaply.
Photography helper/Insta Boyfriend:
A helper in an invaluable tool when you need someone to help you take swatch photos and your arm can’t stay still like mine! Auto timer is all good and well, but if it has to refocus constantly, it won’t work. I ask mine nicely but note that I need to work around his time, no stuffing about!
I have been collecting a box of props from about six months into blogging, and now have quite a collection plates, trinkets, eyelash curlers, jewellery, pretty wrapping paper and more, that correspond with my “theme” and branding. A few of my favourite places to go include Kmart, HM Home, your favourite online shopping wrapping paper, and prints you can find at markets.
Adobe Suite: Photoshop CC and InDesign CC:
These are the main editing tools I use for photography, and I can use each a basic to intermediate amount, mainly just from learning on the go what I would like to do. I would love to do a proper course, but I am too lazy to learn things I don’t want to know now(just being honest!). I tend to Google on the go, and occasionally ask Graphic Designer friends for help if I am really stuck.
Photoshop is best for photo editing, with the main tools I use within it being Brightening, Auto Color, and Curves. Curves is the only one that needs a little explaining, basically, you get given a line (the “curve”) across your photo which might be higher on the photo if you have a lot of darkness, or lower if you have a lot of lightness. You can drag this up and down (I would recommend only slightly until you get the hang of it) to brighten the photo. It’s a lifesaver!!
In InDesign I mainly make my photo tiles for Pinterest. I used to do this for header photos but I have been trying to phase this out as I go along. I have templates pre-made and use those for each image so that all I have to do usually is drop the photo in, and change the text! I hope to get more automated with this, and play around with a few more designs as I am not loving mine at the moment.
A blogger’s secret weapon. Bloggers use this in photography by, you guessed it, discretely sticking a rolling object like a lipstick down to the background, so that we can easily photograph it. It aso works well if you knock your background when adjusting #clumsylife. I always keep Blutak handy for blogging, and I even managed to ruin my background with it when it peeled part of the background off (see above).
What are your photography essentials?