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The Cameras, Lens, and Lighting I Use For My Blog and YouTube Channel

I get a lot of questions about the camera(s), lens(es), and other equipment I use here on my blog and for my YouTube channel.  So, today I’m going to break down ALL the equipment I use and why I use it.

Before we jump too far into this, I want to make the point that I’ve been blogging for four years. When I started I only had my old DSLR I already owned and no other equipment. As I started to make some revenue on my blog, I invested it back into my blog through a lot of this equipment. To me, these products have helped me grow my blog and position myself as a more professional influencer. I wrote a little bit more about products worth the investment on your blog over on the Caffeinate and Conquer blog if you want to read some more about it. But, the point I’m trying to make is you don’t need to have all this equipment or the best equipment to get started or to be successful blogging/making YouTube videos.  Just like any business you should invest back into it as you grow.

One other quick thing to note is that I’m not, by any means, a photography expert. I’ve taken a few classes and training here and there over the past 4 years but besides that a lot of what I know it self-taught or learned through trial and error.

Camera

The most obvious piece of blogging equipment is a camera. While I recently wrote about the fact that you don’t need to have a fancy camera to get started, you do want to invest in a higher quality camera and lens once you’re ready to take the next step with your blog. Good photos on your blog will immediately take it to the next level and allow you to create more engaging and authentic posts.  For Youtube, better quality videos are definitely going to make it easier to grow your channel and get new people to subscribe.

DSLR:
I have a Canon Rebel body and then I amp it up with high-quality lenses. While a good camera body is important, the majority of the quality really comes from good lenses. I’ll cover the lens below.

I like my Rebel because it’s an affordable option without upgrading to the next tier from Canon which would put me over $1,000 for a body. I’ve always been a Canon user so it’s easy for me to use and something I’m comfortable with. It also has the ability to film in HD, which obviously comes in handy for my YouTube channel.  I use this Canon for the majority of all my blog photos like outfit posts, product shots, etc.  I truly believe if you’re going to invest in a DSLR like the Canon you should commit to learning how to use at least some of the manual settings. Using a camera like this always on Auto is almost pointless.

If/When I upgrade again, I’ll upgrade to a Canon Mark III.

On-the-go Camera:
I recently added a second camera to my collection, which is the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II. This is a camera I added for its video capabilities and versatility. While my Canon Rebel can take video, it’s not as easy for on the go. The PowerShot is handheld, has a better quality in-camera mic, and can autofocus while filming. While my Rebel will focus while filming the autofocus is noisy, so I need to always make sure I’m in focus before every shot. The PowerShot takes out all that hassle and gives me a lot more mobility when I’m filming.  I don’t really suggest this camera just for photos. It certainly takes a nice photo, but for almost the same price you can get a Canon Rebel body and a proper lens.

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Lens

Like I said, a lens is what can really make a shot. These are the three I keep in my arsenal to get all the blog photos I need. I typically use the Tamron or 35mm for YouTube if I’m shooting with my Rebel.


Canon EF 35mm f/2
The 35mm is a must-have in your lens kit. The low f-stop will allow you to get that nice blurred background without totally blurring it out. This way you can still show enough details of the location you’re shooting. It will help your subject pop (likely you in your adorbs OOTD pics), without losing the beauty of the location.

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8
I ended up adding the 28mm to my collection because I occasionally felt constrained by the 35mm. In case you’re not comfortable with all these numbers, the “mm” number essentially refers to the zoom of the lens. A 35mm is going to be more zoomed in than the 28mm.  Both these are prime lenses meaning you can zoom in or out with them. When working in tighter quarters, the 35mm occasionally didn’t give me enough to work with. Having both the 28mm and the 35mm gives me tons of options.

Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP Aspherical
I added this lens to my collection mainly for product shots and its ability to work in low lights. The lens’s range allows you to get quality product shots in mediocre indoor light and the lower f-stop and 28-75mm range allow you to get that blurred out background look if you want.

Lights

I started adding lights to my collection for my YouTube but now that I have them I use them for my blog weekly. As a blogger you’re constantly chasing light and while natural light is always ideal – it’s not always possible. The first lights I added to my collection was a cheap set of umbrella lights. These worked well for me for about 2 years. Their downsides are that they are kind of bulky (with the stand and umbrella they take up a lot of space). Additionally, you can’t control the light as it’s just a single bulb.

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Last year I added LED panels to my collection and haven’t looked back. I adore them. I bought two Genaray SpectroLED Essential 360 Bi-Color LED Light panels, with two stands for each. They are a little more pricey, you’re looking at maybe $500-$600 for a set of two like I have. But, for filming the type of video I do they have been a game-changer. The LED lights are controllable so you can turn up or down the brightness with a dimmer from 0-100%. While they certainly aren’t small by any means, I find them easier to work with than the umbrellas because they are thinner. Having these in my collection means I pretty much never have to worry about being well lit for video or photos.

Miscellaneous

There are some other additional items I use alongside my camera/lens/lighting collection that make everything easier.

Tri-Pod: A tripod is a must have item. I upgraded to the Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 with MVH502AH video head last year, but depending on the work you’re doing you don’t need something so heavy duty. You can get basic tripods for $20. Obviously, a tripod allows me to setup to film my YouTube videos as well as take any quick photos of myself I need for the blog. I also almost always take product shots with a tripod because I can lower my shutter speed without risking a blurry shot.

The reason I love my Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 is that the middle bar comes all the way up and out so I can set it at a 90-degree angle and shoot directly from above. This is great for DIY or flat lay type shots.

Camera Remote:
A remote for your camera costs about $8 and is a great item to have as a blogger. Easily focus on yourself or snap your own photos without always having to bother the husband.

Lens Hood:
A lens hood helps gives shade to your lens to block the sun and prevent glare and lens flare. This is great for any outdoor photography. I also like having a lens hood simply because it helps to protect the lens from scratches.

Camera Backpack: Once you have more than one lens, a camera backpack is a great way to store them all safely, travel with them, and easily take them with you when you go. I love my LoweproBags flipside because it’s compact and easy to access. I also love that the zipper is in the back so when you’re traveling you can put it on your back and not have to worry that someone could sneak up behind you, unzip the bag, and steal your lenses.

Alright friends, there you have it. I think I’ll add to this over time to keep it as up to date as possible and act as a resource for when I get questions about my equipment. If I didn’t cover anything or you have other specific questions, shoot me a comment down below!

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