I thought it might be helpful to create a resource page for bloggers & readers to see the products and services both blogging & photography related that I use with my blog. The list will likely change as I find different resources worth mentioning over time.
Canon EOS 6D – I finally upgraded my camera in November 2014 from the Canon T3 (below) to the 6D. After using a friend’s during a day of shooting food combined with this Canon 100m macro lens (that I also bought and love!), the expense finally seemed justified. The camera has a much broader range of ISO settings, does really well at a high ISO, takes some crystal clear photos and has both wifi and gps capabilities (the latter of which I’m sure I’ll never use but the wifi is fun!).
Canon EOS T3 – This is the first DSLR I purchased in June 2011 and used until November 2014. It’s one of the most basic models Canon makes and it really can’t be beat for the price. I think I actually paid more for my waterproof point & shoot back in 2006 than I did for this camera. It’s really not about having the most expensive camera, it’s about how you learn to use it (and the lens to some extent).
Canon 50mm f/1.8 – After using the stock lens that comes with the T3 for almost a year, I finally upgraded to this lens. Again, it’s not the best, most expensive one out there, but I think it can take some really great pictures and the price is just great. People say wonderful things about the 50mm f/1.4 but since I hardly ever shoot lower than f/2.2, I can’t seem to justify the extra expense of that lens. Going from a zoom to a prime lens was a little bit of an adjustment but now I love it.
Vista Explorer 60inch Tripod – It took me almost 2 years to buy a tripod and after using it once and realizing I was essentially cutting the photos I needed to take in half during a photo-shoot since there was no more blur from my hands shaking, I was sold. Again, people will say you should spend hundreds on sturdy tripods, can’t say I agree with that. This $25 one works just fine.
DIY Distressed Wood Photography Boards – Placemats and floors can get boring after awhile when it comes to food photography. For about $30, I made 3 photo boards with some basics from the local hardware store. I’ve also since picked up some sticky tiles and slate pieces for minimal $ for additional surfaces.
Tasty Food Photography Ebook – Pinch of Yum is a site I’ve been reading and admiring for awhile now. When they released their ebook on photography, I bought it without hesitation. It’s a great reference for how to take your food photography to the next level. The best part is how they breakdown what can be complex and overwhelming photography terms into simple steps that anyone can understand. The ebook also comes with video how-tos and I think it’s worth every penny.
SEO for Food Bloggers – Search engine optimization is one of those things I wish I knew more about when I first started blogging. Making your site as google-friendly as possible is a huge opportunity many people neglect to do. The better google can “read” your site, the more organic search traffic you’ll get. The ebook is written by a food blogger who used to be in the SEO business. It’s got 50 great, easy tips everyone should be doing on their site from day 1.
Bluehost – This was my hosting company for almost two years. They offer an easy way to get up and running with your blog on WordPress, their pricing is amazing, and they are one of the few hosting companies out there that have 24/7 phone support. Once your traffic starts to climb (I found my limit to be around 5,000 visits a day) however, it will most likely be time to think about switching to a different kind of hosting plan. But for starting out or if your site isn’t heavily trafficked, they are great.
The Thesis Theme for WordPress – This theme is the one I picked when I first started to self-host my blog and used for almost three years. It is ridiculously user-friendly and having absolutely no technical abilities myself, I was still able to feel comfortable making site tweaks with this theme. There are excellent support forums and help guides online too for pretty much any change you want to make. It’s a great option if you want something a little fancier than the free WordPress themes but don’t want to pay hundreds-thousands for a custom design.
WP Site Care – Unless you’re some super hero tech geek, you’re going to run into some behind the scenes issues you can’t figure out on your own. Having a WordPress support company in your back pocket is key. WP Site Care is the best I’ve found for support. They are reasonably priced and ridiculously quick to respond to inquiries so when you’re flipping out about something that’s gone wrong with your site, you don’t have to wait 24hrs for a response. They also offer monthly WordPress Maintenance and Support Plans to keep your mind at ease.
Easy Recipe – if you’re a food blogger, you need a recipe plugin. It helps google index your site appropriately so people can find your recipe when searching. Good ones will also give readers the ability to print your recipe. I‘ve tried a bunch, but Easy Recipe is my favorite by far.
Akismet – every blogger needs spam protection because you will get plenty of it. Akismet is great and blocks over 99% of the spam I get.
Comment Reply Notification – This plugin emails the commenter when a reply is submitted on your site, whether it’s you replying to them or another commenter. A simple, yet very useful thing to have!
*Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use (or have used) all of the mentioned products and recommend them because they are helpful and things I couldn’t live without when it comes to blogging. If you have any questions about anything listed email me and I’ll do my best to answer your question.