Welcome to my food blogging resources page for bloggers or anyone interested in some of the back-end stuff of blogging. Below is a list of some of the more important products and services both blogging and photography related that I use on Running to the Kitchen. The list will likely change as I find different resources worth mentioning over time.
*Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below 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 services and am recommending them because they are resources I couldn’t live without when it comes to this food blogging gig.
Food Photography Resources
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 still use it as a back up when my 6D is being out for cleaning or if I need two cameras for a video shoot.
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.
Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 – This is the one lens I own that’s not fixed. It’s so versatile and my go-to when I need to travel with my camera. Great for food as well as everything else you want to photograph. I couldn’t justify the price of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and this is a great budget-friendly alternative.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro – This lens is amazing for close up shots of food. The detail and clarity is excellent. I tend to only use it for 1 or 2 shots in a post though because it’s nearly impossible to get an overhead shot with it or even a pull back (you end up having to stand in the other room to get far enough away). This one is pretty specific to food blogging but definitely a fun addition after you have one of the other types of lenses.
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.
Ravelli 70 inch Tripod – I upgraded my tripod in January of 2016 when this one was one major sale. I love the adjustable head and the smoothness of this one. It gives you the abilities of an overhead arm without the awkward arm thanks to the pistol grip head.
Western Digital 2TB External Hard Drive – With all the good photographs you’re now taking thanks to the equipment above, you want to make sure they’re saved in a safe place! I use this external drive to back-up all my photographs and transfer pictures off my computer monthly. It’s not my only back-up (definitely have more than one!) but it’s my main one.
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, slate pieces, 20×20 ceramic tiles for minimal cost for additional surfaces. This post walks through exactly how to make the boards.
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.
Food Blogging Resources
Food Blogger Pro – Food Blogger Pro is a central location for people that want to learn how to start and grow a food blog. There are two primary parts of site, the video training and the community forum. The videos provide easy-to-understands tips for getting started with your food blog and step-by-step instructions for how to do things like install advertising code, create a branded email address, or use the manual settings on your DSLR camera. The community forum is a place where you can go to get questions answered by other food bloggers.
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. This 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, highly recommend it.
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.
Orange Geek – This is my current host and I literally have had nothing but a wonderful experience with them. Their plans are reasonably priced, their support is top-notch and they’re small enough that you don’t feel like just another site on their servers, but big enough to not have to worry. Use code run2kitchen for 10% off!
Vaultpress – Vaultpress is the company I use to backup Running to the Kitchen. With almost 1,000 posts and pages of content written, there’s a lot of data at stake. Considering this is my full-time job now, losing data to a technological glitch would not be cool. Vaultpress ensures that if that something like that did happen I’d be able to recovery everything from a backup.
Mailchimp – Mailchimp is the email marketing software I use to send out blog posts to subscribers. Most of us hate extraneous emails in our inboxes (me!) but apparently some people still like to keep up to date with blogs and websites via email lists. Mailchimp is very user friendly and customizable to match your brand.
Tailwind – I personally detest Pinterest but from a business standpoint, it’s a must. Food does really well on Pinterest and being able to automatically schedule my content to be published to Pinterest boards and get in front of people on that platform is a life saver from a time commitment standpoint. Tailwind is a great scheduling tool for this.
Flickr – I talked about backing up my photographs above. In addition to the external hard drive backup, I have an unlimited account with Flickr where I upload pictures from every post for redundancy. At something like $25 a year, this can’t be beat for peace of mind and ease of grabbing an old shot that might not be on my computer any more.
Anti-Spam – Spam sucks and spammers are no strangers to the comment section of blogs. This plugin is great at catching them and holding them for moderation until you can review.
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!
Share-A-Draft – I love this plugin for it’s ability to share post drafts with sponsors/brands if they want to review it before it goes live. It sends a link to the post preview so they can see it exactly as it will look on your site when it’s live. You can set an expiration date for the link so it’s only viewable for a certain period of time too.
Yoast SEO – Optimizing your posts for search engines is a must if you want people to find your content in searches. Yoast SEO is one of the top plugins for this helping you make sure you have good SEO practices in place with each blog post.
WP Recipe Maker – This is what I use for the recipe section of my posts so that the recipe is styled and formatted as you see it and, more importantly, for search engines to “read” it as a recipe and therefore index it appropriately so people can find your content when searching. I’ve used a bunch of recipe plugins in the past and while it stinks to have to rely on a third party for something so integral to a food blog, this is the best one I’ve found to date.