Before I started to blog I always wondered what product and services other bloggers use and I found my research very useful.
Luckily being a graphic designer and photographer way before becoming a blogger is an advantage because I already own good photo equipment and I have extensive knowledge of post-production. This doesn’t have to discourage you at all, instead with the help of the list of products and services I use, I hope you can improve or move to another level whether is professionally or for fun.
The list will be constantly evolving, as I like to experiment new different resources that are worth mentioning.
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 all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below.
Nikon D5100 – Digital SLR Camera (16.2MP) 3 inch LCD
After using for years the Nikon D50 I upgraded to the Nikon D5100. It’s cool because it has a rotating 3inch LCD and can shoot really good HD videos. I know it’s not the latest camera and also not a top end one but if you’re just getting started is perfect. I always prefer not going for the latest so I can play around with others, instead of sticking with one because I’ve spent all my money in one.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens
This is my true food photography lens. This is my friend, it has been with me since the beginning and I wouldn’t change it until I change brand. This lens is considered a prime lens, which means that it doesn’t zoom in and out and it concentrates its quality on the aperture for a clean and neat photo. Food is still so you don’t need a zoom, you will move to get the perfect angle while not loosing definition.
Indoor lighting unit
Let’s be honest, food and product lighting is never easy. The best light is daylight but is not always possible to cook in the morning, in the perfect space of your kitchen with the right illumination. I don’t even mention what a nightmare during the winter! You know that well lighten up food and cool images are the first thing we notice on a blog. So that’s why I always keep handy these professional lights. They are one of those investments that you won’t regret and they are quite compact so you can keep them on the corner of your kitchen.
The best lightening technique for food and product photography is to use a softbox to diffuse the light evenly and reduce sharp shadows. Food brings up its texture and natural colour only in natural daylight or diffused soft indoor fluorescent light. This box is great for this purpose and very easy to mount on the light unit.
Collapsible Light reflector
Some food or products need more attention to details so using these panels, depending on the colour, give a more soft or more dramatic light shadow or reflection. Usually they are used at the opposite side of the light or on top of the object. Silver increases the spectacular highlights and yields a high-contrast image. It’s perfect for video, product shots and B&W photography. Gold produces a natural, golden fill that is great for jewellery and indoor portraits. White produces an even, neutral-coloured bounce light that works beautifully as a fill light source for food and product shots. Translucent fabric is used to diffuse light, producing a broad light source and a soft, wraparound effect. Black stops sun or window light and prevents unwanted shadows.
SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro SD Memory Card
There’s always so much choice on SD cards that we never know which one to buy. Here’s my opinion: if you are shooting in RAW, which is a heavy format, or video you need this. It has high store capacity and is fast.
SANDISK 16GB SDHC CARD
Instead if you don’t shoot in heavy format, a normal SD card is just fine. Like this one: I actually tend to have many of lower storage capacity because they are a bit temperamental so if something goes wrong I won’t loose ten thousand photos but only few hundred. If you have room in your budget it might even be worth it to buy a couple of these, just in case.
This little piece is not essential but very handy. Sometimes when you shoot from the tripod or you need to use the flash, you will be grateful to have a remote. It saves you going back and forth just to press the shutter. If you have few buck to spare it might be worth it.
Lightweight Tripod with adjustable legs
I don’t use it everyday but absolutely necessary for shooting from the top or when not using the indoor lights. It features a tilting and rotatable camera platform with standard thread screw and crank for adjusting your viewing angle. Rubber ball feet to the legs provide a non-slip platform for increased stability and heightened accuracy. Ideal also, thanks to the extendable legs, that are easily collapsed for creating a compact size.
Photoshop isn’t cheap, but it’s an amazing tool! I think I’ve learnt to use Photoshop even before MS Word! If you want to take your photographs to the next level consider in getting the free trial first to give it a test run. There are so many video tutorials online from beginners to advance level that you have no idea. If you’re still a little hesitant on purchasing the software you can always purchase a month-by-month subscription until you know you’re ready to purchase the software outright.
Adobe Lightroom 6
This software is a little powerful gem! I’ve started using it only recently and I regret I didn’t before. Being an expert in Photoshop doesn’t mean you don’t need Lightroom. Actually you really need it. Its features will help you speed up the retouching process when you have a lot of pictures, with minor retouching requirements. You can even set presets to standardize photos with your unique style. It is also less expensive than Photoshop so why not venture with this program and make awesome photos.
SITE GROUND – is The City Farm Girl hosting. They offer a quick and easy way to get up and running with your blog on WordPress. It has free domain name registration, is amazingly affordable, and is the perfect place to start. Before for my other website I used different hosting but this time for the blog I’ve done a long research specifically for bloggers and then I decided to go with SiteGround. I have to say they are really what they advertise. Great customer service and support. Very easy and intuitive set up or you can contact them for help. Plus they are the only hosting company that localizes the server. I’m in Europe and I like the idea of having a service local rather than on the other side of the world.
The Genesis Framework is what is currently running on The City Farm Girl. Genesis is the framework used by some of the web’s most popular bloggers, like Darren Rowse of problogger.net. With Genesis, you’re going to want to purchase the Framework along with a child theme.
Free Themes for WordPress – WordPress has thousands of free themes available. If you’re not sure of purchasing a “premium” theme right away, this is a great place to start. Be sure to do some research and check the theme’s rating before you download and install it. I would recommend looking for themes with a four or five star rating.
The Foodie Pro is the premium theme that I’m using for The City Farm Girl. Unfortunately is not one of the cheapest premium themes but so far I’m more than happy of my purchase! It has all the functionality that I need for the food section and the customization is extensive comparing to other premium themes that I work with. It’s very simple and intuitive to use, plus Shay Bock, the creative, has great support and video tutorials to help you setting up the site and customise it as you like.
Easy Recipe – This is the WordPress Plug-in I use for my recipes. The name says it all, it’s an easy plug-in to showcase your recipes!
Akismet – Spam comments are annoying! Akismet is a like a comment guard, making sure that no spamming comments get through to your site.
Limit Login Attempts – A simple but important plug-in to increase the security on your WordPress blog. This plug-in limits the number of times that someone can enter in an incorrect password. It’s amazing how many people try to hack into my blog every day.