I get asked a lot, “What’s the best photography or video equipment and accessories for a beauty blogger? What do I really need?” The answer is, it depends on what you want to do. However, below is what I have and what works for me. Everything on this list I purchased or was purchased by an immediate family member for me. You can also check out my Photo Tips for Beauty Bloggers post if you’re looking for more specific information on photography. Most of the links in this post are from Amazon, so if you see something you like and you want to buy it, I would love it if you used one of my affiliate links. If you don’t want to, that’s cool too.
1. Kelly Moore Photography Handbags
When I was at my photography class last week, they brought some of the Kelly Moore Photography Handbags in to show the class and recommended them because they are actually nice looking handbags that provide protection for your DSLR. I loved that they were in the class so that I got to see them firsthand to make a decision on whether or not I would find one able to hold my DSLR and everything else I like to keep with me in my purse. I raved about them once I got home from the class. Ray ended up purchasing me the Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag in Purple, but they’ve got a TON of different colors and styles in bags. I also love the Turquoise, Fuchsia and Black, as I’m sure you could have guessed. Yes, I’d love one in every color please!
This bag lets you take your camera with you everywhere, yet keeps it safe. I have often hesitated at taking my DSLR camera to events because I’ve been afraid of keeping it safe while traveling. I don’t want to break my camera or crack a lens. Now I don’t have to stress over that. And there’s still enough room in this bag design for my wallet, keys, cell phone, That’s It Fruit Bars, etc. As soon as my handbag arrives I will be taking pictures and sharing it with you!
2. Vangoddy Magenta Plum Purple Small DSLR & SLR Camera Bag
If you don’t know about the Kelly Moore bags, or you can’t yet afford one, I recommend this bag! Until my photography class, I had no idea the Kelly Moore bag existed and I wanted to find a small, functional camera bag to protect my camera that I could carry in addition to my purse. I purchased this one for the Makeup Show Orlando and I also used it on my trip to New York City. It’s a small bag that fits my Canon Rebel T3i and neck strap in the main compartment. The back of it has a small zip pocket. In the back pocket I put business cards, my tiny Sony Bloggie Duo HD Camera and my Canon PowerShot ELPH. It comes with a shoulder strap to make it comfortable to carry, or you can pop that shoulder strap off and just put it inside a large purse. It’s padded and protects your camera.
3. Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, 1080p Widescreen Video Calling and Recording
This webcam brand was recommended to me by someone from Google as the best type for video chats and Google hangout. I actually bought this particular model because it was the newest one available (newer than the specific model recommended) and love it. While I’m still working out the kinks with my video shooting, what I love about this particular camera is that I can clip it onto almost any surface to shoot. It also has good auto-focus. My DSLR, while I love it dearly, does not auto focus in video mode making it a pain in the butt to shoot videos while using it. Now if I didn’t have to be 3 inches from a magnifying mirror… it would be easier to do makeup tutorials. You would see less forehead, more eyes. I really need to get lasik eye surgery!
4. Sony Bloggie Duo HD Camera Violet
I picked the Sony Bloggie Duo HD Camera in Violet up as a Groupon Goods Special and I do like it, though it doesn’t have a lot of memory space AND the interface for using it on the computer sucks. However, it does do videos on the fly well. It was perfect for the RAW Orlando event that I attended where I recorded my friend Safia’s Live Performance Art Piece and it’s perfect if you’re attending a convention to conduct an interview. It can certainly be useful if you want a light, portable, video camera that literally slips into your pocket. I would love to find a version of this that can record my face and whatever it’s pointed at simulataneously, because that would be awesome. It does have a camera on the front and back, so I can record myself, or what I’m looking at, just not simultaneously.
5. Cowboystudio Photography/Video Portrait Umbrella Continuous Triple Lighting Kit
I feel like this has helped tremendously in my self-portrait shots. It helps with creating even lighting. I use daylight bulbs with everything. Over half of my house has been converted to having daylight bulbs or LED daylight bulbs (around 5500 k light). It’s really important to have even lighting and the same type of lighting in a shot or you end up with green skin. I use these lights when I’m making videos, as well. If I’m in my bedroom in front of my vanity (which has daylight bulbs), I’ve started using these as well to give me more even lighting.
6. Portable Photo Studio
I have a portable photo studio that my parents bought me from Think Geek, but they’re no longer selling it. You can find similar ones on Amazon, though. It was a great starter set for taking my product shots to the next level.
7. Canon Rebel t3i 600D DSLR Camera
This is my baby. Ray and Dave bought this for me for Christmas 2011. I love it. It’s got a video screen that flips around so that I can see myself whenever I’m taking pictures of my eyes / face / lips, rather than guessing that I’m framed in the shot. I’ve got several different lenses with it: ef-s 18-55 is ii, 50 mm f/2.5 compact macro, and ef 75-300mm f/4-5.6 iii. I feel like this is a great investment for a camera. I’m sure that there’s a newer model out too but I don’t feel the need to upgrade currently.
8. Canon PowerShot Elph300 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with Full 1080p HD Video Red
I love the Canon PowerShot Elph series. This is my favorite point and shoot camera. Before I even really got into cameras, I always owned Canons. I tried a Sony camera once and regretted it, it just didn’t work for me, but the Canons have never let me down. I know that there’s a newer version of this one, but if you’re looking for a good, reasonably priced point and shoot, go with a Canon PowerShot Elph. You’ll love it. This one in particular I chose because it does autofocus and HD video. However, you could always forget about a point and shoot if you have a good enough phone.
9. Samsung Galaxy Note II Phone
Anyone who has met me face to face in the past 4 months has seen my monstrosity of a phone. I have the Samsung Galaxy Note II and I absolutely love it. It’s huge. It’s got a fantastic camera built in, which I find a viable alternative to carrying a point and shoot camera. In fact, I often just use this rather than carry my point and shoot anymore. Additionally, this phone is great if you have anything to do with social media or want to be on the web. I can actually blog on this phone, though I have limited photo editing software. I do have a few cool apps, which you typically see me use on Instagram. I think that a phone like this or the iPhone 5 are viable alternatives for blogging through a phone.
10. Adobe Photoshop Elements
I’ve been using Photoshop in some form or another for over a decade. My current version is Elements 10. I love Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, so I recommend it for photo editing. I find it much easier to use than Gimp or a lot of the other photo editing software that’s available. However, the photography class that I was just at (taught by Bob Ray) is sending all of its students some new photo editing software to try out, so I’m looking forward to seeing if that will replace Photoshop for me.
11. CyberLink PowerDirector and Windows Live Movie Maker
A fellow beauty blogger was kind enough to recommend CyberLink PowerDirector 10 to me. It’s quite a step up from using Windows Live Movie Maker. One thing I’ve had to do, since I’m not quite sure how to downsample to edit, is edit my rough movie in Windows Live Movie Maker, and then go into CyberLink PowerDirector 10 to add in extra things like pip (picture in picture), intro, exit, etc. My laptop, which I love it dearly, has had issues with the way my Logitech Webcam records videos, so I use both programs. If you’re on a desktop, you’ll be fine with CyberLink PowerDirector. However, Windows Live Movie Maker is free and if you’re just starting out, it’s a good program for beginners.
12. Seamless Tabletop Background
I just recently upgraded from my little portable photo studio to the Seamless Tabletop background and I LOVE it immensely. To begin, it’s plastic, so it’s easy to wipe down and keep clean. Many loose eyeshadows will spill a little or have residue on the outside that could be difficult to remove from my soft box but this cleans up easily. It’s awesome. I wish I’d started with this!
Of course, I’m always looking for ways to improve my setup, as well as my skills. My next Wish List Item is a single SoftBox Boom Light that would go above the Seamless Tabletop Background to more evenly distribute light.
So these are my 12 must-have photography and video equipment and accessories as a beauty blogger, plus one wish list item. There is definitely other gear out there that is worth having, of course, and there’s certainly better equipment to buy, but this list should really help you determine what would best suit your needs. This is pretty perfect for my current needs.
If you’re a beginner, I would skip the DSLR, and maybe even the point and shoot, and just use a Samsung Galaxy Note II or iPhone 5. I _almost_ got an iPhone 5, but I am so glad that I did not because I love my Note II so much! The phone is amazing for me. It does take great pictures, the flash is blindingly bright, and the camera speed and functionality currently unmatched. You can’t go wrong with the Note II.
If you are on a limited budget, I would recommend building your own lightbox. One of my all time favorite food bloggers, Oh She Glows, has a lovely How to Make a Light Box post, complete with cat pictures!
I would love to hear your must-have photography and video equipment, gear, and accessories! I’m always looking for new things to add to my list. Please share them with me in the comments below!