“CAMERAS, LAPTOPS, SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES AND THE ENDLESS PRIMARK HAULS; BLOGGING IS AN EXPENSIVE BUSINESS.”
It’s also been a business I’ve been gradually investing in for years. I’m often asked on Instagram questions such as what I edit my videos on, my thoughts on my camera, editing software and affordable options. For me, I haven’t got thousands of pounds readily available to invest into the latest gear and lenses every few months – so purchases for me have to be savvy, well thought out, saved for and completely justified. Like many, I love a bargain and snapping up a good deal, but I’ve learnt over the years, that whilst some things aren’t necessary to purchase in order to be successful, some things certainly are useful to have and make life a lot easier in the long run.
Some things have massively helped me progress in terms of quality content, some have made me more creative and some were just a next step move for me. From a self confessed stinge bag – here’s what I personally believe is worth investing in, (from my experience over the years anyway!) what I use, things I’ve learnt, and a little bit of advice, from me, to you.
I’ve been editing on Lightroom for probably nearly 2 years now. Prior to that I used Affinity and before that, I used things such as PicMonkey and Picsart on my phone. I have the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service for just under a tenner a month. (Or you can just buy Lightroom out right) This is something I feel is affordable enough for me and a purchase I definitely get my use out of! Every blogging purchase for me is about cost per use. If I’m not going to get a hell of a lot of use out of it – is it really worth investing in? There’s lots of different options when it comes to purchasing editing software – again, it was a process for me and it got to the point where what I was using before didn’t have enough capabilities for me. I get various programmes including in my monthly plan – including the most up to date photoshop and Lightroom, with upgrades – so it’s great if you’re always editing. I find Lightroom really straight forward and you really can do so much with it and really bring out the best in your images! There’s an option that also includes video software, but its substantially more expensive, hence why I’m not using that quite, yet, but I’m sure within the future it’s a possibility. For me, Lightroom has been the best I’ve used, and I also use it on my iPhone on the go! I’ve got a video all about how I edit videos going up on my Youtube soon, so make sure to keep an eye out!)
“I HAVEN’T GOT THOUSANDS OF POUNDS READILY AVAILABLE TO INVEST IN THE LATEST GEAR. EVERY PURCHASE HAS TO BE SAVVY, WELL THOUGHT OUT, SAVED FOR AND COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED.”
I’ll be brutally honest and tell you what I tell everyone: for me, My MacBook was one of the single, best, investments I made and frankly, I didn’t see it worth investing in anything else. I’ve used Windows for the majority of my life, but once I started using MacBooks and Macs, I fell in love with Apple products and just didn’t feel like anything else competes. It took me SO LONG to save for mine, but without it, I wouldn’t be able to blog, create content and edit videos as seamlessly as I can on my MacBook. I got the MacBook Pro in 2016 (big plus is this one still has an SD port) I’ll link all the things I personally use below if you’re interested. They’re not cheap by any means, but I now have something portable, fast, reliable and with absolutely no short comings. You can also get a substantial discount if you’re a student! A huge motivator to save up and buy one was also imovie.
I didn’t start YouTube until I had this, as editing videos was a NIGHTMARE before. iMovie is free, it’s a brilliant editing tool for videos and to be honest, I’ve yet to really feel the need to upgrade to more professional software. I’d love Final Cut or Premiere Pro, but at this point in time I don’t feel like I can justify the cost. My blogging journey for me has been a slow, calculated process of figuring out what I need next in order to progress, learn and what will enhance my work and creative life. For me, this was one of of the most pivotal (and expensive!) purchases I made and the one thing I still think was my best decision yet. I loathed trying to edit videos for free before, I hated the slow computer and whole process. My laptop quite literally revolutionised my professional life (plus it’s great for Netflix sessions and movies on the go 😉 )
AN ALL ROUNDER CAMERA & KILLER LENS
It’s painful how expensive lenses are. It took me years to realise they can be worth their weight in gold. With cameras, it’s all about figuring out what your needs are, your budget and what best is going to able you to achieve what you want! It’s often a case (or has been for me) of gradually upgrading and changing as the years go on. You’ll find the perfect camera, but after a couple of years, may feel like your needs have changed. I started with my phone, then my first proper blog investment was a Samsung camera I bagged for 200 quid from John Lewis. It had a flip out screen, took great snaps and up until earlier on this year, I used it for all of my vlogging (it’s been used, abused and lasted amazingly, but finally was getting to breaking point!) In May I finally took the plunge to invest in a new camera and went on to pre-order the Canon M50 (a review is over on my YouTube soon!) This took me months and months to come to a conclusion of what was worth my money. For blog images, I use Ben’s Sony A7Rii with a variety of different lenses and for snaps and videos I use my Canon.
Again, both the Canon and Sony weren’t cheap by any means, but we’d been researching and saving for a very long time, until we found something that we felt did everything we needed it too. For a blogging camera that is the perfect all rounder I can’t recommend the Canon M50 enough – the video quality is INCREDIBLE, the kit lens does the job amazingly and of course, you can purchase other lenses should you want to interchange for different scenarios. (Something I’ll be considering for my next purchase) You’ll often find lenses become a lot more expensive than the actual camera body, which is hard to digest (and took me so long to accept) but sometimes you just can’t get the same effect without spending a little extra. Part exchanging is something we’ve done in the past in order to save some money, or look into reputable second hand sellers! You don’t have to have the most expensive gear in order to have incredible images, just some passion and a vision! This is just what I’m using, but it’s all about discovering what does the job for you!
SHOP MY PICKS
Okay, so these things are a lot more inexpensive than the biggies above – but just as important and for me, things I’d recommend having (I couldn’t really live without them!)
Lights/Ring lights – I only have one, a Newer one (here) – again this was a big purchase for me, so I made sure to find one that had good reviews, was going to deliver but that didn’t break the bank (I couldn’t find cheaper ones) – I always recommend this to everyone. It’s as affordable as you’ll get for a ring light, very bright, slightly dimmable and stands are very cheap to buy for it. I use this for brightness and professional looking videos and it’s a LIFE SAVER when you need to take indoor images but it’s a very dull and dark day!
Tripod – You can pick these up super cheap from Charity shops, Ebay or camera shops, depending on what you want. I use small ones for travelling and vlogging and larger ones to film sit down videos. Invaluable for self portraits and images on self timer and they don’t have to be expensive! Joby and Manfrotto are great if you’re looking to explore more options and upgrades.
Music – If like me, you struggle to find decent, royalty free music – I switched to Epidemic sound a few years ago. Again, a subscription service for about £10 per month, but again, saved me endless hours scouring the internet only to find awful music! I feel like bad music lets a video down, so for me, having readily available tracks in every genre possible is worth the money for me (again, this is coming from a total money scrooge!) I’ve recommended this service to so many people!
Hard drive – Firstly, I physically couldn’t blog without my Hardrive. It’s 2 TB and they’re not cheap, but I actually edit/store things without it! It’s like a giant memory stick and it’s where I have all of my images and videos! Advisable to have 2 (one for backing up everything – imagine how devistated you’d be if you lost everything!) A no brainer and like anything, there’s more affordable options.
Batteries and SD cards are another total essential. I need at least 3 x batteries for my camera when out and about, same goes to memory Cards, I’d advise getting 32 or 64G (2 would be more than enough) but just make sure you regularly format them when you’ve gotten all your lovely photos off! There’s NOTHING worse than running out of battery or space on your camera at a really pivotal moment!
SHOP THE OUTFIT
AAAAAAND that’s it! Really hope you found this helpful or of some sort of use! (If you did, please do let me know, would be so useful to know!) – Have you guys got any of these or have different essentials you’d reccoemnd? Join the discussion below!
I also have so much style and travel goodness over on my Youtube Channel so make sure you’re subscribed!
Photography by Ben Kapur