Must-Have Photography Kit for Bloggers

 Free blogging photography kit. All the equipment you need.

Photography is a deal breaker.

It either wows your visitors and turns them into raving and adoring fans, or, it scares them away, never to return.

Think about it, how often have you stumbled across a random blog with tiny pictures with bad lighting and immediately clicked away?

It's happened to me more than once!

On the other hand, there are many times when I've stumbled across blogs with a very simple design and little content but ended up bookmarking and returning simply because their photos were just so amazing.

Taking the time to create beautiful photos
for your blog or business
makes you stand out from the crowd.

It takes you from amateur to expert in the eyes of your readers.

I've come a long way in terms of photography since I first started my blog, and I really want to share my experience and secrets with all of you.

So today, I'm going to show you how to build your very own photography kit with some peaks at my creative process! Don't worry, there's more to come and I'll get into a lot more detail later on.

I've even been working behind the scenes on something very special which I know for a fact, will be a game changer for a lot of you; my very first e-course, Picture Perfect, a photography course for bloggers!

I'm seriously excited about it. It's going to be jam packed with super actionable content. In the mean time, I made some free stock photos for you guys. Enjoy!

Now that we've gotten that out in the open, let's make you a photography kit!

 Must have photography kit for bloggers and free stock photos. Click to read!

My must-have photography kit for bloggers:

  • Camera. This can be anything from your phone's built-in camera, to a point-and-shoot or a DSLR. My suggestion is to start with what you already have and experiment with lighting and composition before making a big investment. I personally started with a cheap point and shoot and now, I use the Canon Rebel t5i most of the time. When I need something more practical, I'll whip out my iPhone.

  • Desk or table. You have to place your subject somewhere! :) The floor is cool too if that's how you roll.

  • Backdrops. A backdrop is something you put behind (or sometimes under) your subject in order to add interest to the picture (or in my case, to hide that mess in the background). You can use pretty much anything: a bed sheet, curtains, a magazine, a colorful board, faux fur... the list goes on. My all time favorites are DIY which I will be sharing with you soon!

  • Props. This is by far my favorite part about blog photography. Props are anything you can use to make your picture prettier. You can buy things if you like, but I usually just search my home for little items I can use. Things like my favorite notebook, a cute pencils, my go-to nail polish, or even the jewelry I'm wearing that day often make it on the list. It's a good idea to be consistent and stay true to your brand in terms of colors and related items. If you're a mechanics blogger, you wouldn't put nail polish in your photos now would you? Have fun with it and experiment!

  • External Hard Drive. This is practically a go-to for your life. If you told me you didn't have one, I probably wouldn't believe you. I use this hard drive and love it. I keep a backup of everything from blog pictures to important personal documents on 2 different drives! I strongly suggest you do the same. You can never have too many backups.

 Photography kit for bloggers, 18-55mm lens, canon rebel t3i, notebook and remote. Click through to read!

My nice-to-have photography kit for bloggers:

  • Artificial lighting.Natural light is the bomb. The end. But, if you're like me, and you don't have access to day light, like, ever, then artificial lighting is your new best friend. There are a lot of options, even some DIYs, but my current favorite are my umbrella lights. They're surprisingly super affordable so you have no excuse to have poorly lit photos! You could also invest in a ring light (especially if you're filming videos - there's even a ring light for iPhones - that's a mini photography kit in your pocket, wooo!) or a soft box. All are awesome options.

  • Lenses. Although there are lenses available for smart phones, and they do help take better pictures, like this XXXX for example, I don't own one and take pretty enough pictures without. Where I did decide to invest though, was in a prime lens for my DSLR. I use the 50mm f1.4 (there's the 50mm f1.8 which is also very good and a lot cheaper).

  • Tripod. I don't use my tripod a lot, but they're handy to have if you want to take a picture of yourself or if you're in a very low light situation with no artificial lighting and you want to set the shutter speed on slow mode. They're also fun to have for photo booth sessions at parties! Woot!

  • Remote. A remote is good to have if you're taking styled shots and you don't want to walk back and forth to your camera after moving a prop half an inch in your frame. You'll save a lot of time and frustration. Plus, you can use it for taking selfies and group pictures that include you. ;)

  • Reflectors. I don't have any yet, but this will be my next purchase. They're used to reflect light on the shaded side of your subject to balance the lighting. These reflectors are perfect because they're collapsible!

  • Photo editing software. Technically, if your photos come out perfect from your shoot, you don't need to edit them, but it's always nice to have the option, especially when you can use free ones like getPaint.net. My go-to software is Photoshop which I bought a while back. Nowadays you can get if for a $10/month subscription.

 Must have photography kit for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs.

When I first started connecting with other, more experienced bloggers, I always wondered why their pictures looked so nice. What I didn't know was that it's all an illusion, a setup if you will.

Professional bloggers actually plan and style their photos.  

It doesn't happen by accident, and it's not because their project and office are super cute and organized (although it could be). Even those pictures of yummy food with a mess of chocolate chips and flour... it's an illusion, the mess was totally planned.

Are you interested in more photography related articles?
What would you like to know?

I've been working on a photography e-course and I'm curious to know what you guys are having trouble with when it comes to taking pictures for your website or your family. Is there anything you'd like me to address?

DIY: Sugar Skull Candy Bowl

 Make a bright and colorful sugar skull candy bowl to decorate your home for Halloween. Click to see the tutorial.

Yep, it's that time of year again!

I had so much fun making my Halloween apothecary last year that I've decided to get creative again this year.

Halloween is one of my favorite time of year to do crafts and decorate. There's just so much creative freedom. You can get as wild as you want and no one will blink twice.

I actually started this project last year but never got around to finishing it. You know how it goes right? You start a million projects on an inspiration wave, then you loose it and half of those projects get forgotten in a distant corner of the house for a few months...and sometimes more.

Does anyone else do that?

I've also been known to go into a craft store for a very specific thing and come back out 3 hours later with half the store in my bags. Oh, did I mention my very awesome and patient husband was waiting in the car the whole time?

Yea, he doesn't come anymore. 

Back to my project. So I saw this skull at the dollar store and I immediately thought it would be fun to turn it into a sugar skull to decorate my living room.

When I shared my idea with my husband, he mentioned it would be cool if it was a candy bowl. I swear, he's totally a creative inside. So off he went to drill. Awesome right?

So anyway, this super skull is chilling on my table right now, but I took out all of the candy because otherwise, my toddlers will at them all in a single sitting.

 

Have you created anything for Halloween? Are you making your own costume? What will you dress up as?

 

My boys and husband have asked to be the 3 musketeers so that's what my next project is going to be. If you're looking for me in the next 2 weeks, I'll either be raiding the dollar store or at my sewing machine.

See you all next week! :)

 The materials to make a Halloween sugar skull candy bowl; skull, paint, paint brushes, sparkles, flowers.

MATERIALS

Plastic skull
Acrylic paints
Paint brush
Palette
Artificial flowers
Glue gun
Candy (!!)

 Spray paint your skull white first.
 Cut a hole at the top of the skull and paint a face in black.
 Have fun, add shapes and color to your sugar skull candy.
 Glue some artificial flowers around the hole of the skull and fill it with candy!

STEPS

1. Paint the entire skull white. I used spray paint but you can just as easily use a paint brush and acrylics.

2. Cut a hole at the top to insert your candy. I asked my husband to do it with his hand drill, it took him about 2 minutes.

3. Paint the eye sockets, nose hole and teeth outline in black. You can use any color you want at this point, have fun and be creative!

4. Decorate with pretty patterns around the eyes, the forehead and chin. You can embellish with faux jewels or even glitter!

5. Cut some artificial flowers and hot glue them around the head to form a flower crown. I glued them around the hole.

6. Fill with candy and enjoy!

 The complete Halloween sugar skull candy bowl. A super fun craft for Halloween. Click through for tutorial.

A Guide to Recognizing Food Allergies, for Moms (+ FREE Egg Allergy Guide)

 A guide to recognizing food allergies (for moms) + free egg allergy guide. Click to read and download.

As a mother, introducing solid foods to our baby can be quite stressful.

There's literally a bazillion questions we're faced with every single day. When should I start introducing solids? What food should I start with? Why isn't he opening his mouth? Am I giving him too much? Too little? Should he still be drinking milk?

Today, I'll be addressing one question in particular, which happens to be very close to my heart: "How do I know if my child has a food allergy and what should I do?"

I've mentioned quite a few times that my son is allergic to eggs but I don't think I've ever explained exactly how I found out.

Before I get started, I wanted to share a guide I created for you. It explains how to replace eggs in cooking and baking. There's also a section about how to shop for packaged foods with an egg allergy.

There was vomit everywhere.

Literally. On the back car seat, on the baby seat, on my son, on my husband, on the door, on the ground outside the car. I was amazed at how much food there had been in his little stomach.

Naturally, I undressed him and was about to wipe the car a bit when I noticed rashes and swelling in red patches all over his chest, neck, and .... FACE! I could barely see his eyes anymore.

Then I heard it. That sound no mother wants to hear. Wheezing.

The kind you get when you have an asthma attack and you feel like someone is crushing your neck. Thankfully, he was coughing, it means your body is still fighting.

I strapped him into his car seat naked and we rushed to the nearest hospital (note: if this happens to you, call the ambulance, don't take your car). Even though the hospital was about 10 minutes away, it was the longest car ride in my life.

As we approached the hospital, his face was so swollen he was unrecognizable. It wasn't long that he stopped coughing and he was changing color. You should have seen me jump out of the car and rush into the emergency.

I didn't even have to say anything, the guard took him and called resuscitation staff stat. Within 1 minute he had 3 pediatrician around him, a shot of Epipen, a dose of Benadryl and a puff of Ventolin.

It was close. VERY close. But our little baby boy was safe.

That story still gives me goose bumps to this day, and it's not something I wish on anyone. Ever. Which is why I'd like to help you identify food allergies.

So, how do you know if your child has a food allergy?

First, it's important to understand that there are different levels of food allergies. Some are very mild, and others are life threatening in a very scary way. Either way, they should be taken very seriously.

 

Introduce Foods One at a Time

The easiest way to recognize a food allergy for the first time in babies is to introduce foods one at a time.

The first time you introduce a food, there will be no reaction because the body doesn't know the food and doesn't know how to react.

The second time around (I suggest the next day), if there is an allergic reaction, it will be mild, and you'll notice a rash or swelling on his stomach/chest. This could take anywhere from a few minutes to about 2 hours after he ate the food. It's important to check because it'll give you an indication on what to expect the third time you give the food.

The third time is when you can get a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which is life threatening since you can literally stop breathing. If you notice any reaction other than a skin rash, call the emergency. Don't wait!

I suggest introducing the known allergens last, like cow's milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy and fish.

 

Learn How To Recognize Food Allergy Symptoms

Since your child may not be able to speak to express how he's feeling, I'm only going to give you the symptoms you can see and hear.

  • Skin rash

  • Swelling of the lips and tongue

  • Vomit

  • Breathing difficulties, wheezing and coughing

  • Loss of consciousness

 

Know What To Do in Case of an Allergic Reaction

If an allergic reaction isn't something you're already aware of and have an epipen for, or if you suspect anything, call a health information line (ours in Quebec is 811). On the other hand, if you see a rapid evolution of the symptoms stated above, call the emergency ambulance service (911 in Canada). You will have enough time to recognize the symptoms and call so don't panic, but don't wait either if you're not sure. Minutes count! In either situation, I suggest notifying your child's pediatrician as soon as possible and meet with him to ask all your questions.

Here are some egg free dessert recipes I've shared in the past that I think you might like:

Like I mentioned above, I wrote a 4 page guide for you about replacing eggs in cooking and baking. It also includes a list of synonyms of eggs to look out for when shopping packaged foods.

Do you have any questions about food allergies you'd like me to address? Egg in particular? I'd love to help and answer any questions you might have! Have you ever witnessed a severe allergic reaction?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am simply a mom sharing her experience. If you have any doubts, please contact your medical professional or 911 in case of an emergency.