easy ways to take, edit + plan photos for your blog or business

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One of the questions I get asked a lot over on Instagram is what I use to take and edit my photos. In this post today I’m sharing all the details with you, from the type of camera I use to the apps I edit my photos with.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Canon DSLR Camera Bundle

When I had my first blog, I took most of my photos using a small digital camera or my iPhone. Needless to say, the quality of my photos was pretty horrendous, but at the time I had to work with what I already had. However, when I started my YouTube channel back in 2013, I knew it was time to invest in a DSLR camera to improve the quality of my videos. I did quite a bit of research and ended up choosing the Canon EOS Rebel T3i, which they happened to have a bundle deal for when I picked it up at Best Buy. There is an awesome bundle deal I found on Amazon recently of a more recent model almost identical to mine, the Canon EOS Rebel T6, that has amazing reviews and comes with just about everything you need to get started. It’s available for Prime and comes at such a steal of a price for all that’s included. If you’re looking to invest in a DSLR camera, this is a great starter package! I have zero complaints about my experience with Canon’s DSLRs. It does take some time to get the hang of all the different settings, but between the guide that comes with the camera and some helpful pins on Pinterest, you’ll be able to navigate all of its different settings and features fairly quickly.

A breakdown of some of the items included in this bundle (for full list click the image above):

  • Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera

  • Canon 18-55mm II Lens — a standard zoom lens

  • 2 SanDisk 32GB SDHC Memory Cards

  • Commander 0.43x Auxiliary Wideangle Lens — mounts to the front of your fixed or zoom lens, allows you to capture a wider field of view

  • Commander 2.2x Auxiliary Telephoto Lens — perfect for long-distance photo situations

  • Canon Camera Case

  • Flash Light

  • 3 Filters

  • Battery Pack + Charger

  • Extra Battery Pack

  • AC/DC Car + Home Charger

  • High Speed USB Reader (LOVE this!)

  • Commander Wired Shutter Release Remote

  • 50” Camera Tripod (SO helpful if you’re taking your own photos of yourself!)

Soft Box Studio Lighting

When I was working full time, most of my photos and videos had to be done after work, which meant I had very little natural lighting to work with unless I was able to shoot on the weekends. To further improve the quality of my content, I decided to purchase soft box lighting to set up whenever I was taking photos or filming YouTube videos. I have LOVED this lighting equipment; I’ve had it for four or five years and have yet to replace any light bulbs. The initial set up is a bit tricky but I was able to put everything together on my own in just about an hour or so. I typically keep it set up in a separate room for convenience since I now take photos almost every day. It does take a bit of time to figure out how you want to set up your lights for each shot, but once you do it a few times you’ll get the hang of it. The exact lighting I use is below:

Ring Light

One item that I don’t have yet that’s on my wish list is a ring light. I would love to have one for doing Instagram lives, client video calls, and for a different style of lighting for photos and videos. This style of lighting is perfect for self portraits. This particular brand has a few different options, but this one is their best seller and one that comes highly recommended by other bloggers and business owners, plus the price point is super reasonable compared to some other models I’ve researched. Like some of the other products I’ve mentioned, it’s also available on Prime so you can get it shipped to you quickly. While I’m not quite ready to invest just yet, this is the exact light on my wish list:

Miscellaneous Items

If you already have a DSLR and therefore don’t need the bundle I included above, there are a few items that are crucial to have:

Photo Editing, Planning + Scheduling

Once you have the equipment you need to take your photos there is obviously some work that goes into editing and planning what you’re going to post. For me, I use a few different tools once my images are uploaded to my computer. I have my photos synced in cloud, so whatever I upload to my computer will also go straight to my phone. Back when I had free access to all Adobe programs through my previous job, I always edited in Adobe Lightroom right on my computer. Now I use a few different apps on my phone, which is super easy and cost-effective.

Editing

I always use two apps to edit my photos: VSCO and FaceTune. I always use VSCO first and use the same filter on all my photos for my blog account. For the time being, the adjustments I make on VSCO are super simple:

Once my edited photos are saved from VSCO back to my camera roll, I then go into my FaceTune app and open the recently edited photos. From here, I make a couple minor adjustments using the B+W, glow, and cropping tools. I like my backgrounds to be crisp, white, and bright, and these tools make that possible. If I’m breaking out, I may smooth out some blemishes on my face, but other than that I keep it simple. This quick screen recording shows you exactly how I edit a photo:

Planning + Scheduling

To be honest, I really don’t schedule many photos ahead of time. I’d love to get to the point where I’m able to schedule out a month’s worth of posts, but right now I pretty much upload everything manually. I do, however, like to plan my posts before I publish them on Instagram so I can make sure I keep my theme consistent. In order to do that I use an app called UNUM. If you’ve ever used Planoly before, UNUM is very similar, but in my opinion, it’s better. I love how easy it is to manipulate photos, make minor edits, and add in captions. You can schedule photos from UNUM but I pretty much just use this to check my photos before I post them! Take a look at this super quick tour I give you of my personal UNUM feed for howshedoesit.co:

Regardless of where you are in your blog or business, remember it’s all a process. Patience is your best friend, which is so hard to remember sometimes. Hopefully these tips and tools help steer you in the right direction when it comes to incorporating photos on you blog, website, or social media pages. If you have other helpful tips always feel free to leave them below. If you have further questions, feel free to email me at elizabeth@howshedoesit.co

xx

Elizabeth