Before you buy, here’s my two cents.
In case you’ve had an inkling to start your own YouTube channel or want to get into photography or blogging or creating an online brand, the following are some helpful resources that I have used to create my work and brand. But, before you venture any further, do know that this equipment and software list has morphed drastically since I first started. I firmly believe in waiting to upgrade equipment until you’ve proven to yourself that you’ll stick with it. It kills me when people spend their hard-earned money on equipment thinking that equipment is the answer to building a successful business. Good equipment helps, but only if you’re going to use it. I started shooting video with my iPhone and a video editing app and that’s really all you need in the beginning. Start small, be patient, know that photography, videography and blogging are skills that take a good bit of time and personal passion to grow. But, if you love it and you stick with it, you’ll be amazed at what you can do!
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 I believe in them. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below!
WordPress Hosting for my Blog
Agathon Group is the best ever. When I switched my food blog to Agathon I saw an instant increase in site speed resulting in more organic referral traffic.
I use Squarespace for TheBiteShot.com because it’s super user friendly and works well with the unique needs of that part of my business.
Image Delivery & Archiving
I use PhotoShelter to deliver image files to my clients and then also archive all the RAW and XMP files there. I have tried most major photo delivery softwares and this was the first that had everything I needed and a clean interface for clients.
My workhorse from 2017 to 2020 was the Canon 5D Mark IV camera body. I still use it frequently for video work. In 2020 I purchased the Nikon Z7 and have been super happy with that decision specifically for my unique needs as a photographer.
I built my business on the the Canon 70D . It’s great for video because of the flip out LCD screen to see what you’re shooting from in front of the camera.
When I shoot on location for clients, I bring this larger diffuser that also comes with a set of reflector covers. I also use this gigantic one which is great for spreading soft light all over your scene or larger scenes.
In studio I also like to use this Rosco diffusion as scrim for super soft lighting.
Tripod, Monopod & C-Stand
My in-studio tripod is the Manfrotto 161MK2B MK 2 and it’s study, easy to use, and rock solid. It also goes super high and a horizontal arm can be added if you’d like to use this tripod for overhead tabletop shots. I currently use a pistol grip head with this tripod.
The Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 with Horizontal Column tripod has been a good middle of the road tripod that works well in studio but travels easily, too. It has been worth every penny. I used a cheaper tripod for two years, which made sense at the time, but with the amount of time I spend shooting every day, it’s invaluable to have this rock solid piece of equipment that is also easy to adjust on the fly. Also has an extender arm to enable overhead shooting. You’ll also need a tripod head to mount the camera to the tripod if you don’t have one and this is solid while flexible. I personally like grip heads for quick and easy adjustments. For those who like more precise adjustments, consider going for a geared head.
For travel, I use this lightweight travel tripod by Manfrotto that takes the same plates as my main tripod.
I use a Manfrotto monopod for video shooting.
I have 2 heavy duty c-stands that I use when I shoot overhead and for mounting lights. If you want to attach a camera you’ll need this adapter. If you have the Manfrotto Tripod, it will also be helpful to get this monopod head which attaches to the adapter and uses the same mounting plates as the Mantrotto tripod head listed above. More questions about the c-stand, I have a video about it.
Laptop Stand and Tethering
I use this Laptop Stand for shooting tethered. Check out TetherTools.com for the right cord to connect your camera to your laptop. I also use their Case Relay with the appropriate camera coupler for constant power to my camera.
I go through a lot of batteries between my audio gear and my speedlights. I have this set from Eneloop which are high quality and quickly rechargeable.
I primarily use the Godox AD600 Pro monolight with the X2T trigger (pay attention to the trigger you need for your camera brand).
I started with and recommend for beginners the Yongnuo YN560IV Wireless Flash Speedlite Master and the Wireless Remove Flash Trigger Kit is the Yongnuo RF-603C-ii-C3 (please note compatibility with your specific camera). You will also want the mounting bracket in order to affix the flash to a stand. When shooting speedlights, I personally use the Godox TT685 speedlight with my XPro trigger that also works with my strobes. However, if I were to buy a new speedlight, I’d go for the Godox V860ii.
Want to take a quiz on which lights I would recommend based on your unique needs? Take my Right Lights Quiz
I also teach an in-depth course on shooting artificial light called Artificial Academy.
The quick and easy umbrella.
The 51” deep white umbrella.
A square softbox for more general lighting use.
A large octagon softbox for nice soft wrap-around lighting (these are a pain to assemble and store, though!)
You will need a speedlight adapater in order to use these modifiers with a speedlight. You’ll also need a light stand for mounting it.
I also modify speedlites with this snoot kit for spotlight and focused light situations.
When I need to change the color of my speedlight, I use this gel kit.
I like to have a wired remote switch so I can fire shots without being behind the camera. Be sure to confirm the specific connection required for you camera. I also have an extender cord so I can be far away for action shots.
My Audio Gear
This is repurposed from my podcasting days, though has been a champ for me. I use the Zoom H6 handy recorder for most recording with a 16GB memory card that can hold several hours of recording. This means, though, that my audio and my video are recorded separately and I sync them up together in video editing. It’s an extra step, but the audio quality makes a huge difference.
For a mic when at an event or unable to use a lav, I use the Rode Go Shotgun mic.
I use Capture One Pro for image capture, cataloging and editing. I use Adobe Photoshop for more intensive edits and retouching. I’m also a fan of Adobe Lightroom but don’t use that as often since switching to Capture One for more robust tethering features.
There are lots of options for great photo surfaces out there. Some of my favorites that are different kinds at different price points include Erickson Surfaces (use BITESHOT10 for 10% off), Capture by Lucy, Woodville Workshop, Best Ever Backdrops (use BITESHOT15 for 15% off), Food I Fancy Backgrounds, Fondos Para Fotografos, Bessie Bakes Backdrops, Ink & Elm, and JIPY Fondos.
I currently use Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing and Adobe After Effects for animated titles. I’m currently learning Davinci Resolve as it’s a free editing software and is compatible with my Black Magic Broadcast equipment for live streaming.
Photography and Videography Contract
It’s important to have a contract in place to protect yourself and your work as a photographer. I use a contract from The Contract Shop.
I’m sure there a bunch of other resources that I use that I didn’t list here. If there’s something you want to know about, just holler!