How I Take My Own Blog & Instagram Photos


photo equipment to take your own photos

Happy Monday, Friends! I hope all of you had an incredible weekend. J and I spent it relaxing per usual watching Netflix (I may have stayed up until 4 am Saturday watching Insatiable), and eating way too many wings haha! Our Saturdays and Sundays are usually quite uneventful and that's how we like it! We do, however, have more social plans in September and October which should be fun... camping, taking the "fun car" to the race track, a wedding, and some travel. 

Recently, I decided it would make life SO much easier if I had the ability to take my own blog and social photos, and since sharing this, have gotten lots of questions about how I do it. 

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If you're a blogger, social influencer, or just someone who enjoys posting photos on social media this is a great resource for some affordable and easy to use equipment that will help you stress less about getting the shot. For example, previously, I would have to wait until the weekend to take all of my photos because Justin works during the week. OR I would have to schedule with a photographer which isn't something I can do every day due to the cost and logistics. So I realized I needed to find a way to crank out photos faster and easier without having to always depend on someone else - and it's been really empowering! This past weekend I took photos for six campaigns all by myself!

Most of my equipment comes from Amazon making it pretty affordable and also quick shipping if you have Prime (I've grown to love Prime so much!). Below you'll find links and explanations to each of the tools I use and why. Keep in mind you need to get the correct equipment for your specific camera or phone (this info. is always listed in the online description).

SMARTPHONE I take the majority of my Instagram photos on my iPhone 8 Plus. Smartphones have come such a long way in the last couple of years making the photo quality really good! There are tons of amazing editing apps (like FaceTune2 and VSCO) that make it hard to decipher if you used a DSLR or a smartphone. It makes taking photos quick and easy especially on the go!

PHONE HOLDER When I'm taking my own iPhone photos I use a tripod (see below), wireless remote (see below), and a tripod cell phone adapter that holds the phone in place. It's really easy to attach to the tripod and extends and contracts to hold most smartphones. It acts as a hand and holds your device tightly in place so you can do your thing.

WIRELESS SMARTPHONE REMOTE This may be my favorite little gadget! I use a wireless smartphone remote to take photos in front of my tripod/phone setup. You connect it via Bluetooth so you can continuously take pictures without having a "timer." I find having to wait for a timer to go off rather annoying and prefer to keep taking photos as I pose and move around. Tip: make sure you hide the remote so it won't be seen in your photos. I like to hide mine behind a coffee cup, my bag, or in my pocket!

60-INCH TRIPOD This piece of equipment is something you just can't live without if you want to take your own photos (DSLR or smartphone). I found this inexpensive but sturdy tripod and have been really pleased. It's really lightweight for travel and comes with a built-in level so you can tell if your photos will be straight or crooked. I highly recommend this for any social influencers or bloggers because it can serve many uses if you want to be hands-free.

DSLR CAMERA Last year I finally broke down and bought a Canon EOS Rebel T6S and haven't regretted it for a second. I knew that I wanted to take blogging much more seriously and a DSLR will up your photo quality like nobodies business. Also, if you start working with companies and brands on shoots they will almost always want high-resolution copies or at least specifically request your work be in high-res. I used my iPhone or J's phone for a very long time so I recommend waiting on the investment until you know you want to take the plunge (if you're trying to be budget friendly).

DSLR WIRELESS REMOTE This remote concept is similar to the smartphone remote except it isn't a Bluetooth remote. In order to use it, I set my camera to "remote" use and have the option of different timer counts. For example, I usually choose the 10-second timer that allows me to drop or hide the remote before the picture is taken. I prefer the timer for DSLR shooting because you have to point the remote directly at the camera to start the countdown, as opposed to the smartphone remote that can be in your bag and still work lol. Make sure you check that any remote you buy is compatible with your device - this one is made for specific Canon cameras.

RING LIGHT (+ STAND & COVER) GAME CHANGER! If you are into beauty or hair photos/videos, or just want bright detailed photos, get yourself a ring light! I found mine for a reasonable price and think it's one of the best purchases I've ever made. There are lots of different ring lights our there but I chose to get one where I can change the bulb in case it dies one day (and eventually it will). Some are built in and cannot be changed so keep that in mind. To go with my ring light I got a tripod and softbox diffuser (diffuses the light so it's not concentrated in one place).

UMBRELLA STUDIO LIGHTS And finally, umbrella studio lights. Justin got these for me for my 29th birthday which was super thoughtful. When I woke up he had them all set up in my office like a real little studio! I had never used any kind of lights before so it took me a while to figure out what to do with them. I've realized they are best for making the yellow light look whiter (my preference). They aren't the best light source as they don't shine super bright - more of a light enhancer! I use these on either side of me for all of my try-ons since my mirror isn't directly in front of a window.


You may be wondering now that you know about the equipment how I set everything up when I shoot. Remember, taking your own photos is a lot of trial and error, much like editing. Every photoshoot will be a little bit different depending on the lighting, where you are, and even what you're wearing.

OUTDOORS: When I'm outdoors I don't mess with any additional light (natural lighting is the best!). I simply set up my tripod and attachments so that the height of the tripod is straight on to my body. You can set it higher or lower depending on how you want to take your photos (I just prefer straight on shots). Then I'll stand in front of my DSLR/iPhone and take some test shots to make sure I'm fully in the frame of the shot. 

INDOORS: Indoors is always more challenging. Creating the effect of natural or "good" lighting can be a challenge depending on what room you are shooting in and how much natural light you have inside. For example, bathroom-centric blog posts are much harder because usually there isn't much light and the bulbs built in can turn your photos really yellow. SO I like to set up one umbrella light diagonally to the front of me on both sides, with the ring light directly in front of me. Then I will place my phone or DSLR in the middle of the ring light for the best quality. 

Please keep in mind I am still not an expert at lighting setups and photography but this is what has worked well for me so far. And I want anyone else struggling to get enough photos on the weekends or with a significant other who may not be crazy about taking tons of pics, to have the ability to do it themselves. It's seriously such a game changer and will help you to capitalize on opportunities!

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