I get loads of questions about the tools we use for food photography as well as questions about what has contributed to the growth of NatashasKitchen. I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that food bloggers can use to see the products and services that we use with our blog. The list will be always updated as we find different resources that are worth mentioning.
Food Photography & Video Tools
Adobe Lightroom – Adobe Lightroom is reasonably priced and has loads of options for editing & re-sizing photos before uploading them to WordPress. We learned to use it through YouTube and trial/error.
Tasty Food Photography– Photography is one of the key aspects of any food blog. You should see some of my early posts vs recent ones… definitely learned a thing or two :). There are many resources online to help you in selecting a camera and taking great photographs. One of my favorites is the Tasty Food Photography ebook by Lindsay at Food Blogger Pro because it is specific to food and easy to follow. Ebook is full of tutorials and information about photography basics, lighting, Photoshop, and is nicely laid out.
Final Cut Pro 10 – This is a Mac program and we use it to edit all of our videos. You can start with i-movie which is free on macs but we’ve found that final cut pro is one of the easiest to learn if you want more professional video options.
Canon EOS 6D – We upgraded to the 6D camera after using a Canon Rebel XSi for a few years. Not only does the 6D shoot great pictures, but it also shoots really incredible HD video. It’s an expensive camera, so if you’re just getting started to look first at purchasing something like the Canon EOS 70D SLR Camera.
Canon EOS 80D – This is our second camera, used for filming our recipes. It has amazing auto-focusing and very easy to use touch screen.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens – This is our main food photography lens that we use to take step by step photos or our recipes. Lens has excellent image quality, and is great for shooting videos.
Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS – This is our latest macro lens that we use to capture food up close. We like this lens because it has fast autofocus, great image stabilization and allows us to photograph all the details.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L IS USM Lens
We purchased this for videos but it is a really good all-around lens that gives you nice blur in the background and you don’t have to be as far away from the subject to get everything in view as with the 100mm which is really more for closeup food shots.
Manfrotto Tripod – Tripod can be very handy when shooting indoor pictures or videos. This tripod is extremely versatile and ideal for our use. We also use Manfrotto Video Head, which works great for video recording.
Rode VideoMic – We use Rode VideoMic for all of our video tutorials. It captures the audio really well, can be attached to any camcorder or DSLR.
Light Reflector – Reflectors can be used to fill in shadowy areas of dishes, particularly by the window where you may have strong light and high contrast. If you don’t have a reflector, a white card might do the job.
Bonus Material: Building Your Brand
Driving Traffic to your Site:
Here is a list of the food photo submission sites I like to use. It takes a little time to enter, but the traffic you gain from getting a submission accepted can be great! It’s not uncommon to see 1,000+ visits to your blog in a day if you get a submission featured on the right site at the right time. Our best source by far has been Pinterest, but there are others to consider:
Mad Mimi Email Marketing – We’ve switched over to Mad Mimi from feed burner for all of our email marketing and we absolutely love how customizable, reliable and pretty our emails have become. We recognize the importance of personally connecting with our readers who deserve better than generic, boring emails.
Vaultpress – Vaultpress is the company we use to backup Natasha’s Kitchen WordPress account. We have lots of pages and posts that we’ve written over the past few years. The blog has also helped us generate some extra income as well. So it would really stink if something happened where our site was wiped out and we lost everything. Vaultpress ensures that if that something like that did happen we’d be able to recover everything from a backup.
– Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. I recommend to keep the number of plugins to a minimum or they might slow down your site or overload the server.
The Plugins I use are: Akismet , Google XML Sitemaps, W3 Total Cache, Easy Recipe, Pin It Button, WP-Smush.it.
Another common mistake that new bloggers make (and we were guilty of this) is not properly resizing photos prior to uploading them to their blogs, which results in a really slow loading site. We didn’t realize it when we were on the free WordPress platform, but as soon as we went to a paid host, it was painfully obvious that we needed to re-size and re-upload every. single. image. Ouch! Resize to the way you want your photos to appear in your blog; i.e. if your photo is being inserted 600 wide by 900 tall, re-size it through your Lightroom or whatever image editing software you use and then upload it. We also limit the file size of our photos to no more than 200K. We use Lightroom to easily accomplish all of this.
Camera Guides For Beginners:
Check out this page to learn your DSLR camera settings for video capture.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products listed above and recommend them because they are helpful and are companies that I trust, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products.
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Hi Natasha! I love your photos and I was curious if you’re shooting your food photos in RAW or JPEG? Like the main photos and the step-by-step? I own a healthy-recipes blog and really trying to improve my food photography. I tried the RAW and when I edit in Lightroom, the photos looks so pixelated and trying to figure out if JPEG format is the best way to go? Thanks
Hi Jennifer, we shoot raw images so we can have the most control over them while editing.
Do you have any video editing tutorials of how to edit the videos using Apple’s Final Cut Pro X? That would be really helpful.
Hi Anthony, I don’t have a tutorial for that but there are tons on YouTube so I would recommend checking that out.
Natasha, thank you so much for creating your food blog. I love all your recipes! Love, Marina K.
You’re so nice, Marina! Thank you for that wonderful compliment!
Natasha. Your work is amazing. Love the quality of videos and effects. I also appreciate you letting us know what you use to record such amazing videos.
You’re so nice! Thank you! We’re so happy you’re finding our videos helpful.
Hi Natasha, just found about you thanks to a dear friend of mine. I am trying to make shop page like yours. What plug-ins have you used? Any suggestions?
HI, we actually had that custom-built by a developer without plugins.
Hi Natasha, who do you recommend as a hosting company? Big fan of your work! Love all the recipes I’ve tried so far!
Hi Natalie, We recommend Bluehost and signing up is easy peasy. If you’re just starting out, I suggest the least expensive plan and upgrading over time as your blog grows.
Hi Natasha, I just found your site and I have horrible blog envy. I’ve read your helpful comments about making my blog better. Can’t wait to try your ideas. I am an 80 year old granny, college professor, and food lover But I think it’s never too late to have a passion. Love your blog.
Hi Joan! Thanks for visiting our blog. 🙂 I’m so glad you discovered it! It definitely is NEVER to late to follow a passion. I wish you great success! 🙂
What Mac laptop do you recommend? What GB etc….
Hi Judy, it really depends on what you are using it for. If you are just planning to blog, any of them would work. If you are planning to do video editing, you will want one with faster processing and more memory. For photography, get something in the middle. I would recommend speaking with an Apple rep at one of their stores and they will point you to what would work best based on your needs. We have found that they are honest in their recommendations and haven’t tried to “up-sell” us on something we don’t need because I don’t believe they work on commission. Explain to them exactly what you plan to use it for. Hope that helps!
Love all this info. Thanks.
My pleasure Janice, I’m glad you find the post helpful!
OK. Thank you for your help! Ill see what I can do.
I recently purchased a TAKSTAR SGC-598 Interview Microphone for my Canon EOS Rebel T3. But I couldn’t plug it into the side of the camera where you usually plug it in. With further research I learned that apparantly you can’t plug any external microphones into T3s. It was very frusterating. So I read here that the Rode VideoMic works on ALL DSLRs. I’m just wondering if that includes a Canon T3. If not, what would you suggest I use for great audio/microphones?
Hi Denae, I don’t think it does plug into a Canon T3. You would have to record audio externally and sync it in editing software, from what I understand. Rode works with all DSLRs that support it with an external plug-in for the mic. That is a bummer!
Hi Natasha! Thanks for sharing! I started a blog not too long ago and this is so helpful! Everything seems so new so its nice to know what plugins I can trust. Plus it gives me an idea what equipment I will need to invest in. Oh and I love your recipes! Everything always turns out delicious!
Thank you so much! Thanks for following my blog Lilly! 🙂