Let me start by saying I am no photography professional. All of my knowledge is through trial and error, as well as a lot of Googling. With that being said, I am asked questions about my beauty blog photography on a regular basis, so I figured it was about time I shared some of this knowledge! I’ll be breaking this up into a few posts so the information isn’t overwhelming, and I’ll be sure to link them all together when I’m done.
Point and shoot camera: Sony RX100
This is a ridiculously good point and shoot. I bought it quite a few years ago, when I wanted a good camera that wasn’t a DSLR (because I wasn’t interested in learning a DSLR at the time). It takes SUCH good pictures and was worth every penny I spent on it (it’s definitely pricey, but a great option if you don’t want to learn a DSLR). Now that I have my DSLR, I use this for face shots (because the Nikon DSLR I have doesn’t have a flip out screen, so it’s hard to get properly aimed face shots).
DSLR camera: Nikon D5500
I used a Nikon D3200 for the last few years. It’s a great entry-level camera and became even more amazing when I finally took some time to learn how to shoot with manual settings. I finally outgrew that camera upgraded to the Nikon D5500. I have NO regrets- this camera is beautiful and the quality difference in my photos is definitely noticeable.
Camera lenses: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G and Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
You really only need one of these lenses, and I’d recommend the 35mm over the 50mm if you are going to be doing a lot of flatlay photography like I do. I originally bought the 50mm when I was doing a lot more outfit posts, but it’s harder to fit everything in my shot with the 50mm when I’m doing flatlays (unless I want to get a chair out to stand on), so I definitely recommend the 35mm instead.
Light reflector: FOTGA 43″ Collapsible Disc Silver Reflector
This isn’t the exact silver reflector I have, but actually a better version of mine. Mine is black on one side and silver on the other, whereas this is white on one side and silver on the other. You can use either side to reflect light. I always take my photos in front of a natural light source (you’ll see in my setup photos in an upcoming post, but I take my photos in a narrow hallway at my front door) and position my reflector opposite to the natural light, so I’m getting even light from both sides. I’ll explain more in an upcoming post!
Ring light: Diva Ring Light Super Nova 18″
I did a LOT of research on ring lights before buying this, so I feel like I can pretty confidently say you get what you pay for with these. I asked pretty much every blogger/YouTuber I know that has bought a ring light to find out what did and didn’t work for them, because there are a lot of cheaper options than the Diva Ring Lights. Time and time again, though, I was told by friends that the cheap ones they’d bought off Amazon had broke repeatedly, so I eventually sucked it up and dropped the cash on the Super Nova.
I have zero regrets, as this light has upped my face photography game like CRAZY. I found it impossible to capture my makeup properly prior to buying this, and now I feel like you can really see the colors and blending and just everything. I love this thing. I also use it as an additional light source if I’m taking pictures of something and there’s not enough light. There is a slightly smaller version called the Nova, which I think would work fine for makeup photography as well.
Vinyl backdrops/floordrops: Mini Backdrops
Vinyl backdrops and floordrops are something that I think are totally worth a small investment. I have bought several different backdrops at different price points in the past, and the ones I ended up spending a little bit more on are the ones I’ve stuck with and been really happy with for a long time. Vinyl backdrops/floordrops are the best because you can roll them up without them crinkling, and they’re easy to wipe off if you spill something on them.
Of all the places I’ve purchased from, the only one I can truly recommend is Mini Backdrops. They have easily been the best quality out of all of the backdrops I’ve purchased. While I have bought all of my backdrops with my own money, Mini Backdrops has been so kind as to create a coupon code for my readers: use OLIVEANDIVY for 10% off your order. PS- they do custom backdrops at no extra cost. I just placed another big order with them!
DIY marble backdrops/floordrops: White foam board + DC Fix Grey Marble Adhesive Film
I don’t think there’s a more frequently asked question for me than “where did you get your marble?” Well, folks, the secret is out- I don’t have a marble countertop.. and neither does 99% of the other bloggers you see using a marble background, haha. I learned this trick years ago and this has been a go-to backdrop of mine since: take a white foam board, cover it with marble contact paper. DONE.
Photo editing software: Adobe Photoshop
I won’t be doing a whole section on editing, simply because there are a billion other websites out there with people who teach this stuff far better than I can. I will say, though, that having Photoshop is invaluable to me. A lot of people use Lightroom, but I get frustrated every time I try to use it, haha. There are free alternatives to Photoshop out there that are slightly less user-friendly (but free) such as GIMP- so definitely check that out if your budget doesn’t allow for Photoshop!
That’s all I can think of for this little equipment lesson, but feel free to ask questions if you think I may be missing something. I’m going to go into more detail on photography styling in a separate post, so if you have questions about the props I use, etc, then just hold off on those until that post goes up. Otherwise, I hope this post helped a bit!