10.28.2013

BLOGGING TIPS | What You Need to Start a Beauty & Fashion Blog - Essential Equipment

So you want to start your own fashion / beauty / lifestyle blog but you're not exactly sure what the first steps should be?

Do not worry!  You've come to the right place at the perfect time!

I only recently started a Blogging Series, sharing some tips I wish I'd known myself back when I started this blog.   I've been there too, and not so long ago.

And that's why today I decided to dive right into this topic once again and share with you the tools and products I currently use to create the contents for my blog posts and Youtube videos... (and some that are currently on my wishlist).

http://www.theinsideoutbeauty.com/2013/10/blogging-what-you-need-to-start-beauty.html


So, if you ever asked me (or asked yourself!) any of the following...

"What camera should I get?"
"What software should I use to edit my videos?"
"How can I improve my video's or picture's lighting?"

... just keep reading because you'll find all my answers and tips on this post!


Without further ado, here are 8 items I would recommend to other beauty and fashion bloggers looking to produce quality content. 

#1   An iPhone !

As a Blogger, you want to make sure you stay connected with all your readers and fellow bloggers by e-mail, twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc.  You also want to be able to answer comments wherever you are and take pictures and video to share on Instagram or upload later to your Youtube Channel.    This is why an iPhone is perfect for you!


I'm sure there are other smartphones out there that would also enable you to do these same tasks, but I personally swear by most Apple products.  I got my first iPhone back in 2009, when I wasn't even blogging, and it literally changed my life!

Just a couple of months ago I upgraded to an iPhone 5, mainly because of its new camera that enables me to take high quality pictures and record HD video on the go.  Unlike the 3GS, the camera has a flash that also allows me to take great pictures at night and this was something I was really looking forward to.

I'm not going to carry my camera around with me at all times, but I sure never leave without my iPhone 5, so I'm always ready to capture any interesting moments for my blog with it.

Here's a picture I love taken with my iPhone 5 camera!
< Did I forget to mention its Panoramic feature? How cool is THAT? >


http://www.theinsideoutbeauty.com/2013/08/holiday-part-03-spring-day-in-middle-of.html


#02  Sony Bloggie Duo Camera


If you make beauty videos or you like vlogging around like me, you might want to consider getting a Sony Bloggie Duo Camera.  This camera has a great price quality ratio and I feel it was designed with all of us Youtubers in mind.

It records HD videos and has an extra screen for self recording! How cool is that?!  This double LCD screen makes it so much easier to see yourself while you're filming (so you can check for instance if you're properly centered).

Another great feature in  my opinion is the built in USB arm!  I'm the type of person who can never find that cable when I need it and with this camera... I don't need to!  Just plug it into my MacBook Pro USB port, quickly copy the files and I'm all good to start editing :)

Sony Bloggie is also prepared for night time, with a LED light that allows you to keep filming with decent quality.



3 cons I'd like to mention about this camera are:

1- The quality of the pictures I can take with my Sony Bloggie is not very good.  The iPhone 5 or a proper photography camera ( such as the Cannon Rebel T3i ) would work much much better on this department!

2-  My Sony Bloggie stores up to 2 hours of full HD video, which may sound like a lot, but it is not enough, in my experience, for a Beauty / Fashion Vlogger. So if you buy it (like I did) make sure to connect it to your computer often to free up some storage space BEFORE you go and start filming / vlogging again.

3- The LCD screens are not big enough to replace a mirror while filming a makeup tutorial :(

Other than that, I L-O-V-E it !


#03 Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam

If you're starting out as a Beauty Blogger, which means your videos will include makeup and hair tutorials, AND you're on a tight budget, I would suggest you consider getting a Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam.

As any other webcam, it's pretty easy to use: you just plug it in to your notebook's USB port and you're ready to film your video!

It supports various operating systems, such as Windows XP (SP2), Windows Vista, Windows 7 and higher.  

But the best thing about using it to film your beauty tutorials is that you can use your computer screen as a mirror, to see exactly what you're doing while you're shooting :)  I think that is a big plus!




The picture quality is also pretty decent, giving your pictures and video enough definition to work with / edit later on (if necessary).

The only weak point I think is worth mentioning, is that the auto-focus feature of the Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam is a little slow, and that can be a problem while trying to show the products you're using during your tutorial.  This webcam sure seems to get a little confused and blurry with sudden movements and I have found myself needing to edit those little moments from the footage, which can get really annoying and time consuming!

That said, for the price, it is a GREAT way to get started!


#04 Canon Rebel T3i

If you're hoping to go Pro (or if you feel like a Pro Blogger already!), you may want to add this camera to your wishlist!

[  I know I have! And, fingers crossed, I'll be able to get it soon! ].

Even though I have not used this camera myself yet, after doing A LOT of online and offline research, I've come to the conclusion that the Canon Rebel T3i is the perfect camera for any beauty / fashion / lifestyle blogger that's looking to take their content quality to the next level.

It is reasonably priced for a camera of its quality and it's fairly easy to use and produce great quality pictures and videos with for those of us who lack the skills of a professional photographer !



2 of the strongest points of the  Canon Rebel T3i are:

1- It captures great pictures, no matter the light!
2- It includes a rotating rear LCD monitor for self recording / shooting !


#05 YONGNUO Video Lights & Tripods

Now, let's suppose for  a moment that you're like me and find yourself filming in the afternoons, evenings or even at night most of times.

[ Really, who can blame us... we vlog whenever we can, right? ].

With lighting being as crucial as it is to produce better quality content, the best solution I could find was getting a pair of Yongnuo Video Lights and a tripod for each one too!

Well, to be 100% honest, it was the best solution my husband came up with!  < LOL >



I still think natural daylight is the best alternative ( easier, quicker to setup and free ! ) but if you can't film during the day, the best thing you can do is just stop complaining and adapt, don't you think?

Yongnuo Video Lights have a dimmer, so you can vary their brightness according to your needs.
I'm still not an expert using them.  I do find my videos looking too bright sometimes, and my face too washed out or pale, but that's just because I'm still learning how to use them the right way.

Tripods are so helpful and easy to use with both your video lights and your camera, so I would say getting a pair is almost a MUST.

Here's a picture where you can see my video lights and tripods!



#06 CyberLink Power Director 




So you've filmed your video, with your camera, lights, etc and you now need to go on and edit!
You want to make your video look really good, after all, you've already put tons of effort into shooting it, right?

If you own a Mac, every Apple computer includes iMovie ( for free) which is a wonderful editing software (or so I've heard!).

That said, for some unimportant reason (I'm transitioning!), I currently use my new MacBook Pro with both Operating Systems ( Windows and Mountain Lion ).  I learned to edit my videos not so long ago from my old Windows HP notebook, so I still use Power Director for Windows as my video editing software.  I will need to transition to iMovie eventually but, until then, I just feel comfortable using Power Director and it worked great for me so far!

If you own a PC and don't know what editing software to start editing your videos with, this would be a great alternative!

Here's a video of my exotic kitten Lola playing, which I edited using Power Director video editing software and filmed using the Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam .




#07 MacBook Pro

When you've used a video editing software long enough, you'll start noticing it demands more and more memory from your computer.  My old HP notebook didn't have enough processing power to put up with a couple of hours of me editing my Youtube videos... it just hang and hang and hang...

< Frankly it slowed me down and, well... it was SO annoying! >

I am really lucky that my husband is super tech savvy and very supportive of my little blog, so he suggested I get a MacBook Pro.


Apple computers are specially designed for graphic designers and multimedia creators, and have a lot more processing power to keep up with your video editing software's requirements.  Plus, they're gorgeous and super user friendly!

I suppose an iMac would be even better, but, needless to say, a lot more expensive too!
I really like portable computers better than desktop computers anyway :)  They just make me feel FREE to choose wherever I want to be working from that particular moment.


#08 WD My Passport for Mac



With time (and after a few videos) you'll start noticing your notebook's storage capacity decreasing.  I think it was when I got to around 20 videos, that I first noticed my computer had slowed down significantly ( yes, even my MacBook Pro!).

To solve this, I got this WD My Passport for Mac.  It is basically an external portable hard drive where I've moved all my videos and blog pictures to.  It's also great to keep a backup of all your computer's data, ad of course there are other alternatives for PC users too!

I know all these products together can sum up to what many of us would consider to be a small fortune, but you don't really need to have every single thing in order to start blogging!

I certainly didn't either when I first started this blog myself.

In fact, if you look closer at bigger bloggers you'll notice their posts, pictures and videos have improved with time.   

Waiting for that 'perfect' time when you have 'EVERYTHING', is not only the wrong approach but also a HUGE mistake, because that usually means never starting!


The most important thing in life is to get going with what you have.  Take my advise and start small, BUT make the most out of what you already have!

If, for instance, you make sure to shoot with great natural daylight and put a lot of heart into your content you might be able to take high quality pictures and make great videos even without any of the equipment I just listed!

...And if you're a good girl, you can always try writing to Santa
 to ask for a little help on any of the above listed items ; )

Phew!  This has to be the longest post I've ever written!  There's just so much going on behind the scenes of a blog...   What is, in your opinion, the essential equipment for a Beauty / Fashion / Lifestyle Blogger?


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27 comments:

  1. Very helpful tips.
    http://tifi11.blogspot.com

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  2. OOMMGG!!! Not only was your post extremely helpful but the video was the cherry on top!! I could've watched the video for hours!! LOL Too freakin cute!!

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  3. Some really helpful tips and I would so love a MacBook Pro x

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  4. Awww Thanks so much Lisa!!! Your comment just literally made my day! I'm sooo glad you met Lolita! :)

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  5. Thank you! I'm glad you found this helpful! You will get one, or a better one that hasn't been launched yet ;) Here we have a saying "Last ones will be first ones" Do you have a similar saying in the UK?

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  6. very helpful indeed!

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  7. Thanks so much for letting me know it was helpful! Means a lot! <3

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  8. Very interesting post. I was actually looking for some lights and this is going to help me a lot x

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  9. Very helpful! I think that iMac is actually cheaper than a MacBook Pro!

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  10. Wow! What a great post. And I agree, the canon camera is a must have for any blogger.

    Sex w. Candy

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  11. What a lovely post, thank you for all the great tips! I know I need to upgrade my Macbook which is ancient from 2009, since it is sooo slow because all the photos that I take for the blog! But your post has convinced me to do it sooner rather than later - and definitely before it crashes completely on me ;)

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  12. I love this post. I am following you, dear. I hope you follow back. http://www.chicfromhair2toe.com/2013/11/giveaway-clairol-nicen-easy-root-touch.html

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  13. Thank you for the post! It is really helpful because i just started my Blog :) If you want to give me your opinion about my blog i would be very happy about it. Thank you XOXO

    http://theuppereaststyle.blogspot.it/

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  14. love this blog post was really helpful thank you!xxx
    would love if you could pop over and look at my blog would love some tips on how to make it better xxx

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  15. Thalia - Thriftybelleza.comNovember 12, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Hi Heidi!

    I found this post so inspiring and can't believe I just discovered it! I've been meaning to start a YouTube Beauty channel, but I haven't had the guts to actually do it. This post has given me so much encouragement and I'm definitely taking your advice on not waiting until I have everything. Thank you for writing this it's helped me out so much :)

    Xo,

    Thalia

    Thrifty Belleza's Latest Post: How To- Red Chevron Manicure

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  16. Thank you so much Thalia! Your comment mean so much to me!

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  17. I feel your pain LOL you can try buying an external portable hard drive to store your blog pictures while you save to change your computer.

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  18. Thanks! I'm glad it was helpful. Is it? I didn't know :)

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  19. I'm so glad this helped you! I'm pleased with my video lights! Let me know if they work for you.

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  20. Hey Thalia, if you need more help about how to make your fashion blog you can check out our Step by Step Guide on http://firstsiteguide.com/guides/fashion-blog/
    Hope you can find it helpful too :)

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Getting your comments keeps me posting! Leave me yours and include a link to your blog! Yes! Why not? I'd love to learn about it :)

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