I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that anyone interested in photography or blogging can use to see the products and services that I personally use with my blog and recommend. This list will be evolving as I find new tools that are worth mentioning.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links which simply means that I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links at no extra cost to you. I use all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy.
Sony a7 full-frame mirrorless camera – I recently upgraded to the Sony alpha7 after using an Olympus OMD EM10. This is a full-frame mirrorless 24 MP camera that shoot incredible photos and it’s also really good for HD video (even though I don’t use it as a videocamera). It’s a quite expensive camera so if you’re just getting started I still recommend the Olympus OM-D E-M10 or even using your phone camera. Afterall the best camera is the one that you have with you!
Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens – When you want something light, resistant, compact, sharp and fairly cheap then get this lens. It’s part of the kit lens if you purchase a Sony a7, if not I recommend investing in it. If you want even more sharpness and a nicer contrast there’s the Sony 24-70mm F4 but the price tag is definitely higher.
Samyang 14mm F2.8 wide angle lens – This is a lens that comes with a Sony E-mount so it was a perfect fit for me as I won’t need an adapter to use it with my Sony camera body. The Sony mount version has no electronic communication with the camera which means that everything is manual. You need to manually focus and manually set the aperture. Welcome to ‘real photography’! 😉
SanDisk 64GB Extreme SD Memory Card – The second purchase after your camera has to be a memory card. No choice. So invest in a good one when you start. This one it’s a really fast memory card with tons of space. Which is especially important if you’re shooting your photographs in RAW mode (and you should) or recording video. If you have room in your budget it might even be worth it to buy a couple of these, just in case. It happened to me once, I ran out of space while travelling. Trust me, you don’t want to be in that situation: deleting previous shots or stop taking more. No, no.
Camera battery charger for Sony (plus 2 spare batteries) – If you’re using Sony cameras you know that they don’t come with a separate battery charger but you directly plug the camera on the source of power. Which is extremely inconvenient as it means that you can’t use your camera while you’re charging the battery. That’s the reason why an external battery charger is very much needed. I found this on Amazon and it’s perfect; small, practical to carry and it can charge both batteries in under two hours. This particular one comes with 2 additional batteries. Another must. Flat battery -> no more photos. So always carry with you a couple more.
Manfrotto MK Compact Action – a very well made tripod, at an affordable price, from one of the most famous and reliable tripod brands. What I really like about this tripod is the quick release attachment, not the usual heavy metal plate but a small pin. It’s compact and light, perfect to be carried around.
Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod – If you get into photography really soon you’ll realise you need a tripod. This is usually a bulky and heavy piece of equipment to carry around with you, specially if you stay out all day while travelling. I love my mini
tripod, I always have it in my camera bag and it’s great when I want something to hold my camera for long exposures. It has a pleasant and practical design plus it’s very stable and sturdy for its size. The only downside is the fact that you can take only landscape format photos as the head does not rotate allowing the camera to be in a vertical position. The best alternative would be the Manfrotto PIXI EVO 2 which I think will be my next purchase.
Meike MK-930 II Flash – it’s a good flash to start with if you are a Sony user. It’s a flash with a really good power, good price but beware, it only works in full manual mode, no TTL for this model. It has a good building quality but it’s quite big so it takes a bit of space in your camera bag.
Marumi filters – living in Australia I felt the need to experiment more with landscape and seascape. I personally own and suggest the following filters: Marumi Exus UV Filter as a protection for the front of my lenses. Marumi Exus Circular Polariser Filter to be able to darken the sky, have a better control over reflections or eliminate the glare from the surface of lakes or the sea. Marumi DHG ND64 filter and Marumi DHG ND8 filter, ND filters reduce the amount of light entering the camera enabling you to take a long exposure shot even during the day.
Apple iPhone 7 – I personally got interested in photography when I got my first iPhone and since then I’m sticking with Apple products. iPhone’s camera is very good. So good that sometimes I’m just amazed by the quality of the photos that can come out from a phone camera. I take photos with my iPhone every single day!
Apple MacBook 13-inch with retina display – If you are working with images I think investing in a MacBook is the way to go. We all know it’s a high-performing, light-weight, on-the-go laptop with fabulous battery life. However one of the most important features for a photographer is the retina display that makes the MacBook the highest resolution notebook ever. You will see your photos much more clear and sharp and better colour-accurate displayed.
Portable External HD for PC and Mac 4TB – Again another must-have to store all your photo and video files. It’s very convenient to have the hd protected by a gel cover, it’s a nice feature just in case it drops. It’s small, very fast and well protected. Not the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. If you can just buy it with lots of space so that you won’t need to buy a second one anytime soon.
Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom – Photoshop is just an incredible tool! If you’re interested in getting it I’d suggest using the free trial first to give it a go and see how you like it. Same for Lightroom, another must-have software to enhance and perfect your photos in post-production. Adobe motto “create anything you can imagine” really summarises what you can do with Photoshop. I highly suggest you the Creative Cloud Photography plan so that you can get both softwares for a good annual price.
Bluehost – Why choosing Bluehost? They offer a really easy way to set up and run your blog on WordPress. Bluehost has free domain name registration, is super affordable, and is the perfect place to start. You can start a blog for just $3.49/month when you sign up for 36 months and if you decide that it’s not right for you, they will refund any portion of it that you have not used. Pretty good eh! Plus they have a great customer service. I rely a lot on it and instead of spending hours googling for a solution to any issue I may have I simply use their 24/7 live-chat service and I always got my problems solved. So, Bluehost is really really recommended!
After you install WordPress into Bluehost you officially have your own blog! At this point you need to make it pretty. It’s time to pick your theme! WordPress has tons of free WordPress themes to pick from. However if you’re looking for a premium theme, check these options:
The Thesis Theme – This was the first theme that I used with spacesXplaces. I really liked it and still highly recommend it.
Elegant Themes – This is the current framework I’m using. It’s also a bit cheaper than the other premium themes listed here.