This is a sponsored post
Whether it's planning my blog content or creating posts for social media, there are a few essentials I couldn't live without! Today I want to talk you through the kit that I use in each step of my blogging process, so hopefully it's useful for you and will help you decide where to invest.
LuMee Duo Marble Case in White* | £69.95 | I also recently discovered the LuMee phone case, which comes in an array of gorgeous designs, but of course this white marble version caught my eye! This has light panels around the outside and also on the back, so you can take flattering selfies and group photos (or flatlays) even in low light. There's a conveniently-placed button on the back which you can use to dim the level of light depending on your shooting conditions. It looks so much better than a flash when natural lighting is not on your side (as a blogger, I never use the flash for selfies because it washes out my features and often looks 'off' if you're using a foundation with SPF in it) and on a day-to-day basis it can be used as a little way to boost natural lighting.
I took a little set of 'before' and 'after' shots (both are unedited) to show how the LuMee case works and, as you can see, although the natural light in the first image is fine, the second image is more flattering (my skin looks more radiant and my dark circles are definitely less visible!) Also, I feel it shows my makeup more clearly, which is also great if you're trying to show off a particular look. I often take photos on my phone when I'm out and about or if a photo is for Instagram because it just seems quicker and easier, and I think most of the time people can't tell! It's great to be able to take high-quality photos for my feed wherever I am and I just love the case design itself.
iPhone | Of course my phone itself is crucial for creating and promoting content but I specifically wanted to talk through some of the apps I use besides the obvious! VSCO is really great editing app that I use to adjust the exposure, contrast, saturation, tone and clarity of my images. They also have some really nice filters (though you do have to pay to get access to extras beyond the standard handful). I also use Buffer to schedule my social media posts (I particularly like this app because if you tweet a link, it automatically pulls through the image from the post). I really recommend checking out IFTTT too because it allows your different social media accounts to 'talk' to each other - the main way I use it is with my Twitter and Instagram accounts. It automatically posts my Instagram uploads as photos to my Twitter feed instead of just the link.
Olympus Pen E-PL 7 | For my blog photos, I use my Olympus Pen, which I also often take travelling because of its compact size (the body is no larger than a digital camera and it has a detachable pancake lens). It comes with a flip-down, moveable screen and there's a really great app to import your photos quickly and easily onto your device. The quality is so sharp and clear - I generally use it on a semi-automatic mode so I only set the aperture (the amount of light the lens lets in) myself and that works well for me. However when I'm taking photos outdoors, like on holiday, automatic is fine. I absolutely love this camera; it has a really great battery life and I'd recommend it thoroughly as a blogging camera. My only slight negatives are that this lens isn't great for closeups, so I may very well purchase a second one that's more suited to that kind of photography, and also the flip-down screen is slightly awkward for selfies so I tend to use my phone 99% of the time.
MacBook Pro | I'm well and truly a convert to the Apple gang (yes, I also have an iPad...) - I only just got a new MacBook Pro after mine was fine for five and a half years! Although there's an initial investment, these laptops really do last. iOS is also so intuitive to use. I write my blog posts on this laptop and edit all of my photos using Fotor and the iCal app is invaluable for having sight of all my blog posts and content plans from all of my devices.
The Ultimate Blog Planner | £12.50 | This is a great, fairly free-format planner for blog content. It has sections to keep an eye on the progress on your posts, a mini diary and a page to track your blog expenses and sponsorships. I also use these Planzo stickers to remind me what to do and when to do it!
Props | I use an array of props in my photos - often my H&M blanket (to add some texture), copper bells or copper sequins for winter content, fresh flowers in the spring (I often get these from a market stall near work that slashes its prices to £1 a bunch on Fridays at 5pm!), shells and starfish during summer and leaves in autumn. I also use stationery - Rifle Paper Co do some gorgeous pieces, as do Kikki K. Magazines and books always work well too. I also keep Blu Tac in my prop box to ensure my products don't move around during photoshoots and their names are visible - just make sure it's not visible in your shot!
Backgrounds | I usually use a marble adhesive as I like having a clean, white background so the products can do the talking, but the marble pattern switches things up so it isn't too plain. Sometimes I use my fur rug instead (mainly for Instagram) because,again it's white, but the texture adds something different. I also took a couple of photos to show how the background really can change how your entire photo looks.
What are your blogging essentials?