Blogging requires you to be a bit of a computer geek. It might seem like a glamorous life but in reality we spend more time behind our computers than anything else. Writing text, looking for inspiration, editing photos, etc. Next to that you also get about a gazillion e-mails that you have to answer sooner rather than later. So sometimes it can turn into a bit of a chaos. There are however some tools in order to make life and blogging a bit easier. In this series, I’ll share my blogger toolkit. Websites, apps and technology that will make life a bit easier, whether you’re a blogger or not.
Being a blogger without a serious amount of hardware can be quite difficult. During the first year of blogging for example I managed without a descent camera and a smartphone. Now I wouldn’t know how to make that work anymore. That being saying, blogging often doesn’t come cheap. In my blogging toolkit I have ready at all times my smartphone, my DSLR Camera, my laptop and an Ipad Mini. Having some or all of these tools have almost become quintessential as a blogger. Having slowly upgraded during the past years, here’s my experience as a blogger that is often on the go.
1. The Smartphone
Choosing the right smartphone comes down to, as with all this hardware, the tech stuff. Off that list, the first thing that I look for is the operating system used on the phone. That naturally depends on everyone’s personal preference but I would limit my choices down to Android or Apple operating systems. If you go for a Windows phone for example, you won’t be able to download certain apps such as Instagram which can make it quite inconvenient for a blogger. Next to that I’m looking at the look and feel of the phone, the interface, the quality of the screen and of course the actual speed of the phone, you don’t want to be waiting around for apps or pages to charge. Google around for other people’s experiences with the phones you’re interested in and you’ll quickly be more confident of your choice.
The final aspect I look for, and one of the most important aspects for me, is the quality of the camera. That’s why I was so curious about the Samsung S4 Zoom, which I have I tested a couple of weeks ago (for more technical info on this phone, look here). The Samsung S4 Zoom is a Galaxy S4 phone glued together with a slim digital camera. This means that you get all the benefits of a high quality digital camera and the convenience of it being in the same product as your phone. That makes the sharing of high quality photos child’s play. I had so much fun with this phone and it is definitely one of the better phones I’ve had the pleasure working with.
2 & 3. The Camera & Lenses
Just as with all gadgets, there is a bit of a battle going on between the brands offering DSLR cameras. When looking for a camera, I feel like you’re are often getting for what you are paying for. Certainly with well known brands such as Nikon, Canon, Leica, etc. I bought my Canon EOS 650D last year which is a good entry level camera at a reasonable price. It’s not full frame so I might end up upgrading in the next couple of years. The following technical aspect were important for me: amount of megapixels of the camera, the ability to film, the ability to shoot continuously (great for outfitposts and runwayshows) and a high ISO to be able to shoot easily in the dark. Other things I fell for but weren’t essential were the touchscreen and the ability to rotate the screen.
Personally, one of my main criteria was weight. Knowing that I would be traveling around a lot, I wanted to choose the lightest camera I could find. This might seem trivial but when carrying around a phone, a camera, your travel guide and some extra clothes, you’ll be happy with every gram that you can lose.
Lastly we should talk lenses. I quickly dropped the standard 18-55mm lens provided with the camera and got myself a Canon 50 mm f/1.8. I’m a big fan of this lens and use it for both outfit shoots and landscape photos. Although I might need to get another lens for that last one. Since I’m no technical expert, this article can also provide you with some great additional info.
4. The Laptop
Well aware of the fact that most of my hardware is an Apple product, I would never buy another laptop again than my Macbook. I bought mine over 2 years ago and it still is my best partner in crime. One of my ‘bad’ habits is closing my laptop without actually shutting down my computer, something for which the Apple Macbook is ideal. I don’t like the hassle of waiting for my laptop to shut down or to take more than a few seconds to be up and running after opening it. When I have an idea or want to look something up, speed is a necessity.
5. The Ipad
I bought my Ipad because I was traveling to Thailand on my own and didn’t want to take my laptop with me. I ended buying the mini and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s much lighter than the bigger version even though you don’t loose too much screen space, perfect for on the go. In the meantime I’m taking it with me almost everywhere that I’m going. On the road it was particularly handy to write up drafts of my posts through the WordPress app (more on that later) when I was stuck on a bus for several hours without WIFI. When arriving at the hostel I would be able to save it online and maybe find a computer to resize and add in my photos. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way yet to edit photos properly on the Ipad itself. If anyone has any other tips, feel welcome to share in the comments below.
5. The Notebook
Next to way too many gadgets, I absolutely cannot live without my Moleskine journals and notebooks. I love having a written overview of to-do lists, ideas and diagrams. Sometimes the feel of paper can be very inspiring. Recently I have also bought myself a long-coveted goodie, the Moleskine X Evernote notebook. This is the perfect invention for when you have an analogue ànd digital mind such as myself. I can still be inspired and write it down on paper but have it digitalized as well. The notebook is especially designed that taking photos of the pages enables Evernote to read your handwriting. This means that 3 years down the line, you can still find that one idea that you had on a beach in Mexico (wonderful image right). If you don’t yet know what Evernote can do for you, I will be writing about it later in this series.
That’s is for this episode, if you want to read more, be sure to check out the first episode on how you can use Pinterest to broaden your audience and to help you with blogging.