A Note About Blogging: My Kit, Tips & Tricks


Sometime in March marks the fifth anniversary of Vivianna Does Makeup. I’d love to have an exact date so I could sweet talk my Mum into baking a cake for the occasion but unfortunately my first ever post along with my early blogs were (thankfully) wiped out during a design clean-up a few years ago and so I can never be sure of the day when I plucked up the courage to press publish on my first post, but I can tell you it was an incredibly lame ‘hello Internet’ type blurb and I’m kinda glad it no longer exists. However if you fancy some toe-curling stuff then head to my first ever YouTube video which came around six months after my first post which I’ve kept public for the bants because it’s just that bad.

I don’t drop in often with advice on the subject of blogging mainly because I don’t consider myself an all-knowing oracle on the subject. It’s a world that’s constantly changing, there’s no right or wrong way of doing things and I’m still learning something new everyday myself, but I thought seeing as VDM is nearing a milestone I’d have a chat about all things blogging and dish on my kit, tips and tricks when it comes to having your own little corner of the Internet. Things will be dissertation length size if I really get into the nitty gritty so I urge you to check out this ‘Guide to Blogging and Vlogging’ playlist that Lily and I put together last year as goes into detail on all subjects from where to start to what our video set-ups look like. It’s basically 60 minutes of us rambling on, but if you’d like the abridged version then lets keep talking…


When I first started blogging I had a dinky point and shoot, no lighting or tripod and the lid of a storage box that I used to use as a background for all my pictures. It was really that simple. To the question of what do you need to start blogging, I’d say you need minimal equipment: a camera, passion and an internet connection. You don’t need to splash out on fancy gadgets at all or at least until you feel like this blogging thing is something you’re going to stick to. Now I have a bit more equipment-wise and it’s mostly stuff I’ve used for years.

My Canon 600D is the camera I use for all blog pictures and most of my videos. It’s so easy to use (I’m still such a noob with it) and it has a little flip-out screen which makes videos much easier to film then when I used to balance a mirror behind the camera so I sneakily view what was in shot. But really, it’s the lens that makes all the difference. You know the key to getting that blurry background in photos and videos? The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens. A pricey investment, but it’s basically the only lens I now use. For vlogging or travelling the Canon S120 is a great little one to pop in your bag and has amazing quality for such a dinky camera.

When it comes to lighting, all my kit is stored in this cupboard that Mark and I like to refer to as the s**t cupboard. It’s self-explanatory, so if I can get away without taking a picture or filming a clip without them then I am totally game for that. With it being winter I’m just about getting away with it for blog pictures (though I literally have until 3pm each day to take them before they look poop), but for videos out they come. I use these two PhotoSel Lights to light the background and pop this Walimex Ring Light (be warned it doesn’t come with a stand, you have to purchase that separately) in the centre. If I had to pick one I’d go for the Walimex as it gives out some serious light and can be dimmed if needed.

(I’ve just realised the word count for this post is already nearing 700 words so I’ll move along now, though I’m aware that there’s definitely somethings I’ve missed. Check out this video for more detail on my kit).


I’ve already written and deleted this part four times as each time I attempt to write ‘my tips‘ it’s one big ol’ paragraph containing cliché after cliché that makes me want to barf, but unfortunately I don’t think there’s a way of doing it without it being a little bit corny. You have been warned. During #BeautyChatLIVE one of the most asked question was ‘What tips would you have for blogging newbies?’ and I guess my advice would be the same whether you’ve been blogging for five days or five years and it’s a case where I try to practice what I preach too.

Firstly, write about what you love, your thoughts, your feelings, in your voice. There’s only one you after all. Find what you’re passionate about and go with it. For me it’s beauty, Ryan Gosling and pizza – though I mostly stick to my thoughts on beauty on VDM (I save the rest for my secret blog Secondly, blogging is supposed to be fun and the best bit about the community is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Enjoy it. Experiment. Try something new, different. Ohhh so deep. Finally, this community rocks so make the most of it. Comment and interact with others, join in the conversation and don’t be disheartened by stats and figures. In my first few months of writing VDM I’m pretty sure it was just me refreshing my page and convincing myself that someone else was reading it. In the days of Google Friend Connect it took over a month of blogging for one person to subscribe to read my blog. I still feel like that moment was yesterday.

Time to wrap it up before things get too smooshy, eh? But if you were thinking of dipping your toe into the blogging pool then hopefully this is tempting to you dive in. Big love to all of you who take the time to wander round these parts; there are no words to fully describe how much I appreciate you all so let me just say that I appreciate you so much, I’d even let you have a slice of my double pepperoni pizza. Now that says a lot…