Lights, Camera, Action

While thinking up a title for this post, I suffered delusions of grandeur and toyed with calling it ‘Backstage at VDM’, but lets face it – all that goes on round here is me slopping around in my pyjamas (mainly my boyfriends knits and tracksuit bottoms), eating enough homemade mince pies to feed my extended family for Christmas while tapping away on my laptop and occasionally standing on top of my coffee table, camera in one hand, light in the other to get the perfect shot (true story, that happened yesterday). It really isn’t that glamourous so I thought ‘Lights, Camera, Action’ was far more appropriate. I often get questioned about my camera, lighting and editing equipment so I thought I’d throw all my answers into one post as a bit of a reference point, so when asked next time people will get a friendly point in the right direction. Where to start…

I guess one of my most important and cherished pieces of equipment is my camera, which has seen more pouts, polishes and powders than you can shake a stick at. It’s the Canon EOS 600D and it find it fab for picture and movie capture alike; it has a handy flip around screen so I can see what’s going on while I’m rambling away which is very handy. In terms of finding your way around the camera? Trial and error baby. I purchased the body-only and flit between three lenses (two of which are my Dads from when he had a camera hobby, aka ‘Mid-Life Crisis #1’, score!). The biggest and most imposing one of all is the Canon EF-S 17-85MM F/4.0-5.6 IS USM which I tend to film a lot of my videos with (example here), and take pictures when I need a larger frame (example here). The lens I use most for pictures on the blog as it’s great at more close up shots is the Canon Macro Lens EF-S 60mm F/2.8 USM (example here). And then I have the Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 which I sometimes use to film videos as it blurs the background nicely (example here), or to take outfit pictures for the blog (example here). Lenses aside I also have the Canon RC-6 remote, the Lenspen Cleaner (simple but a seriously fab device) and the Lowepro Rezo TLZ 10 camera bag which certainly isn’t sexy but keeps my camera nice and safe when it’s clunking around in the depths of my bag.

Two more recent purchases come in the form of some big-ass studio-type lighting and a proper tripod (I was using my Grandad’s wobbly one from the ’60’s before that). I went a little wild and purchased the PhotoSEL LS21E52 Professional Softbox Studio Lighting Kit (link here), which annoyingly comes in a set of two mahoosive lights. I sold one and kept one for myself and use it to light videos and photos which I find much more flattering than flash, plus it means I can film videos even in the dark depths of no-natural-light winter. Tripods are about as boring a purchase as you can get – I have the Manfrotto MKC3-H01 Compact Photo-Movie Kit (link here) and it serves its purpose perfectly well. In terms of what editing software I use, I’m an Apple Mac girl 4EVZ, so I use iPhoto and iMovie to carry out their respective jobs.

It’s worth pointing out that all my blog stuffs toted up come to around the price of a Celiné bag (*cries*), but it’s taken me almost three years to amass it all and it’s definitely worth testing the water in the blogging pool before taking the plunge and investing in pricey equipment. In the early days of VDM I snapped away with a Fujifillm Finepix and an IKEA desk lamp and it did me just fine. Now, where did I put those mince pies…


  • Jaaniya

    I love you. Absolutely love reading your posts each morning. Just a rather fab way to start my morning. You’ve fast become my fav blogger and beauty guru! Very informative post. Much appreciated πŸ™‚ x

    • What a lovely comment – thank you! I love nothing more than getting up and tapping away so my posts are up nice and early and it’s so lovely to hear that someone appreciates a morning read πŸ˜‰ xx

  • You should see the photography kit that’s lying around here. My OH is a photographer which is the main reason why I rarely blog. Too many cameras to choose from (and they’re all Leica or pre 1970 so I’m scared to use one in case I break one) then there’s lighting and what lens to use and argh it’s all too much. I have a backlog of about 40 posts written in Word on my lappy that are all in dire need of pics and thus I fail as a blogger.

    Solution – buy my own camera!

    • Haha oh gawd that sounds like an AWESOME collection! How is one to choose! πŸ˜‰ xx

  • I have been in 2 minds about purchasing the Canon 600D but you have definitely swayed my decision to get it πŸ™‚

    • Fab – it is a lovely entry camera, for a photography noob like myself πŸ˜‰ xx

  • Leannemariexo

    This has been a really helpful post Anna. Thanks for Sharing. I was thinking of getting some good lighting as I want to start YT in the new year.. plus like you say, is really handy in the winter months, taking blog photos. I leave for work in the dark and return in the dark. So frustrating!

    Leanne @ xx

    • Ah I know that feeling – it gets dark around 3pm!! White lighting all the way πŸ˜‰ xx

  • Thank you for the helpful post, I think a lot of people think that to be a successful blogger you need all of this fancy equipment (not that I would know) but you need to start off small first. πŸ™‚

    • Definitely – you’ve got to test whether you’re dedicated to the cause before you splash out! xx

  • Lucy Old

    This is so helpful! Ive stolen so much of my Dads old camera equipment and movie lighting from when he used to use old film cameras. πŸ˜›



    • Amazing – Dad’s come in so handy right πŸ˜‰

  • The price of a Celine bag! Ahhh well your photos and videos always look amazing so thank you for sharing πŸ™‚ xx

    • I know, I try not to think about it too much…. πŸ˜‰ xx

  • Eleanor

    A Celine bag?! Ikea lamp it is!… haha
    Eleanor x

    • Haha I know right? Hot foot it to IKEA immediately πŸ˜‰ xx

  • Andreanne X

    It’s a super helpful post! Thank you! I’m such a nerd, I just love these posts. Nosey? Me? Never! x

  • Juliette

    I am looking forward to the day I can justify buying such a system! I’d love to have pictures to be proud of on my blog!


  • Nicola

    I just bought the canon eos 1100d and can’t wait to get it! I really think that its worth blogging at least a year with a standard camera. I also love the way you right, it has such a personal and airy touch which i love!

  • Daisy

    This is really interesting to know, I do photography and am always on the look out for new lenses and im looking into doing you tube videos, so this was very helpful!

  • Hi Anna, just wanted to wish you Merry Christmas from the south of Italy.. all of my family are reuniting here for the first time in years (Isle of Man, England, various parts of Italy).. My Mum has been doing mince pies too.. only I don’t like them πŸ™ She made me jam tarts though.. and we made gingerbread men the other day, want one? πŸ˜›

  • Molly Lambeth

    Thank you very much for posting this!! Getting all the names of the lenses and equipment can be tedious, but I found this post to be a wealth of info, especially since I’m looking into purchasing my first DSLR camera. I think quality camera equipment is truly worth the investment! πŸ™‚

  • isa

    I love your writting skills. and you*

  • kmakesithappen

    Thanks for the info, I was looking for some information on how to light when filming a makeup tutorial and had no such luck, but your post has helped thanks a lot

  • Yuliya Colley

    I just starting my YouTube channel and I found editing software for free it’s GoPro studio, it’s a lot like apple one , I’m surprised that no one is using it!