Advice Blogging Tips

Our Photography Essentials

Photography Essentials | The Garsow Twins

Updated April 2023: 

We saw this post was getting more views from Pinterest and wanted to tell you some updates to our photography essentials from 2016 (7 years ago!).

We’ve been using the Canon 6D camera with the Sigma 24-105mm zoom lens for a few years now and it’s been amazing. A zoom lens is such a game changer since we mainly do product photography and sometimes you want to get macro shots but you don’t want to swap out the lens.

Another major change we made was lighting. The lights we have listed below are still good for beginners but once we started getting clients we wanted to have something more robust- so we picked up this LED Video Light, this stand, and softbox and it has helped improve the quality of our photos immensely.

We’ve been really into flash photography recently as they tend to give a vintage/film feel that’s trendy right now. This flash works great and is super affordable.

In terms of a tripod, we upgraded to this one a few years ago because it has the ability to do overhead shots which come in handy for gifs and stop motion.

We’ve also been editing more and more on our phones and the SD card camera reader makes it so easy to import camera photos into your camera roll.

I can’t stress enough how essential photography is to blogging. About a year ago we got our first DSLR, watched a million and one YouTube tutorials on how to use said DSLR and started our official photography journey. This journey has been filled with trial and error and a lot of frustration followed by a lot of happiness. Through this photography journey, Britta and I have both fallen in love with taking pictures for our blog. For two girls who have Bachelor degrees in Journalism and absolutely love writing, we were shocked by how much joy the photography aspect of this blog has given us.

Our Photography Essentials | Twinspiration

We get asked pretty regularly now what equipment we use to take pictures (thank you all so much for your kind words about our pictures). We know we still have a lot to learn but we thought it was time we share ALL of our photography essentials. I would like to point out that the right equipment is completely useless if you don’t know how to use it. If you buy a DSLR you should definitely learn photography basics so you can get away from using your camera on auto. Moving to manual mode from auto really changed our blog photos and we feel great knowing we are in control of how the pictures look.

We still have a lot to learn so if you have any great photography/lighting tips, feel free to share them!

1. Canon EOS Rebel SL1

This is was our first DSLR and we still have it. It is a wonderful starter camera! We bought it for $500 at Best Buy and it’s safe to say it was the best money we ever spent on the blog. Once we learned how to use it this camera became very user-friendly. Now that we’ve had it for over a year and truly know how to use it, we’re saving up for the Canon EOS 6D since we feel it’s time to get a full frame camera (our current camera is a crop sensor). But, we are still super happy with this camera and we would recommend it to anyone looking to buy their first DSLR! #TeamCanon

2. Sony A5100

This guy is new to our collection and we absolutely love it! If you didn’t know already, this Sony camera is the key to perfect selfies. It has a built-in feature that makes your skin look airbrushed (for real, it’s like photoshop in a camera). This camera is very small and light, so it’s perfect for travel. We’re planning on using it to film some upcoming trips since it’s such a travel-friendly camera. You really don’t even have to know how to use a DSLR to use this camera, it does great on auto. You can also easily send pictures from the camera to your phone which is a feature we really enjoy.

3. Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens

WE COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT THIS LENS. The kit lens that came with our camera was a zoom lens that did nothing to improve our pictures. We were told by multiple people to get this 50mm lens and once we did, our pictures improved 1 million percent. Seriously, this baby is a game-changer and it’s SO inexpensive! This is the lens we use 70% of the time.

4. Canon 24mm f/2.8 STM lens

The other 30% we use this lens, the 24mm. This lens is better if you want to include a more wide frame such as landscapes. We bought this lens for filming our YouTube videos and to take our OOTD (outfit of the day) pictures. It works great and is also a very affordable option.

5. Tripod

This is a great, simple tripod that has served us well, not much else to say.  Eventually, we’d like to invest in a lateral tripod to do overhead shots, but for now, we’re satisfied with this one.

6. Softbox lights

These lights are a must-have if you don’t have a lot of natural light coming in your house or you need to take pictures/video once the sun has gone down. Our current apartment has a TON of natural light but since we take a lot of pictures and video after we get home from work and it’s dark, these lights are a necessity for us. They do a great job at simulating natural light.

7. 32 GB Memory Card

Memory cards are a bloggers’ best friend. Enough said.

8. Light reflector

We don’t use this as much as we should but it has been helpful in multiple situations. A lot of our small DIY projects tend to cast shadows and this has helped decrease shadows.

9. Shutter release remote

Okay, so we don’t actually have one of these yet but every time we use the timer on our camera we wish we had one. The only reason we don’t have one is because this one is currently sold out on Amazon (we will wait for a good deal).

10. White table

This high-gloss white table from IKEA has also been a game changer for us. We take 80% of our blog pictures on it and honestly couldn’t live without it. It’s small enough that it’s easy to store away when we don’t need it. Don’t get the flat white one at IKEA, the high-gloss means it’s lacquered so it’s extremely easy to clean (something that we have to do after taking pictures of any recipe or DIY project).

11. Backpack for camera & accessories

You can clearly see we have a lot of camera equipment and we needed some place to store it all. This backpack fits both our cameras, all our lenses and everything else we need. It was a great buy at an awesome price.

12. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC

Ah, where would we be without Lightroom?! We edit ALL of our pictures with Lightroom and while we rarely use Photoshop, I think $10/month for both programs is a small price to pay. We went the month to month route because with CC you can continuously update to have the current versions of both Photoshop and Lightroom. We will probably be paying $10/month for the rest of our lives but again, it’s worth it.

Side note: As you can tell, most of this stuff we ordered from Amazon but both cameras we got at Best Buy. Best Buy matches Amazon prices, you just have to let them know about the price difference at the register. It’s great buying a camera at Best Buy because the employees are usually super helpful and can help you get the right camera for you. We asked a lot of questions when buying our first DSLR and it was great having someone answer all our questions before making such a big purchase.

Sorry, this post was basically a short novel, I just wanted to make sure we answered everyone’s questions about photography supplies! If you want to know anything else, just ask in the comments below! 

xo Carli