Not like I pretend to know anything and everything there is to know about running a food blog (believe me, this entire thing has grown and is growing from a loooooong journey of trials and errors. And cookies.), but below are some resources that have helped me make this bloggy blog a little bit easier (and fun!) to run.
Disclaimer: This page contains some affiliate links that will help me buy groceries and maintain the roof over my head so I don’t turn this website into a blog on how to make cat food from a tent. You just never know. Also, I would never ever dream of recommending products or services through affiliate links if I didn’t truly believe in them or use them regularly myself.
Here’s the camera and lenses I currently own and use:
Canon EOS 7D: This is an APS-C or crop sensor camera, but it’s awesome and produces all the current photos you see on Girl Versus Dough. Is a full frame sensor better? Yes, but marginally so. Therefore, the full frame Canon 5D will stay on my wish list (see below).
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8: This is sometimes called the “nifty fifty” and only costs about $125. If you wanted to get one lens, this is the one that will give you the most bang for your buck.
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 Lens: This is a “do everything” lens that makes changing the frame easy because it’s a zoom lens. This is a powerful lens to have in your arsenal.
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens: I’d be lost without a good macro lens. This is an EF-S lens, which means it’s specifically made for APS-C (crop) sensors. So, you can’t use it with a full frame camera body. But, this lens costs half what the EF L lens does.
Here’s the camera and lenses I would LOVE to own and use if money was no object:
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens
This is Joanie Simon’s website that completely sold me on the idea of flash photography. See below for more details on our flash photography setup.
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography
Adobe Lightroom is where the majority of the photography editing is done for Girl Versus Dough. We also use Adobe Photoshop. It’s all included in the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan for $9.99/mo which is worth every penny.
Flash Photography Equipment
Yes, here at Girl Versus Dough I have recently switched to using artificial lighting aka flash photography (I do not use continuous lighting). I had used only natural light since the beginning of this blog, but flash photography has produced fantastic images with certain added benefits. I live in Minnesota. As you know, it is cold and dark and snowy here nearly 6 months of the year. Flash photography has given me an unbelievable amount of freedom in scheduling my photo shoots now that weather and light conditions are not part of the equation. I’ve also been able to generate some consistency in my images that I wasn’t able to achieve previously. It makes the editing process a lot smoother. Natural light is awesome and if I had the freedom to use only natural light, that’s what I’d do. But for me, the reality is flash photography has fit the bill for my photography needs. I know I mentioned this previously, but I’ve learned everything I know about flash photography from Joanie Simon. Go watch her Youtube videos!
Now, on to the bare necessities…
Phottix Varos Pro M Multi-Function Flash Shoe Umbrella Holder: This is the second flash/umbrella holder I’ve purchased. The first one was a cheaper plastic one that was recommended as a budget option by Joanie Simon. I love her recommendations (in fact, all the below recommendations are from her website), but the budget flash holder she recommended unfortunately cracked and was unusable after only a few shoots. This Phottix product is a tank. Can’t recommend this product enough!
Godox V860II-C Speedlite + X1T-C Wireless Remote Trigger: This is the flash (or speedlite) that will attach to your stand. This bundle also includes the necessary wireless trigger (for the flash) that attached to the hot shoe on your camera body.
Neewer 75″ Photography Light Stand: This is the stand that will hold the softbox umbrella AND your flash.
Neewer 5 in 1 Portable Multi 40″x 60″ Reflector/Diffuser Kit: This is the diffuse that you will need to place BETWEEN your subject and the flash. You can’t produce good images without a good light diffuser.
Godox 120cm Portable Octagon Softbox Umbrella: This will emulate soft directional light as if from natural window light. I’m still learning how best to use this product, but I’ve had the best luck with the flash facing the subject and the diffuser fabric attached.
Liquid Web: I’ve been using Liquid Web as my web host since the very beginning of Girl Versus Dough. Here I am still with Liquid Web 10 years later! If that doesn’t speak for the quality of their web hosting I don’t know what does! Zero hesitation recommending Liquid Web. Their tech support is first rate. They have plenty of options including managed WordPress hosting.
The setup that makes sense for most people is a WordPress framework + a child theme. I’ve recently updated the design of the website to a custom designed template, but have used the aforementioned formula in the past with tremendous success.
Genesis Framework: There is no better option for a WordPress framework.
Foodie Pro Theme: This is a good option for a Genesis child theme.
Brunch Pro Theme: This is another good option for a child theme.
Tasty Recipes: I’ve just transferred all my recipes to the Tasty Recipes plugin and am NEVER looking back. This is a fantastic plugin everyone should be using.
Tasty Pins: At first, I was a little skeptical of this plugin. I already knew about the correct use of alt text and how to add data-pin-description to the image HTML. However, I quickly realized this plugin makes all that just that much easier with each photo AND allows you to add a Pinterest hover button and appropriately deals with hidden Pinterest images.
Yoast: This is how I make SEO simple.
Mailchimp: There are several options for building an email list. I’ve been using Mailchimp from the start so that’s what I’m most familiar with. You could go with AWeber. I’ve heard the new kid on the block is super cool and goes by the name Convertkit, but it is more expensive. However, at this time I still recommend Mailchimp. It’s been a rock solid option for Girl Versus Dough.
Vaultpress: This is now part of WordPress.com Jetpack plans. You can sign up for one of the Jetpack plans, and if you don’t need some of the features, you can turn them off. This is the only way to get Vaultpress backup at this time. I’ve been using Vaultpress for years and luckily haven’t had to use the backups. The peace of mind is well worth it though.
Tailwind: This is an indispensable tool for scheduling Pinterest pins.
Food Blogger Pro: I’ve yet to find a better resource/community for new bloggers! There is so much useful information at Food Blogger Pro.
Nutrifox: One of the top requests for Girl Versus Dough is nutrition information. Well, this product makes getting accurate nutrition information into your recipe posts super easy!
WP Rocket: This is a fantastic option for WordPress caching and has allowed easy implementation of image lazy loading. There are tons more features and I highly recommend this plugin.
Google Analytics: This is the standard for traffic analysis for your site.