Behind the scenes, I get a lot of questions about what equipment I use in my studio to make videos, audios, classes and just generally keep up with my online creative biz.
Since it's the gift-giving season, and the end of the tax year, I thought I'd share in case you could use some ideas for personal or creative business livelihood reasons... and because I've spent a lot of time researching and learning through trial-and-error, so maybe this will be helpful.
First, I am a keep-it-so-simple kind of gal! I get excited when I can do inspiring things with simple tools and in an affordable way. I'm not one to upgrade just because of the latest bells and whistles if what I'm doing is already working. That said, I've definitely upgraded a few things over the years - I'll note those.
So here we go, in no particular order...
Computer & Such:
I use a 2012 Macbook Pro
When I started my first blog and teaching online, I used a Windows laptop - and it did the job. But I have to confess, like I was always told before I made the switch, I just find the Mac to be more intuitive and easier overall. The learning curve was worth it for me - and not as painful as I thought it would be. If I could change anything now, I would get a Macbook a bit smaller in size, OR a desktop Mac for home and a full-size iPad for travel.
Some Software I Love & Use Often:
To make pdfs:Pages (for Mac) can make a beautiful pdf. I've used Wondershare to piece pdfs together and do simple edits - but I found it clunky, inconsistent and frustrating. Lately, though, I love the ease and reliability of Google Drive to create a simple document to export as a pdf.
I also love PDF Toolkit - super easy to use to compress those pdf files.
To record Skype calls/interviews for the Holistic Creative Chats & mentoring:Call Recorder is so easy and works great. And you can just use the video file or get a great mp3 out of it, too - which I use for my mentoring calls.
Camera + (and phone):
Taking Photos: I used an older Canon Rebel for years - an amazing camera that is now a bit outdated. Time for an upgrade!
Honestly, I mostly use my phone these days - an iPhone 5s and the latest Moto G. (We just recently made the switch from Sprint (iphone) to Republic Wireless, so I've gone Android with a surprisingly even better camera on the new Moto phone (13mp and very impressive). Republic Wireless is not for everyone, but have a look - it is saving me 600-800 a year, just on my phone, and the service has been great for several of us in my family. That's a nice chunk of change.) While I mostly carry the Moto now, I still take images with my iPhone camera sometimes in the studio and upload over my wifi at home.
Photography Accessories I love: This Vanguard tri-pod kit is awesome - the extension brings the camera out over-top of your table for a parallel viewing experience. Before I made that upgrade, I used a pretty basic tripod at an angle.
Here's a macro lens that straps on your phone camera - cool, right?
I often use this great Logitech Webcam - and I always get compliments on the quality when I do.
I also use a slightly older, but still great video camera like this newer version.
To edit videos: iMovie does the trick and came with my computer. Before my Mac, I used Windows Live Movie Maker - it's free! I've always had a knack for researching and learning new things - and Google, along with trial-and-error, has been my main resource for learning how to use these programs - if you have the question, generally lots of others have to... and there is no better way to learn than to get in there and try, and make a few mistakes along the way.
This year, I got myself this simple studio lighting kit. I was skeptical about the quality before it arrived, having spent a good amount of time in photography studios years ago - but it is actually a great, affordable kit for limited space and to brighten and even out the light inside on darker days.
Before that I was a handy whiz with good ol' clamp lights. You can make some fine diffusers with tissue paper when you're in a bind, too.
Microphone:The Blue Yeti. I love this microphone. It makes everything I record sound way better - which I really notice when I occasionally forget to use it. :)
Headset: I used to use earbuds - but it ends up they are horrible for your ears. I had ear trouble and some scary temporary hearing loss a couple of years ago (not related to the earbuds, but they exacerbated the problems), and switched to inexpensive headphones, which I love! Makes me look all eighties, but that's cool...
To create and edit audio mp3s: GarageBand, which came with my mac. When I used Windows, I used Audacity - which is still free, I believe.