Here are some of the tools I use to shoot YouTube videos and Instagram stories! The links below are affiliate links. By using them to do your shopping, I will receive a small finders’ fee at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links allow me to continue making videos and creating content to inspire creativity and to help artists. If you choose to use them to do your shopping, a HUGE THANK YOU for the support! 😀

This is my “Holy Grail” studio desk lamp. The lighting is “daylight” quality, even and bright. The heads swivel to each side, which is helpful for photography and video shoots. I have two of these lamps. They’re not the only lights I use for shooting photos or videos, because they don’t throw off enough light by themselves (my room is pretty dark) however they are my favorites. I’ve had two for about a year, use them heavily and haven’t had to change the light bulbs yet. They give off a beautiful and even light, the base swivels 360 degrees, the heads turn, and there’s a handle in between the light heads for easy transport. The con: it’s not-height adjustable. There’s always books.

The light quality this lamp provides is similar to the Ottlite lamp, but it’s smaller. The gooseneck is very flexible. This lamp is easy to move around and the base is nice and compact. The base features a USB outlet and a two-prong plug. I’ve never used either feature, but they’re worth mentioning.

This light attaches to a tripod. It’s a rectangular panel light. It has a ball-jointed flexible head. It’s not the smoothest operator in terms of these parts— it’s a little clunky— but in the short time that I’ve had it, it’s performed well, and as long as I don’t drop it, I’m not worried about parts breaking off. It has adjustable brightness, and when turned up full-force, it is more glaringly brighter than my other lights. This is a nice feature! It delivers on brightness! I use this one mounted on a mini-tripod, to supplement my other lighting when shooting art videos. It’s battery operated, so when you’re done for the day, make sure you turn it OFF, not just dimmed all the way down. (I also invested in an AA battery charger + batteries, just to keep this light in business).

If your face isn’t on camera, I think this is an unnecessary expense. HOWEVER! If it is, you have a dark shooting space, and you want to look decent on camera, it’s a very good buy. I really appreciate the dimmable light feature, and the adjustable warmth/coolness built right into the light. You can also turn off a quarter of the circle of light independently. Upper left quadrant, upper right, lower left, and lower right all operate by switches on the back of the unit that you can turn on and off, if you want. I don’t know when I’d ever use this feature, but you might have a reason to use it, that I haven’t thought of! The carrying case it comes in is four star. This ring light requires a tripod.

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I have always been very dubious about these phone ring lights. I love gadgets, but I absolutely hate buying disappointing crappy products. So, I have always stayed away from these. Well, unsolicited, the folks at Arkon sent me one to try. I am hooked. this thing is very high value for the price. the clip-on mechanism is smooth and seamless. The feel of the plastic clip is comfortable. This light is charged through a USB (no batteries!), it has three types of lighting (cool, warm, neutral), and it even has a dimmer. Yes, a dimmer, on a little phone ring light. The price of $15 is kind of shocking to me. Given the quality and sound design of this thing, I could see this at retail for $25 without blinking.

This is my “Holy Grail” tripod. It’s the Lamborghini of tripods. The features are too numerous to mention here. I bought this to hold my DSLR camera while I shoot videos on my desk. And when I shoot with my iPhone, I can use it for additional lighting. It’s amazing — a real acrobat!

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I just got this piece, and I’m SUPER excited to use it. This is a phone holder that can position your phone directly over your hands so you can shoot video easily. It’s very adjustable in both height as well as arm length, and the base is very sturdy and has a very small footprint. I will report back on this one, once I’ve used it more. But, my initial impressions are excellent, and the company is highly responsive, as well—always a good thing. BONUS: This comes with both an arm extender, and as a DSLR adapter. II have not tried the DSLR Camera adapter, but will report back.

A lightweight tabletop tripod that is actually heavier and more sturdy than many I’ve used and seen! This is  good for holding your iPhone or additional lighting. It is not heavy enough to use with a DSLR camera.

A great basic tripod that totally outperforms it’s price point ($24). I would not use this as my main tripod, or for outdoor use, as it is not heavy or sturdy enough. However, it is a perfect ring light holder for me. It would hold an upright DSLR camera just fine.

I love this thing! It allows you to mount your phone in either horizontal or vertical configuration, and at any place in the length of your phone. So it offers FLEXIBILITY which is so important when you are trying to record your hands drawing!  I did a ton of research on adapters before I bought this one, because I was tired of continually buying adapters that broke or that a new camera no longer worked with. This has proven to be a very flexible adapter that has grown with my needs.

This is a phone holder attached to a strong handle, made of metal with a textured rubber grip. It’s a well-made product built to last.  But on first look, it appears to be only useful for one thing – hand-held videos. And yeah, that is what it does. However, it’s so functionally sound and performs so well, that with a little ingenuity, you can use this as an iPhone mount in some tight situations. Drop the handle in a tall, sturdy vessel (a heavy glass, or a vase) for a standing iPhone mount. Hold your iPhone with the mount if you’re watching or reading something while lying down.The handle / mount has a way of steadying the camera very well and with a minimum of effort on the holders’ part. The difference is dramatic. The more I use this thing, the more functionality I find it provides!

This is what i’ve used to shoot most of my videos for the past year. It’s your standard DSLR which takes photos and shoots video. It’s a good camera. It’s got it’s drawbacks. 1) You have to learn how to use it, and it’s a fancy camera. (According to me.) So, even with plenty of study time, I know enough to not break it and to create a decent video with it, but I’m no pro. The other thing is 2) it doesn’t like when you shoot more than 10-11 minutes of video at a time with it. The red light blinks, it starts getting mad. So, it may not be the BEST choice for those who need to shoot long stretches of video. (I have shot 20 minutes at a stretch before, and the camera was fine— it splits the recording up, but that’s no biggie— however I would not recommend anyone else do this, and risk damaging your camera with overheating.)

Question 1:
Have I OUTGROWN this camera? NO WAY, NO HOW! Like I said, I am NO PRO with the camera. I’m speaking from a needs-based place.

Question 2:
Would I purchase again? I’m not sure. I’d certainly consider purchasing this camera, or the newer version of it (along with considering other cameras) IF I was in the market today. But, if shopping today for my own needs as I know them to be NOW? Not sure if this would be my final choice. This camera surely helped me to grow to where I am, but I’m in a different learning place with video now than I was when I bought it. Some of my needs are different now, and the world of cameras changes rapidly. (And hey, I can actually IDENTIFY what those needs even ARE now. That is progress. You can’t do that, when you’re starting out and EVERYTHING is NEW.) Today, I have a better understanding of what those needs are, and how other gear (i.e. my iPhone) could potentially pick up the slack in certain areas, and not in others. So, it’s a non-issue because I’m not in the market for one, but I’d reassess my needs for TODAY, if I was shopping again.

To sum up: It is a REALLY NICE, fancy-for-me, multi-purpose photo/video camera, really nice. I’m not mad that I bought it. I do love the thing. And, the price is really good for a high quality multi-purpose camera (it’s $300 cheaper than I paid about 1 1/2 years ago). So, all around, it is an excellent value. But ultimately, what value it would bring to YOU depends on YOUR particular set of needs.

CANON EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM LENS 
(Full disclosure: I purchased this lens last year for $216. The price, as of this writing, is now $369. It’s a sellers’ market.)
This is the lens that lives on my T5i. I’m not a photographer, by any stretch! But I do have some specific needs in a lens, and I needed a lens that had more flexibility than the one that came in my kit. This one greatly improved the visual quality I got out of my camera, instantaneously, before I started even working it. It made it a TON easier for this novice to get a decent photo or video out of my camera! It is a great all-purpose lens for MY needs. I would absolutely repurchase. Whatever YOU do, PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH. There is no getting around researching for your OWN needs. I researched my HEAD off before I splurged $200 on a lens! And I didn’t speak camera at the time (still don’t, really) so it was challenging, but you gotta do what you gotta do. This was the winner for me. If you do like the lens, scout it out at different places, and keep a good eye on the price which may rise or fall. You might land yourself a deal, who knows!

This macro lens (which you attach to a different lens) came with my Canon kit. This lens is such a gem! You can see how well it works in this video. I have not used it enough yet. I plan to use it next time I make a more close-up, tightly detailed art videos, and I’m not using my iphone.

At this writing, it’s $76 (I paid $99 1 1/2 years ago)
A high-quality webcam for live streaming from desktop or Skypeing. It mounts atop your monitor and is easily movable and adjustable. This is superior than the built-in Mac camera. If you have a camera built-in to your computer, this is not a necessary piece of equipment. However, it IS a VERY-nice-to-have-and-use thingamajig!

I recently got an iPhone 7 plus. The camera is very, VERY high quality. Shooting with iPhone is so much easier than DSLR. The setup is a BREEZE in comparison. So, I was very excited to see how the quality stood up to my T5i. I still don’t have an open-and-shut case, there are pros and cons to each, and I am not going to abandon my T5i any time soon! But, as of this writing, I LOVE THIS THING, and I will continue to see how far I can push it for recording both art and talking-head videos.

Refurbished one here
I had a learning curve with this,  simply because it’s a fancy mic, not because it’s THIS fancy mic. Thankfully, it comes with a cute little instructional booklet explaining all of the settings! Handy, easy to read and “get”, the simple addition of that little booklet has basically “held my hand” to help me learn to use this mic, instead of put it in a box on a shelf, and give up on it. Now, I DO know how to use it, and I love this mic now. I really do love it. It does everything I want it to do, with a little wiggle room. Granted, I’m not a professional voice artist or podcaster.  So I don’t need much. But it is the right mic for my particular needs. It’s got four general settings, and I now know what they do, and which setting is right for which situation. Thanks to that little booklet. So— the mic is great, the quality sounds great, and it comes with a helpful booklet that’s ultimately saved my relationship with it (and maybe with mics like this one, in general). Oh, and it’s kind of cool-looking, too!

This is the mic I use to plug into my DSLR Camera whenever I make a video with it. I’m gonna be honest. This is probably more mic than I truly need. (There’s another model by Rode that’s half the price and does generally the same thing.) I would’ve been just fine with that one… HOWEVER!  I cannot regret buying this mic, because I LOVE this mic.  I LOVE that it has sound settings on it, so you can adjust to your particular sound needs. The only real con to this mic is remembering to turn it off when you’re done using it, so the battery doesn’t die. Other than that, it’s aces.

This is a totally underused piece of equipment in my collection. I used to use it when I Periscoped (does anyone Periscope anymore?) It worked fine for that. However, I’ve only ever used it indoors, in my studio, so I never really put it to any major test. It plugs into your audio jack on your phone. The one I have has the old jack, not the iPhone 7 jack. I’m guessing they either have a new connector now for iPhone 7, or an adapter for it. (Double check on that, before splurging.) I’ll try using this again soon, because it’s on my mind now. But, I absolutely do not need this piece of equipment. Your needs may be different.