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! 😀
NEEWER DVR-160TVC RING LIGHT
If you want a softer light and the ability to easily switch between warm and cool light, this is your light.
If your face is on camera, you have a dark shooting space, and you want to look decent, this is a 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.
NEEWER 18″ LED RING LIGHT
If you want BRIGHT, DAYLIGHT light, that is BRIGHT enough to use for either talking head OR artwork videos or photos, I would highly recommend this light.
This is my new favorite thing. The light is so bright and clean. My room is very dark, so I invested in this second ring light, and I am so glad I did. It’s dimmable, and easy to operate. Comes with tripod stand, and has a gooseneck, so you can adjust the angle easily. Comes with snap on warm filter, which I don’t use. I use the following instead:
LIMOSTUDIO WHITE CLOTH DIFFUSER FOR USE WITH RING LIGHT
Well worth the $7. I use this with the above ring light. It diffuses the bright light perfectly.
ARKON RECHARGEABLE SELFIE LED CLIP-ON RING LIGHT
FOR PHONE SELFIES AND LIVE STREAMING
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.
Additional video light
NEEWER 160 LED PANEL VIDEO LIGHT
Mixed feelings about this light. The Pros: It’s compact, and bright, and works well. The Cons: It’s battery operated, and the design is not great (for instance, I keep losing the battery cover).This is a rectangular panel light, that attaches to a tripod. It has a ball-jointed flexible head. It delivers on brightness. I use this one mounted on a mini-tripod, to supplement my other lighting when shooting art videos. Now that I have two ring lights, I use it less. Plus, the battery situation is not ideal. 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. But still, it annoys me to have to switch out batteries, instead of just plugging it in.
OTTLITE D26008 DUAL HEADED TASK LAMP
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.
VERILUX NATURAL SPECTRUM LIGHT GOOSENECK LAMP
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.
VANGUARD ALTA PRO 263AGH TRIPOD
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!
ARKON KITCHEN DESK TABLE STAND FOR LIVE STREAMING
This is a metal stand that can position your phone directly over your table so you can shoot video of your hands doing things. It’s adjustable in both height as well as arm length. The base is sturdy and has a smallish footprint. Depending on the weight of your phone, you may have to counter-weight the base with a dumbbell or something so it doesn’t topple over, especially if you use an additional extender. Those are available direct from Arkon, for $15 each. I purchased two, and though they were expensive, they are definitely worth it. The longer arm provides additional flexibility.
RETICAM TABLETOP TRIPOD
A lightweight tabletop tripod that is sturdier than many I’ve seen. This is good for holding your iPhone or additional lighting. It is NOT heavy enough to use with a DSLR camera.
AMAZON BASICS 60-INCH TRIPOD
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.
VONJEAN UNIVERSAL SMARTPHONE TRIPOD ADAPTER
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.
RETICAM SMARTPHONE TRIPOD MOUNT WITH HAND GRIP
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.
CANON T5i DSLR CAMERA
I shoot video on either this camera, or my iphone 7 plus. It’s your standard DSLR which takes photos and shoots video. (I bought a whole kit from an Amazon seller but it’s no longer available, so the link goes to the camera body.)
Before stepping into the ring with this camera, two things:
1) You have to learn how to use it, and it’s a fancy camera. (According to me. And, I’m very not-fancy.) So, even with plenty of study time, I know just about enough to operate it and to create a fairly decent video with it. But, I’m no pro.
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. DSLR’s overheat when they shoot video too long. 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, which is not a problem for me. But it is a risk. You could potentially lose footage and/or risk overheating your camera and potentially damaging it.
In summation, It is a REALLY NICE camera. But ultimately, what value it would bring to YOU depends on YOUR particular set of needs (and how much time you’re willing to spend studying).
CANON EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM LENS
I purchased this lens last year for $216. The price, as of this writing, is now $317)
This is the lens that lives on my T5i. 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 right away— even before I started even playing with 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.
Disclaimer: I researched my HEAD off before I splurged $200 on a lens. PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH dependent on your own individual needs and wants. If you do like THIS lens for your needs, definitely scout it out at different places (like camera stores and ebay) and keep a good eye on rising or falling prices, so you can get the best deal.
XIT PHOTO PRO SERIES 2.2X HIGH DEFINITION AF TELEPHOTO LENS (58MM)
This macro lens (which you attach to a different lens) came with my Canon kit. This lens is such a gem! Works well for recording tight close ups.
LOGITECH C930E USB 2.0 1920X1080 WEBCAM
At this writing, it’s $76 (I paid $99)
A high-quality webcam. I use this for my screencasting videos, when I record the screen and you can see me in a little box on the screen. You can also use it for live streaming, and video calls. It sits atop your monitor and is easily movable and adjustable. When I first bought this over two years ago, I almost immediately regretted it upon learning it was not an absolute necessity for me. I almost returned it. I am so glad I didn’t . Over two years after, I use it very frequently— far more frequently than I thought I would initially, AND far more frequently than my Canon (I’m doing more screencasting videos these days). I absolutely I love it!
IPHONE 7 PLUS
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. There are pros and cons to each. I am not abandoning my T5i as of this writing. However, for me, the best camera is one that I will actually USE, and that has the least amount of issues with using it in the manner I need to. And, at the moment, this one is it.
BLUE YETI USB MICROPHONE (SILVER)
Refurbished one here
This comes with a cute little instructional booklet explaining all of the settings for the technologically-challenged, like myself. I love this mic. It does everything I want it to do, 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.
RODE VIDEOMIC PRO
Mic for DSLR camera. Though this is a great mic, it is truly more mic than I need. Here’s another model by Rode that I’d buy, if I could go back in time.
RODE SMARTLAV LAVALIER MICROPHONE for IPHONE and SMARTPHONES (Old Model)
The sound quality is way better when I use this for my iphone videos. I forgot to use this for the longest time, and then I picked it up one day when recording a video on my iphone. You can definitely tell the difference. If you use a newer iphone, you will need a Lightning adapter like this one, to use this mic.