Hi, I’m Kerrie, founder of Plant & Vine.
When first starting a food blog, there are a lot of moving pieces. To help others with the process, I’ve aggregated all of the food blog resources that I’ve used with Plant & Vine. Since I’m new to the game (started in 2018), this list is helpful for newcomers who are gearing up for launch and a good spot check for more experienced food bloggers. I’ve spent a lot of time researching potential solutions and am personally recommending these food blog resources based off of my experience. Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions.
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Last Updated: December 13, 2018
food photography equipment
Solid photography equipment will be the most expensive (and important) part of your food blog resources. My current food photography equipment list is simple. However, as you likely know, engaging food photography is critical to the success of a food blog so this is one area where I will be continually investing.
- Nikon D750 – I love Nikon’s crisp detail. A lot of food photographers shoot with Canon because it captures light a little bit differently, which tends to lend itself to a dreamier, softer look. I prefer Nikon’s sharp detail, especially for the type of photography that I do – detail-focused, artistic spreads that emphasize the uniqueness of ingredients. My Nikon helps me emphasize those small details, which makes all of the difference in the world. The D750 is a solid entry-level full frame DSLR.
- Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens – My current go-to lens. The 50mm f/1.8 Nikon is a great starter lens for food photographers that won’t break the bank. It is inexpensive, lightweight, and versatile in its capabilities. I recommend building out a kit of a few prime lenses versus buying a single zoom lens. Prime lenses are sharper than their zoom counterparts.
- Manfrotto Horizontal Tripod – I’m all about the overhead shots so this tripod is heavy duty enough to support the weight of my camera. Tripods are not where you want to skimp in your food photography equipment because it needs to safely support your camera day in and day out. This tripod is awesome because it has a horizontal arm, helping you to seamlessly capture classic overhead food photography shots.
- Manfrotto Ball Head – There are two main types of heads for tripods – ball heads and pan and tilt heads. I’m a fan of ball heads because they give the photographer full control over the angle of the camera. Again, not a place to skimp because your camera literally hangs in the balance.
- Amazon Nikon Wireless Remote Control – Inexpensive. Will save your back from bending over on overhead shots.
- Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB Memory Card – I use 2 of these in my D750 (it has two memory card slots). You could downgrade on speed to save money here but I prefer the Extreme Pro speed for taking action shots (pouring wine, splashing liquids, drizzling syrup, etc.).
- Lowel EGO Light – Great starter light for continuous tabletop lighting. It is easy to use, just plug it in and you’re good to go. I recommend using two of these. One light is strong enough if it can be supplemented by (some) daylight, but I find one light lacking when shooting in completely artificial light.
- Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography – Inspirational coffee table photography book. As a photographer, I use this book to stay inspired, learn about historical food photography traditions, and challenge myself to grow. Great book to flip through when you’re striking out on ideas.
- Adobe Lightroom – I primarily use Lightroom for food photography editing. Photoshop is another very popular choice. Lightroom is a good photo editing and workflow management software while Photoshop is extremely strong on the photo editing front. The monthly subscription is an amazing deal and ensures you’re always up-to-date with the latest software.
food photography equipment wish list
Always hoping to expand my food blog resources. Here are my next photography purchases:
- Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G Lens – A macro lens that is perfect for food photography because it gives you the ability to get very close to your subject and show incredible food texture and detail. This lens allows for flattering, tight shots while keeping a shallow depth of field for background elements. Pricey but worth it.
- Reflector Kit – I currently use white foam board from an art store but have played around with these in my photography classes. The white diffuser is helpful for softening the Lowel EGO light and the gold / silver / black can warm / cool / negative fill your food photography in interesting ways.
food blog resources
These are the building blocks for your food blog. You will need a host, a framework, and a child theme. I’ve built Plant & Vine on a Genesis framework, layered on the Cook’d theme, and hosted on SiteGround.
- SiteGround – You’ll need a place for your self-hosted WordPress site to live on the internet. Quick, friendly, and helpful customer service with reliable servers that keep your site blazing along. SiteGround also has faster site load times than Bluehost. I started with the most basic option – Start-up Package with domain hosting and SG Site Scanner Malware Monitoring.
- Genesis – Standard WordPress framework. It’s streamlined yet powerful, runs efficiently, and has strong security. I run Genesis on Plant & Vine with a custom child theme from Feast Design below.
- Foodie Pro – Classic food blog theme that sits on top of Genesis framework. Dynamic, highly recommended from multiple food blogging experts such as Pinch of Yum and Minimalist Baker, and fully loaded with tons of online instructional videos. The downside of this theme is its popularity, so customization is key to making your site unique.
- Cook’d Pro – My current food blog theme on top of the Genesis framework. I love Cook’d because it really highlights food photography with its large hero images, widgetized home page, and capability for a recipe filter index. It has a clean, modern, and trendy design.
food blog plug-ins
Using the right plug-ins will help you take your food blog from good to great and help simplify your blogging life. Below is a list of some of my current plug-ins; I’m always adding new food blog plug-ins so feel free to reach out if you have any questions or recommendations.
- Tasty Recipes -A powerful recipe plug-in for food blogs that does the backend SEO optimization for you, helping with your search results and providing your readers with nutrition information, prep time, and serving sizes. Easy to use.
- Tasty Pins -Easily optimize your blog’s images for Pinterest, screen readers, and SEO. This plug-in makes prepping your content for Pinterest a breeze.
- Nutrifox – Create, customize, and embed nutrition labels into your recipe posts. Paste in your recipe ingredients and Nutrifox calculates the nutritional information. Integrates with Tasty Recipes for a seamless user experience.
- Vaultpress – Protect your blog with automated daily backups so if something breaks, you can restore your previous version. Blogs take a ton of work and this plug-in gives me peace of mind that if something goes wrong, I’ll be up and running again soon.
- Tailwind -Tailwind simplifies social media by quickly scheduling pins to Pinterest and Instagram, using the optimized scheduling features, and joining Pinterest tribes in order to quickly source new material and get your content seen by a larger audience.
- WPFacet – Our preferred plug-in for making your recipe index page sortable. For example, I sort my recipes by season, special diet, meal, and type of wine. Completely customizable for your blog and easy to use.
- WPRocket – Site speed is everything. WPRocket is the most powerful caching plug-in available, compressing files and pre-loading images so your visitors see your site seamlessly and you get a SEO search result boost by improving your site speed.
- 2-Factor Authentication: Free plug-in that adds another laying of security to your blog by requiring 2-factor authentication. Log into WordPress, then get a code on your verified phone. Hackers try to get into WordPress blogs so it good to have additional layers of security.
- Limit Log-in Attempts: Another free plug-in that improves your blog’s security. This plug-in limits the number of log-in attempts before locking down the site which stops hackers from running programs that try to guess your password with thousands of attempts.
food blog learning
These two food blog resources are incredibly valuable in tying all of your initial learning together:
- Food Blogger Pro – I’ve learned so much from Food Blogger Pro. There are hundreds of educational videos ranging from topics such as blog monetization to Pinterest to CSS. Food Blogger Pro is also home to the most active food blogger community where you can get any and every question answered and find discounts on partner deals. The material available on Food Blogger Pro will save you hours and hours of time. It took me 2 days to get my money’s worth — I use this site daily.
- Stupid Easy SEO – Great resource for learning SEO that covers site structure and optimization. A strong SEO plan can’t be underestimated; if Pinterest changes their current algorithm, you need a reliable back-up in your onsite SEO. Stupid Easy SEO has 10+ hours of step-by-step videos showing you how to drive traffic to your site. A worthwhile investment.