Resources

Have you ever wanted to start your own blog?  There are a few things you’ll need to get set up.  First you need a web site.  You can go to any web domain service and look for names that aren’t already being used.  Then you’ll need a web host.  A web host is basically a place to store all your pictures and information so people can find it.  Lastly you’ll need a blogging software.  This is a service set up to help you blog.

 

GETTING STARTED

 

Web Host

Millenium Systems logo    nextmill_logo    

Millennium Systems, Inc. is the web host for The Inspired Home And Garden.  What I love about Millennium Systems is that it’s based locally, here in Southern California.  Most servers are now in China! Millennium Systems is just up the freeway keeping jobs here in the U.S. and that is important to me. Every person at Millennium systems is highly qualified for their jobs and they are patient and friendly.  I love knowing that if I have a problem of any kind I can call them up and get help.  They even have in-home tech services. When I set up my blog I called them with a name and they did the whole installation of WordPress software on to my sight so I could get started with the good stuff (I have never been accused of being tech savvy).  Best of all they will match anyone’s price!  You can’t beat that!! I know the owner, but I don’t get any payment or benefit for referrals.  I’m just thrilled I found them! You can find them at Nextmill.net .

 

Blogging Platform

WordPress Logo

WordPress is web software you can use to create a website or blog.  WordPress.com  is very simple to use, but WordPress.org is more versatile and is the most commonly used software for blogging.  Best of all, both are free!! They also have thousands of  free themes to get you started and offer “premium” themes that are more stylized for when you’re ready to purchase one. Again, I don’t get any benefit or payment for referrals. For more information go to WordPress.org .

 

Theme

elegant-themes-logo

Part of the fun of having a blog is making it look like an expression of you.  OK, let’s just admit it, we like things pretty.  Elegant Themes is the service we use to run The Inspired Home And Garden.  They offer three different price packages starting at $39 a year!  I love how flexible the themes are, how beautiful they are, how easy it is to use a theme and how effortlessly it integrates with WordPress.  You guessed it, no sponsoring, just a great product at ElegantThemes.com.  Two words of advice for bloggers: save often. I’ve learned the hard way!

 

PHOTOGRAPHY TOOLS

 

Camera

xt_90x60

The best way to make your blog appealing is to have great pictures.  I haven’t jumped in with a super expensive camera yet, but I love my Cannon Rebel XTi which was recommended by a photographer-friend as an excellent starting point.  I have had many confirmations of that over the years.  Mine’s a little older, but the Cannon Rebel series in general offers good quality at a more affordable price.   I hope to graduate to a premium camera soon. Santa, are you listening?

 

Lens

ef24_105_4lisu_c_60x90

A great lens make all the difference. The lens that came with my camera recently stopped working.  I’m not going to pretend I’m the most gentle with my equipment, but it wasn’t the highest quality, either.  To emphasize the point, my photographer-friend gave me some good advice on a recent visit.  “Throw it AWAY!”  He then promptly threw it on the ground and tossed it in the trash to emphasize his point.  If you want to take better photographs you need a high quality lens.  I’m currently using a Cannon 24-105mm f/4.  It has transformed my photography! I’m looking into another lens for a little more close up range with an f/1.4.  I think my birthday is coming up…

 

Photo Editing Software

ps         picmonkey

Even the best photographers in the world use a little “magic” to make their photos pop.  Adobe Photoshop offers so many ways to make your images better, it really is a remarkable tool.  I use it mainly for cropping images and adjusting  light quality since I’m still learning all the ins and outs of the software.  It’s not cheap, but there are different versions available at assorted prices.  A free option is to use PicMonkey.  I’ve tried it a little and it seems to work great.  I really like the collage tool and they have new overlays for Halloween.  Very Fun!

 

Memory card.

SanDisk Ultra 8GB Compact Flash

The 2 GB card I had was way too small, but it’s a great back up.  I keep it with me when I’m shooting just in case I run out of room.  I mostly use the SanDisk Ultra 8 GB.  I an get 2000+ photos on it before I fill it up.

 

Extra Battery.

Regardless of your camera model have an extra battery.  That way one can be charging while the other is being used.

 

Portable Battery Charger.

vivitar

While on a location shoot I was horrified to realize I’d run out of battery-worst nightmare.  I found this Vivitar universal charger that fits most any camera battery by adjusting two small levers.  The best part?  It can be used in a wall plug or in a car charger.  Very handy for off-site shooting.

 

Extra Photo Storage

WD passport

Photos take up a lot of space on your computer’s memory and it’s always a good idea to have your hard work stored in more than one place.  Rather than buying a new computer with more memory, simply store the copies of your photos and photos you’re not currently using on an external device.  This  WD My Passport is about the size of a passport and about 1/2 inch thick. Simply plug it in to your computer and drag and drop unused, or copies of current photos. Plug it in like you would plug in a mobile phone to access your photos.

 

 

Again, I get no financial gain from these companies.  I use their products and services. Hopefully this will help get you started toward your own blogging adventure!