Since I started this blog almost two years ago, the items on my Amazon Wish List have changed. Yes, I’ve always loved getting kitchen items since I’ve always loved to cook. But since I started blogging about it my wants and needs have changed.
So what exactly does a food blogger need? Isn’t it just a bunch of cooking and taking photos of the food, then posting the recipes later? Well, yes, it is. But it’s also so much more than that.
The following is my list of what a food blogger wants for Christmas (hint hint to any of my family who may be reading this!).
The more recipes I try, the more equipment I want. I feel like this is the most obvious thing that a food blogger would wish for. New gadgets to try. New appliances to work with. New tools for our cooking arsenal.
If you don’t know what they need, ask! Every food blogger will have a list that they could quickly repeat the moment they are asked. As for me, a few things I don’t have are an instant pot, an air fryer, a toaster oven, icing spatulas, and a double boiler. Just remember, everyone has different equipment already, and various things they will want.
It’s not just about the cooking, but also taking the pictures and/or videos that you all enjoy when checking out a new recipe. Those photos aren’t as easy as they look, and I am still working on my food photo skills.
The most significant bit of advice is to use natural lighting, but that isn’t always possible. I don’t have a great location to get good photos with natural light, especially since a lot of my recipes are made in the evening when the sun is already going down. So I have a homemade lightbox that stays in my closet (yes, I bring my food into my closet to take photos!).
Besides the actual camera, one of the most essential pieces of equipment is the lighting. I have an old studio light that I’ve had for years, but it’s due for an upgrade. I love this umbrella studio light for many reasons, including the ability to put out a lot of light that’s diffused with the umbrella.
You can also purchase a lightbox which would probably be more convenient than my homemade one. I just added this 30″ lightbox to my Christmas List since it’s more portable so could be moved to different areas looking for that perfect lighting, and it’s a big enough size that you could fit almost any dish or meal in there.
Of course, if you know what kind of camera is being used, you can get a few accessories such as a camera strap or a memory card or a memory card holder.
I’ve been hitting up the dollar store near me lately to find some cheap dishes and props, but they haven’t gotten anything new in recently. It helps to have a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes to be able to accent the food being photographed really. Sometimes that dish you see at the thrift store that may not be the most eye-pleasing would be great for a food photograph.
And it’s not only dishes but other props as well. I like to use some dish towels in my photos, or sometimes a wooden spoon to add a pop of interest to the picture. Maybe it’s a cute mug or a wooden carving board. Whatever it is, food bloggers love to have all sorts of different props to add to their photos.
Lately, I’ve seen a lot of photos with brass/copper props, such as these copper mugs or these copper measuring spoons. No matter what you decide to get, chances are any food blogger would be happy to receive new dishes or props to use in their photography.
In addition to the items in the photo, a food blogger needs a place to take those photos. Yes, a lightbox often comes with at least a white backdrop and maybe some colors, but having a variety means the images won’t all look the same. There are many ways to get a different background on the photos, and it will depend slightly on how the photographer works.
My homemade lightbox has a piece of white poster board taped to the back of it, and a bit of scrap wood from other home projects on the bottom. This gives the appearance of a wooden table, and a plain white background. Which I will admit, is a little boring.
My goal, in the next year, is to invest in a few new backdrops and surfaces. I’ve found a few self-adhesive contact paper ideas online, and I want to try that. I already have the wooden surface with the piece of wood, but I’ve thought about buying a grey granite contact paper to put on the other side. Then I can flip it over if I decide I want a different look.
A food blogger is always looking for inspiration for their next recipe. And what better place to get the recipes (besides Pinterest) than from a cookbook? My personal favorites are 100 Days of Real Food and 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous. But you can customize this gift to the individual. If your food blogger giftee enjoys baking, then look for a cookbook with baking ideas. If they are a vegan blogger, try to find a vegan cookbook.
And if you aren’t sure what kind of cookbook to look for, you can also get a one-year subscription to a cooking magazine. Right now, I have a subscription to both Cooking Light and Southern Living magazine, both of which give me some great recipe inspirations.
BONUS: You can’t go wrong with a cute cooking apron. We are in the kitchen enough that it’s great to have a lovely apron to keep our clothes from getting dirty. I’m terrible when I am baking about getting flour everywhere, so I’m hoping to get an apron for Christmas this year.