Resources for Food Bloggers

I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that food bloggers can use to see the products and services that I use with my blog. The list will be continually evolving as I find different  resources that are worth mentioning.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below!

Food Photography Tools

Canon 6DCanon EOS 6D – I recently upgraded to the Canon 6D after using a Canon 7D for a year (and before that a Nikon D40 for a few years). Not only does the 6D shoot incredible pictures, but it also shoots really incredible HD video. It’s an expensive camera, so if you’re just getting started look first at purchasing something like the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 or even using the camera on your phone. Remember – the best camera is the one that you have with you.

Canon 1.4 50mmCanon 50mm 1.4 – This is my tried and true food photography lens. It’s an amazing lens that has stood the test of time for me (I used the Nikon version when I first started and now I’m using the Canon). It isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for with a lens. This lens is considered a prime lens, which means that it doesn’t zoom in or zoom out. You’re only able to shoot at 50mm, which isn’t a big deal with food photography (food is pretty good at sitting still). I shoot 40% of all my food photos with this lens, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a really good starter lens. The Canon 50mm 1.8 lens is almost as good for $250 dollars less.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro LensCanon EF 100mm 2.8L IS – This is my newest food photography lens and I use this for those super dramatic up close shots of my food. It’s a prime lens, like the 50mm, but it’s going to be geared towards getting you that great macro shot right up close to your food. It’s great for showing texture and creating a look that says: FEED ME NOW. The only thing that I would say about this lens is that because the frame is getting a smaller area of space, you might need to use a smaller aperture (like 5.0 or 6.0) which requires you to bump your ISO a lot higher than you would with the 50mm. For example, with 50mm I would use settings like f/2.8, 1/60, and 200 ISO, but with the 100mm lens I would be using settings like f/5.0, 1/60, and 1000 ISO.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USMCanon 70-200mm 2.8L IS – I use this massive mother of a lens when I am shooting portait-type photos – and I LOVE IT. Unlike the 50mm prime lens, this lens has a really dramatic zoom factor, so you can sit far back from a group of people and still get some great candid close-ups without them even knowing. So basically it’s a good lens for being creepy. I use this most frequently for family, engagement, maternity, and travel photos. This is going to be awesome for any type of photos that involve people and places.

Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Wide Angle LensCanon EF 28mm 1.8 Wide Angle Lens – I know a lot of food photographers who like using this lens, and even though it’s not my personal favorite, it does have some great things going for it and I find myself using it for certain things from time to time. This is going to give you a shot that’s farther back than the rest which allows for more styling and flexibility in tight spaces (like my kitchen). I tend to like to get in UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL with the food, which is why I like the 50mm and 100mm over the 28mm, but that being said, I love this lens for overhead shots of food because you don’t have to climb on 83 chairs to get high enough for the shot.

Indoor Lighting for Food PhotographyIndoor Lighting Unit – Lowel EGO – Lighting a shot at 6PM in December in Minnesota isn’t easy! I always try to take my food photos in natural lighting, but sometimes it’s just not possible. If I need take photos after the sun goes down I always bring out this light. It’s really simple to use and doesn’t have any complicated switches or dials – just an on and off button. If you’re serious about food photography you should have some type of light that you can use in situations where natural light isn’t possible.

SanDisk Extreme 64GBSanDisk 64GB Extreme SD Memory Card – Let’s be honest, it’s never fun to buy a memory card. Camera? Yes. Lens? You bet. Memory card? Nope. But let me make a case for this little plastic piece of awesomeness. It’s a really fast memory card with tons of space. This is especially important if you’re shooting your photographs in RAW mode or recording video. If you have room in your budget it might even be worth it to buy a couple of these, just in case.

Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop – Photoshop isn’t cheap, but it’s an amazing tool! If you’re interested in getting it I’d suggest getting the free trial first to give it a test run. If you’re still a little hesitant on purchasing the software you can always purchase a month-by-month subscription until you know you’re ready to purchase the software outright.

Tasty Food PhotographyTasty Food Photography – Photography is an incredible tool that can have a profound impact on the life of your blog or website. I’ve learned a lot of things – both big and small – in the last few years, and this book is my way of sharing all that with you. My hope is that the tips and tricks I write about in this book will be practical, easy to read, and will ultimately help you take food photos that make people say, “I am dying to eat that right now!” To date, over 6,600 people have purchased Tasty Food Photography and used it to help improve their food photography. You can learn more about the book and read some testimonials on this page.

Getting Started with your own Food Blog

Bluehost – Bluehost was our hosting company for the first two years of Pinch of Yum. They offer a slick and easy way to get up and running with your blog on WordPress. Bluehost has free domain name registration, is amazingly affordable, and is the perfect place to start. And get this! Because of our long standing relationship with Bluehost Pinch of Yum users get a discount on their monthly membership cost if they purchase through one of our links. We get that the whole hosting-domain-Wordpress-website-language-stuff can be kind of confusing at first. If you feel a bit confused be sure to check out the How to Start a Food Blog page if you want a step-by-step run down of how to start your own blog using Bluehost.

hosting by media templeMediaTemple – MediaTemple is the hosting company we switched to after Pinch of Yum started to get 5,000+ visitors a day on a consistent basis. We are hosting Pinch of Yum on a dedicated virtual server. I know that sounds like mumbo-jumbo if you’re not a tech person, but the important thing to know is that a dedicated virtual server means that your blog can handle more traffic. We are on the plan that has 8GB of RAM. MediaTemple calls it the “DV Level 4” plan.

Genesis Framework for WordPressThe Genesis Framework – The Genesis Framework is what is currently running on Pinch of Yum. Genesis is the framework used by some of the web’s most popular bloggers, like Darren Rowse of and Chris Brogan of With Genesis, you’re going to want to purchase the Framework ($59.95) along with a child theme (prices vary). It’s also possible to get a Genesis child theme custom designed, which is what we did with Pinch of Yum.

Wordpress LogoFree Themes for WordPress – WordPress has thousands of free themes available if you’re not interested in purchasing a “premium” theme right away. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to start your blog without spending a lot of money right off the bat. Be sure to do some research and check the theme’s rating before you download it and install it onto your blog. I would recommend looking for themes with a four or five star rating.

CrashPlanCrashPlan Plus – When I was a senior in college my computer crashed and I lost everything. Papers, lesson plans from student teaching, and worst of all, every single picture I had taken over the past two years (including all the pictures from my 3 month trip to Spain). Needless to say, I’m pretty intentional about backing up all of my files now. CrashPlan is a super slick program that runs in the background of my computer and creates a backup every 15 minutes. Now, if my computer crashes, or I spill a mug of coffee on it, ahem, I don’t have to worry about losing my documents and photos. I use the CrashPlan+ Unlimited plan.

VaultpressVaultpress – Vaultpress is the company we use to backup the Pinch of Yum WordPress account. Pinch of Yum has over 300 pages and posts that we’ve written over the past three years. The blog has also helped us generate some extra income as well. My point? It would really stink if something happened where Pinch of Yum was wiped out and we lost everything. Vaultpress ensures that if that something like that did happen we’d be able to recovery everything from a backup. If you’re looking for a more cost effective solution check out BlogVault.

Email Marketing $19/Month!aWeber – AWeber is the email marketing software we use to distribute our “Blogging Tips” newsletter (you can see the sign up form in the sidebar to the right). We use AWeber’s “follow up” functionality, which allows us to create a queue of emails that are delivered to subscribers at certain intervals. As a blogger it’s important to connect with your readers through all different avenues, including email, and we think AWeber does a great job of making that really easy.

MailChimpMailChimp – MailChimp is the email marketing software we use to send the Pinch of Yum blog posts via email. This is called an RSS-to-Email campaign. You can read a post that Bjork wrote on Food Blogger Pro called Why We Moved to MailChimp to learn about, well, why we moved to MailChimp. Bottom line: it’s simple, it’s powerful, and they have awesome customer support. Still not convinced? How about this: they have an account option that’s completely free!

ViralTagViralTag – Pinterest. It’s a food blogger’s dream come true. The amount of traffic you can send to your blog through Pinterest is incredible. It’s also incredible how much time you can spend on Pinterest if you’re not careful. As a blogger, your primary focus should be on creating quality content for your blog. That’s why I’ve decided to have our social media intern manage the Pinch of Yum Pinterest page. Together we are able to quickly and easily schedule pins for Pinterest using Viraltag.

CrashPlan - Automatic Online BackupTips for Monetizing – Every month Bjork writes a post about the different ways that we’re making money with this blog. Our hope with is to provide readers with information and inspiration. We definitely don’t pretend to have any “secrets” to blogging. If you’re interested in monetizing your blog you can click here to check out our monthly reports. In our first month (August, 2011), we earned a whopping $21.97. :) We’ve since been able to grow that significantly, but even if you don’t plan to get rich from blogging, hopefully the reports can show you some ways to make a little extra money from an enjoyable hobby.

Learn how to start and grow your food blog with Food Blogger Pro.Food Blogger Pro – Food Blogger Pro is a central location for people that want to learn how to start and grow a food blog. There are two primary parts of site, the video training and the community forum. The videos provide easy-to-understands tips for getting started with your food blog and step-by-step instructions for how to do things like install advertising code, create a branded email address, or use the manual settings on your DSLR camera. The community forum is a place where you can go to get questions answered by other food bloggers. We’ve really been honored to walk along side other food bloggers as we continue to figure out ways to really understand the crazy world of food blogging.

Driving Traffic to Your Food Blog

Here is a list of the  food photo submission sites that I use. There are SO many out there, but the ones listed here are just the ones that I submit to. It can take some time to go through the process of entering a submission, but the traffic you gain from getting a submission accepted can be great! It’s not uncommon to see 1,000 – 1,500 people visit your blog in a day if you get a submission featured on the right site at the right time. I also think that having links on these sites helps get your content in front of more people who might be likely to share the recipes and pictures on Pinterest or other social media.

WordPress Plugins

Easy Recipe – This is the WordPress Plugin I use to enter in my recipes. The name says it all, it’s an easy plugin to showcase your recipes!

Akismet – Spam comments stink! Akismet is a like a comment guard, making sure that no spamming comments get through to your site.

WP to Twitter – A slick little plugin that automatically tweets whenever I put a new post up.

Limit Login Attempts – A simple but important plugin to increase the security on your WordPress blog. This plugin limits the number of times that someone can enter in an incorrect password. It’s amazing how many people try to hack into Pinch of Yum every day.