I think sharing knowledge is important and that’s why I created this page. Here you will find a list of tools, services and other resources for food bloggers. These are all the tools and applications that I use daily for my food blog.
Please note that this page contains affiliate links. I only link to products I trust and wholeheartedly recommend. Thank you for your support.
Tools of the Trade
Canon EOS 5D – While not the cheapest camera on the block, the Canon 5D Mkiii is very advanced and I’m still learning new things about it all the time. I didn’t always start with this camera, in fact for the first two years I was using a Canon Rebel XSi to take photos. I made the decision to upgrade to the Canon 5D because I wanted to experiment with the video capabilities.
Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS – You know those dramatic photos that put you right up close to the action? This is what I use to get those shots. I even used this lens with my old Rebel XSi and I noticed an increase in photo quality right away. This is a prime lens, meaning you can not zoom in or out. The Canon EF 50mm lens is a more affordable alternative if you’re just starting out.
Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – This is a versatile lens which allows you to get up close with a wide angle but also has the capability to zoom in from a good distance away. When shooting photos in the kitchen or out traveling with the family, I use this lens to capture more of the scene. I also use this lens for filming video.
Lowel EGO Indoor Lighting Unit –If you’re not lucky enough to have great natural light in your house, then you need one of these. I happen to take pictures at night and the Lowel EGO tabletop light gives off a soft natural light alternative that allows you to capture depth and some subtle shading with your food photography.
SanDisk 64GB Extreme SD Memory Card – Not a glamorous purchase by any means, but speed matters when shooting lots of RAW photos. My previous memory cards were both slow and small. And no one likes to shoot video and then have to wait a couple seconds for the file to write to the memory card. Think of it as the small things which will make your life a little easier.
Collapsible Reflectors – Is your light source too intense? Or perhaps you want to redirect some light to brighten up those dark shadows? I use these reflectors in combination with my Lowel EGO light. As a bonus, these reflectors fold down into a small and easy to store size after your photo shoot.
Make those photos look beautiful
Adobe Photoshop – The back of the camera viewfinder can often be deceiving. Sometimes it looks like you got a great shot but then when you look at it on the computer at a larger size, all the imperfections are amplified. Adobe Photoshop is an amazing tool for editing photos, but this software is not cheap! Thankfully there’s a month-to-month subscription so you can pay as you go.
Tasty Food Photography – When I started my food blog I really didn’t have much photography experience let alone knowledge of all the terminology. So I turned to the Tasty Food Photography eBook as a resource, more like a crutch, until I started to understanding the basics. There are lots of tips in tricks and photo examples that show you the differences between particular camera settings.
Plate to Pixel – I bought this hardcover book so I could quickly grab it at any moment and just open it to learn something new. It’s a thorough but technical resource to digital food photography. I’m still using techniques I learned in this book about styling and how to create that WOW factor.
Food Blogger Pro – Did I mention I’m a visual learner? Well, I am and Food Blogger Pro has tons of video tutorials on everything from camera settings to using different light sources. As an added benefit, with your monthly subscription you have access to the community forum made up of liked minded food bloggers sharing their experiences.
For the best path to success, I recommend starting on or switching over to a self-hosted WordPress set-up. Learn more on my how to start a food blog tutorial.
BlueHost – Bluehost was our original hosting company for the first two years. I felt they are one of the most user-friendly WordPress hosting companies out there. BlueHost offers free domain registration at an extremely affordable price. This is a great option if you’re just getting started with food blogging.
Synthesis – After two years and a couple more blogs later, we bundled 4 of our websites into one managed hosting account. The Synthesis hosting configuration is tuned for speed and serves up WordPress content fairly quick. Because it’s more expensive, I would only recommend Synthesis if you have high traffic levels.
The Foodie Pro Theme – Designed by Shay Bocks, This theme was created specifically for food bloggers. In fact, this is the theme we are using on jessicagavin.com. We added a few extra custom features and design elements, but the majority of the base layout and function is still there. We love the flexibility of the Foodie Theme which is a “child theme” that runs on the Genesis Framework.
Studiopress Themes – There are several premium WordPress options available. Studiopress themes are designed to be search engine friendly and responsive so they work with all popular mobile devices.
Elegant Themes – I think Elegant Themes look pretty and the feedback I’ve read said they are easy to use, as well they have several custom options. Browse around and see if you like their designs.
Essential WordPress Plugins
WP Ultimate Recipe Plugin – This plugin is a must for food blogs. It adds the recipe markup which makes it easier for Google to understand. When the search engines know what your recipe is about there’s a better chance you will rank higher. One of the key features included is the “print” button.
Akismet – No one likes spam, absolutely not a single person. We use Akismet to stop those annoying spam comments before they are seen by the public. Akismet automatically filters comments as they come in allowing you to decide if you want approve them or trash them.
WordPress SEO – Let’s face it, search engine optimization is confusing stuff, but the WordPress SEO plugin takes the guess work out. For the best chance at success, all you have to do is follow the recommended tips that are geared to improve every article on your blog.
Social Warfare – Many popular food blogs say that Pinterest is their number source of referral traffic. The visual nature of food blogs combined with the visual nature of Pinterest is the perfect combination. This plugin adds all the popular social buttons to your blog so that viewers can quickly and easily share your content.
Monthly Income Reports – Each month we share behind the scenes info on how jessicagavin.com works. The good, the bad, the ugly, mixed with a few positive messages. These insights allow you to see what our income sources are and how much we make each month. We also provide information about our website traffic levels.
How to Monetize Your Food Blog – When we first started, we thought that you could only make money from Google Adsense. After reading this book about monetizing a food blog it opened our eyes to many other opportunities. Since then we have expanded our revenue sources significantly.
MailChimp – Social media and search engines aren’t the only places to grow your blog traffic. I recommend right from the get-go that you start building your email newsletter list. Using MailChimp we have set up an RSS-to-Email campaign that sends out an email to our subscribers every time a new recipe is created. The service is free for those with less than 2,000 subscribers.
TailWind – We use TailWind to schedule pins to our Pinterest account. This service allows us to spread out the pins over a day or week period so we don’t overload our followers all at once. Some people are using the ViralTag service instead, but I find that the analytics provided by TailWind are far better.
Board Booster – We use Board Booster campaigns to automate some of our Pinterest pinning. This service allows us to keep all our boards active and their looping tool allows for old content to become relevant again.
Photo Submission Websites – Submitting your photos to food enthusiasts sites are a great way to get some free exposure and a bump in traffic. Websites, such as FoodGawker, Tastespotting, and HealthyAperture are easy to submit to. The administrators of these sites have high-quality standards, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get accepted every time.
Start Your Own Food Blog – In 3 easy steps
Jessica’s Favorite Kitchen Essentials – A list of must have culinary tools.
How to build a food photography table top – A step by step guide.
Food Blogging For Dummies – A simple but very thorough book to that covers the entire food blog concept.
Free Themes for WordPress – If the premium themes are out of your budget range, don’t worry there are hundreds of free options.