Joyous Gear Guide: Our Tools for In-House Photography and Video

Over the last few months Joy and I noticed a lot more questions about the type of equipment and tools we use for our photography and videos shoots over here at Joyous Health. 95% of the photo’s and videos we shoot are all done in-house, and by in-house, I mean by me (unless we get fancy and include our design guru Carol).

 

A photo posted by Joy McCarthy (@joyoushealth) on

A couple of quick notes before we get started:

  • I don’t claim to be a professional in either photography or videography, but instead someone who googled a hell-of-a-lot, watched a few Youtube videos and got a few pointers from people who actually know what they’re doing like the awesome Chris Bodnar. Oh, and I took a lot of bad photos / videos before they got somewhat good – practice makes perfect!

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  • Some of the equipment we own is on the expensive side – far more than what we started off with. Don’t be discouraged by the price bracket. You can get awesome results with gear at a fraction of the price we have. I look at our gear as an investment and since we use it for business purposes as well it made sense to upgrade (plus, I like new toys :)) That said – it’s more important to know HOW to use the equipment than anything else – regardless of price point.
  • This is not a technical review – there are LOTS of those out there for many of the items I’ll outline below. My comments are simply based on my own experience and opinion.
  • As I mentioned earlier, this is the equipment that works best for US. It’s important to do the research to make sure you end up getting what’s going to be best for you.

So without further adieu, here is the Joyous Gear Guide!

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Camera – Sony A7RII

Sony-A7RII

I’m in love with this camera – it’s simply the best I’ve ever used. With 42 megapixels it’s great for food photography because it allows you to start with a wider shot and crop in afterwards to nail the composition without losing resolution.

From a video perspective, it shoots 4K (super HD), performs well in different lighting conditions and has as great auto-focus feature for when Joy’s running around the kitchen.

Being a mirror-less design, it’s also far more compact that other comparable DSLR’s out there.

Previous cameras we’ve used:

  • Sony A7R: Great camera that excelled at video but for food photography my current camera is better.  
  • Canon EOS Rebel SL1: A great starter camera to learn the basics but you’ll notice a huge improvement in quality of video and photos when you’re ready to upgrade. 

Lens – Sony G-Master 24-70 2.8

Sony-GMASTER

Again, my favourite lens I’ve owned so far. It’s amazingly sharp and versatile given the zoom aspect. It’s the only lens I currently own and really the only one I’ve needed for our purposes – so far. 

The world of lenses is incredibly complex and there are so many options.

Previous lenses:

  • Sony Zeiss 55mm 1.8
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Audio – Audio Technica ATW 1701-L + Zoom H5

Audio

People are more likely to sit through a crappy, pixelated video than one with crappy sound.

The upgrade from an in-camera microphone to a separate, dedicated unit made a bigger difference than any upgrade in camera ever did. Who knew, a $30 wired mic could make SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE.

Today we use an Audio Technica wireless lavalier mic (no wires between performer and camera) because it offers more freedom, especially for more of the active (ie. cooking) shoots we do.

Having a dedicated recorder like the Zoom H5 further enhances the audio and also allows us to hook up 2 mics for when we have guests.

We also have a Rode Shotgun mic kicking around.

Previous mics:

  • Audio Technica ATR-3350IS lavalier mic.

Lights

We use Boling LED lights (x2) for our video shoots. They seem to do the job, but lighting is probably the weakest part of my production game. Any thoughts would be awesome!

Whiteboard

Yep – foam core is a photographers best friend. This $10 piece can make a world of difference in your photos be helping to reduce the hard shadows often caused by direct sunlight or interior lights. Place it opposite the primary light source so it reflects some of that light back on the subject to better illuminate it.

Post Production

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Capturing the footage is only half the battle. These are the programs we use to process the images / video.

These programs are SO powerful and I know I’m barely scratching the surface of their potential. With that said, I can do most of what I want to do and whatever I can’t, I google!

Photography: Adobe Lightroom

Video: Apple Final Cut Pro X + Adobe Premiere Pro

My favourite photos I’ve taken for the blog so far are…

Beet Strawberry Muffins

Beet Strawberry GH Muffins-04496

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sweet Potato Toasties

Sweet Potato Toasty's-05269

Apricot Tahini Squares

Apricot Squares

There you have it! If you have any more questions, please comment below.

Have a great day!

Walker

 

Walker Jordan

Walker knows the ins and outs of running a successful business. The owner of a boutique health and wellness studio which he sold in 2011, Walker now oversees growth and strategy, runs day-to-day operations and manages new business for Joyous Health. He is the most organized person we know! He has a love of shiny fast cars and he can make Brussels sprouts taste like heaven.

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  • Good morning Walker,

    Very informative!! I always admired how well done the videos were. I have my answers now..

    One more question though…where did you pick the wood backdrop prop from?

    Thank you.

    Vaishali

    • Hi Vaishali,

      Glad you enjoyed the post!
      I made the wood backdrop and it was super easy. Just go to your local hardware store and buy some planks – get them to cut them to length and pick up a can of stain. Takes about 20min. to apply the stain and away you go!

  • Thanks Walker!
    I’m actually just starting up my own holistic nutrition business and I’m also thinking of starting a YouTube channel. These tips really help :D

    • Hey Khava!

      That’s so exciting! We’re so happy to hear you were able to take away a lot from this article :) Good luck with your YouTube channel! I’m sure it will be awesome!

      Rachel – Joyous Health Team

  • Great tips! Love your favorite photos you took for the blog. Just amazing!

    Also wanted to share this health giveaway going on right now: https://microbiomeplus.com/deal/ where you can win 3 month supply of probiotics, $100 towards a gym membership and a $50 Amazon gift card! :)

    • Hey Sabrena!

      Thanks so much :) Walker would be thrilled to hear that!

      Rachel – Joyous Health Team

  • Walker! Thanks so much for the post!! I’ve been asking for this and it was awesome!! What program do you use to make your videos?

    • Hey Amanda,

      So glad you loved the post! :) Walker uses Adobe Premier Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro X.

      Rachel – Joyous Health Team