Everything I Use to Run my Business || Content Creator Edition

by kaya@comfygirlwithcurls.com

If you’ve ever wondered: “What camera does Kaya use?”, “What are CreatingWithKaya Youtube Videos edited with?” or anything else about the tools I use to run my business as a full-time content creator… this is the post for you.

I plan to keep this page CONSTANTLY up to date with everything from the gear I use to capture content, the software subscriptions I have, to my Wordpress plugins and the apps I have on my phone.

If you’re just looking for a cheat sheet of my latest gear, check out my Amazon storefront.

Otherwise use the Table of Contents, or enjoy the scroll.

Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links and discount codes in this post. If you make a purchase using them, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support this blog and allows me to continue sharing free tips for creators.

Content Creation Gear

This is where I’ll drop all the equipment I use to capture my content.

Camera

A camera isn’t a necessity as a content creator, but I love the quality I can get from mine and the greater control it gives me over my artistic vision.

Canon EOS RP

The RP is currently Canon’s most-affordable Full-Frame Mirrorless camera. I use it to shoot all my YouTube videos and capture the majority of photos and social content.

Canon EOS RP | Full Frame Mirrorless Camera for content Creating

Lenses

I currently have four lenses and am always drooling over more. They are all part of Canon’s R ecosystem, so I can switch them as need be, and hold on to them even if I choose to upgrade my camera body.

Three are prime lenses (lenses with a fixed focal length), which I love because they allow for wider apertures (i.e. blurrier backgrounds). And one is a zoom lens, which is a go-to on my lazy days.

Canon RF35mm F1.8 Macro

This is the first lens I bought—and I got it instead of the kit lens. It is a relatively wide-angle lens—also known as a “Classic” lens. They say 35mm is closest to what the human eye sees, and it is versatile enough to be great for YouTube videos as well as lifestyle and fashion photography.

Canon RF35mm F1.8 Macro Lens - Great for fashion and lifestyle content creators.

Canon RF50mm F1.8

The “nifty fifty” was my favourite lens back when I had the Canon Rebel XSI, and when it came out for the R mount, I knew I wanted it. It is more narrow and provides more background separation than the 35… and yet it is also said to be closest to what the human eye sees…but after Googling which was closer, I came out of the rabbit hole with no actual answer.

Canon RF50mm F1.8 - Must-have nifty fifty lens.

Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro

This was the lens of my dreams, as it is a fantastic portrait lens. But it is actually my least-used lens. It’s because the focal length is too long for me to effectively use in my apartment, and is better suited for me taking photos of other people.

Canon RF 24–240mm F4-6.3

My trusty zoom lens. I love my prime lenses with all my heart, but when on the go, there is nothing more tedious than pausing to switch lenses back and forth. I bought this lens before a trip to Ghana because of its huge focal range. It’s not the best in low-light conditions, and the aperture but the convenience is unbeatable.

Phone(s)

Of course, owning a camera is not critical to finding success as a content creator. In fact, I shoot a ton of content, sponsored and organic, on my phone… and on my husband’s phone because his is fancier than mine.

Currently, I have an iPhone 11, and my husband has an iPhone 13 Pro.

Lighting

Lighting is arguably one of the most important pieces of capturing good content. While daylight is always ideal, it’s hard to control and predict, so I have a few different light setups to help me shoot content.

Soft Box + Umbrella Photography Kit

Years ago, a friend and I split a lighting kit off Amazon and we used to rotate the parts as needed. But the back and forth got a bit hectic, so we split the lights in half and she kept the backdrop for self-tapes.

That’s left me with one softbox light and one umbrella light stand and it serves me quite well—they’re part of my standard YouTube setup.

18” Ring Light

As most content creators did, I got sucked into the ring light craze. I bought an 18” one from Neewer off Amazon, and it’s served me pretty well.

That being said, as I began to learn more about lighting, I used it less and less as intended. I don’t use it straight-on anymore, because I don’t like the ring reflection in my eyes that makes me feel like I’m in The Host, and use it as a fill light in a three-point lighting set up.

ULANZI VL120 RGB Video Light

I had been wanting a portable RGB light for AGES. I was originally eyeing the Apurture MC… but that was a bit out of my budget.

This light can attach to a tripod, or to my camera via a hot shoe plate, and is great for lighting product shoots as well as adding some pizzaz to my YouTube backgrounds.

ULANZI VL49 RGB Video Light

When ordering the above light I also picked up an RGB light that was about half the size.

I love it for all the same reasons as the above: portability, colour range, affordability—with the added benefit of having a magnetic back! Great or lighting spaces in a pinch; I can slap it on any metallic service.

Audio

Audio is important regardless of the platform you create on, but it is especially important if you create on YouTube. Bad audio can make a viewer click off your video, destroying your retention rate.

AGPTEK Lapel Mic

This mic was SO CHEAP, and to this day it provides me some of the most dependable audio. It came with a few different adapters to be able to hook it up to my camera and my phone.

It’s my go-to for every sit-down talking head video, and the only reason I have other mics is for when I need to film something where I’m moving around a lot.

Comica CVM-V30 PRO

This is actually my second favourite mic, after the above lavalier.

The sound is great; it is incredibly affordable, comes with a wind muff, has a low-cut filter and sensitivity adjuster, and hooks directly into my camera.

My only complaint is that it is that it is batter operated… and the “on” light is at the back of the mic. Meaning that if the battery dies mid-shoot and the light goes off… I have no way of knowing.

MOVO VXR10

Because of the concern I had with the above mic, I recently purchased the MOVO VXR10, which is powered by the camera itself. So if the camera is on, you know the mic is too.

The reviews of this mic are pretty darn good, both what I found online and from in-person recommendations… but I’ll admit I’m not very impressed.

I find the audio a bit hollow, and I need to play with it A LOT in Premiere Pro and Audition to get it how I like… I’ll play more and report back.

Zoom H1n Portable Recorder

I was SO excited to buy this ahead of a trip to Abu Dhabi… December of 2021. And I have yet to use it… and I’m writing this in November 2022.

It’s supposed to be a fantastic recorder, that are highly recommended. You can record with the on-recorder mic’s, or you can plug a mic into it. I’m still relatively new to the audio game, and I just haven’t quite allowed myself the time to play with it yet.

Miscellaneous Camera Accessories

I wish I had known how many little bits and bobs went into even capturing content… Because phew do they add up.

Here’s a list of all the

Tripods

I have… a lot of tripods. It may seem a bit crazy, but they all get used pretty equally.

Some hold my camera and phone, some for light set ups, some are for travel. Three out of the four I own are linked below—my dad actually picked up the fourth at a thrift store, and it’s most-similar to this one here.

Intervalometer

After researching the best way to take travel photos alone, I came across as a recommendation for an intervalometer, which changed the game for me.

When I hook it up to my camera, it takes over the shutter, allowing me to take as many photos as I want at whatever interval I want.

Before this, I was using the Canon Camera Connect App—which had a limit on how many photos it could take and would lock focus on where it was when you hit the shutter… meaning you couldn’t move around.

Camera Bags

I’m obsessed with camera bags… especially ones that look like purses.

I’m looking at building up a collection, but these are currently what I use to lug my camera and gear around.

ND Filters (and Step Up Rings)

For far too long, I couldn’t figure out why my outdoor video content looked like poop. 💩

Everything always looked blown out, and I could never seem to lock the settings down right. Then some research yielded the information that I needed an ND filter (kind of like sunglasses for my camera lens) that would allow me to take advantage of my low aperture and maintain the 180-degree shutter without overexposing.

I ordered two variable ND filters, and a bunch of step-up rings so that I could use them across all four of my lenses.

Batteries

This seems a little too obvious to include in the list, but I bought myself two extra batteries for my camera because as much as I am obsessed with the RP, the battery life is a bit lacking. It cost more but I bought the Canon-made batteries for my camera because I learnt something INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT:

Using third-party batteries can potentially void your warranty.

If you buy poorly-made batteries of Amazon, or use something that isn’t properly compatible with your camera and it damages it… you’ll be on the hook.

Portable Chargers

As a content creator, I rarely go anywhere without a portable charger or two.

I have a bunch, but the ones I recommend over and over again are from ANKER. I’ve got one that is powerful enough to charge my ipad, camera, and even give some juice to my laptop.

Computing Tools + Accessories

MacBook Air 13”

Out of all my current computing gear, my MacBook Air is the oldest. I had purchased it in 2019 when my MacBook Pro was going caput, and it was the only computer in our home.

When I purchased it, I was doing relatively lightweight tasks–logging, writing, and doing very minimal photo editing in Lightroom.

So when my husband went back to school, and I started dabbling in YouTube, I passed the laptop on to him and we got a desktop computer.

Photo: @JjosuePhotos

iMac 21.5”

I use my desktop for the majority of my work–especially now that I’m a full-time creator and I work from home.

We bought it refurbished with 16GB of RAM, and it’s perfect for editing video on Premiere Pro without any lagging.

I used to think a desktop was unnecessary if you had a good laptop, but I was spoiled by the large dual monitors of my old day job, and am yearning for a similar set up at home.

iPad Pro 11″

So I’m happy as a clam with my desktop… but when we went to Abu Dhabi in 2021… I realized something.

Because Darren now used the laptop for his school work… I didn’t have a device to work on while travelling. It wasn’t convenient to try and blog on my phone, and it wasn’t efficient to play a game of “are you done with the laptop soon?”.

So we decided to invest in the iPad–which has honestly 100% replaced my need or desire for a laptop.

Apple Magic Keyboard

I purchased the Magic Keyboard at the same time as the iPad, because I was looking for something that enabled me to blog efficiently on the go. And typing on the screen just wasn’t an option.

The Magic Keyboard, complete with the mouse bad, has essentially changed my iPad into a small laptop.

Apple Pencil

Because I have a habit of fixating on things, I got it in my head early on that I needed the Apple Pencil–especially for editing photos on Lightroom mobile.

And while I do love the pencil, it wasn’t as critical to my productivity as I had anticipated.

Portable SSDs

I shoot a lot of content, and knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to clog up my computer with footage. So I purchased two portable SSDs from Samsung, and this is where I keep all my video footage, and where I edit my YouTube videos off of.

This allows me to–in a crunch–edit them on a go from Darren’s laptop.

Content Creation Software and Apps

Now onto the different software and programs I use to help bring my content together after I’ve captured it.

Adobe Suite (Handles the majority of the content creating)

I honestly could probably do all my content creating with the Adobe Suite alone. There are a few other programs I use for convenience, or because I haven’t been bothered to switch over, but if I only had the Adobe Suite, I could still do my job.

Here are my most-used programs, let me know if you want me to do a deeper dive into each program:

  • Premiere Pro (Recently switched from Final Cut)
  • After Effects
  • Audition
  • Lightroom Classic + Mobile
  • Adobe Express (Currently transitioning away from Canva. 👀)

Apps for On-the-Go

As much as I love the Adobe suite, sometimes I need to create content on the fly—especially social content. Here are some of the apps I turn to:

Inshot

I paid for Inshot Pro ages ago, and it’s my go-to program for quickly editing social media content. In fact, I used it in my early days to edit YouTube videos, and it was great for the job.

Capcut

I’m not the biggest fan of CapCut, but it does two things that inShot currently doesn’t:

  • Allows you to mask out video for more advanced transitions and effects
  • Auto-populate captions.

Ulysses

Taking a bit of a different angle, Ulysses is a writing app.

As a blogger, I’ve always been trying to find the perfect solution to drafting blog posts on the go—specifically when I don’t have access to the internet.

Ulysses allows me to fully draft and format blog posts to my liking, and then synchs with Wordpress to be published to my blog. AMAZING, right?

Lensbuddy

Lensbuddy is essentially an Intervalometer for my phone. Full control over the interval speed of your phone’s camera shutter, and how many photos it takes. I don’t use it too often, but it’s great when I’m on the go and trying to get a lot of shots really quickly.

Content Optimization + Scheduling

After capturing content and editing, these are the tools I use to make sure my content get’s seen.

Yoast (Premium)

As a blogger, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is critical to my content strategy. The Yoast plugin for Wordpress helps keep me on track, analyzing my content and making recommendations to ensure my content is well-optimized.

It isn’t a magic plugin that will automatically make your content rank, but it is a great tool to have. You don’t even need the premium version for it be useful, I just upgraded because I wanted to be able to run an analysis for multiple key phrases at once.

KeySearch

20% off with KSDISC

A SEO strategy is nothing without keyword research. So I use Keysearch to help look for search terms that are well-searched for, but have low competition.

TubeBuddy

I see Tubebuddy as a combination of Yoast and Keysearch for Youtube. It helps me do keyword research, and then assists with auditing my content for proper Search Engine Optimization.

Tailwind

Tailwind is my best friend when it comes to Pinterest scheduling.

It allows me to schedule my Pinterest pins far in advance and to multiple boards. It also allows me to add them to Tailwind Communities, where like-niched bloggers can re-share each other’s content–giving my content the chance to reach an even wider audience.

Mailchimp

Every content creator needs a mailing list. There are a lot of different ones out there, but I started with Mailchimp and I’ve stuck with it. I currently operate on the free version, but I’ll upgrade as I work on building up my list and sending out emails more frequently.

Business Operation Tools

Notion

The organization tool of my dreams. I use Notion for literally everything. It’s fantastic for basic brain dumps and to-do lists, and even better for organizing more complex information and tasks like the progress of paid partnerships and YouTube video scripting and development.

Quickbooks Self-Employed

I use Quickbooks Self-Employed to track the majority of my finances and invoice brands for our collaborations. Believe it or not, for the majority of my time as a creator I was manually tracking my income, and editing an invoice in a Word document every single time.

Not very efficient.

Zoom

As a full-time creator, I realized that the free version of zoom would only get me so far. I do business with people all around the world and video conference is one of the easiest ways to communicate.

I upgraded to the paid version recently–once I began offering 1:1 coaching calls.

Stan

I use Stan as my all-in-one creator store. I sell digital products and 1:1 calls through it–and it synchs beautifully with my Google Calendar, Zoom, and MailChimp.

Want to see my Stan store in action? Click here!


And there you have it! All the tools, gear, programs, and apps that help me run my business as a full-time content creator.

Let me know if you tried anything on this list after recommending it–especially if it’s helped you level up as a creator!