Shop gift ideas for aspiring beauty influencers:
Although I do a lot of reviews and play with a lot of makeup, my favorite thing about this platform is getting to help others. When I started this blog, I had a lot of help. In fact, I had the perfect background for it. At the time, I was a photoshoot stylist for an international bridal design house. I had access to world renowned photographers and elite lighting gurus. Plus, I had a friend who was a digital marketing/SEO expert who helped me set up all of the back end blog stuff. With that in mind, I didn’t put a ton of money into supplies at the time. Instead, I just asked my friends to give me advice on inexpensive ways to get top notch results. And because sharing is caring, here is a list of super helpful gift ideas for aspiring beauty influencers.
Of course these gift ideas actually work for aspiring influencers of all kinds – fitness, cooking, wellness, educators, and more. Plus, in this world of zoom meetings and virtual living, you can use a lot of these items in your real life too!
What things do beginner beauty influencers need?
There are three main things aspiring beauty influencers need when it comes to creating content. 1. Something to take photos of. 2. Somewhere to take the photos. 3. Good lighting. Out of the three, lighting is the most important. You can have the most stunning subject, or the coolest location, but if you have crummy lighting, you’re not going to get great photos.
How do influencers take their own photos?
Most influencers take their own photos. Especially when it comes to product shots and flatlays (those overhead photos you see of someones coffee cup next to their computer, or a bunch of beauty products oh-so-artfully arranged on a fancy piece of marble). Of course, sometimes influencers do hire professionals – especially for paid campaigns. And some have Influencer Husbands/Boyfriends. But if you don’t have any of those things, don’t be dismayed. You are perfectly capable of taking your own photos. I promise. It’s super easy to take your own instagram or blog photos with your phone, a tripod, and a bluetooth remote. In fact, sometimes I find it easier to take my own photos. I can fake laugh and take a zillion photos of different looks, poses, angles, etc. without fear of judgment or critiquing my loved ones or feeling silly laughing at nothing.
Here are my picks for the best gift ideas for aspiring beauty influencers
Category – Lighting
Lighted vanity. A lighted vanity is an amazing gift for not only aspiring beauty influencers, but all beauty lovers in general. Bad lighting can not only ruin a photo, but it can make your every day makeup look weird too. Having a good lighted mirror can help you apply and blend your makeup more evenly and ensure more perfect color matches.
If you want to go all out, this fully assembled lighted makeup vanity from Amazon is perfect. It is 23 in wide and 18 in tall and is framed by 15 LED bulbs. Not only can you brighten and dim the lights, but you can change the lighting from warm to cool as well. Plus it has a build in USB charging port so you can charge your phone while you film your tutorials. Of course, it’s also $146. But again, it’s fully assembled and ready to go. You’ll be picture perfect in no time.
But if you’d rather go the DIY route (like I did), you can build your own! All you need is a mirror and lights. Obviously! If you don’t already have a mirror, I’d recommend this one from Amazon because it is frameless. The one I have is more like this one from Target or this one from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Although all three are around $60, the frameless one will be easier to attach the lights. Speaking of lights, you’ll need these lights from Amazon. They’re $20 and it’s basically just a string of 10 LED Hollywood style lights that you will attach to your mirror.
My biggest complaint about going the DIY route is that it’s kind of hard to hide the wire between the lightbulbs. But at half the cost of a pre-built vanity, I think it’s worth it. Since mine had a frame, the provided stickies weren’t enough and I had to add some extra command strips to make them all stay. But since I built the mirror 3 years ago, they haven’t budged!
Riki Loves Riki Mirror. Another incredible lighting favorite is my Riki Loves Riki Mirror. (Available at Nordstrom and Ulta.) I have the Riki Skinny in white. This $205 mirror is everything. Yes. $205 is a lot for a small mirror. But it comes with built in dimmable LED lights, bluetooth, a phone holder, and a stand. In fact, I love it so much I bought a carrying case so I could travel with it without worrying about breaking it. Plus, it’s so good you could honestly replace your large vanity mirror with this little one if you really wanted to. But I like having a larger mirror for doing my hair and checking out full looks.
As for traveling with my Riki Loves Riki mirror, sometimes my big mirror is just too much. That’s where the Riki colorful comes in! This little $85 mirror (available at Ulta) is not only a lighted mirror, but it also opens up to be a magnetic makeup palette. So you can actually store your eyeshadow and other small magnetic products IN your mirror! Talk about handy!
If you like the idea of a lighted mirror but don’t want the investment yet, you should check out this one from Amazon. It’s only $14, but there’s a definite quality difference between both the mirror and the lighting between this one and the Riki Loves Riki mirrors.
Lighted Phone Case. Of course if you want something even smaller but still need that good lighting, there are lighted phone cases! Some have lights on just the front for selfies or just the back for regular photos, but there are others that have both. Will you look a little over the top when you’re in a dimly lit event and you turn on your lighted phone case? Probably. But will you have better photos than everyone else? Definitely. Lumee is the OG and is amazing quality, but they also come with a price tag (think around $60). Now you can find less expensive options on Amazon, but I can’t vouch for their quality.
Is a lighted phone case a little too extra? If your influencer-to-be wants the good lighting without a bulky case or judgment, you can always get them a snap on ring light. This little $14 clip on light from Amazon can be clipped onto their phone for an instant upgrade. Not only that, but you can also use it on your computer camera go give yourself a little extra boost for all of those Zoom meetings.
Ring Light. The most classic of all influencer lighting needs is the ring light. I have this $79 ring light set from Amazon. I use my ring light for both photography and YouTube videos, and I have even taken it outside on gloomy days or after sunset when I need to fake a little bit of light. If you can pick only one lighting option on this list, this one is probably the most universal.
Of course if you want to take your influencer’s career full speed ahead, you can get a full video studio lighting kit like this one from Amazon ($139). It contains four lights, a tripod, and a green screen backdrop and frame.
Shop lighting gifts for aspiring influencers
Category – Photography
Photo box. While we’re still on the subject of lighting but moving into photography, I have to talk about this photo light box from Amazon. This was my very first purchase for my blog and I’ve used it for almost every post since. At 25x30x25, this lighted box is perfect for almost all flatlay photography and product shots. Plus it folds up to be about 2 inches thick and can easily be stored. Not only is it great for things like blog photos and Instagram posts, but you can also use it if you sell things on Etsy, Tradesy, etc. to get great shots with a plain white background. I don’t have enough good things to say about this photo box. It’s so handy and gives consistent lighting all day every day. Although natural light is wonderful, not everyone has the patience or time to wait on the sun.
Backgrounds. Along with the light box, your influencer might want some backgrounds. Of course you can buy real marble slabs like this one from Williams-Sonoma (24×16 and $130), or professional backgrounds like these from Replica Surfaces ($77 each). Or, you can go my DIY route and use a piece of cardboard and marble contact paper. I have this marble contact paper from Amazon on a large piece of cardboard and it’s worked just fine for the past 3 years. My biggest complaints are that it can be quite shiny, sometimes looks a little grainy, and the widths are limited. I’d love to have something closer to a 24×24 size. But 24×17 is almost as good. And way less expensive.
Tripod. One of the hardest things for me to get right when it comes to photography equipment has been my tripod. The first one I ordered was really great. Until I tried to take it outside and realized it wasn’t tall enough! Now I have one that is 60 inches tall ($23 from Amazon) that I use for outdoor and standing shots and the original shorter one for YouTube videos and product shots. So if your influencer is taller than 5’2″, make sure you get a tripod tall enough to get the top of their head in their photos!
Bluetooth remote. This is an essential if you’re wanting to take photos of yourself. Of course several of the items I’ve mentioned on this list come with a remote in their little set, but if you just need the remote by itself, here’s a great option for $9 (again from Amazon).
Shop photography gifts for wannabe influencers
Category – Other
Influencer book. One of the best gift ideas for aspiring beauty influencers (or really any influencers no matter the category or experience level) is this book. Especially if you want to set them up for success. The book Influencer was written by Brittany Hennessy – the first head of Influencer Marketing at all of Hearst Media. So you know she knows her stuff. Within 30 minutes of starting this book, I was already making changes to my Instagram bio and profile. Not only is it super informative and will really help boost your influencer knowledge, but the writing is fun and a quick read. Plus she has little sections all about how to NOT be “that girl” and they’re so great.
*Full disclosure, I do work for Brittany at Carbon August. So I might be a little biased. BUT I did read her book and obsess over all of her advice long before I got the job.* Oh! And she’s doing a free webinar all about the Influencer Lessons We Learned In 2020 on December 18th and any aspiring influencer should be in attendance. You can reserve your spot here.
External hard drive. When I started this blog, I had so many things on my wish list that could make it “the best blog ever”. Never in a million years did I ever stop to think about digital storage space. Although I was fine for a long time with just photos, when I started filming YouTube videos, my storage space completely evaporated. However after 3 years of posts and videos, I’m still not even at half capacity on this 1 TB drive. Plus, if anything ever happens to your computer, you know your files are safe.
Another peice of advice that I never would have known – make sure your external hard drive is comparable with your computer. Not all hard drives work with Macs or PCs or both. Sometimes you have to download compatibility software to make sure you can actually store and share files. It’s super easy. But make sure you read the fine print. I have a Mac and this external hard drive and it’s perfect. Oh! And depending on your computer, you might need an adapter. The one I have is no longer available, but I just ordered this one for my dad and it does way more stuff (yes, from Amazon).
Shop must have gift ideas for aspiring beauty influencers
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