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January 1st 2017

Make a resolution to take better photos in the New Year

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I often get questions from readers and workshop participants about our photography.  Many simply want to know what camera we use, while others want specific tips on how we capture certain shots of our field or flowers.  What I’ve found over time is that most people simply want to gain the confidence and basic skills to take photos with their camera in something other than automatic mode.  They want to document their lives in a more artistic and technically proficient way.  Or they simply want to take better photos of their kids, gardens or crafts to share or post online. Regardless of what the motivation is, I invariably encourage anyone wanting to up their game when it comes to photography is to take the Eyes Open Creative Photography E-course.

Chris and I took this class a few years ago and learned so much.  It really was a turning point for this little blog and you can visibly see the difference in photos I posted before and after completing the course. Good photography has been invaluable in telling and sharing our story.  


What is great about the e-course is that participants of all skill levels how to master their cameras, learn the basics of photography, take better portraits, think creatively, and infuse their daily lives with more artistry and intention. With the New Year upon us, this is the perfect time to spend some of the slower months mastering the art of photography. This course was designed for the type of person who does not learn well from reading a manual; it is interactive, visual, written in an easy to understand way that is not intimidating, and you choose how much time you put into it depending on your schedule.

erinlittle_floretpost-6166Another question I’m often asked is what I would recommend as a good starter camera. I’m not an expert in camera gear, so I asked Erin Little, the creator of the Eyes Open Creative Photography E-Course to share a few quick tips about choosing cameras and lenses.  So, if you’re looking to invest in a new camera or want to get a jump start on your New Years resolution to take better photos, read on:

Erin Little:  A lot of my students ask me about cameras and lenses, especially during and after the holiday season. What is best and why? I always say that starting out, you want to invest in a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera body, but the lenses that come with the camera are often poor quality and you will not get the results you want. Lenses are the most important components of good quality images. DSLRs give you the ability to shoot manually, adjust your settings for working with really low light, and also to change your lenses based on what you are shooting. For most of my students, an entry-level DSLR such as the Nikon D3300 or the Canon EOS Rebel are the best options. Depending on Nikon versus Canon: it’s all a personal preference. Sometimes one will feel better in your hands than another, but if you don’t have the option of trying them out, just go with your gut. Either option will work well for you! 

In addition to a camera body, having a good lens that can shoot well in low-light (to avoid needing a flash) and give you that depth of field everyone is after in their photos is essential. I always tell my students to start out with a 50mm 1.8f lens.  It is relatively inexpensive, but produces amazing results. It’s a great portrait lens, it’s great for shooting still life and details, and it works in low light. The lens that comes with most starter cameras is better for use outside where a lot of light is available, and more for landscapes or scenic shots.  

So between a camera body and a 50mm 1.8f lens, you will be all set up to start learning how to take some amazing photos!


Thanks for the tips!  Erin has also offered a $30 off discount to all Floret readers who enroll in  the next Eyes Open E-course which starts January 16th and runs for 6 weeks.  To take advantage of this offer simply enter code “floretholidays” at checkout.

I’m also giving away a free registration in Erin’s online course to THREE lucky blog readers.  Enter to win by January 5 below and I’ll announce winners here on January 6.

All photos in the post provided by Erin Little.  Note:  this is not a promoted post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Katy on

    Just registered! Super pumped. Thanks for the discount!

  2. Jaysie T McNett on

    Hubby just got me a DSLR for Christmas! Signed up for the class and can’t wait! Thanks for the discount!!

  3. Rosie Burgon on

    Hi Erin(s)Thanks for the great advice. I live in Scotland where low light levels are constant issue… outside! This year I’ve taken a leap of faith, quit my full time job and leased some land to start out on my flower farming journey. We bought a camera a couple of years back but the poor thing is neglected, time to put it to work this year :D
    P.s your blogs are such a great help, your advice has been invaluable during this initial planning stage.

  4. nole on

    I love to photograph my family – my two girls and my husband. I’m actually entering this giveaway on behalf of my husband so that he can take more photos of me with my kids. Mama needs to be in the picture, too!

  5. Malvo on

    I like to photograph my dogs, garden, and nature landscapes. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

  6. Malvo on

    I love photographing my dogs, garden, and nature landscapes! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

  7. Malvo on

    I love to photograph my dogs, garden and nature landscapes. Thank you so much for the giveaway opportunity!

  8. Malvo on

    I enjoy taking pictures of my garden and my dogs! Thank you for the giveaway!

  9. Betsy Hutchins on

    Thanks for offering this giveaway and the camera tips in the blog! Great info. This is one of my new year’s resolutions – to learn how to take beautiful photos. My favorite thing to take pictures of is my kids.

  10. Shannon on

    I desperately need help understanding my camera settings. I adore taking photographs around my farm but have yet mastered my camera. This course would be perfect for me. My fingers and toes are crossed. Thank you for the chance. xo

  11. Katie Mester on

    My LITTLE GIRLS!!! Those two precious rascals keep me constantly reaching for my camera to capture a sweet moment and make a memory :)

  12. Geneviève Robert on

    Of course, I love to photograph flowers in a close up way… I also love to photograph my daughters Arielle and Juliette, mes amours. Thanks for your generosity Erin!

  13. Fleur Muller on

    I love trying to capture simple moments of our life on the farm – we can get so caught in in the daily grind and forget how beautiful life and nature are around us.

  14. Terri on

    I especially love photographing nature, very close up. With so much to see in this big world, sometimes the beautiful little details are overlooked.

  15. Briana on

    I recently moved to Maine and the sky is always so amazing here. I’ve enjoyed trying to capture its beauty different times of day. I also love taking pictures of flowers especially those I am not familiar with and last but not least, my hound dog, Bubba! Most of the photos on my phone are of him!

  16. Linda on

    My favorite thing to photograph would be the faces that I love, both human and furry.

  17. Julie Wilson on

    Like many of the other comments, my kiddos are my favorite subjects. I can’t get enough pictures of them! Many are blurry because they are always on the move. :)

    I also love capturing nature at its best. It amazes me how changes in light (angle, intensity, morning vs evening) can turn an ordinary subject into something enchanting!

  18. Christina H. on

    I have taken Erin’s course before after reading about it from you. It would be fun to retake the course and get more focused on daily practice. My favorite subjects are flowers, kids, and the ocean.

  19. Ina on

    Thank you for the opportunity. Nature would be my favorite subject.

  20. Monika on

    Thank you very much for such article, it is so helpful for me at the moment, as I am learning to take better photos :).

  21. Pauline on

    Great opportunity for us to improve our skills for 4H photography competitions. Flowers rule!

  22. Sarah on

    I am one of those people who have never been able to “get the right shot”. I love the idea of an e-learning course. Great pictures make all of the difference and can really pull people in. Thank you for the chance to win!

  23. bookboxer on

    I am just an occasional photo taker (NOT a photographer!) and have most often taken pictures to capture family moments. Thanks for such a generous giveaway chance to expand our skills!

  24. laura on

    what a generous and kind gesture. that is inspiring. what a lovely extension of your gorgeous blog.
    photos can bring us such joy…i would love to share that joy.

  25. Rika on

    Flowers,nature,animals, elements……
    I normaly follow my instinct to take puctures,but I wish I could capture more!
    Erin s photos are so close to my fealing…..
    I would like to learn better skills and some tips.

  26. Ruth Ann on

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a photography course. I love, love photographing plants and anything else that grows, visits or lives in or near our gardens- including family:)

  27. Peg on

    Kids – which is hard to do since they are all boys who are bigger than Mom now. Also flowers, veggies and sunrises.

  28. Charlene on

    I would love to be able to take better photos of my growing family, and finally learn to use my camera to it’s potential!

  29. Charlene on

    I would love to be able to take better photos of my growing family! I’ve always wanted to really learn how to use my camera, and this would be a fabulous opportunity!

  30. Sara Groeneweg on

    I love to photograph my kids and create photo books for them. I would love how to do a better job especially when they are moving around…..which they do a lot!

  31. Christa on

    Life…I take pictures of my kids, dog, family and friends, flowers, nature, sunsets, anything that gets in my way. My high school photography class just isn’t doing my pictures justice, they could have so much potential if I could just remember. Would love to be able to photograph my journey!

  32. Christa on

    Life…is my favorite thing to photograph. My kids, family, dog, flowers, sunsets, road trips. You name it, but I wish I had better skills. Quite frankly, my high school photography class did not stick after all these years. Would love to document my journey!

  33. HelenFey Maze on

    This is an exciting opportunity to become a better visual storyteller. I love photographing plants and people, and long to better capture natural light effects.

  34. genghis99 on

    My little family and I just moved to a beautiful old farm and we are so excited to begin renovations and start working the land. I have been so inspired by the amazing gardens on “floret” and hope that I will be able to capture my own that well when the time comes. I love photography, although I’m not very good at it. Haha! I’m not sure I have a favourite subject but I do enjoy taking pictures of architectural elements. I also started a folder called, “Junk Photography”. I love beach combing and have been taking pictures of the treasures that wash up on the shore…you never know what you’ll find!

  35. Ashley H. on

    I would love to learn more about my new camera, but man that thick manual is intimidating!

  36. Melissa on

    I would love to elevate my photo game a bit and this is just what I need! Favorite subjects include catching my children in play, and of course flowers!!

  37. Kelli on

    Photography is so much fun and it’s always helpful to pick up more tips and tricks!

  38. Kate Snapp on

    Would love to take this class! We visited the White House over the holidays, and would love to improve our photos! We also need a new small camera, and appreciate the tips. Thank you.

  39. Jennifer on

    My favorite thing to photography is my Fiance with his Dog. :) Thanks for this giveaway opportunity!

  40. Amy Serridge on

    For over 40 years we have been raising alpacas, llamas & Tibetan yak on our family owned & operated sustainable fiber farm. Photographing our four-legged farm family members is always a fun way to tell their side of the story!

  41. Amy on

    I run a small farm and would love to take better photos of our place for future business ideas.

  42. Eelaf on

    Thank you so much. Thanks for this giveaway. Yes, my new year resolution is to take better pictures :)

  43. eelaf on

    Thank you so much. Thanks for this giveaway! Yes, my resolution is to take better photos :)

  44. Emily on

    Close ups of plant parts are my favorite -so architectural.

  45. Tyler Brown on

    My favorite subject matter to photograph is a finished piece, whether it be an arrangement, a container planting, or an entire garden.

  46. Janet Kemper on

    I love to photograph both nature and everyday life.

  47. Rebecca Hammett on

    I love photographing my family and all the wild and crazy adventures we go on!

  48. Marie-Hélène on

    I love shooting landscape and architecture… Playing with the light… Thank you for the giveaway! Merci beaucoup!

  49. Jacoba Nowak on

    I love to photograph nature, landscapes, flowers, my two dogs and next summer I am sure my first child will become a favorite topic to photograph!

  50. Maureen Wheeler on

    I really want to be able to take better pictures of my family and of food for a cookbook I want to put out.

  51. Jacoba Nowak on

    I love to photograph nature, landscapes, flowers, my two dogs and I am sure next summer my first child will also become a favorite subject to photograph!

  52. Niki I on

    My husband just gave me a camera for Christmas (even though we have a pact agreeing not to buy gifts for each other!) and I’d love to learn how to use it properly before the season gets rolling. I love capturing people holding my flowers and also our beautiful mountains.

  53. Erin Reese on

    I love photographing nature scenes and black and white candids.

  54. Cathi Lamoreux on

    I photograph my garden and grandsons. The garden, for the most part, stands still. Not so with the grandsons!

  55. Sarah on

    I work at a nursery and my favorite thing to take pictures of are the David Austin roses, and any wild critters I come across.

  56. Jennifer on

    My 10 year old son just got a Nikon camera for Christmas and would love this!!!! I’m a florist in Colorado and would love it too!!!

  57. Janet DeField on

    I love to take pictures of the yummy food I eat and scenic pictures of Skagit Valley!

  58. Bittersweetcountrywreaths on

    Floral pictures are the most amazing to take. After the picture is taken the detail of the flower is absolutely amazing.

  59. Amanda Dotson on

    One of my goals for 2017 is to take my photography to the next level, so this is perfect!

  60. Jackie on

    I would love to take better photos of my weddings and events so I don’t have to rely on the professional photographer for images. I purchsed a DSLR a few years ago and it’s hardly been touched because I don’t know how to use it. *sad face*

  61. Kaitlyn C on

    I love taking pictures of my little girl and our farm! Thank you for the opportunity!!

  62. Julia on

    I love shooting architecture and decay – nature reclaiming the manmade. I did just have a baby so he takes up a lot of my sd card :)

  63. Kaitlyn C. on

    I love to take photos of my little girl and our farm! Thank you for the opportunity!

  64. Trang Vu on

    I love to learn the basics of photography to record my life and beautiful things in a astistic way. Thank you for sharing to community!

  65. Ruth Page on

    This is so reassuring to know that you “started out” too & that there is hope to improve our photography skills. I love to photograph people & capture great expressions, I also love landscapes & macro flower shots.

  66. wren on

    I love photographing the intricate details – patterns and colors found in flowers, mosses, trees, rocks – really anything found in the natural world.

  67. Cristy Elzinga on

    I am so excited about this! Thabk you for the tips! I love shooting my kiddos in action and keeping up with the changing seasons with nature shots!

  68. Karen P. on

    I’ve been looking for a class so your timing is perfect! My best garden and landscape shots are usually the accidental ones, so I’m looking to take more professional photos ALL the time.

  69. Melissa on

    So excited about this course! I’ve had a canon rebel for years but have never been happy with they way my pictures look.

  70. MtManor on

    Thanks for your advice and generosity. I’d love to take this course, to help me improve personally and professionally.

  71. Carrie whipple on

    Thanks for the great information. We have a small hop farm in upstate new York and that along with my family are what I love taking pictures of the most!

  72. Tara on

    I am definitely a visual /interactive type learner this course sounds perfect! Hope I win!

  73. Alicia on

    I love to take photos of people most, portrait style. Flowers are my second favourite subject, and one I’m working on mastering! This course would be a huge help!

  74. Hannah on

    This is exactly my new years resolution, to take better pictures for my farms social media and homepage. I photograph nature,
    my kitchen garden and also interior pictures from my shop

  75. pam on

    I’m slowly building a small flower farming business. I need to get the word out to the florists.

  76. Katharina L. on

    I’m an enthusiastic novice photographer and in addition to being a long-time gardener have recently taken up bird watching. I’d love to learn more. Thank you for the giveaway!

  77. Dolly Maly on

    I would love to take this course so I could get better at taking pictures of grand-kids and my flower garden.

  78. Donna Lee on

    I’m starting a new blog, and want to take my photos to the next level. I would love to take this course, but have never been able to afford it, so I’m entering to win a spot. The photos on both blogs serve as an inspiration to take and share better photos, and to expand my garden. Thank you for your beautiful work.

  79. Kaylin on

    I love to photograph my kids and family! Thanks for the giveaway!

  80. Jaime Lindahl on

    Thanks for sharing! Developing my photography skills is on the to do list for 2017.

  81. Heather Jacobs on

    I would love to win this to learn to take better pictures of my garden!! My flowers are my favorite subject ?


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