one week to inbox zero

clean up that mess & (finally) get ontop of things!

PS: This week long email course is 100% free!



I'm so glad you are here. I'm Elizabeth and this is the blog. This is the space I tend to. The place I share my heart and our stories. I pack these pages full of tips, stories, adventures, travels, outfits, and recipes. It's a little bit of everything and a whole lot of me. My hope is that these words & photos would encourage & inspire you. That being here will brighten things at least a little bit. Please stick around & explore. There is something here for everyone! Click through the categories below for more! 

Buying Your First DSLR

Tips to help you when Buying Your First DSLRI’ve been intentionally working on my photography skills ever since I got my first DSLR for my birthday in May 2014. It has been a challenge, an adventure, and a joy! Recently, I’ve started to get a lot of camera and photography related questions. I love talking camera gear, tips, and advice so it is really fun to be able to share what I have learned. I don’t come from a photography background so everything I have learned (and am still learning) comes from things like this and others sharing what is working for them! Everyone starts somewhere, so if you are thinking about getting your first DSLR, jump in and be brave! Here are three things to take to heart when buying your first DSLR:

INVEST (but don’t go overboard)

If you are just buying your first DSLR, I encourage you to save your money and by a Canon EOS Rebel or Nikon D3300. These are both similar cameras and are perfect for beginners. There are all kinds of cameras out there and I haven’t even touched researching all of them – they only get cooler and pricier. Start with a camera around the $500 mark so that you can make sure you enjoy photography before you invest so much! You can always upgrade later.

Another thing to note is that this is the time you will probably be going the Nikon or Canon route. I don’t have enough knowledge to point you one way or another. I hear great things about both. I personally have a Canon EOS Rebel and have since purchased a canon lens.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR EQUIPMENT

Your camera is an investment and much (much) more expensive than a disposable camera. You cannot treat it the way you would treat one of those at camp when you were a kid! There are so many little parts that can break or get dirty. You will need to keep it safe when you travel to minimize wear & tear, keep your lens cap on whenever you are not using your camera, and store in a safe place. Here are some of my favorite things that keep my camera safe:

  • BAG: Invest in a good camera bag! It is SO worth it. I picked one with pockets, dividers and room for extra lenses, and space to always have a spare battery, extra SD card, and my cleaning kit with me. I recommend ONA bags – cute, functional, and quality.
  • STRAP: A great camera strap is also worth the investment. You want it to be quality (so that it doesn’t rip and make your camera drop) and comfortable. I have a Fotostrap and encourage everyone I know to get one. Nothing else compares.
  • CLEANING: The lens and your camera insides are pretty fragile. Make sure you have a camera cleaning kit to clean things properly to keep it in the best condition.

BE BRAVE & LEARN

The best way to grow your photography skills is to practice! I made a commitment to only use the manual setting when I started and I am so thankful I did. All the settings may be overwhelming but take it one step at a time and learn as you go! I’ve organized my favorite resources on my Photography for the Blog Pinterest Board. Take all the pictures, don’t be afraid to mess up, and learn by doing. It is important to begin to notice what you like in photos so you can learn to achieve that. Don’t rush to comparison (because they have practiced much longer than you & discouragement hinders creativity), but learn to see what you love about a photo. Finding your style and what your heart is drawn to is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your photography. You’ll begin to see those things in the world and begin to see them in your photography! You got this! I believe in you!!!

Related: Blog Photography || My Process and Tips

 Are you looking into purchasing your first DSLR? What are your fears, hopes, thoughts? Do you already own one and have extra tips to add? What about the whole Canon vs. Nikon – what is your camera?

xoxo, elizabeth
  • Such an intimidating process. Thankfully, my husband knows FAR more than I do about DSLRs!

    • That is so fun! I just think you need to do reviews and start somewhere!

  • Such an intimidating process. Thankfully, my husband knows FAR more than I do about DSLRs!

  • Have you bought any lenses or any other accessories for your camera that you would recommend?

    • I feel like Beth would agree, but I’d highly recommend investing in a prime (fixed-focal length) lens! A 50mm is a great place to start and probably one of 90% of amateur and pro photographers’ favorite primes, but I also highly recommend a 35mm…that’s what I do most of my blog photography with and I do most portraiture with an 85mm!

      • thanks Betsy! I was just looking at the cameras on Amazon and a lot of them come as part of a bundle with lots of things and was curious. By they way, you have a great blog – love that floral arrangement you did recently!

      • YES! We said the same things!!!!!!!!!

    • I bought the 50mm – it is the only one so far! I love it. I really want the 35mm but I cannot afford that one yet. The 50mm is a really great deal and creates the fun blurry background that I am obsessed with.

  • Have you bought any lenses or any other accessories for your camera that you would recommend?

  • I just bought my first DSLR last weekend! There’s definitely a lot to learn, but so far I’m loving it! The ONA bags have been on my radar too 🙂

  • I just bought my first DSLR last weekend! There's definitely a lot to learn, but so far I'm loving it! The ONA bags have been on my radar too 🙂

  • Jae

    I appreciate your tips and camera model recommendations! This has been sitting on my must-have’s list since Christmas last year, but still haven’t gotten the guts to finally break my bank to buy one! Y’know, #PRIORITIES. Hahaha!

    • Totally! I would look for used to see if you can find a deal on a camera that someone is selling to upgrade!

  • Jae

    I appreciate your tips and camera model recommendations! This has been sitting on my must-have's list since Christmas last year, but still haven't gotten the guts to finally break my bank to buy one! Y'know, #PRIORITIES. Hahaha!

  • Great tips! As a Nikon gal, I would recommend skipping the 3000 series and going straight to the 5000 series, but that’s just me…my first DSLR was a Nikon D3000 and I outgrew it in a matter of months. Then again, I was also taking a photography class in college and now do photography professionally on the side, so my needs escalated pretty quickly. But I hate seeing people invest $500 into a camera that they’ve outgrown in a year or less, especially if they have a growing passion for photography!

    • oooh! Interesting. I’ve just heard that is the one to get! I went the Canon route so I don’t know much about Nikon! And yes, I think that may have made you outgrow yours quickly!

  • Great tips! As a Nikon gal, I would recommend skipping the 3000 series and going straight to the 5000 series, but that's just me…my first DSLR was a Nikon D3000 and I outgrew it in a matter of months. Then again, I was also taking a photography class in college and now do photography professionally on the side, so my needs escalated pretty quickly. But I hate seeing people invest $500 into a camera that they've outgrown in a year or less, especially if they have a growing passion for photography!

  • I feel like Beth would agree, but I'd highly recommend investing in a prime (fixed-focal length) lens! A 50mm is a great place to start and probably one of 90% of amateur and pro photographers' favorite primes, but I also highly recommend a 35mm…that's what I do most of my blog photography with and I do most portraiture with an 85mm!

  • My camera is Panasonic! 🙂 I tried playing around with manual settings at the beginning, but it got too frustrating! The fact that you stuck with it should be properly commended! I guess it’s never too late to start though 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • My camera is Panasonic! 🙂 I tried playing around with manual settings at the beginning, but it got too frustrating! The fact that you stuck with it should be properly commended! I guess it's never too late to start though 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

  • Great post Beth! You know, I love all things photography, and these tips are spot on! 🙂

  • Great post Beth! You know, I love all things photography, and these tips are spot on! 🙂

  • Great tips! I recently made the decision to start shooting strictly in manual mode and its been a process!

    I've a Nikon d3000:)

  • thanks Betsy! I was just looking at the cameras on Amazon and a lot of them come as part of a bundle with lots of things and was curious. By they way, you have a great blog – love that floral arrangement you did recently!

  • That is so fun! I just think you need to do reviews and start somewhere!

  • YAY!

  • it is never too late! Start with one thing at a time and just play. Take pictures of things you don't care about so you are not sad you missed out on a great shot!

  • oooh! Interesting. I've just heard that is the one to get! I went the Canon route so I don't know much about Nikon! And yes, I think that may have made you outgrow yours quickly!

  • Totally! I would look for used to see if you can find a deal on a camera that someone is selling to upgrade!

  • You go girl!

  • I bought the 50mm – it is the only one so far! I love it. I really want the 35mm but I cannot afford that one yet. The 50mm is a really great deal and creates the fun blurry background that I am obsessed with.

  • YES! We said the same things!!!!!!!!!

  • Thanks!

  • Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely try that out 🙂

  • Totally!

  • Don’t be afraid to mess up. Great advice!

  • Don't be afraid to mess up. Great advice!