Photography Challenge

This January, I started a 52 week photography challenge. (If you follow me on Instagram, you’re already well aware of this.) I wanted a way to push myself both as a portrait photographer and a general photographer; the challenge I chose rotates between portraiture, landscape and artistic photos, with a different theme each week.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve been more satisfied with my portrait photos than my landscape or artistic ones, and this week even more so. The challenge was to take an environmental portrait; that is, an image of someone in his or her “natural environment.”

After a little bit of thought, I settled on the idea of a vintage/junk shop. I liked the idea of creating layers around my subject, and a nice, messy junk shop seemed like the perfect setting. The first few I stopped into this weekend were entirely too curated and tidy. I wanted chaos and age and the sense that a treasure was just waiting to be found.

The second I walked into Down Memory Lane, I knew I’d found it. It felt like walking into a grandparent’s basement. Boxes of seashells or buttons were stacked on the floor, piles of jewelry and jars of marbles were tucked into shelves. Little piles of kibble were hidden away to satisfy the shop cat. I was in love. I waited until a few customers cleared out, then approached the women who had been helping them. She directed me to the older gentleman puttering around the store; her father, the owner.

I tried a few posed shots, which didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, then eventually wound up just following him around the store as he continued to putter.


Each week, photographers are to submit only one image. It took me longer to settle on a single photo than it did to take all the frames for the day. The above is what I ultimately decided on; the runners-up are below.

They’re strong images, and as far as portrait goes I think I like the black and white one best. But ultimately it didn’t have the sense of environment I was going for, so I stuck with the horizontal image as my main choice.

Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Newborn session

I’m often asked what my favorite type of photography is, and I always answer without a moment’s hesitation that it’s newborns. There’s just something about the tiny, brand-new life in front of my lens and the usually awe-filled parents that just fills my heart with joy. I’ve been around babies my whole life; as the oldest of eight kids and one of a gaggle of cousins, I can’t remember a time growing up when I didn’t have a baby around.

So when Morgan and Will reached out to schedule their newborn session for baby Warren, I was thrilled. The sessions can be grueling, to be sure; three-plus hours under bright lights and a space heater cranked up high can be tough on everyone involved. But little Warren was a real trooper, and the new mom and dad were super helpful, too. Thanks to them, I think this was one of my best sessions yet! (Will is a dentist, so he and Morgan got an adorable little tooth hat for some of the photos. Isn’t that sweet?)


Want more photos? “Like” Elfie Photography on Facebook and check out the album!

Fresh 48 Session

I’ve wanted to do a Fresh 48 since I first heard of it (embarrassingly, just a few months ago). Basically, a Fresh 48 is a newborn session conducted in the hospital, within the first 48 hours of baby’s life. The photos are always so sweet, but especially so when the proud momma and papa are first-time parents. Such was the case with Morgan and Will; it was such a humbling experience to help document their love and awe at their new son, Warren. (I also did a traditional newborn session with the happy family, so stay tuned for those photos as well!)

Cake smash!

Is there anything more fun than watching a one-year-old completely destroy a birthday cake? I mean, sure, I guess there might be, but this is definitely at the top of my list. Cake smash sessions are among my favorite types of photography (right after newborns, because NEWBORNS!), so I was thrilled when Hayley asked me to document this great first-birthday session for Little Ernie. Momma Hayley is throwing him a Dr. Seuss-themed birthday party, so that was the theme for the session.


Holiday Mini Session

Recently I did a holiday mini session for Hayley, her husband Ernie and her son Little Ernie. We focused on the little guy for most of the session, and you’ll totally know why once you see these pictures. He’s just too stinking cute! It was unseasonably warm outside, so we headed out right before sunset and caught some amazing lighting for the family photos, complete with Dean Martin the Labradoodle. Here are some of my favorites from the session:

Fall Family Session

I’m not one of those folks who geeks out every year when fall rolls around. Sure, I like hot cider and pretty leaves, but I’m a summer gal through and through. That being said, there’s one thing about fall that gets me every time: the photo opportunities. So I was thrilled when Natalie asked me to take photos of her beautiful family. Her husband, John, had to leave early, but Natalie and little Cece stuck around for some adorable toddler and mommy-and-me photos.