I’ve made a few purchases recently, one of them being my new Canon 7D. I’m so thrilled to have this wonderful equipment to help me photograph better. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to play around with it recently, but here are a few shots I’ve been able to take with it!

These were taken last Friday on my younger sister’s birthday. We drove an hour to go to Buffalo Wild Wings for our celebration.



IMG_1755 (2)


{photography} ~ new camera

{photography} ~ Mr. and Mrs. Lester

This past summer I was honored to photograph the wedding of a close friend of the family. Not only is she my mom’s best friend and mother of my sister’s best friend, but throughout the years she has been a wonderful role model and influence on me.

Here are some of the photos from the day—



My mom was one of the bridesmaids! She is the one on the right–ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

 Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Lester!


{photography} ~ the best way to learn

In my last blog post (and yes, I know. I expected it to be much sooner than 10 days later), I mentioned that my professor was fantastic in the way he taught us how to use our cameras. Many of the assignments that he created required us to play around and use different settings to see how it would change the picture.

For example, in the photos to the right, he asked us to take one photo with the aperture stopped all the way down so that it was the smallest opening it could be (top image). Then he told us to open the aperture all the way up as wide as possible (bottom image).

Because this experiment changes how much light is allowed into the camera to make the image, some other settings needed to change. In the first example, when the hole is extremely tiny, it doesn’t let all that much light in. Therefore, in order to get a well exposed photo, you must extend the shutter speed. Now, I know that 1/8 of a second seems like an extremely short period of time. But it’s actually not when you’re talking about photography. The camera can move quite a bit during a tiny fraction of a time, so in this photo I was literally laying on the ground to look in the viewfinder because I set the camera on the ground.

Then, with the photo below, I changed the settings so the opening in the lens was as large as it could be. Since I did that, I therefore must also adjust the settings so that it won’t just be a completely white photo- when too much light gets in. In order to do this, you make the time that the lens is open extremely short- or 1/1600th of a second.

Next, I did this same experiment with our garden hose. We were actually supposed to do it with a fountain, but the day this was due I was stranded at home without a car and couldn’t get to a fountain, but the garden hose worked just fine.

Now, for the image on the left, I wanted the water to look blurred and smooth. In order to do this I needed to focus on having a long shutter speed, so that the camera would capture the photo over a longer period of time, in this case, it was 1/4 of a second. Since this was so long, I had to adjust the size of the aperture so that it wouldn’t let so much light in (f/20).

As a second example, I wanted to freeze the water in the image to the right, which meant I needed an extremely fast shutter speed to capture the motion for a split second, in this case, 1/1600sec. And, just as above, I had to adjust the aperture to make sure that I had the correct exposure (f/1.4)

Notice with these to photos, one of them allows the background to be in focus (when the aperture size is extremely small), while the other creates a beautiful hazy and blurry background (f/1.4) This is what photographers are meaning when they talk about depth of field. The image on the right is said to have “shallow depth of field.”

Now, let’s move back to the photo of the flowers. Notice that my goal for these photos was the focus. Because I was aiming for one image with a clearer background and one with a blurry background, my primary setting was the aperture. I set that to what was necessary for the desired image and then I balanced all the other settings with that selection.

In the images of the water from the hose, I was focused primarily on shutter speed because I wanted to freeze the action in one, while in the other I wanted to show its motion. So, I set the shutter speed and adjusted all the other settings to match that.

Well, that’s just a basic introduction, but it was certainly one of my favorite assignments because of the self-discovery focus on how we were to learn these concepts.



{photography} ~ a day in the city

theme: structure

theme: structure

For the first week of my photography course (in case you didn’t see my last post, check it out here) I had to take photos of things reflecting “structure” and “yesteryear”. This week we learned the basics of composition such as the rule of thirds, framing, etc.

At the beginning of the course I was pretty enthusiastic (and way too optimistic) about going to great locations for my assignments. So, for this first one– what better place than the state capitol building to fulfill both of those requirements?

I dragged my lovely older sister, Emily down with me. I think I told her it was so I could get shots of her, but it was more true that I just didn’t want to go alone. But I’m definitely glad I brought her because I got some great ones of her too!

theme: yesteryear

At one point during the evening a guy came up to us, he was probably about my age I guess, and said that we really should be careful about taking pictures by the Capitol building because it was really more serious than people think and that people are watching. It seemed to me that he was really meaning  that super secret things happen in the building by the windows and I could get a picture of it and that if I got too close to uncovering something then a bunch of black SUVs would come up and surround me and take me away. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much White Collar and Covert Affairs. But seriously, that’s what it sounded like he was saying.

Even so, Em and I didn’t change our approach. We just kept walking, her being a great sport and me taking pictures of almost everything I could see. Every once in a while there would be an awesome patch of light and I’d make her go stand in it. 

After a little walking around we were losing the sun, but I was pretty content with the photos I got. I can’t get enough of Harrisburg through my camera lens. It’s not “THE city” as everyone else means, but that’s how I definitely think of it. And I know there really isn’t much to do there, but I still love it- the history, the architecture, the pretty picture-taking places. And I’m certainly content to continue venturing there for more pictures.

Hasta mañana,


{photography} ~ a month in review

Well, today I turned in all three parts of the final for my first ever online course. It was a 3 credit class through Grove City College, so I didn’t have to worry about transferring credits and I met my professor and all my coursemates at a mandatory meeting before school ended for the summer. When I signed up, I didn’t really know how it would go. I had no clue what to expect. I just wanted to take a photography class and didn’t really care about anything else.

Seriously– what’s better than getting 3 college credits for doing something you LOVE… something that, even though you spend 14 hours of a Friday working on an assignment, refusing to go to bed until it’s done? Ummm, not really much else.

Turned out I couldn’t have organized the class much better. There were 4 weeks of classes. All assignments were due on Friday, so I usually did all the reading on Monday, watched all the lectures on Tuesday, and then practiced for the rest of the week so I’d have a bunch of options when selecting what photos to turn in.

Our professor did a great job. We met on campus before we left in May, and he said right there and then that we needed to read our camera manuals because there was no way that he would know how to use every camera out there, especially for us Canon lovers (He uses Nikon… boo!!). Turns out- it was great! He showed us in demos how to do certain photoshop actions, or what types of settings to use in order to get a specific look (more on those later!), but then he had us go DO it. He taught us and then let us go to figure it out and explore on our own. To be honest, because he taught this way, I’ll probably remember more from this course than any other. (Ok and maybe, just  maybe I’ll remember it because I love photography so much)

In the coming week (hopefully… I know I’ve been a slacker) I’ll be going through some of the different things I’ve learned throughout this course. But for now I’d better go get some reading done for my business law class that started this week (for some reason I’m not as excited for this one…)

Until next time,


P.S. I’ll leave you with the project I spent 14 hours on yesterday. Wix is a fantastic (free!) site for those of us who are aspiring to become great photographers, but don’t have consistent enough jobs that we are making enough to pay for expenses, equipment, AND a website. So here’s mine~ Erin Elle Photography

{photography} ~ my inspiration

I know that I can do better. I know that I have a long way to grow both as a photographer and as a person. Throughout the years I have come so far. I have grown so much through reading (and more reading) on photography- photography books from the library and blog posts of my favorite photographers (J*, JP Elario, Simply Bloom Photography, and many others).

I’ve also learned so much through friends I have made. First and foremost, Julie Story is amazing. I don’t have any idea how I did, but somehow I stumbled across her Facebook page. I shot her a friend request and not only did she respond with a quick yes, she invited me to join a group called Pursuit 31, (created by the super talented Karen Scott), which I believe began as a Facebook group,  “a place for ladies to talk about photography, life, and Jesus.” Since then, I believe there has been a conference, many get-togethers, and lots of encouragement. Truth is, I’m one of the younger ones in the group. And while I don’t necessarily take part in a lot of the conversations, I have learned so much through them.

Not only did Julie add me to this group, she began a Facebook message conversation that has continued to this day. She helped me decide a name for my business (which I will explain another time), has encouraged me and sent me an extremely generous gift that I hope to share soon.

Another great friend I have is Jaime Pollock of Rare Love Photography. Interestingly, I didn’t meet her through photography. She was my boss at Cold Stone Creamery all through high school and into college. A few summers ago when she was starting to think about going into business with photography, she invited me on a photoshoot with her- and I had such a great time. I learned so much from shadowing someone else. She has also encouraged me so much throughout the years to pursue photography.

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Lizzy Gregg of Sewickley Photography. We met through her dad actually- I’m currently a student at Grove City College, where her dad is a part-time professor that I had for my Intro to Marketing course during my first semester at college. Throughout the past year and a half that I have had the pleasure of knowing her and following her blog, we have been able to get together for coffee and exchange many emails and phone calls. She has been such a fantastic encouragement to me as I grow as a photographer.

All that being said, I know I have so much more growing to do. I thank each and every one of these individuals for encouraging me, teaching me, and leading me– whether they knew they did or not! I am so grateful for the impact they have had on me.