Summer Voices | Elsie Larson


We’re on summer holiday and we’ve invited some of our friends to share their voices and projects here over the next 2 weeks. Say hello to Elsie Larson:


Photographing everyday life is one of my biggest creative passions! There is just something so special about capturing the things that make today wonderful. I've been photographing my daily life for nearly ten years and I love looking back on random moments from years past. In the days of film photography people were afraid to "waste" film. They chose to take more posed photos of groups of people and less small memories of each day. We're so lucky to live in the digital age where you can literally take 100 photos on your phone today and only keep your 3 favorites. I always think back to my high school self (who spent a lot of allowance money on packs of film) and imagine how blown away I would be if someone would have told me that in just 10 years time I'd have a phone that took better photos than my camera. The resources we have at our fingertips are truly incredible! Here are 5 tips for capturing your everyday life...


1. When In Doubt, Bring Your Camera.  I try to bring my digital SLR with me as much as possible. There are so many random photos that I would have missed if I hadn't been lugging my Canon with me everywhere I go. I have quite a few camera bags to switch out (some that double as purses) and that's super helpful! It's always easier to leave it at home, but I'm determined not to let any dust collect on my camera. I never regret bringing it along!


Here's a photo that I captured this week while at lunch with my sister. I loved the way the light was coming through the blinds. It's always worth it to bring your camera and when that's not possible, rely on your phone camera!



2. Zoom In Instead of focusing only on wide shots of people, take time to zoom in and capture little details! Each day there are countless expressions, moments and pretty vignettes in your life that you might not remember if you don't caputure them. Always remember to zoom in and photograph the little things you love in life!


I love this photo. Even though it doesn't show our faces it communicates a lot!


This photo from our home tour was my favorite because it captures the happy vibe of our home on a lazy morning.


3. Be Weird There are little things that make you unique. Be sure to document these quirks and special qualities! The photo above was taken the morning after Jeremy proposed to me. We get coffee together almost every morning, but this morning was extra special! I am glad I have this photo and it means more to me than most of the posed photos we took that day. One of my family members even commented that it was "kinda weird", but what matters is that it tells a little piece of our story!



Step outside the box of getting a "good photo" and try to capture something really personal. This photo of my grandfather riding his bike is one of my favorites because we used to ride bikes together when I was little. It means more to me than most of the smiling/posed photos we have together because it evokes a memory.


4. Cell Phone Photos Are A-O.K.!

Cell phone photos have completely changed the photography world in the past five years. The quality has quickly gone from something you couldn't really print to something that, at times, rivals traditional photography. It's pretty exciting! I often post cell phone photos on my blog and have a basket of them printed out on my coffee table (I shared about ways I display iPhone photos in my home here). There is nothing wrong with using your phone as your secondary, or even primary, camera! It's a great way to capture everyday life because it's always with you.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from this past month, via my iPhone...





These little things might have gone undocumented had I not had my phone at my side.


5. There Is No Such Thing As A "Wasted" Photo When in doubt, snap the photo!

The above photo was taken in an airport while we waited for a flight. I asked Jeremy to hold up his coffee because it said "Jerry". To my delight the photo that resulted is one of my favorite random photos of him. Sometimes the most unlikely moments can produce the most special images!


This photo was snapped by one of our pals during our first month dating. It looks very posed, but it wasn't. It was just a random little snapshot that turned out to be one of our most cherished memories of our early relationship! Sometimes the smallest moments can mean so much more later on. This is why there is no such thing as a "wasted" photo!

I hope you've picked up a few helpful hints from this article. Taking everyday life photos is one of the healthiest creative habits to excercise. If you're not currently in this routine, why not try some today?

xo. elsie

Photo Credits: All Photos by Elsie Larson + Emma Chapman except coffee shop photos by Kelli Trontel and home tour photo by Janae Hardy.

ABOUT ELSIE | Elsie and her sister Emma are the creative minds behind A Beautiful Mess: a lifestyle blog focused on creating a beautiful life. They share simple ways to create an inspired lifestyle. They believe in taking time each day to make something pretty. They believe in lifelong learning. Most of all, They believe that life doesn't need to be perfect to be beautiful.  On A Beautiful Mess you'll find daily inpiration for crafts, recipes, fashion and decor. They love sharing projects that make life a little bit sweeter.

CONNECT WITH ELSIE | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

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 Studio Calico fits any lifestyle with the combination of digital items, unique scrapbooking and Project Life products, and classes.

We invite you to make your own wall art, scrapbook page, or Project Life card with this file ,  free to Ali's readers.
CONNECT | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Blog


18 thoughts

  1. Jo-Anne from ZA

    2013-07-31 06:26:16 -0400

    Awesome stuff ladies:-) Really enjoyed your post and FAB RAD pictures!!

  2. J3SS1C4

    2013-07-31 07:01:22 -0400

    Great tips! I love ABM blog, and they always have great photography posts on there! I noticed the download at the end of the post for Studio Calico doesn't seem to work though.

  3. Lisa W.

    2013-07-31 07:53:35 -0400

    LOVE this...I like how you "see" things through your lens. I "see" all the little things to, AND some people I can tell think I take strange ones. But we know they usually end up being our faves. I was tickled too at the end of your post because I thought I knew you, YEP I follow your blog:) Thank you for the great post!!!

  4. Lisa W.

    2013-07-31 07:55:29 -0400

    Is anybody else also getting the "error" page not found when you try to go into the file free to Ali readers???

  5. Cristina

    2013-07-31 07:58:20 -0400

    I love the prints, but the link doesn't work, hope it gets fixed!

  6. Shayne

    2013-07-31 08:16:36 -0400

    love the different angles and often no faces in pics - must do this more often! Great tips. And yup, getting error msg too :(

  7. P.J.

    2013-07-31 11:18:49 -0400

    Thank you for reminding me to take photos of what makes our family unique. I just went around our house and took about 5 photos....the first big harvest of the garden's tomatoes, my 26 years old daughter's favorite doll as a toddler that I found while cleaning a closet, and the CD player to listen to books while I put the house in order.
    Thanks again.

  8. Jessica @The Mom Creative

    2013-07-31 11:23:50 -0400

    I too tried downloading the file through Studio Calico, but the link seems to be bad that is sent in the confirmation email.

  9. Christie

    2013-07-31 11:43:45 -0400

    I can't get it to work either. Hopefully they will fix it soon. Thanks for the freebie!

  10. Mary

    2013-07-31 11:45:38 -0400

    This is so great - thank you! and wonderful seeing Elsie again!

  11. TracyBzz

    2013-07-31 11:52:40 -0400

    Elsie, great guest post. I can't wait for your Beautiful Mess app to be available for Android users.

  12. wendy

    2013-07-31 12:56:58 -0400

    He looks like Giovanni ribisi!

  13. Cynthia Michener

    2013-07-31 13:32:01 -0400

    Hi. the link does not work either. All i got is PDF icon. :o/

  14. lee

    2013-07-31 15:03:53 -0400

    #1 on your list is a great reminder! I occasionally wonder if it's worth always making sure I have my camera with me - and then on the rare occasion when I don't have something (either my point-and-shoot or my DSLR), that's when I want it. =)

  15. Tracey

    2013-07-31 18:01:43 -0400

    Ali thanks so much for this post. I'm away from home for the next four days on a) my first ever business trip b) for the first job outside my own company in 10 years and c) for two days of just husband/childless visit to the city.

    I'm starting to use this advice right now to document my trip. Thanks for the inspiration you give.

  16. Nanda

    2013-08-01 10:05:53 -0400

    OMG, I didn't know that Studio Callico has digital products too! I love project life and I make mine in digital. Thanks for sharing.
    By the way, Elsie is a inspiration of joy and ways to document life. Love her.

  17. Tiffany

    2013-08-05 11:16:18 -0400

    I just went to go download the SC file and it is gone-any way to still get it?

  18. Jessica Kubit

    2013-08-06 11:52:10 -0400

    I would love the file as well. Tried to download and it's gone?
    Please help!

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