• Hi! Welcome to ELLENZILLA photography, and thanks for stopping by! My blog is a little bit business, and a little bit personal. My goal is to share with you the girl behind the lens, and give a better insight to my personal photography style.

    I live in Houston, TX, though originally haled from Barnet, England. I love documenting anything I find beautiful in life. I'm obsessed with traveling and capturing my experiences, but capturing fleeting moments of happiness and love from others and sharing these memories with them is a gift I truly love to give. I specialize in portraiture and event photography, but I'm interested in all sorts of things, so please contact me for any reason! I'd love to know more about you, so be sure to say hi! I always love a new friend.

i love my grandma with all my heart

To one of the greatest women I’ve ever known..

My grandmother, Elisabeth “Libby” Johnson, wasn’t just any grandmother. Yes, she was the most loving, inspirational, interesting, beautiful, perfect, quintessential grandma with the sweetest grandma voice, with adorable, little gold shoes, always playing piano and singing songs. Yes, she was the kindest, most thoughtful, loving, generous, most perfect grandmother a girl could ask for – but she was even more than that. Besides being MY grandmother, she was my little celebrity grandma.

While as well as releasing her own album, featuring her impeccable piano skills with her sweet singing – my grandma was also a cover model! You read right. One of the photos I took of her during a trip to visit her in Maine was featured on the local Maine magazine – Bangor Metro – about “Super Seniors”, which my g-ma definitely fit the bill. Not only was she an inspiration to me and my family, now through the magazine, she could also be an inspiration to more.

Cover of the magazine is below:

Just recently I was contacted again about using some photos of her by Getty Images, requesting I submit two photos of her into their collection of stock images. It has been decided that my grandma is the poster child for all grandmas. She just truly is the perfect grandma.

Let’s not forget to mention that my grandma was also a pisces. Those who know me know I am very proud of my pisces-hood and feel a love for my fellow pisces. I always loved that my grandma was a pisces just like me, because I’ve always wanted to be just like her ( and my other grandma, Dorothy “Dot” Bryan and my mom too!). I would love nothing more than being half as great as any of the inspirational women in my life. My grandma was definitely one to admire and I know I am not alone in my admiration for her.

I will miss my grandmother. She was always someone you could easily talk to and just feel the love exude from her. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known. I can’t ever remember her getting mad or raising her voice. Thinking of her makes me smile, and I know I will always have that feeling when thinking of her in the future. There are just the little details about my grandma that I will never forget. Most of all her loving and warm personality. Her kind, gentle voice. Her little jar of candy she kept for us kids by the door at her house on the bay in Maine. Christmases spent with her and Grandpa in Florida. Her singing and playing the piano. One of my favorites was always her song “Christmas is Coming”.  Her vintage glass cups. Her adorable gold shoes. All her letters. Her always encouraging my drawings when I was a kid. Playing piano with her. Her style. Her serene nature. The way that everybody loved her.

I love you, Grandma, with all my heart (something I always wrote in my letters to her). Thank you for the wonderful memories and letting me have you in my life as someone to look up to and learn from. You’ll always be an inspiration to me and I know you are having fun with grandpa and aunt Carolyn and Ginger. But, everything said, I am so devastated the world lost you today.

mom - Ellen that is beautiful!

Lorna Banks - Ellen tt is awonderful tribute to a truly amazing Lady, she wil be sadly missed but she leaves fantastic memeories that can never be taken away,love you, Aunt Lorna xxxx

Christy Tucker - I am so proud of you for having your work published! I know you work really hard, and you put so much of yourself in your work, and it really does pay off. Especially considering how much a of huge heart you have, congratulations, EJ!

ellenzilla - gahhhh this is so sweeeeet!!!! we need coffee stat!!

happy one year anniversary

to…. my red hair!

a year ago today, was a day that changed my life. really, in such a minor way, but the impact has been significant for me. a year ago yesterday, i saw a girl on tv with beautiful bright red hair and decided, why not? i called my friend courtney who has had hot pink hair for years and asked her to help. of course, she was so excited to do so, and came over the very next day before i could change my mind! what she ended up doing was changing my life that day! i definitely feel the vibrant, bright, and bold color has transformed me, more than i could have ever expected. i can’t be shy with this hair, which has been good for me, because i can be fairly shy around new people. when the thought of going red came to my mind, i thought i’d keep it for a month or two, and maybe just try being a blonde again after that. caught by surprise, i am obsessed with it. and i am surprised by how much others like it, that i wouldn’t necessarily expect to – like my mom, and her friends! oh, and let’s not forget the complete strangers that aren’t shy to let me know they love the color.

as a photographer, the color itself is exciting and motivates me to take as many self portraits as i can while i still have this hair color (because i really don’t intend to keep it forever), and to experiment with fashion, and just plain enjoy pretending to be ariel, the little mermaid!  (i heart her!)

so! courtney, i have to thank you for inspiring me to be bigger than i ever thought i could be! THANK YOU! you helped ignite something different in me with your help that day one year ago, and i am forever grateful to you for this. it was your confidence in me that gave me the courage to go for it. you’ve really impacted my life in so many other ways as well, and have always been such a supportive friend to me all the years i’ve known you. you’re the most confident friend that i have – never scared to march to the beat of your own drum, no matter who is watching. that is absolutely my favorite thing about you. i have to say, the small gesture of helping with the task of dying my hair, really will always be a memory i will never forget for it made me grow into a better version of myself. thanks, love.

below are some photos of my hair over the year 🙂 it’s my favorite accessory!
p.s. one photo is desaturated a little, so my hair looks pink instead
p.s. i feel it’s only fair to mention that i DO photoshop my pictures, just like i do for my clients!


Delyssa Joy - This comment has been removed by the author.

Delyssa Joy - i’m in love with you hair! i myself have always wanted to go red, but don’t really know how i would keep up with it. how do you maintain and generally keep up with the awesome redness?

ellenmarie - Hi Delyssa!!

I am a big believer in you only live once, so why not! I mean, unless your employer would disapprove 🙂 It is very hard to maintain, so if that isn’t your thing, it’s something to know! Red fades VERY fast, but I take cold showers and use a lot of dry shampoo to help keep it as long as possible. I retouch it about once every 5 weeks – sometimes longer if I have nothing going on and don’t need to worry about what my hair looks like! But maybe if you go for it, you will find the maintenance worth it, like I do!


Delyssa Joy - It’s always been my dream to have fiery red hair like yours. perhaps i should try it, i’ve done bright red streaks in the past, red is just an amazing color. what products and hair dye to you use?

Anonymous - This color looks amazing on you! What do you use?

holly - This color looks amazing on you! What do you use?

ellenmarie - hi girls! i use a mix of manic panics! mostly pillarbox red and rock and roll red 🙂

Geoff - What a lovely blog Ellen … and the hair (congrats!) talk about an inspirational colour … rich, vibrant … gosh and it suits you too … though I’m thinking you already know all that 🙂

Just stopped by after noticing you’d been to visit my Flickr page recently … thank you … I’ll try and stop by more often 🙂


ellenmarie - Thanks for the comment Geoff! I remember the photo you are talkin about from a peek at your blog – and am now glad I got to take a look at it again! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and great photos!

leaves of my tree - i want my hair this color so bad it hurts. i’ve wanted it for a few years now. i think i’m going to take the plunge and just do it already. you’ve been an inspiration!

ellenmarie - just seeing your comment! i hope you went for it because you only live once! about to hop over to your blog to see for myself if ya did 🙂

Christy Tucker - I think I have a crush on you.. ahem.. I mean your hair! ; )

ellenzilla - oh giiiiirl and “my hair” has a crush on you too 😀

things are getting serious » E L L E N Z I L L A - […] my hair went from it’s natural color to this super bright fire engine red (you may remember last year’s post dedicated to our first anniversary). this is officially 730 daysof red hair. two years ago i […]

mashed potato topped chicken pot pie

yes  it’s 100% amazing

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped celery
2 – 3 cups chicken broth
5 tbsp flour
1 tbsp fresh sage (or you can use 1 tsp dried sage)
1 cup half and half
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn kernels
3 – 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
3 tbsp chicken granules
splash sherry wine
1 large deep dish pie crust
salt and pepper to taste
ingredients for mashed potatoes:
(russet potatoes, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/2 stick butter, salt, pepper to taste)


chop onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to large pan and slowly warm. saute vegetables for around five minutes, until soft. add a splash of sherry wine and chicken stock to add flavor.  add in shredded chicken. sprinkle with salt and pepper. add 5 tablespoons of flour and stir. slowly add chicken stock while stirring until smooth and thickened. add sage. stir about 5 minutes until mixture simmers. pour in half and half.  stir in a few tablespoons of chicken granules. transfer mix into a container and keep refrigerated while you prepare your mashed potatoes.

mashed potatoes
3 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

peel and cut potatoes. cook them in salted water 20 – 30 minutes or until soft. drain potatoes. microwave the butter, heavy cream and sour cream in a safe container for 30 – 60 seconds or until soft and smooth. pour cream over potatoes, add salt and pepper, cheese, and mix with a hand mixer until smooth, light and fluffy.

Pour chicken pie mix into pie crush, and scoop on mashed potatoes on top, carefully smoothing out. I suggest keeping pie pan on a cookie sheet for any bubbling over in the oven.  Sprinkle top of potatoes with salt and pepper.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes at 375. Top will be golden and crust will look done.