About Michelle Ellsworth

My Story

Heaven only takes a few children… Time takes them all.



Hello lovelies! My name is Michelle Ellsworth and I am a Utah photographer.

You will never meet a photographer with the same conviction as I do about the importance of portraits. Be prepared, this is a sad story but don't be sad for me. So much good has come from what you are about to read.

I started my career as a Salt Lake City, Utah photographer on April 20th, 2006. I was awoken from a dead sleep with an impression I needed to start my photography business at 4:00am.  I thought I had mentally lost it because I had two boys under two years old. Talk about temporary insanity. I had learned on film in college and so I stayed up purchasing my first digital camera. I started my website, brainstormed the name of my business and decided it was time to begin pursuing my passion for portraiture.

Not even twelve hours later, my oldest son James, fell from a second story window. Five hours after that, the fall took his life. That is likely hard for you to read. Trust me, it's hard for me to write.

I don’t tell you that for pity or attention. I tell you that because I know from experience how important family portraits are.

I understand how invaluable the opportunity is to capture your memories. Once it is gone, it is gone.

The thing is, you don’t know how priceless something is until the opportunity is lost. When an opportunity is lost that is when you really know how valuable that thing is.  There is no price tag I would not pay to get back another day with my wild infant child to capture his everything.

That is when I discovered that the opportunity is actually lost for everyone. Most people lose the opportunity moment by moment, month by month and year after year. Time is a thief that steals your child right in front of your eyes. It goes by so slowly most don’t even realize they are losing the chance until it is gone.

I dove into my portrait work as an escape from my grief. My clients over the years have been a massive part of my journey in healing my heart. I can’t even tell you how many times I have left sessions overflowing with joy and gratitude to do something that meant so much to me. It was how I stayed connected to my son, knowing I was giving to others what I wished I could give to myself.

My sons death was tragic but it also led to some of the greatest blessings I would ever receive. It ruined me and built me in ways I cannot explain. The experience gave me a perspective on what really matters in life I could not have received in any other way.

It became my mission to give to others more than just the perfect portrait but the stories and the spirit behind the smiles. I have developed my style primarily around this realization. I set out on a mission to give to others what I so badly wished I could give to myself.

You, my clients, gave me a reason to smile again. Quite literally I would leave my home for a photo shoot in tears of pain and longing and come home invigorated, happy and grateful to be alive. Getting children to giggle put a smile on my heart I couldn't muster for myself.

To get personal (as if I am just now getting personal. HAHA), in those days when I’d find myself falling into the abyss of grief, I’d pull images up on my computer only to see bright shining faces smiling at me. It made me smile right back.

I couldn’t make a two year old smile if I was crying, so essentially my photo shoots would bring out the real me; goofy, happy and silly and for a moment I would escape what was missing in my life.

I met a gal once who knew my story. As tears filled her eyes she said,
“Why do bad things happen to good people?
My response?
“So that Good things can happen to the world.”

The only thing that made my pain feel better was finding a way to serve. It has been my saving grace. It has been my medication. It gave me my reason to start living again. I looked around me and realized that every charity, every good cause almost ALWAYS had a foundation of tragedy that spurred the movement.

This my friends is where the Good Grief Project was started. For every client who hires Ellsworth Portraits as their Utah Photographer and invests over three thousand dollars, together we gift a family who has lost a child a Good Grief Photo Shoot. You essentially are participating in a non profit by simply choosing to have your masterpieces created by mwah.

Family portraits are one of the hardest hurdles a family faces after their child passes on.

The Good Grief Photo Shoot is a session designed around the child in heaven. You may not be able to see them in the portraits, but you can feel them. We give families permission to remember their child during their shoot. With every Good Grief session, we gift a gorgeous walnut 5×7 keepsake box for the families to store their child’s earthly treasures. I keep my sons locket of curly hair in mine. We typically photograph these sacred sessions at the cemetery or some other sentimental location on a special day like a birthday or angelversary.

If there is one thing I have learned since 2006, it is this; life is too short to stop living, even when life doesn’t seem worth living for.

The answer my friends to want to end it al is service. Thank you for letting me serve.

My entire mission as a luxury Utah Photographer is centered in giving you what I wished I could give to myself. I truly know the most priceless possessions you could ever invest in are your memories, love and relationships.

At Ellsworth Portraits I don’t just create portraits in my sessions, together we create connection and heal hearts. Together, we create art out of your love and heal the hearts of those facing the hardest challenge of life.

I don’t know of anything more beautiful to hang on the walls inside of your home than the love you have nurtured within those same walls. I would love to chat with you to see if we are the right fit to work together. Much love and remember, life is precious. There is no time to waste.

My career has been a direct blessing from God. You have been a blessing to me, far more than you could ever possibly imagine. To say I am glad you are here would be an understatement.



Michelle Ellsworth

My sweet baby James in heaven, angel baby studio photo

Contact Me!



testimonials for Ellsworth portraits


Brittany K.

“I recently experienced one of the most magical events with my kids. It was so special that it will be added to my very small list of every-year Christmas traditions. The photo shoot is not ‘just a photo shoot’, it was a 30-minute walk through my kids’ imagination and wonder.”

01 / 03