Leah O'Connell


My Top 30 of 2020

I'm Leah!

I’m obsessed with stories of family, creativity, and simple joys.  A nostalgia nerd, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I believe life’s most fun when you’re dreaming big and having kitchen dance parties. 

Education and articles for family photographers

TOp categories

FAQ's and guidance for stress-free family and newborn sessions 

Essays, letters, favorites

Highlighted family and newborn photography sessions


This post feels hard to start. Mostly because it was such a hard year in business and life overall. Ya know, global pandemic and all.

So I’ll start with gratitude.

For the families who trusted me to come into their homes.

For the families who let me be one of the only people to meet their newborn babies.

For the ability to meet and celebrate families who look different, act different, parent different, and love different than me, but who still believed I was the one who could capture their story.

For the businesses who called on me to help them boost their image in a year when online presence is more make-or-break than ever.

For the people in years past who have helped me lay building blocks that kept Firefly not only afloat this year, but thriving, and completely debt free.

For those who called on me to capture joy before chemo, the baby they thought they’d never have, the birthday parties where I was the only guest.

For the families who reached out and said “we cherish each other and that feeling is worth capturing.”

For Autumn, who’s grace and patience and diligence behind the scenes kept us rolling through maternity leave, the shutdown, and the busy seasons—serving families with excellence when I was running on fumes from mom-life sans childcare in the name of safety.

For the mere fact that somehow, despite the fact that the early birth of my son and maternity leave led right into the start of the pandemic shutdown so that I could not shoot for the entire first half of the year, we still served almost 70 families, 11 local businesses, 4 large commercial projects, and 1 school.

That’s God, ya’ll.

And it’s you, too. I’m so, so so grateful for YOU – just reading this and cheering us on.


I pulled the following photos of my personal favorites from family and newborn sessions this year – not for a portfolio or even necessarily my best work, but just the ones that made ME feel something.

I can’t always put a finger on it, but I think if you look, you’ll see a common thread.


And interestingly enough, that was my word of the year.

Despite the fact that we’ve never been more distant from some of the ones we love, these photos show that there’s joy, love, and yes, connection in the smallest finger in a curl, in the biggest squeeze around the belly, and the silliest all-teeth laugh— it’s all waiting right in front of us day to day.

Going into a new year, I’ll say thank you a million times to these and all the families who trusted Firefly this year with your precious cargo.

My prayer is that we’ll create many more moments of connection between us in the year to come.

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Hi, I'm Leah.
Family photographer, writer, educator.

I’m  one of the first to meet your newborn baby, the one who won't judge your clothes baskets and unmade beds, and the one who can capture the way your husband looks at you with a twinkle in his eye after 12 years of marriage. I believe in honoring people and telling stories.

I believe art has the power to light up the world in dark places, starting at home.