Below are a couple of drawings I did from photos in 1994 and 2002.
The first is a girl I drew from a Freshmen art class. Kinda all over the place with this one. Hand size, eye placement, etc.. But I noticed I changed a few things from the picture, I believe to make it a bit different than the original, so I don't think I was going for complete realism. Either way, it's not a bad effort, especially for an art project around 1994.
Below is from a magazine I decided to draw (and for some reason to make an elf?!?) This was drawn in 2002. The differences from the above submission to this one are quite noticeable. While not 100% my best work, I think it shows promise and not a bad job with shading. I know the cheekbones and eyes are a bit exaggerated, but I actually think that's what I like the most.