A warm SnapKnot welcome to one of our most recent Santa Barbara wedding photographers. Check out some more about Leah of Leah Valentine Photography and her funky wedding photos, which she likes to consider to be both traditional and modern at the same time.
“I love the more modern journalistic approach to photography, so I have made an effort to make sure my clients always receive a mix of traditional as well as funky and modern images that give them a variety of true artwork for their home.”
Tell us a bit about yourself. I have lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arkansas, Virginia, Australia, and now I’m a brand new Californian. Though sometimes I wish I could still be living outside of Philly, I have always been thankful at how much cultural understanding has been afforded to me living all over the country (and the world).
I graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas with a BA in Psychology, after which I began working at United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area in Charlottesville, VA. Though I enjoyed serving my community, I knew my true calling laid elsewhere and in 2008 I made the life altering decision to follow a photography career.
Why did you choose to become a photographer? I have always loved photography. Seriously, but it never crossed my mind to become a professional photographer. Then in the summer of 2008 my husband suggested we buy a DSLR. Holy cow, when I got my fingers on that camera things went crazy! One day I saw local legend and award-winning photographer, Jim Carpenter, at an event. At the behest of my friend, I sheepishly approached him to “talk shop”. His kindness and excitement for me as a fellow photographer shocked me. Through his encouragement and training it became clear my once crazy idea could really become my career.
How long have you been a photographer? I started shooting professionally in 2008, but I have been a photography enthusiast my whole life. Even as a child I was obsessed with taking pictures using my little Mini Mouse camera. My formal education with film and darkroom work began with high school and college courses, after which my true understanding of being a professional photographer began when I apprenticed with Jim Carpenter.
How would you classify your style of photography? I like to think I’m a cross between traditional and funky modern. My training began with Jim Carpenter, who is an amazing traditional photograph. I learned so much of what is needed to make a technically great photograph. However, I also love the more modern journalistic approach to photography, so I have made an effort to make sure my clients always receive a mix of traditional as well as funky and modern images that give them a variety of true artwork for their home.
Who or what are some of your influences on either personal or professional level? Well as I’ve said, Jim Carpenter was a major influence on my traditional training. More recently I have started some training with Salvatore Cincotta and have learned a more modern artwork approach to photography. In addition, I am very lucky to have so many amazing people around me personally who influence me every day making me strive to always be the best photographer and business woman I can be in order to best serve my clients.
Do you have any good wedding stories? Wow, that’s a loaded question. Nothing particular comes to mind at the moment. I do have to say though I have been lucky enough to always work with such amazing couples. Not only are they a joy to work with, they are always a lot of fun at receptions. It’s pretty amazing when your job never really feels like work!
What’s your preferred type of camera equipment? I have been a Canon girl ever since high school. I love shooting with my 70-200 lens as it allows for so much variety and can give such a beautiful blurred background.
What would you recommend for a couple just starting their search for a wedding photographer? Of course budget is always a top concern, but I have to say don’t base your search 100% on cost. Find some favorites and set up meetings. I find I learn so much about my clients (and hopefully they learn a lot about me) just over a cup of coffee, and you can really see how well you would work together. Remember you want to work with someone who not only is technically sound, but also knows how a wedding day functions and can work well with your family and friends.
Any fun personal facts we should know about you? I love to eat. Seriously. Especially little Amaretto cookies from Vaccaro’s in Baltimore. I feel like I should advertise for them…oh wait, I just did! My dance moves are what legends are made of….good or bad, the jury is still out. Even living on the west coast I remain an avid Broad Street Bullies fan. GO FLYERS! After four years of college ball, I still play soccer. Albeit, much slower these days. I am a third generation Italian-American who is still working on perfecting my version of the family’s signature summer dish, spaghetti and crabs. I always love a good adventure!
To see more funky wedding photos, visit Leah Valentine’s SnapKnot profile.