Lea Black is all about helping women achieve their goals. That’s why she’s made it her mission to photograph amazing women from across the world to not only share their beauty, but also their passion and story with everyone. With a portfolio that is worthy of Times Magazine, this lady has a promising career. We were lucky enough to have her give us a few minutes of her time in between shoots to tell us how it all started and what she’s hoping to accomplish through her pictures.I
BWR: What inspired you to go into photography?
Lea: The first time I picked up a camera, I was in high school. I had already taken several art classes and I became obsessed with the speed and precision I could compose an image in, compared to the time it took to complete a piece of artwork. I loved that I could apply every artistic principle I had learned in class to the new medium. My style and taste has evolved over the years. But the thing that has remained constant has been the joy I feel when interacting with the subjects I photograph. The dynamic experience of genuine connection and interaction between us. And then in return, that same dynamic experience reflected and preserved in that image, to be experienced every time you look at it.
BWR: Your pictures are of women from around the world. Why photograph only women?
Lea: At it’s foundation, I photograph women because I am a woman and can relate to women. I’m a mother and an entrepreneur. I know the ins and outs of these journeys intimately. Therefore, I feel confident facilitating, troubleshooting, and relating to these areas which contribute to my ability to direct shoots. I saw a need for photographing women who contribute amazing things to the world all through their unique creative genius. Captivating pictures create the power to bring the amazing work of these women to greater success in the world by establishing authentic connection, credibility, and clarity with targeted audiences.
BWR: What is your number one marketing strategy?
Lea: Most of my business has been generated through organic social media posts, and then in turn word of mouth referrals. I have tried a lot of different approaches within social media and notice that the posts that have the most engagement are not the ones I over-analyze, but the ones that are “off the cuff” and raw. I once read a blogger’s email that noted that there might be typos in his work, but he didn’t care. The point being that “done is better than perfect” and from the evidence of my experience, I would agree. Another really wonderful thing about photography is that the medium does a lot of marketing for itself. The photos either resonate with you, or they don’t. Telling a story adjacent to the imagery catalyzes a connection with the viewer, so that is what I am focusing on in my marketing now.
BWR: What would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your professional career and how did you overcome it?
Lea: I think the desire to fit in and “get it right” has been the biggest internal challenge so far. Trusting yourself and admiring others’ work without getting sucked into comparison is key. A game changing perspective shift was to look at comparison in a whole new way. When we are “doing” comparison, we are not acknowledging the contribution that we are to the world. Now I look at others’ work as a contribution to inform and inspire my art, but don’t look at it as a way to measure myself.
BWR: We’ve had a look at your portfolio and a lot of your pictures show great emotions from your subjects. How do you manage to make your clients feel comfortable enough in front of the camera so they can express their vulnerability and emotions?
Lea: We all desire to be seen in our authenticity and appreciated for the unique beings that we are. I work to create an environment where my clients can let loose and be themselves. We are our best selves when we’re having fun! Everyone is different. So, I read the energy of the room and ask how to create a comfortable environment. Sometimes it’s asking people to remember how they felt when they held their child for the first time. Or me doing a goofy dance to generate some laughter. I’m willing to do whatever it takes! Also, I have intentionally stepped in front of the camera to put myself in their shoes. I know it can feel extremely vulnerable to be in front of the lens and then to open up and let the real you shine. So I remember that when I am interacting with my people.
BWR: Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you wish you would have done differently?
Lea: The best quote I have heard regarding this is “regret is wasted now”. Now is the only time we have. So, if we are head-tripping about the past or the future, we lose the power of the moment. I try my best to look at situations that didn’t go so well as gems to inform how I would like to do things in the future- and run with it!
BWR: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date? What are you most proud of?
Lea: I have been featured in some amazing news outlets and had the opportunity to speak on some amazing platforms, which was really exciting! Truthfully, the the most rewarding “accomplishment” as a creative has not been one big moment but rather the small ones. Often times unseen by the outside world, connecting with people and being in the zone of creation. Being in the creative zone is what rings my bells!
BWR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What is your main goal?
Lea: We are an international family. I’m originally from Idaho and my partner originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. We plan on splitting our time between the continents. My dream is to connect mamas and entrepreneurs around the world through photography that reflects the amazing things they are contributing to creating new possibilities!
To find out more about Lea and see her amazing pictures, make sure to follow her on Instagram @leablackphotography
Photo Credits: Genuine Photography & Lyra Lee Photography