Get to know your photographer

A bit about me

Hi i'm Leela

I'm a mum and full time Hatfield photographer.

 

You may be feeling a little apprehensive about coming for your photography session, who will be taking your photographs? I know, it's not easy to feel relaxed when someone is pointing a lens in your face, it's hard to really forget about it and just let yourself laugh and smile naturally. For this reason, I thought I would share a little more about myself, so you can get to know me before you get here.

I am a pretty chilled photographer, in fact my mum used to always comment on how laid back I was as a child. During your session you'll find that I always have a smile on my face and i'm happy to be a bit silly - anything for that lovely smile of yours to come out! Actually sometimes I really struggle to keep a strait face anyway, feel free to have a laugh at my expence!

As a mother myself, I understand how precious your children are. I've been through the newborn stage myself, it is hard, theres no denying it! My little girl, Rosanna is almost 2 now (HOW?!) it really does seem as though she was born just a few short months ago, my gosh, I can't even begin to explain how fast those almost 2 years have flown by. But now she's walking and talking and I can't help but melt with pride when I see her confidant personality shining through.

My photography journey started in 2010

I'd love to be able to say that I got my first camera aged 5 and I always knew that I wanted to be a photographer, but for me that really is not the case. When I was younger, I like many other teenagers did not know what I wanted to do with my life and I ended up working stuck in an office for 7 years working in accounts. Not really my idea of fun, actually I hated it, the 9-5 life just isn't for me.

I had however always been quite artistic and had loved arts and crafts at school so when my mum suggested I took a evening photography course I thought why not, it could be fun. It was at this moment that something just clicked for me, that was what I wanted to do! I wanted to be a photographer. I met my best friend Phil (also a photographer) at a shoot in 2010 and after that I basically just tagged along with him and he really has thought be so much about photography. Phil was really in to motorsports so I ended up going with him to many drifting events and photographing suped up cars skidding around various tracks around the uk and Europe, I mean, this was a pretty cool life I have to admit, the social aspect was awesome, the parties and the people I met; but there was one problem, photographing motorsports doesn't really pay very well.

I was lucky enough to be able to go back to college full time when I was 24, I studied the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Photography, it was here that I really excelled and found my love in portraiture and my fascination with people's faces. I left the course with a Triple Distinction Plus, a grade the college up until then did not even know was achievable. I can not explain how proud I am of myself for achieving this, this was by far the highest grade I had ever achieved after being a grade C student at school.

Here are some of my photographs from my final major project, I took these images using a large format film camera, I developed the film myself in the dark room and then scanned the film and edited them using photoshop.

What next?

After college, I tried out university but I got really frustrated as it wasnt hands on enough for me. Who needs to be able to write 10,000 word essays to be a self employed photographer? Na, not for me. I left and started exploring my options. I was already working alongside a couple of very talented wedding photographers but I knew that really I wanted to be working on my own, for myself. When I met my boyrfiend, he really pushed me and made me believe that I could do it. I began my newborn training in 2014, this is an area of photography that requires training. At this point I didnt have any children of my own and as a single child I had never really been around small children. Safety is the upmost most important aspect of newborn photography and not something that anyone should attempt without professional training. I have undertaken various training courses with some of the Uk's best newborn photographers, Tracey Willis and Emma Jane from Little Love Photography, I tuely believe that you can never stop learning which is why I continue to book myself in for extended training. I am due to train with Russ Jackson and Lisa McCormick later on this year.

I have an unhealthy obsession for props, which I think if you ask most newborn photographers it is a common problem! Although I have experimented with my style and I finally feel as though I have found my niche, simplicity. I always just love the simplest photographs.

I now photograph newborns, families, children and dogs and I have my very own garden studio, I couldn't ask for more. I love my job!

My very own little family

My boyfriend and I weren't inseparable at the beginning, it took 7 months before I finally said yes to a date, I thought he was too young, gorgeous, but young. I'm two years older than him. But I soon learnt that I was just being (really) silly as in reality I'm the youngster in the relationship. I bagged myself a toy boy and our love grew stronger everyday. I'll alwasy remember our first real date where he picked me up in a land rover - yep, thats my Charles! We rescued our beloved dog Ruby in 2015. Ruby is a Dogue De Bordeux cross (we think with a German Shepherd), her mum had been dumped at the RSPCA pregnant. Ruby is now 4 and you may get to meet her gorgeous face if you come in to my Hatfield studio for your session. I had been living in London when we met but we soon found this was hard due to his long working hours. Soon after we got Ruby we bought our house and settled in Hatfield. In 2016 we found out we were expecting and in March 2017 we welcomed our baby girl, she was of course two weeks late and we had to have an emergency C section (but thats another story i'll keep for later on). But she was healthy although small, only 6lb 3 at 42 weeks. Having the baby has pushed me more to be able to give her everything she needs, having a child has not stopped my work at all, if anything it has just opened my eyes to the unconditional love that a parent has for their child.

5 random facts about me

I'm half dutch and actually have more family in Holland than I do in the UK.

I LOVE pizza.

I have currently also got 10 chickens and a cockerel, many of which we have bread ourselves - let me know if you fancy some eggs.

My boyfriend, I and a small group of us drove from London to Gambia for charity in 2015, it took us 3 weeks.

I have never broken a bone in my body.

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