Meet Leila from Leila Karaze Photography

When and how did you ‘fall into’ the photography business?
After graduating from Ohio State with my BFA in Photography, I knew I wanted to do more than just work my 8-5 full time job. On the weekends I was shooting engagement sessions, family and senior portraits, and newborns, but always wanted to dip into weddings. A friend of mine who shot weddings had offered to let me second shoot one with her, and from there I fell in love with capturing couples on their most special day!


What do you believe wedding photography should be about?
Preserving each moment to last a lifetime. The wedding day will go fast...really fast. It is my job to capture every little detail and emotion, so that my couples can look back at their photos and really feel those moments.

When did you decide to do weddings – and was there ever a question not to shoot weddings?
I jumped into shooting weddings 3 years ago. I asked myself if I was taking on too much, how would I be able to edit these weddings in a decent turn around time while also working a full time job. But you know what? It worked out. I created a timeline and editing schedule for myself that I follow for every wedding I shoot, and usually end up delivering images early to my clients!

What do you love about weddings?
Details! From the invitation suite, to the florals, cake, and table arrangements, I love it all!

What is your favorite moment during a wedding?
When I get the bride and groom alone for portraits!

Which moment do you think is the most ‘valuable moment’ to capture during a wedding day?
Well, that’s easy, because some of my favorite photos are always when the bride and groom see each other for the first time! Whether they chose to have a first look, or wait until the ceremony, it’s one of the most emotional moments during the entire day.

Do you ever get emotional shooting a wedding?
Ooooh boy, I sure do! The father-daughter dance, it never fails to make me cry (happy tears of course).

What is your strength, both in photography, and in life?
Organization. I don’t think you can ever be too organized. It allows me to balance my time outside of working because I never feel stressed about editing timelines.

What makes your heart skip a beat – both professionally and private?
Shooting with my Pentax 645n film camera. There’s just something about being able to touch the film and see what I can create from it.

What is your ambition and your goals for your business in the long run?
To work for myself 100% and never have to worry about an 8-5 job. I also shot my first destination wedding last year and would LOVE to shoot many more!

Where did you learn to take photos?
I actually taught myself at a young age, playing with all sorts of digital and film cameras. My first film camera was a Minolta 35mm, I probably ruined a handful of rolls of film before finally realizing how to properly expose an image!

What advice would you give to someone new in the business?
Never compare yourself to another photographer. Learn from them, but don’t discourage yourself. There will always be creatives out there who have more experience and a different take on shooting weddings. Stay focused on what makes you happy and stay true to your own brand. Know that you will attract the right clients who appreciate your work based on your style!

Who or what makes you laugh really hard?
My dog. She is so wild and has such a quirky personality!

What do you take away from the weddings you shoot?
I’ve realized that no matter which venue a couple is getting married at, and whether or not I have shot there before, no two weddings will ever be the same.

What is your inspiration in life – professionally and private?
I follow a ton of extremely creative and talented photographers, bloggers, and designers from all over the world. Living in one place your entire life can sometimes seem limiting, so my husband and I have goals of traveling all over the world together and photographing couples every place we visit! Ireland is next on our list!

How important is marketing in photography and how do you do it?
I think marketing is important, but you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money to promote your brand. Personally, all of my marketing is most successfully done through word of mouth and social media platforms. By establishing strong relationships with my couples, it has really helped boost my business!