I often get asked how I got into photography and the simple answer is my boys. Without them I might never have picked up a camera in the first place.
When my eldest was brand new I would look around online (mainly in the middle of night, when I was up either feeding or rocking my boy to sleep) and see all these beautiful images of babies. Friends were getting professional shots done of their little ones and all I could get was blurry phone images! All of which are incredibly precious, but they weren't what I was seeing and thought I wanted. I did eventually go into a photographers studio and was so disappointed with the images I didn't even purchase one! So when, my eldest was about 6 months old I picked up our old Olympus point and shoot, laid my son on a blanket in the garden and started taking pictures. They were far from perfect but from that moment I fell in love with taking images. The camera came almost everywhere and, although it never came off auto, I was more than happy with the results.
As time went on I slowly became more serious about getting better at taking pictures. Fueled by other images that I could see in places like Clickin Moms, Instagram and Pinterest, I turned to the manual control on my camera and took a few short courses. At around the same time, our second little man entered our lives and I decided to give a 365 project a go. Committing to taking a picture everyday threw me into continuous growth. I had to challenge myself to get the look or image I was after and although I would often really dislike the pictures I took, people were starting to take notice and comment on how much they liked them. I started to grow in confidence and simply kept at it. It was like photography was a drug I just had to have, I literally couldn't put the camera down, no matter how frustrated and disappointed I might get by the results. I didn't complete my 365, I think I lost momentum at about day 280, but that was enough. I could look back and see the growth in just those 280 days. It made the journey worthwhile and I knew there was no going back. The camera had become a part of me.
I had, however, never planned to make photography a career. It had crossed my mind but I never really believed I would be good enough until a very dear friend, Kelly, asked me to take some pictures of her and her horse Lakota. The results were far from perfect but I could finally see where I was going and she absolutely loved them. I realised that despite my imperfections I could clearly see what I needed to work on and that, although technically imperfect, it was the connection and the love between them that I had managed to capture. It was the ingredient that I loved the most about the images I make of my boys. It was emotion, joy, sadness, anger, it was all that made them them! I realised that technically perfect photos are just a small part of making a good picture, that being able to capture the soul was far more important. It was the soul that I felt I had captured with Kelly and Lakota, along with the images I had long been collecting of my boys. I realised I had this and if I wanted to, I could get it for other people too!
So, slowly I dipped my toe in the water and did a few shoots with friends. I knew after the first one that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to capture the magic for other people too! And here I am, on this crazy little adventure of mine - Leila Balin Photography. I know that with each client, I learn something new, I gain a little confidence and I go into the next one a better photographer for it. I meet new friends, capture beautiful memories for these new friends and have a blast while I am at it. I feel like the luckiest girl alive!
Photography is my why. Without it I would be quite lost and without my boys (hubby included!) I wouldn't have it at all. I love you all to the moon, beyond and back again!!!