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Photographer Brian Leahy Finds His Niche in Wedding Photography

By Pamela Sosnowski

Early in his photography career, Brian Leahy shot all kinds of subjects, from food to dogs to Hollywood nightclub goers. But before long, he discovered that photographing weddings and preserving the love and celebration in those photos was his true passion. Based in Santa Monica, Leahy works mostly locally but has traveled all over the world to capture the hidden moments during a couple's big day.

"After a few years of trying my hand at such a wide variety of specialties, I realized how much I loved photographing weddings," he said. Who doesn't look going to a huge party every weekend? About six years ago I cut out everything else to fully concentrate on weddings. I now shoot about 25 weddings per year, about half in Southern California; the other half, destination weddings across the country and world."

A self-proclaimed California guy, Leahy originally hails from Tucson and didn't really use a camera until he started to travel after college and received compliments from friends on the quality of his trip photos. Photography was originally just going to be a hobby until his aunt introduced him to a food photographer friend based in Culver City. While interning with her and learning all of the ropes about photography he fell in love with California and its energy.

Leahy thrives not just on chronicling a couple's union, but also preserving the spontaneity that not everyone attending the wedding will actually see, such as the bride getting ready with her bridesmaids and mother, or the father/daughter dance.

"I'd describe my photography as real, candid, and vibrant," he said. "For me it's more about the moments than anything, so the authentic emotions and feelings are what I strive to capture. I don't really go for a fashion-y or over-posed look as I want to make sure my clients look back at their photos years later and say, 'That's us!'"

His secret for taking great photos is simple; for him, it's all about the connection between him and his subjects, and the connection between the couples he shoots.

"Aside from my actual photography, my personality is why my clients hire me," he said. "I always tell my couples, if you don't vibe 100% with your photographer, it will show up in your photos."

He also knows how to interact with a wide variety of personality types that are bound to be encountered at a wedding reception, and help each one shine in photographs, whether a guest is introverted or the life of the party. Leahy's portfolio also reveals a perfect juxtaposition of couples with their setting, whether it's the natural beauty of a mountain backdrop or the hubbub of a busy city street.

Leahy offers several photography packages with full print rights included. He can also create signature albums and prints so that photos from the special life event don't have to live solely online. When couples see the final collection, they are often pleasantly surprised by what Leahy saw that others might have missed.

"I love capturing moments that other people never even saw, whether it's the mother of the bride reuniting with her best friend, the first dance of a couple that is just meeting for the first time at their friend's wedding, or a quick look of love between my couple when they think no one is watching," he said. "Those kinds of shots are what I constantly strive for and really enjoy hunting for throughout the day."

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