Leah Banick is a lifestyle photographer based out of Eugene, Oregon. She loves telling stories through photographs: real people, being their real selves. Whether she is shooting a wedding or a newborn, she likes to approach her subjects from a photojournalist’s point of view.
She also has a passion for building relationships with her clients. And she would argue that the energy you bring from behind the lens will make or break a photoshoot.
“It is incredible what 2 hours of time in a portrait session can do for a friendship,” says Leah. “So often I meet my clients for the first time at their session. While I shoot I ask them questions about their life, crack corny jokes, and give them direction in between conversation about wedding plans or which kid will get the most ice cream when they get home (no parent is above bribery). By the end, it’s likely that we’ve built a bond, probably shared a hug or two, and captured some fun posed and candid moments in the process.”
Leah has found that having the ability to inspire genuine smiles, be silly, and remind clients that they look great are all things that make for a better package of photos. She also notes that the majority of her clients are brought in through word-of-mouth. Leah understands the importance of client satisfaction, and that doesn’t come from good photographs – clients expect good photographs. What builds satisfaction and loyalty is the positive experience the clients have in each session.
This approach not only creates more relaxed, spontaneous and creative photographs, but you also begin to build a relationship that will bring in more future business. Returning clients and their referrals are definitely important, but there is something much deeper that lies in the story told over the years of taking photos with one client (and their family).
A wedding shoot at the beginning of her career opened the doors for Leah to connect with a couple that would later come to her for all major life events to be photographed. Over the next five years, the couple photographed below came back to Leah for her beautiful photos, but also for her energy and friendly presence behind the camera.
“In these photos I see a progression of their life, a progression of my photography, and proof that what I do matters on a relational level,” says Leah. “I love beautiful photos, but if that’s all my business was about, I think I’d burn out. I love watching my clients/friends grow and change and experience big life events, and I’m so very thankful when I get the privilege of documenting them!”
This series paints a beautiful picture of relationship and growth, both in the lives of the clients and in the work of the photographer.