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  • Writer's pictureJae Lee

Vendor Highlight - The Leeann Marie Collective

I had the pleasure meeting Leeann at one of our favorite frequented places... Nails by Dallas. She was getting a pedi and I, a manicure. One thing led to another.. oh wait that's another story.. Next thing you know we are talking about what we do for a living and come to find out we work in the same industry. Weddings! We also seem to know some of the same people.. (a few photographers, our fitness instructor, our nail gals.. etc etc) Small world huh? A few months later, Leeann asked me to do her makeup for her maternity shots and of course I said yes and the are gorgeous.. well so is she so that makes my job easy. So like any wedding vendor that I absolutely adore, I decided it was time to highlight this amazing women! Let's find out more about Leeann =)

When and how did you start out in your profession?

I don't have a formal background in photography, but rather started my career after college as an Industrial Engineer! While working my desk job I knew that I needed more of a creative outlet, and I really wanted to be my own boss. After my wedding in 2008, I took an interest in photography and put my all into learning everything that I could about the art and the business. Luckily, as an engineer, learning the technical aspects came rather easily and I had a foundation in business to get me started. The following year I worked as a second photographer for lots of great artists in Pittsburgh and soon after launched my own brand! Things took off from there and I was able to quit my day job just a year later. I have never looked back! I truly believe that my wedding photography business allows me to not only express my creativity but also be the best boss I've ever had! ;-)

How did you know that this is what you wanted to do?

The very first wedding that I photographed was for a good friend of mine. I was incredibly nervous, but working that day was a rush and I felt at home in my position as her photographer. Unfortunately, just two days after the wedding her father passed away suddenly. The photo that I took of her father/daughter dance was the last picture they have together, and her father was just beaming from ear to ear in it. That experience really drove home what my job is all about - family. memories. life. love. After that experience, I knew that photographing weddings and capturing those little pieces of home for my brides and grooms was what I was meant to do.

What can clients expect from you?

My clients can expect a photographer who is organized, creative, a quick-thinker, and fun. But really, don't we expect that from any wedding photographer and business owner? Of course!

So moving beyond the obvious... I bring myself into everything that I do, and I truly hope that my clients connect with ME. Because I want to connect with THEM. I want to know more about them. I want to meet their family. I want to know why they love Pittsburgh - maybe they even love the city more than I do (possibly impossible..). I want to hear about their childhood. I want to know why they chose their profession, and why they chose each other. I want to see their marriages beyond the wedding day. For me, it's about that good ol' hometown connection with some pretty amazing, modern couples.

Most memorable client?

This is hard!! Every one of my brides and grooms are unique, and I think the part of my job that's so wonderful is that I get to hear about their stories beyond the wedding day. I love keeping in touch with everyone and seeing how their love has grown beyond what they ever thought possible. I like meeting up for lunch or a drink out. I have brides who have had cross-eyed cats that make me crack up every time I see a photo on Instagram. I have brides who send me links to their favorite fashion websites. I have brides and grooms who travel all over the world. They all have their own fun quirks that I love.

What are some future goals for your business?

The Leeann Marie Collective now has multiple photographers, and I'd love to see their calendars fill as well. Trust me, Loren and Melissa are not just some vagabond photographers that I picked up off of the street - they're amazing girls who I am lucky to have as friends. I'm excited about building my business with such wonderful friends.

Here comes the lightening round! 3..2..1.. GO

Grew up in Pittsburgh

Met husband at Pitt

Married the fool

Stayed in Pittsburgh

But still traveled the world

Had a baby

It's a girl - (Jae's interjection - her name is Joy and she is SO ADORABLE!)

Loving life, family, and friends!

Grew up in Pittsburgh

Not leaving Pittsburgh

Love that she is a hometown girl with hometown pride and a LOVE for it all!! Thank you Leeann and I can't wait to see you this season! (Or at our next hip hop class)

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