I was just a freshman at The Southern University A&M College when I picked up my first camera. Over the summer I worked in the Athletic Academics office and got to meet many great people. There were some changes the second summer I worked there, and I then went to work down the hall in the media office. I got to see how some of the graphics and photoshoots went for the athletic promotional material for the upcoming seasons. I then started my second year as a sophomore, but I always managed to take the time to go check in during the semester on the amazing people I worked with during the summer.
During one visit, I was asked, "Do you own a camera?" My response, "No, but I'll ask my parents." He said, "Well, if you are interested, we need someone to help capture the Men's and Women's Basketball games. I'll have someone help you out." So that is where my journey first started, doing sports photography. The guy that helped me out was a student as well, and he had a backup camera that he let me use, which was a Nikon. At the time, it was so complex, but he taught me how to adjust the settings and what shots to look for. At the time, as a beginner, I think I did pretty well.
Maybe a month after, I was gifted my first Canon camera. I named her "Savannah" and I took her everywhere with me. I was naturally shy, so I only would take pictures of my friends that I met while living on campus. We did mock photoshoots on the bluff, on "Pretty Wednesday" etc.
Into the second semester of my sophomore year, I found out that I was expecting a baby boy. I had him that October and almost every day, was a photoshoot. I took pictures of him crawling around the house, with family members, playing with his toes. He was growing right before my lens. Then it dawned on me, "I want to be a photographer." I invested in my first photographer's class with Green Tangerine Photography and it's been a great journey and a lot of learning new skills since then.
Photo Credit: Leann Veal, 2015
That was back in 2014, since then I have captured Families, Expecting Moms, Couples, Weddings and so much more. However, it was in 2019 that I discovered my niche - Branding. After a move in late 2018 that I decided to make once losing my second son, Maison; I met Kerri Paul (@thekerripaul) in Biloxi, MS. She is an amazing MOMPRENUER. After photographing her, I gained interest in shooting the lives of women who run businesses and still play the many other roles in their life's journey.
Photo Credit: Crowned Photography, 2018
Since then I've moved back home, invested in classes to better my skills and niched down to servicing Black Women Owned Brands, and it has been such an amazing journey. My first magazine publication was with Danielle Bertrand of "Girl, it's Go Time" in October 2020 in Huami Magazine in Dallas, Tx. As of 2022, I have been published with an AMAZING client of mine, Adrienne Smith of Destination Gleaux in BR Parents Magazine, a local Baton Rouge magazine brand. View here: https://e.issuu.com/embed.html?d=brpm_0122-final_08ee4d61d4c5b3&u=brparents
Photo Credit: Crowned Photography, 2021
Saying all of this to say, it doesn't matter how your journey begins, you don't have to be perfect. Just have the nerve to start something that feels good to you. Someone, somewhere will see your value as you are growing to become better in your industry, and when they do, continue to do your best to get to the top.
Thanks for reading :) - Leann
Photo Credit: Green Tangerine Photography