Name: Leeann Marie Golish
What do you photograph?: I photograph weddings and engagements in the Greater Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and (soon to be) Deep Creek Lake areas. I also love to photograph surprise proposals in Pittsburgh – they are really exciting! I have been photographing weddings since 2009, and at this time have shot over 200 beautiful events.
What do you love most about this type of photography?: I love so many parts of a wedding day, it’s hard to name just one. I’m a complex person in a way, so wedding photography fits me nicely. I need a “creative outlet” to feel as though I’m creating something all on my own. However, I’m not the kind of creative that thinks my work is anything museum-worthy, so wedding photography does have a mix of both ‘expected calculation’ and ‘something new each time’ to it.
I also love working in a service industry. If you ask Heather, she’ll tell you that my dream outside of wedding photography is to either work at Starbucks or as a luxury hotel concierge. Working with people makes me happy, even in the most challenging of situations. I also love playing with light, feeling the pressure of a tight timeline, running a business, and being with (generally) pretty happy people on the days that I work! Wedding photography fits it all. Always something new, and always a challenge.
Years in Business: 8
Type of Business: (typically LLC or sole proprietor): My business is legally protected as Leeann Marie Photography, LLC, and I file my taxes as an S-corp.
How would you describe your style?: Light. Moments. Color. I work with light all day long, moving indoors, outdoors, dark rooms, bright spaces. I always am challenging myself to see more than the ‘easy’ light, and to create texture that feels rich. In-person, I have worked with some of the biggest names in the city, but always bring a down-to-earth feel to my weddings and photo shoots, enabling my clients to be themselves, no matter how famous, in-famous, or un-famous they may be. I look for family moments to unfold naturally, and shoot on long lenses to capture moments beautifully while still allowing them to be real. I love vibrant editing, and pull lots of highlights and shadows into my work in order to create rich, timeless tones.
What do you think is the biggest factor that contributes to success?: First-and-foremost, it’s drive. I have worked every single day for the past almost ten years on my business, and rarely go without thinking of “what needs to be next”. I’m never happy with the way things are, which I think helps to move my business forward every year.
The second key piece that I attribute to my success is the formation of relationships. I have, time and again, placed myself in uncomfortable situations for the sake of relationship building. There are times when I show up to networking meetings alone and do not know a single person, but by putting myself out there I have met so many new friends, which in turn, fuel my business organically. I also have come to truly love the people that I work with. My colleagues are absolutely fantastic, real people. I know about their sons and daughters, their business goals, and when they may need a little pick-me-up. I am so lucky to have made so many friends in the industry. Now I’m getting all mushy!
Where do you find inspiration?: This is a hard question for me, as I’m not the “natural creative”. I love music, but I’m not sure exactly how that fuels me artistically. Fashion is always something that I’ve loved, but I wouldn’t say that my work is “fashion-inspired wedding photography”. In all, it really comes down to the light and moments with me. Once I find light that I love, I work tirelessly to find a moment that feels real and heartfelt in that space.
I recently photographed my sister-in-law’s wedding, and we went back to the spot where she had her first kiss with her (now) husband. It was a long journey for them to find each other – even across continents. The light was this beautiful, warm fall light, and I had them seated on the bench where they first kissed. They looked so happy and content, and as soon as I felt that come through them I began to cry. That’s what inspires me.
Why are you a part of the Flourish Academy?: I have been teaching in the wedding and portrait photography industry for years, having completed a 22 city tour with ShootDotEdit, and Master Class Speaking at WPPI two years in a row. I have also taught at INSPIRE Photo Retreats and Mystic Seminars. Teaching photographers to thrive and run successful businesses is something I truly enjoy!
Nonetheless, I’ve had a difficult time incorporating my teaching into my wedding photography website. I strive to keep Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers incredibly-specialized, and so adding a “For Photographers” section never truly felt right when I was marketing to high-end brides. That’s why the Flourish Academy is a perfect fit! I absolutely love the team of contributors that are a part of the academy, and I feel as though it’s the right place to spill out all of my knowledge to an audience who, like you, wants to learn all that they can about the photography industry. Thank you for having me!