With a feminine touch and effortless eye for beauty, Leah Hewitt has the magic touch when it comes to taking whimsical, artistic images of two people in love. A self-proclaimed nerd, Leah has an innate way of bringing the special connections between her couples and their loved ones to life in every single one of her beautiful photographs. Today, we brightly shine our spotlight on L Hewitt Photography, one of D.C and Maryland’s best wedding photographers!
Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m goofy, irreverent, nerdy. I like to get my boots dirty. I wanted to be an animator for Pixar, and went to school for fine art and never took any photography courses. I did my first figure drawing in a cramped attic in a rowhouse in The Hague. I was in high school at the time and it felt so bohemian. Experiences like these, as a foreign service kid sparked this curiosity in me – for people and places that is so unquenchable.
What gets you up in the morning, literally and/or figuratively. Figuratively: photography. I’m passionate about what I do and it’s not uncommon for me to start work right after I wake up to just before dinner or bed–whether I’m editing, meeting with clients, researching new techniques, or browsing art museums or weird Tumblr sites for inspiration. It never feels like work. I sometimes get up in the middle of the night to work because I’m excited about what I do.
What are looking forward to most right now? I have weddings in Maine and Virginia coming up. I’m also going to go adventuring and shooting with clients, cum friends in Juifen, this magical Japanese gold mining town set in the misty mountains of Taiwan. Red lanterns adorn buildings in twisty alleyways, and it’s really culturally rich. It inspired Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.
What really gets to you at weddings? Makes you emotional? Makes you laugh? Interactions with parents and their kids. As a mom, I empathize. This past weekend, I broke up when a mom presented her daughter with a necklace from her grandmother from Poland. They didn’t have much from grandma, and mom was CRYING, and I went up to her and shared that I’d feel the same way when my boys got married. She hugged me. As for what makes me laugh? Pretty much everything – even when things go wrong. Life is not worth stressing over. It’s better to laugh.
Where do you want to shoot next? I want to do an old world wedding in Moscow, a mountain/cabin wedding in the mountains of Colorado, a trek out to the rice paddies for a secluded hideaway wedding in Thailand, Iceland, Italy and of course, Paris. I used to live in Paris, and it’s my dream to go back and do a stunning Parisian couture wedding, or something rustic in a country villa.
How has witnessing so many weddings impacted your life/outlook? It puts life and people into perspective. I’ve become so good with so many different kinds of people, and better able to handle Very Stressful Situations ™, both for myself, and helping other people through them. And the most important thing is that I have learned to embrace imperfection, like the Japanese pottery makers who highlight flaws in their pottery with gold leaf. Life and weddings aren’t perfect, so let’s revel in the broken eggshells of life and be full of joy and awe for the blood coursing through our veins.
Why photography? What draws you to it? Photography is the perfect intersection between my love of people, travel, art, and curiosity. The more weddings do, the more sure I am that photography is the only way I can sate my hunger for life. It’s almost unbearable sometimes. I HAVE to be photographing. I joke with my friends that if I ever had a dry spell, I’d sneak into a wedding just to be able to shoot. And mastering my craft, and improvising MacGuyver style is something I love. Give me a strange light source or random object to shoot with or put in front of my lens. I love the challenge.
What is your creative vision? What do you desire to express with your photos? There’s a purity I aspire to, of story and light and candidness. And this purity involves imperfection, which is really, really hard sometimes because it’s easy to take a flawless picture – but wrangling chaos and flaws into some sort of beauty can be difficult. I have to struggle against making everything perfect, personally. But I think the most beautiful images have imperfection somewhere.
Do you have a favorite camera or lens? Do you shoot digital or film or are you a hybrid-shooter? nikkor 35mm f/1.4 g – it’s the perfect story lens. Great at receptions, small, unobtrusive. I shoot film and digital. I LOVE my Contax 64.
Any advice for couples on how to look amazing and feel comfortable in their photographs? Know what you want. Look through magazines, practice your best angles in the mirror. Pretend like you’re on a date. Leave lots of buffer time in your schedule. Be willing to experiment and trust your photographer. If you hired them for their vision, let them do their work.
Do you have any advice for beginning photographers, wedding or otherwise? Try everything. Most photographers don’t know where they want to take themselves or their work, so the best way to figure that out is to experiment. Also, MASTER YOUR CRAFT.
What makes you give yourself a mental high five? If my clients cry. Or if I cry.