Who are you?

I am Leandra Blei. I am a photographer, a small business owner and a seeker of knowledge. I love the idea of real community and plug myself into my surroundings and community to get new ideas, hear new things and always be moving forward.

I look at images non-stop, and it’s a constant barrage of the same faces and spaces that don’t feel real. We all have a bigger purpose, and I want to capture reality in a way that only I can. I recently heard a quote by an amazing photographer, Platon, “Don’t be a second-rate someone else. Be a first-rate you!” This quote helped me remember why I love taking pictures and the stories I help tell through those pictures!

What do you do?

I primarily take pictures for women business owners. I own Leandra Blei Photography, which is a business mainly focused on portraits. I love this work and also recently started a new company, B & L Creative, with my husband, Brad.

Because of curated stock photos, we have all seen variations of the same photos for so long. I think people know those perfect photos aren’t real. Perfection is not a true brand. Brad and I started our business to create content geared towards helping small business owners capture images that really represent who they are and what they do more authentically.

While I’m excited to continue taking portraits, I’m also really looking forward to branching back out into other areas to capture environments, spaces, food, etc. Each client provides me a new perspective and allows me to tap into the creativity I misplaced for a while. I’m so excited for the next steps for the new business, B&L Creative, and finding balance to create and contribute.

What is your Why?

I want to help people show themselves off! No one knows your brand better than you, and even if you can’t explain it perfectly, you understand why you do what you do, and I want to capture that.

I want to show people the value in what I do as a photographer and, in turn, show the value of what small businesses do. Small business owners are really putting it all on the line for their calling…they are out there, doing it! It’s scary, overwhelming and amazing! Helping to share their stories in photographs is a great honor.

What is the most valuable aspect of your Ellivate Alliance membership?

I love Office Hours!!! I love listening to everyone’s advice and hearing women talk through ideas in real time. I always leave with a juicy nugget of something I’ve been trying to work through and find a new approach for myself, even if someone else brought it up. I love these online meetings!!

I’m also excited for our next Ellivate gathering! I always look forward to reconnecting with Ellivate women!