Hello! I’m Leila, owner and photographer for Elle Marie Photography, and I’m so happy you’ve made it here.

When it came to my own wedding planning, I was told by several vendors that before anything else, you pick your team based on the chemistry you have with them. Of course, their work is important, too. You like my photos? Great! We’ve tackled step one. Next, we have to make sure that we click, because we’ll be spending a lot of time together on your wedding day. To be honest, I booked our wedding photographer because first I thought she had beautiful images, but second, she mentioned she liked Joanna Gaines. Immediately I thought, “okay, so we have something in common!”. Let’s start from the beginning…

I grew up on a u-pick berry farm just outside of Columbia, Missouri; we had blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Some weeks my dad would make them into jams and pies (hands down, the best blueberry pie I’ve ever had) and take them to the local farmer’s market. My family also raised Labrador Retrievers, so a good part of my early childhood was spent attached to a puppy, which would explain my obsession with dogs. My mom taught me my way around the kitchen, so cooking and baking has always been a part of who I am. (Lets recipe swap!). I’m the middle child, I have an older brother who is in the U.S. Air Force, and a younger sister who is my other half.

My educational career was pretty typical, I graduated high school in 2008 after going through a multitude of phases (goth, artsy, country, etc.). I’ve pretty much always had an interest in photography, and most enjoyed my film photography courses. Would you believe digital was pretty much brand new then? I could not figure myself out in college (insert nervous laughter), and officially changed my major like three times. I finally graduated in 2014 with a major in General Studies, a minor in Child and Family Studies, and no clue what I wanted to do.

Eventually, I moved to Overland Park, KS in 2015, just me and my dog Fenn. It was less than a year later that I met my husband, Dane. God’s timing is funny, isn’t it? If you’ve ever heard the quote, “life can only be understood backwards”, it is so, so true. We dated, fell in love, moved in together, got engaged, and got married (in 2019!). Side note: we are newlyweds! So, I totally understand the process of wedding planning, and actually miss it. Don’t ever hesitate to ask for advice, or gush about all of your exciting ideas! Dane and I now live in a sweet old neighborhood in Prairie Village with our two fur-babies, and both agree that married life is pretty great.

I eventually found my way back to photography (again, with the whole timing thing). I had spent a lot of time working in restaurants and in the pet industry before I finally figured it out. Opportunities arose, the stars aligned, and there it was, waiting for me. All of a sudden, it felt important and tangible. This was a gift I could give to someone, the ability to slow down and freeze a moment in time, I mean, wow. Nostalgia becomes really important the older you get, and the more life you experience. I just think it’s so paramount that all of our stories are told in a beautiful and meaningful way.

So, there is a super condensed down version of my story. All of my mornings begin with coffee (this is no joke, ask Dane), and I’m happiest on a warm, sunny day. I believe in the power of positivity, and that there is a silver lining in just about anything. My favorite television shows are Friends, Golden Girls, and anything involving home renovations. I have a sour cream and onion potato chip addiction (which is why I never buy them!), seriously, all self-control goes out the window. I listen to most types of music, but you will generally find me listening to alternative acoustic or 90’s stuff (see, there’s that nostalgia thing, again). I’m a sucker for soft colors, and my favorite scent is Christmas trees. I am obsessed with dogs, flowers, and Joanna Gaines.

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