Photographers Who Inspire: Getting to Know Leslie Schoen

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way-things I had no words for.
— Georgia O'Keeffe

I recently completed a photography course by a friend of mine ( Jyotsna Bhamidipati) called, “Capturing Mood: A Four Step Process to Evoking Character in Your Photographs.” It was wonderful and I highly recommend taking it, you can check it out here! In this course Jyo asks us to ponder the question, “ Are we artists, or photographers?” As I look at Leslie’s work with this question in mind I would say that she is an artist who’s medium is photography. Her work is breathtaking and oh so emotive. Keep reading to learn more about Leslie and her amazing art!


What got you started in photography? 

In high school, my dad taught me how to use his manual film camera. As a senior in art class we got to pick areas of focus and design our own curriculum. Photography was a big part of that … which at the time was really an excuse to skip out of class and hang out. I lost touch with photography for many years. My husband got me my first dslr when our second child was born and I haven’t put it down since. 

What three words describe your photographic style?

Gosh this is hard! Emotive, imperfect, whimsical.

What’s your favorite compositional technique?

rule of thirds


Canon or Nikon?

Canon and Sony 

Favorite Lens?

for client work 85mm 1.2 and 35mm 1.4, I mostly freelens with my 50mm 1.4


LR or Photoshop?

LR, photoshop scares me and I do very little in there. I use several iPad apps to do composition work

Presets or Custom?

I have a few VSCO presets I love that I have tweaked and created my own customized versions of


What is your favorite software for artistic editing?

the iPad apps I use include brushstrokes, icolorama, superimpose, stackables, snapseed, and the mobile LR

Tell me a bit about your biz! Are you only personal work, or a mix of personal and client? 

I do a mix of personal and client work. I am always trying to find the right balance so I don’t get burned out.


How would you describe your ultimate dream shoot or personal project? 

It’s hard to think of just one, but probably something where I have complete freedom to create. Something that evokes emotion or is deeply meaningful to someone. That could be a lot of things really. 

What’s one of the most interesting experiences you’ve ever had in a session or personal project? 

I did a Women in Strength project 2 years ago and it was such an honor. One of the women photographed was a dear friend who was caring for her father. She was hesitant about the shoot because she never knew what mood he would be in or how he might receive it. But she trusted me. And it went so well … he seemed happy and they had a great visit. In the time between when we photographed and the final show, which was a matter of months, he had passed. The image of him and her saying goodbye was so powerful, even to those who did not know that entire story. 


What’s your favorite image you’ve ever taken (please share, and tell me the story behind the image)?

This feels like picking a favorite child! Ha! I think I will share a recent self portrait. I had been playing around with combining images and this was the first time I set out to create images I planned to combine. I wasn’t sure if I could get anything I liked. And as I was shooting the self portraits in particular I felt like everything was wrong. I didn’t like anything I was seeing and I felt defeated. But when I started combining I was surprised with how much I liked the final product. It wasn’t what I was thinking it would be, but that is the beautiful thing about creating and being open to what unfolds. These are lessons that I continue to try to grow from … being open to what could unfold.  


What sort of projects are you involved in now? 

I am currently working on a charity mini session shoot for mothers this spring. Also I will be starting to document the journey a dear friend has begun once diagnosed with lymphoma. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get started in photography? 

I always tell people just starting to learn their camera well. Understand manual shooting and all the things your camera can do. Next, study lighting. How to photograph in different types of light. 


If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

If I weren’t a photographer I would return to my first career as a Marriage and Family Therapist. 


Leslie, thank you so much for sharing a little about yourself and your amazing work. Keep on creating this amazing art/photography!

Head on over to Leslie’s Social Media sites and give her some love!



So guys, what do you say… are you an artist, or a photographer?

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