december cmpro of the month | leah cook

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost near the end of 2011 – this year has flown by!  We have our final CMpro of the month for 2011, the talented and inspiring Leah Cook!

december cmpro of the month | leah cook

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

If you could take only three pieces of gear on a shoot, what would they be?

Without a doubt my 5D mkii, 85 1.2L, and 24-70 2.8L (oh I’d love to have the 50mm in the car…pretty please??)

What was your first experience in photography?

I can always remember having some type of camera from when I was very young – Polaroid, throw away film, etc.  I experienced my dad taking lots of pictures, he’s the one I credit for my love of photography.  He likes to shoot landscapes now (I prefer people!).  I’ve always loved to sit and look through photographs of our family and my friends – I could do that for hours.  I was still teaching when I figured out that taking pictures was really fun and that maybe I had an eye for it (I had no idea how to shoot on manual back then!).  My love and education for photography really grew when I had a baby – just like so many other moms out there.

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

If you could shoot alongside any other photographer, who would it be (and why)?

Honestly, I would be super nervous to shoot with a crazy famous photographer.  There is no way I could relax and enjoy the moment.  I did have the opportunity to meet Michele Anderson of Pinkle Toes Photography last summer and that was pretty darn amazing as I’ve always admired her work.  I have and will continue to shoot with my dear friend Sara Seeton – we have a similar style and it’s always a blast to hang out, bounce ideas around, and take pictures with her!

Other than photography, do you have any other creative outlets?

I love to draw, paint, color etc. but I just don’t get to do it enough.  Usually it’s creating a silly project with my son or nieces + nephews.  That’s something I really miss about teaching!

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

Tell us one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business.

It’s so important to pace yourself when you’re starting out.  It’s really easy to get overworked, take on too much, and even be taken advantage of.  New photographers must learn quickly that their time is valuable!  I wish I would have gotten better organized before jumping in.  That and to not be too hard on yourself.  There was so much I had to learn technically.  I could ‘see’ what my photos should and could look like, just couldn’t get there fast enough.  Oh, and I really wish I had joined and learned as much as possible from CM members early on.  BIG mistake.  Oops, that was more than one thing!

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

What’s on the horizon for your business?

Oh I’m so excited about this!!  I have a special project in the works with CM next year.  Word on the street is that I’ll get to share my approach to working with newborns complete with video footage!  Can’t wait!  I will keep doing my regular sessions – newborns, families, babies and kids are my favorites.  I’m also looking forward to Imaging USA in January!

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

Describe the perfect session.

Depending on what mood I’m in this could change.  I will describe the perfect newborn session.  I shoot in my clients’ homes so floor to ceiling windows on a warm, sunny mid-morning would be amazing, along with a unique nursery, well lit bedroom, sleepy baby, and parents that are excited for pictures. Let’s throw a fun puppy into the mix and lots of cool finds around the home – quilts, buckets, you name it!  Oh and I can’t forget some outside space to work with – trees, lush greenery, yum.

What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken (and why)?

That’s tough.  I am extremely critical of my own work.  One second I’ll be over the moon with an image and then the next I’m ripping it to shreds – it’s so easy to see the flaws.  That being said, I’m proud that I’ve contributed to the CMpro Daily Project everyday for the past few months.  Shooting daily has pushed me creatively and has even forced me to show pictures that I might not have in the past.  I love this one of my mom and my baby, two people that fill my heart with love.

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a ballerina or an astronaut…ha!!  I was in ballet from when I was very little until my senior year of high school when I was so excited to dance as the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Oh those were the days!  I still dream of taking dance.

What is the best and worst part of your job?

The best part of my job is capturing family connections and memories.  I get so excited to watch client slideshows and sometimes they even make ME cry.  I’m such a sap, but I can’t think of anything else I cherish more than photographs of my babies, so I’m thrilled to share this with others.  I also love pushing myself to be creative and original in my work – I love a challenge!  The worst part of having a business is time away from my family.  It’s such a juggling act and just when I think things are under control, life happens.  I’ve had to pace myself and say “no” more than I’d like now that I have two little ones.

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

How would you describe your artistic style?

My personal style is all over the place.  All types of photography appeal to me, and I think that’s reflective in my work.  I would describe my style as emotive, modern, with touches of lifestyle, humor, and traditional elements.  See?  Everything!!  I strive for a strong ‘feeling’ in my pictures that you immediately get when you look at the image.  My processing has also become part of my style – currently, I’m drawn to soft and hazy with the occasional pop of color.

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you do there?

I’ve ALWAYS dreamed of traveling to Australia and diving on the Great Barrier Reef…oh it would be amazing.  BUT, now that I have kids?  I’d go somewhere fun and close with my hubby, Max, and our boys!  WAIT.  Scratch that, I would like to go to the Four Seasons or some other fancy hotel and sleep for two days straight.  Yes, that.

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

Funniest or most awkward moment on a shoot?

It’s really awkward when husbands and wives bicker at a session.  It’s totally understandable – especially with newborns, I mean there is very little sleep involved and I get it.  Even family sessions can be stressful – there are so many expectations and wardrobe choices plus dealing with little ones that have their own plans (toddlers. sigh) but one time at the very end of a summer session – it was SO hot out (August in Texas) and my two year old twin clients wanted to play in a big water fountain.  Sounded fun and reasonable to me!  Mom (surprisingly) was totally cool with it and Dad was not. I wanted to stick around and capture a few sweet shots with the water, but the yelling between their parents was too much.  We were not the only ones there either.  I politely said my goodbyes and left!

Quickie Questions – One Word Answers!

Canon or Nikon?


Prime or zoom?


Studio or on location?


Natural light or flash?


Neck strap or wrist strap?


Color or black and white?


Mac or PC?


Photoshop or Lightroom?


Sunrise or sunset?


Heels or flip flops?


Beer or wine?


december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Leah!  You can find more of Leah’s work on her site!

december cmpro of the month | leah cook photo

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27 Responses to “december cmpro of the month | leah cook”

  1. Dec 01 2011 at 8:51 am #

    oh congrats leah! you are amazing + can't wait to room at imaging!

  2. Dec 01 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Hi Leah,

    Your work is amazing and i loved reading about you here! I am a fairly new photographer and really related to what you were saying about being really critical and loving it one moment and tearing it apart the next. I am like that most of the time although am trying to not be.

    Thanks again :)

  3. Dec 01 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Congratulations Leah! You are so talented! Loved your interview. Can't wait to hear more about this special CM project! It sounds amazing!

  4. Dec 01 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Amazing, Leah!! You are such an inspiration :))

  5. Dec 01 2011 at 11:03 am #

    great interview, leah! you know i love + adore you!! you are such an inspiration + an amazing friend to me. xoxo

  6. Keely
    Dec 01 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Leah – I love your work! I'm always drawn to your images on the CM Daily project….beautiful – and that little baby (of yours) is just such a cutie….

  7. Dec 01 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Terrific interview Leah! I love, love, love seeing your photos everyday – whether it's your gorgeous boys or your fun clients, your work is always so beautiful. I'm a big fan!

  8. Dec 01 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Thanks for sharing with us, Leah! You know I'm such a fan of your work, and I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you better these past couple months! You're such a sweet person, and your love for your work definitely shines through in each and every one of your images.

  9. Dec 01 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Fabulous interview, thank you for sharing Leah… I love seeing your images on the CM Daily Project, your style is so distinct! 'Word on the Street' for 2012 is sounding very exciting, too!!!

  10. Dec 01 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Love and admire your work as always! Thank you for sharing >3

  11. Dec 01 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Oh, Leah, what a great interview! And I'm drooling over the image of your oldest son sleeping in the bed up there. Everything about it. You rock!

  12. Dec 01 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, Leah! You are an inspiration. <3

  13. Jennifer Lauren
    Dec 01 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Perfect interview, Leah!!

  14. Tina P.
    Dec 01 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I was so glad to see an interview with you! I just love LOVE LOVE your work! You seem like a pretty cool person too! :) Thanks for sharing so much and that last shot? SWOON!

  15. celeste
    Dec 01 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Leah, love this interview and the chance to get to 'know' you better! Your work is always an inspiration to me!

  16. Erica
    Dec 01 2011 at 6:39 pm #


    I've been following your blog for the past few months and you are an amazing photographer. I am constantly inspired by all of your creativity and passion that comes through in all your work. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talents with us!

  17. Dec 01 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing, Leah! You are so very talented.

  18. Stacey Brown
    Dec 01 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Love, love, love your work! Great article!!

  19. Dec 01 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Loved getting to know a bit more about you, Leah. You work is gorgeous!!

  20. Christina Powell
    Dec 01 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing. It was fun to hear your answers and of course, get to see your wonderful photos. Love!

  21. celestejones
    Dec 02 2011 at 5:53 am #

    I love Leah's work…Great interview!

  22. Dec 02 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I don't know what to say. Thank you times a million billion!!! I feel so lucky to be a part of the CM community. xoxo

  23. Dec 02 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I loved reading more about you, Leah! your work is beautiful and I love the way that your use of light and processing compliment each other. Also, I danced quite a bit while growing up, and dream of taking class… someday, someday. Right? :)

  24. Dec 04 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Leah, I adore your work!! So beautiful! :)

  25. Dec 07 2011 at 3:38 am #

    it's so fun to learn more about you and your photography journey! thanks for the great interview! you always share such inspirational work, and i can't wait to see more!

  26. Dec 11 2011 at 12:05 am #

    What a great interview! Thanks so much for sharing and your work is truly amazing!! You are an inspiration!!


  1. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream… | ClickinMoms - Dec 23 2011

    […] nothing that captures the essence of  innocence like a sleeping child.  Our awesomely talented CMpro of the Month for December, Leah Cook, has put together some tips and tricks on capturing your little ones while […]

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