Hi! I’m Leah. Thanks for stopping by.

We collaborate with brilliant creative teams to break through mundane image libraries and create photographs rooted in something real, timeless, approachable (and maybe a little punk?)

We’ve created hundreds of image libraries from small nimble editorial features to full lifestyle production days for national brands. I draw inspiration from improvisational theater, psychology, interpersonal relationships and the feeling of light. Thank you for taking a minute to learn more about how we do it. Let’s make something together. This is how we do it.

We’re nimble and responsive.

Creativity comes with flexibility: I shoot off-tripod, my lights are often handheld and mobile. Using a mix of improv prompts, director’s cues and intuition, our images are organic and original. We work hard to make this happen and will respond and evolve, in the moment, until we get what we want.

We laugh a lot.

I’m in a relationship with my portrait subjects. Though it may be brief, it is an intimate and deep connection. To get there, I ask questions, learn what they love and what inspires them, improvise and let us all make mistakes. Then we laugh even more. We work with as much existing light as we can, adding lights as needed to make our subjects look outstanding.

Magic can happen when we keep shooting past the “perfect” shot.

Sometimes we ask a group to repeat an action...we keep going until something starts to give way and loosen up. I hand-hold my camera and will change my angle and position for each set-up, shooting like a photojournalist. This agility provides a huge range of options, offering many different ways to tell your story.

We build stories.

When shooting an image library we create multiple story lines to tie back to the bigger brand message. Once we get the story, we direct the talent, improvising and adjusting our angle, framing and timing as the story unfolds. On big productions, the lights are fixed and a bit more predictable—even then, we often hand-hold a light or two, just to keep our options open. We’re all having an insane amount of fun, and recording the energy on set.

We love the mundane.

We make everyday activities exceptional. Conference rooms, meetings, standard office interactions and every day office moments become elevated when we approach production from a place of curiosity and delight. When working with the mundane, I like to play—using improv games, hand held lights and an honest curiosity.

I get inspired by a broadcast crew.

As a still photographer, I enjoy the nimbleness and freedom I have on a broadcast set. I learn so much watching broadcast crews at work, picking up lighting hacks and ideas. I love to direct talent—we use our time between takes to capture intimate moments that add richness and depth to our characters’ stories.

Sometimes we dance.

Folks who aren’t professional models can need extra help on shoots: Dancing always helps. For UCSF, our talent, a real patient, loved music and performing. We asked her and her sister to hop up on a park wall and play and dance. We used sunlight and hand-held strobes to dance right along with the sisters.

Contact Us

lfasten@leahfasten.com | 617-905-2998

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About once a month or so we share an image via email, and a little bit about how we got there. You can see the some of the archive here.

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© 2022 Leah Fasten Photography

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