with a secret

My photographs depict


a story 


How am I

 I dive into each person’s interests and ask as many questions as I can prior to our photo shoot so I’m able to capture authentic, honest photos of each and every one of you. Many clients, especially those that have never had professional photos taken or always feel camera-shy, have mentioned how comfortable they have felt after their session. I care a LOT about my clients and I feel taking the extra time to get to know them and having the ability to genuinely connect with them sets me apart from the rest! My goal is to be my clients’ third wheel for all the special celebrations in their lives - and it’s working! 

You’re probably wondering

I love painting, cooking and spending time with my little family

Nothing settles my soul more than going on long walks, listening to thrifted records on my vintage record player, seeking out cute coffee shops (give me ALL the coffee!!) and hanging out around a bonfire with friends and family. When I’m not working, I like to spend my time restoring antique furniture, watching Yellowstone (who else has a complete crush on Kevin Costner?!?) and sipping on whiskey or trying a new wine.

Based in the Chicagoland area,
I am home here

I want my clients to feel as comfortable in their photo locations as I feel here

I love so many of the little suburbs of Chicago. They are filled with family-owned restaurants, clever little cafes, and fun places to shop. There’s also SO much history in many of these towns that piques my interest and makes for great photo shoot locations. My husband and I grew up in a small town about a mile away from each other. We have since settled in to our new life nearby and are having the best time exploring our new hometown! These smaller suburbs have a hospitality that draws me to them, whether I’m looking for new ideas for artwork or meeting a shop owner for the first time to talk about a business relationship - I get a strong feeling of trust. I want my clients to feel that same trust - trust that I’ll use my creative eye to give them the most beautiful work I can, so they feel at ease during our sessions together. 

I started my artistic path at a very young age - from drawing to painting, interior design to photography - all of the classes have honed my talents and given me the foundation to find the composition, balance, light and direction in each photo I take of my clients.

My journey of creative exploration is just getting started. In fact, after too many undocumented girl chats, my friend Meghan and I decided it was time to press record and invite you into our conversations as we navigate our own careers as two young creative professionals in our early 20’s. The Made to Last podcast seemed like the perfect way to reach you STAT so you can join in on a collection of uplifting episodes that keep you focused on your dreams and get you through this crazy thing called entrepreneurship (or womanhood..let’s be honest). 









Being an artist is the core of where
my photography is created

Are we a good fit?

If you like adventure, trying new things and can roll with last minute changes due to weather (sometimes those days create the BEST photos!) then shake what your momma gave ya because we’ll be a great fit! I’m ready to take you on an experience that you will hold close to your heart. The laughs, the romance, the joy, the memories — everything. 

The Leah Starkey Brand