How I Got My Job: Leonn Ward, Photographer
Leonn has a pretty impressive CV and a client list that includes Adidas, iD. Topman, MTV and GQ Magazine. We found out how she got to where she is now, and where she's headed next.
Name: Leonn Ward
Studied: Fine Art Photography at Camberwell Art University
Tell us about your working background
My first ever job was working as a bartender when I was like 17. That only lasted for two weeks though before I got let go. Then I got a job at American Apparel and that’s where I worked and managed to save up for my move to London.
Have you always had an eye for photography? When and how did you realise that’s what you wanted to do?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I had an eye for photographer straight away, it was more fashion. Because I loved fashion I started thinking of ways to make it a career pretty quickly. That’s when I got myself a camera and started shooting my friends and family, playing around with the photos. I started shooting with 35mm cameras and got addicted to getting my photos developed. By the time I got the London I had a strong vision of what I wanted to achieve.
What equipment do you use?
Not much, I like to use natural light and I shoot on a medium format digital camera.
What are your favourite type of shoots?
If you’re working with a really good team, you’re going to have a good shoot. That’s when my strongest work comes out. Once you have what we call a ‘dream team’, you’re good to go.
Would you ever say no to a job, and if so, why?
Yes, I don’t feel like I have to agree to all work, sometimes you have to say no to jobs. If I don’t think its right for me, I won’t do it.
What was your path to get where you are now?
You have to make an aim and stick to it. If you don’t have an idea of what you want to happen, than you’ll get side tracked. I knew when I was moving over to the UK what I wanted to achieve and I’m lucky enough to say I’ve achieved some of that already. In saying that, there’s still so much more that I want to do.
What does a typical day or week look like for you?
My days and week fluctuate all the time. I could be shooting for five days in a row one week, or I could have only one or two days shooting. The rest of that week, I’ll be glued to my computer editing and working from there.
Have you experienced any challenges getting to where you are now?
Definitely. It’s the business side of the job that I didn’t think of when I was starting off. I had to teach myself how to be business minded from the age of about 19 on wards. For instance, paying tax. I hadn’t a clue how to even go about doing something so mature. I didn’t understand any of it, and I still don’t to be honest! So it’s that kind of thing that I’ve really struggled with.
Well my biggest highlight of this year was shooting Pia Mia for the cover of Rollacoaster. The whole day was amazing and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.
What’s the best part of your job?
Being my own boss.
What’s the most difficult?
Can I say being my own boss again?
What do you think has been the key to your success?
I guess it’s because I’ve stayed focused and had a clear idea of what I’ve wanted to do.
Where would you like to see yourself in he next two years?
I’d like to see myself about to buy a house in London and being the proud owner of 18 dogs.
Any advice to others wanting to pursue a job like yours?
Stay true to your personal style and self and don’t let anyone sway you to do something that you don’t believe in. That will stand to you.
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