Who: Leandra Caprini-Rosica
Does: Elopement photographer and ringleader at Leandra Creative Co.
Based: Splits her time between Asheville and Charlotte, NC. Travels internationally for elopements.
Daily routine: Right now I’m working on allowing myself to be okay with not having a super-strict routine. I’m really hard on myself to be a “high performer” in order to show up best for the people I love and my clients (often these overlap). I’ve moved a lot in my life (lived in Rochester, NY, Baltimore, MD, Leuven, Belgium, and now split my time between Charlotte and Asheville, NC) so my heart definitely feels more comfortable with change and new places and experiences every day, if that makes any sense.
Lately, though, days have been looking like wake up, have coffee with my better half, Conor (he’s a geek about economics and an aspiring stand-up comedian; we’re total opposites, other than our stupid sense of humor and he’s the yin to my yang). I get dressed and chuck some makeup at my face. I’m religious about doing my eyebrows, even if I don’t have time for anything else. I swear by Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Pencil, the only one I’ve found that compliments my ginger eyebrows and doesn’t make me look like a confused clown. Then I head to my office [below], which is inside a leather-making company’s shop where other entrepreneurs work in their own partitioned offices.
Usually, days at the office consist of emails, sending out contracts for new clients, blogging, planning out social, and editing in Lightroom. Right now I’m working on submitting my recent styled shoot to blogs, and prepping something I’m super passionate about that I’m stoked to share in 2021 for other photographers. Usually I’ll head home around 6:30 PM, but—and I know this is lame to say—I love my job so freakin’ much that it usually takes a call from Conor or the sun going down to remind me to go home.
Average number hours spent editing one elopement: Holy macaroni—it’s all over the board, to be honest. If it’s a two-day elopement experience, usually ten to 15 hours, and I’ll try to spread it out over the course of a few days because I’ve found I bring different (and often better) ideas to the “canvas” when I take a break from the screen and come back to it. If it’s a four- to eight-hour elopement, usually I can get it turned around in five to eight hours if I were to edit straight without stopping. But I encourage myself, and my mentees, to work for bursts of 90 minutes and take a ten-minute active break.
I like to celebrate finishing a gallery with a pump-up song and 25 jumping jacks … then a piece of chocolate. “Move your body, change your mind”—I didn’t make that up, obviously—but I am a big fan of that sentiment.
Drinks on your desk: My jumbo gallon of water. Lame, I know, but I just feel so much better when I’m chugging water all day. I was diagnosed with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] and GAD [generalized anxiety disorder] about eight years ago, so coffee just hypes me up a bit too much. I’m your decaf coffee gal.
Favorite thing to eat while you work: I’m trying to move toward not eating while I work because I’ve noticed I don’t enjoy it as much (the work and the food) but I’m a sucker for popcorn.
Playlist: To dance to or listen to? JK. I’ll apologize now if you’ve already found my TikTok… LOL. No coordination but a lot of jazz hands.
Fave jams right now:
- “Ends of the Earth” by Lord Huron for peaceful editing
- “Ritual” by Tiësto, Jonas Blue, and Rita Ora. Reminds me of an awesome road trip through Arizona with Conor, so it will always get me pumped up.
- Anything by Nora Jones. Makes me feel like everything in life is good even when it’s not.
- Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book album will always be a favorite, too.
What do you wear when working in the field?
Obsessed with Rothy’s—great for shoots/weddings/elopements, they’re made from recycled water bottles (YAY EARTH) and can be thrown in the washer. Worth every penny. I’m either in all black or a floral dress or jumpsuit. Kind of an-all-or-nothing lady.
What got you into photography?
Growing up I always thought my dad had a red blinking light attached to his face because he was always carrying around the camcorder (shout-out to ’90s babies). My parents were older and I was their only child. When they got divorced, my dad still tried to capture all the moments, little and big. And my mom has always been the best boss lady and business owner I’ve ever known. As I got into my teenage years I was annoyed with all of it, but looking back as an adult now, I’m so glad he prioritized capturing those memories—especially the ones of the three of us together. And I’m so grateful I got to see what hard work really looks likes.
My dad gave me my first DSLR for Christmas when I was 13 and I never let it out of my sight. I dove headfirst into video production after college. I was a commercial video producer for a few years and dabbled in cinematography and producing—I fell in love with it because of the way you could tell stories in such a raw and evocative way through music and motion. From college and into my career as a producer in Maryland, photography was always in my heart, but I somehow convinced myself that since it was such a saturated market I could never really be a professional photographer. Our limiting beliefs can be super powerful.
Finally, when I came to a turning point in my career, and after a gnarly car accident that shook me literally and physically to a point that made me realize life is short and we should freaking do what we love even if we fail a lot, I let myself take the leap. Starting my elopement and intimate wedding photography company was the best decision I’ve ever made. I later realized that what I loved about video production was the opportunity to tell others’ stories through an authentic and empathetic lens.
I became obsessed with elopements because they lend space for that real, raw, and evocative nature that I originally fell in love with video for—they allowed the [couple’s] partnership to shine through, rather than the decor. Elopements have my whole heart today, and I am honored to capture legacies for rad humans in love.
Who or what inspires you?
My family’s history in old photographs and good conversation.
It’s hard to say one or even 12 people who inspire me because I feel most inspired by experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely looked up to Laurken Kendall since the beginning of my photography journey, but what inspires me the most is the little moments in between the chaos of life: the silence that feels good to sit in, how she says goodbye, watching kismet moments unfold. I’m inspired by meeting someone on an airplane (pre-pandemic edition), having a rich conversation, and unexpectedly meeting again at JFK Airport three years later. I’m inspired by human connection, and the stories I’m privileged to tell and watch unfold.
How do you define an adventure elopement?
Ah, what a cool question. The best way I can describe an adventure elopement is the feeling you should have when your head hits the pillow at the end of your day—which in my book is fulfilled, honored, cared for, loved whole-heartedly and empowered. I can’t stress enough that elopement photography should be so much more than pretty pictures. It’s an experience created for two awesome individuals who have decided to honor their love story through a customized and extraordinary celebration that feels like it was made just for them. Because, well, it was.
What’s something you wish couples knew before they booked you (pandemic aside)?
I freaking love ya and your love. Too soon? Okay but seriously, I’ve always been a bit of a hopeless romantic and an empath—and I will probably tear up when you say your vows or when I sign your marriage license.
My people mean the world to me and I always go above and beyond for my clients because we become friends. I care about you. I’ve got your lipstick in my fanny pack for touch-ups before you say “I do.” I’ll be carrying your train up the mountain and cheersing you at the end of the night. I don’t wait for you to pay me to give a shit about you. You let me into your love story to capture it authentically and I vow to give you everything I have—that’s just how it works.
What are your guidelines for couples and yourself while shooting elopements during the pandemic?
Great question. Hard question. My top priority is the safety of my couples and my team while continuing to honor love. Pandemic or not, humans thrive on connection and love—and I think it’s really important during this physically- and emotionally-challenging time that we continue to value each other and keep celebrating love in creative ways. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and for the love of ice cream respect others even when you don’t agree with them. Love hard and lead with empathy. Those are my “rules.”
What’s your biggest piece of advice for couples making the switch from a big wedding to a micro wedding or elopement?
TRUST YOUR GUT. It’s truly exceptional how many of my couples who were planning big weddings and switched to a micro wedding or elopement came up to me afterward and told me they were “so thrilled we decided to elope—it was way better than the original plan. It felt way more like us.”
Getting this feedback lights me up because all I really want for my couples is for them to get the day they deserve, and for the photographs to reflect the love they have for each other right now.
To connect with Leandra, message her via her vendor profile.