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Rising Stars: Meet Leonard Anderson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leonard Anderson.

Leonard Anderson is a self-taught professional photographer originally from Pennsylvania. He used to watch his uncle develop black & white film at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on Saturdays. Leonard’s photography journey started during his time in the Army while traveling to Europe and Asia and wanting to document his travels.

Shooting seriously since moving to Colorado in 2011, he spent the next few years shooting a little bit of everything while trying to figure out his niche. In 2014, he took his hobby to the next level and established Leonard Anderson Photography, LLC. He was fortunate to meet some amazing local photographers/mentors to help him hone the basics of camera settings, composition, and lighting. Leonard attended workshops and photography conferences to learn from arguably the best photographers in the fashion and headshot industry, respectively; Sal Cincotta and Peter Hurley.

In 2017, he decided that these two genres would be his focus. It was during this time that Leonard and his Dad grew closer through their shared love of fashion photography. After spending most of 2017 shooting fashion shows, he decided that editorial fashion was more of what he loved. It allowed him to control the lighting, posing, and create his own style. In 2019, he was introduced to the Peter Hurley style of headshot photography during a 3-day workshop. He soon became a member of Peter Hurley’s Headshot Crew, consisting of over 18,000 photographers worldwide specializing in Portraits and Headshots mentored by Peter himself.

In 2020, he was fortunate to be among 200+ photographers selected to participate in the 10,000 Headshot Initiative, a one-day nationwide drive to provide 10K free headshots to people negatively affected by COVID-19. Each year Leonard provides discounted military portrait sessions for the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Military Ball. Throughout the year, he also provides free headshots to local transitioning military members as his way of giving back to the community. In March of 2020, Leonard was fortunate to meet Eric Stegall (via LinkedIn), the Founder & President of Portraits for Patriots, which provides free headshots to transitioning service members, spouses, and Gold Star families. His desire to give back to military members and Portraits for Patriots’ need for more headshot photographers provided the perfect opportunity to join an organization that allows him to do what he loves while helping military families.

Leonard is published in Defined Magazine (2016, 2017), Shutter Magazine (2017, 2019, and 2020), and My Black Colorado Magazine (2019, 2021). Leonard Anderson Photography, LLC is a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Business.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Initially, it was difficult to figure out what I wanted to specialize in, so I did all kinds of photoshoots while trying to find my niche. After finding local photography mentors (Don Hales & Brett Seeley), I was able to absorb everything that they were willing to teach me. Through patience and practice, things got much easier.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a professional photographer specializing in headshots and editorial fashion. I am most proud of the progress that I’ve made since I first arrived in Colorado in 2011. I’ve continued to hone my skills and try new things over the years. I think what sets me apart is that I love what I do and want my clients to be absolutely happy with the final images. If that means that we go past our scheduled time, then so be it. I also like to be myself and want my clients to be comfortable in front of the camera. I will usually say or do something to make them laugh to put them at ease.

How do you define success?
Setting goals and attempting to achieve them – even if you fail. Learn from your mistakes but never stop trying.

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Image Credits
Leonard Anderson

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