Leslie Carvitto’s earliest memory of photography is of capturing snippets of nature on a little film camera she was given as a child.
Her camera would click away as she explored the rugged natural environment surrounding her family’s holiday retreat.
“I grew up in California and my family had a cabin in Kings Canyon National Park so we would often go up there on the weekends,” Leslie recalls.
“I just remember using up so many rolls of film taking photos of trees and shrubs, flowers and waterfalls.
“I’m sure many of them came out underexposed but I just loved being able to walk out into nature and capture photos.”
The keen hiker and surfer’s appreciation of nature endured but it was not until more recently that Leslie rekindled her early love of photography and turned her focus toward capturing people rather than landscapes.
Leslie Carvitto Photography was born in 2017 and she had found her calling.
“Photography, deep down, was what I wanted to pursue,” Leslie says.
“I knew that if I didn’t step out and be my own creative boss, I would highly regret it.
“I realised the timing would never be perfect and I needed to give working for myself a shot.
“I gave myself a year to experiment and I ended up taking a few classes, assisting for local photographers, and teaching myself the ins and outs of running a business and the technical aspects of photography.
“That was four years ago and I have not looked back.”
Leslie and her husband, Jared, made the move to Melbourne in 2018 and relocated to the Surf Coast in January this year.
Prior to that she lived in Hawaii and Seattle, dabbling in many fields, including modelling, freelance writing and working as a personal assistant, yoga teacher and in corporate marketing and recruiting roles.
She also embraced every opportunity to travel the world.
That wealth of work and life experience has come together beautifully in her business and it shines through in her photos, which showcase the natural beauty and inner power of her clientele of female business owners and conscious creatives.
Leslie sees her strength as being able to capture organic and authentic moments – the “in between and not posey moments” as she calls them.
“When people hire me, they will often say ‘I really don’t like getting my photo taken’ or ‘I really hate being in front of the camera, I’m really camera shy’,” she explains.
“A lot of women that come to me are in the beginning of their business, or in the middle of it, but haven’t done a professional photoshoot before.
“They might dread it but then they realise it can be really fun and really empowering.”
Leslie lives by the mantra of “collaboration over competition” and, as a result, she has established an online directory which celebrates businesswomen operating from Geelong and the Surf Coast.
“I really started that because when COVID hit I felt like a lot of businesses were going online or were needing to shut down for a while,” she says,
“I really value community and have always had really strong female friendships.
“It was just my way to try and built a bit more community.
“Honestly, it got me in contact with more women which is what I wanted so it was a win-win.”
Leslie, who has also recently launched a print shop on her website, is looking forward to building on the women in business platform while continuing to work with the many brilliant creatives she has connected with since making the move to this part of the world.
And she says there is nowhere she would rather be than the Surf Coast.
“It’s incredible the fact my husband and myself can wake up and go for a walk on the beach before work or take a quick lunch break and go for a surf – it’s basically the dream town,” she says.
“Every day we look at each other when we are down at Juc beach or something and say ‘oh my god, how did we find ourselves here?’.
“We are so, so lucky.”
Discover more at lesliecarvittophotography.com or @_lunarising on Instagram.