We had the good fortune of connecting with Shaleena Cole and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shaleena, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always loved taking pictures. It represented a way for me to document and remember specific events and moments throughout life. I had an eye for it, most would say, I was naturally good at composing shots and capturing candid moments. It brought me so much joy to share my gift with others so they’d have beautiful memories of their lives too.
I grew up in a very traditional household. My life plan was go to college, start a career, and work in that career until retirement. I had no thoughts or plans about going into business for myself, I just wanted to climb the corporate ladder. One day, my boyfriend (now Husband) shared with me how great I was as a photographer and and encouraged me to start my own business. That conversation sparked my interest and I started researching what I needed to do to get started, followed those steps, and LeoSage Images was birthed.
What should our readers know about your business?
LeoSage Images exists to capture significant moments throughout your life in a beautiful and authentic way. We provide a fun and professional experience in the areas of headshots, branding, and lifestyle portraits for individuals, high school seniors, and families.
What sets me apart is the experience I provide for my clients. We have a great time on our sessions! People who feel nervous or awkward in the beginning always warm up and feel comfortable and confident and love the images we capture. My goal is to always capture the best version of my clients, providing a great service and quality products to share with family and friends for a lifetime.
Starting, maintaining, and thriving in business is not easy. I’m definitely still learning. I’m so thankful for all of the classes, trainings, workshops, conferences, and mastermind groups that I’ve attended over the years. They continue to help me build and grow my business into something great.
I’m also thankful for every client, referral, review, and mention of my business. It’s truly amazing to have people recommend my business and share what a great experience they had working with me. Word of mouth is powerful and has been huge in getting me where I am today.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Downtown Detroit is amazing. There is always something fun to do. At the Monroe Street Midway you can roller skate or play basketball. Beacon Park usually has a fun concert happening. The Riverwalk is also a great place to visit for a nice walk, bike ride along the Detroit River. There’s countless places to eat, but I love Jose’s Tacos in Eastern Market.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to thank my Husband, Jesse for always believing in me and encouraging me to think bigger! He’s so supportive and wants to see everyone win! My business may not have happened if it were not for his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to see the value my work would provide. Forever grateful for that conversation which led to over 15 years of capturing the joy in peoples lives.
I’d also like to thank my first mentor, Nicole Adams. I was led to her when searching for a wedding photographer. During the consultation, I randomly asked if I could work with her as her photography assistant…she said yes! So I was blessed with a wedding photographer and a mentor at one time…what a win! We’ve worked together for many years and I will I always be grateful to her for the “yes”.
Moon Reflection Photography (behind the scenes photo, showing client picture on camera) LeoSage Images (all other images)