A native Brooklynite, photographer Leba Dinovitz, 31, of Leba D Photography, came to Baltimore for love. “I married a Baltimore boy,” she said, with a smile in her voice. “You know, they don’t like to leave.”
A friend who had also married a Baltimore boy set them up. But before moving permanently to Charm City, the couple lived in Israel for a year while Sam, her husband, was studying at a yeshiva in Jerusalem.
It was there that Leba, newly married with time on her hands, decided to study photography at Lander College. She had harbored that interest for a long time, having once taken a tour of the New York Institute of Photography. Once her interest was rekindled, she pursued it and shaped it into a career that she is now able to balance while still being a busy wife and mother of four.
Leba and Sam moved to Baltimore in 2011. They live in Pikesville and are members of Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim.
I’m not the type to sit in an office. And I needed to find something that was creative. I used to babysit a lot for a neighbor who was a big photographer in New York, Niki Broyn. I always thought it was the coolest job. Then I took the course and I met so many interesting people I would not have met otherwise. It was so much fun and I love doing it. It wasn’t my lifelong dream, but it was the kind of job that I thought, “Oh my gosh, she’s so cool.” She had a photography studio in Park Slope, which is such a cool area in Brooklyn. I even told her, “You are my inspiration.”
How did you develop your business?
I practiced [in Israel]. I used my husband as a model and I used my neighbor’s kids as models when we had homework in my photography class. Then we came to Baltimore, and I, right away, started doing pictures for free. I did it for all my friends and I find that, more than advertising, it’s word of mouth.
Who’s your main clientele?
I started with just families and children. I do small events now. Not weddings. I did one wedding but it was a really small wedding. I do like to be home at night. I’m not a night person and during the day, I’m home with the kids during the week. So most of my work is done on the weekends and early evening. I do some corporate events; if it’s a small event. It’s the different jobs that I enjoy, that take me out of my comfort zone. That take me out of the norm.
What do you love about your work?
I love getting to meet people that I’m not going to normally meet. You have your friends and you have your circle and you don’t get to meet everyone in the community and you don’t get to meet people even out of the community. So there are people who I get to know through my work who I never would have known otherwise. That’s really special to me, to get to be a part of their happy occasions is really nice. And to capture memories that they’re really going to cherish. I’ve had someone come over to me when she was sitting shiva with her father. We had taken pictures a few weeks beforehand and she told me how special those pictures were to them. So to be able to do that for somebody, to give them comfort.
Do you have plans for the future?
I always have these grand plans. I’d love to take some more graphics courses. I would love to do more newborns. Newborn photography is a whole art within itself; it’s more training and work. I would love to try to focus more on that when I have the time. Right now, I’m as busy as I can be as a stay-at-home mommy.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
When I have my me time, about an hour a day, I really try to work out, which is what makes me a sane person. And hanging out with my family or going out with my husband. Sometimes I enjoy just not having the camera. It’s really relaxing. I appreciate the beauty of unplugging.