They don’t call her the baby whisperer for nothing

“Love this pose,” said Leah. “Of course your little one is the most beautiful bloom in the bunch!”

Meet newborn photographer, Leah Marsh

Newborn Photographs Courtesy Leah Marsh

Ah, baby pictures. They capture a moment in time, a time that can be both a blur and when the clock seems to stand still. But as every parent knows, the days are long, but the years are short, and before you know it, your baby is taller than you and ready to drive. Newborn photography has come a long way from the traditional blue and pink bassinet hospital pictures. And nothing is cuter than a baby positioned just the right way, with the most adorable teeny, tiny props and adorable backdrops. Many new parents don’t know where to begin to capture a good picture of their precious package, but that’s why there are experts, like Leah Marsh, of Leah Marsh Photography. Leah Marsh can – and does – create art with the tiniest subject.

By Tom Linderman Photography

Leah has a quiet sense of calm, which makes her a natural at what she does. Whether the subject is a newborn baby, or a child running around to get the wiggles out before a family photo shoot, Leah has an inherent ability to bring out the best and capture the essence of her subjects. It might surprise you that this baby whisperer hasn’t always worked with tots. She has an impressive military background as a member of the US Air Force, briefing high ranking officials on F-15 fighter jets and at times two-to-three thousand Air Force members for special exercises. She’s lived all over the world which is what led her to fall in love with capturing memories and sceneries with her camera.

Leah lives in Haymarket and is raising her three active children, Kylie, Hunter, and Bryce with her husband, Jason. They’re an active family involved in school and (many) sports activities. She grew up in Nashville, joined the Air Force as an air traffic controller, and lived in Texas, Alaska, and Las Vegas over the course of her military career. When she got out of the Air Force, she worked for a government agency and was relocated to Qatar. While living in Qatar, she was involved in an accident that shattered both wrists and required many surgeries, both overseas and in the US.

It wasn’t the accident, though, that changed Leah’s career path. She continued to work as a government contractor until she had children. But she always loved the art of photography, her father having instilled in her the importance of having memories to look back on.

“Mom requested a Secret Garden theme and it’s no secret this garden is full of sweetness!” said Leah.

“I had always been interested in photography, but my love for it really took off when the Air Force moved me to Alaska. The scenery and people were captivating,” she said.

After her travels and experiences, Leah decided she wanted a different pace of life. After having her oldest child, Kylie, she realized that she wanted to spend as much time as possible with her. She took a break from work and was a stay-at-home mom. It was then that she entertained the idea of taking her passion for photography and making it into a business.
“I love a challenge,” she said. “One day, after I left government contracting, my husband and I were talking about career paths and he jokingly told me he didn’t think I’d be profitable, let alone make a living working as a photographer. I made it my mission to prove him wrong and become the best photographer I could.” Of course the challenge was in jest; Jason is her biggest supporter.

It took a few years of non-stop studying. Leah watched videos, took classes, and offered many free or discounted sessions when she first started out so she could learn how to improve.

“This is a client favorite,” said Leah. “This bear-y sweet cherub is hibernating for the winter.”

“I received some very harsh criticism but chose to use it to help me improve instead of taking it personally,” she added. She started with weddings, high school senior pictures, headshots, and family, child, and newborn photography. She quickly learned that she loved the newborn photo shoots best. “There’s something special about photographing new life and seeing parents (especially new ones) react when they see the images of their little ones,” Leah said.

Giving back is important to Leah. She regularly donates sessions for school fundraisers and offers discounts for military members, teachers, and first responders. She has also given her time and services to photograph infants in the NICU. Perhaps the most special client she’s had is a little girl named Ella who was diagnosed with brain cancer at just five months old. Leah had the privilege of taking Ella’s photos for a year, because of the package her parents purchased, but Leah became smitten with the little girl and didn’t want to stop there. She offered to continue to capture the precious moments until Ella beat her cancer. “I ended up getting to see her precious face for over two years before she was declared cancer free!”

“This little one’s a world champion napper!” said Leah.

While her photos look like the babies are all peacefully sleeping, there is actually a tremendous amount of preparation and thought that goes into planning and posing. Photographing newborns is not easy, and safety is Leah’s number one priority. As a member of the International Associate of Newborn Photographers, she has been trained in newborn safety – understanding the do’s and don’ts positioning babies. It is paramount to her not only for her business practices, but because she personally feels very strongly about it. And while no artist wants to reveal their secrets, she does share that in order to achieve the breathtaking artistic images she creates with newborns, there is a bit of photography magic – also known as editing.

“I love when dad’s get involved with the planning process,” said Leah. “This is the dad’s golf bag. How can he not hit a hole in one when thinking of this sweetie?”

“I know people see these images and think they’re hard and fast reality, but in fact it’s a combination of images melded together in an editing program,” she says.

Like Leah’s dad told her, it’s important to have memories to look back on, and what better way to capture those memories than with a perfectly appointed photograph?

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Frannie Barnes
About Frannie Barnes 37 Articles
Frannie Barnes is a content writer and editor, and the owner of ForWord Communication. She lives in Gainesville with her husband, three active kids, cat, and dog. To contact Frannie, you can e-mail her at

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