512-347-8700       Austin

Damon Leo

Portrait Photographer

Austin portrait photographer Damon Leo child portrait studioLike many people, the moment I first saw a photograph appear on a piece of paper in a tray filled with smelly chemicals, I was hooked. I have happily spent countless hours playing in the dim red light of a darkroom. In college, I developed film in my bathroom, and made prints in various rental darkrooms. Nowadays, I spend way too many hours in front of my computer working in Photoshop. It is my new darkroom, and thankfully, it doesn't stink of toxic chemicals.

I always enjoyed photographing people more than objects or scenic vistas. It was a natural evolution from taking pictures of flowers and trains, candid street scenes, rock and roll bands, jazz groups, models, and finally portraits. I didn't know it at the time, but I had chosen the most challenging area of photography. Fortunately, I naturally focused on my subject's personality and inner beauty, and they mostly liked the results. I learned to use lighting and posing to help my subjects look their best, but it is my ability to reveal the beautiful person inside that sets my portraiture apart. It is my style, and it has nothing to do with cameras, lenses or lighting equipment. It is all about heart and soul and being human...and having fun!

My sweet little studio is hidden in the trees overlooking Bee Cave Road in Westlake Hills. This is where the magic happens. It is my passion and my privilege to create timeless portraits that will become a part of your family's heritage and be passed from generation to generation.

In my opinion, there are three essential qualities to be a successful portrait photographer. The most important is Style. Without a unique Style, a photographer is merely recording faces. The second is the ability to see Light. Light is a photographer's paint, and learning to use it is the most difficult challenge. It takes years of experience and training and thousands of portraits to learn how to portray your subject in the most flattering light. It is this ability to see Light that separates the pros from the amateurs. The third is the ability to put people at ease so they look natural. Most people hate to have their picture taken, so the challenge for the portrait artist is to help them relax, feel good about themselves, and enjoy the experience.

On the shoulders of Giants

I have studied portraiture and wedding photography with some of the greatest in the business including: Garry Winogrand, Bill Stockwell SR., Joseph Zeltsman, Donald Jack, J. Michael McBride, Rocky Gunn, Wah Lui, Tibor Horvath, Darton Drake, Lori Nordstrom, Dave Junion, Greg Gorman (the Master of Black and White), Thomas Balsamo, Tim Walden, the creator of Relationship Portraits, and Rod Evans, the best senior portrait photographer in the world. I thank them all for sharing their time, talent and inspiration.