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50 Essential Portrait Photographers: Leighton Matthews of Lighthouse Photographic Studio

50 Essential Portrait Photographers: Leighton Matthews of Lighthouse Photographic Studio

Photographer Leighton Matthews is based in Steveston Village in Richmond, BC. He is the principal photographer of Lighthouse Photographic Studio, which he runs with his wife Kathy, studio manager and “Head Kid Wrangler.” At his core, he’s a husband, father, rock guitarist, private pilot – and a “passionate and grateful photographer.”

Why did you get into photography?

Photography has been with me since I was around 11 years old. My parents were avid movie and picture takers and it definitely rubbed off on me. I took photography in high school and my mum gave me an SLR camera as a grad present – that’s where my interest in photography as a personal craft began. Years later, I found myself working in photo retail and shooting the occasional wedding or event for friends or friends-of-friends, which started me thinking that photography could perhaps be more than a hobby for me. The final piece of the puzzle was realizing that, whatever else I had tried to do with my life, photography had always been there, first as a creative outlet, then as a technical endeavour and, finally, as a genuine way to love my job!



Tell us a bit about your company

My wife Kathy and I opened The Lighthouse Photographic Studio in February of 2009, so we’re quite new – despite 15+ years of shooting professionally! The Lighthouse is a storefront studio, located in beautiful Steveston Village, in southwest Richmond. We specialise in children, families, maternity and wedding portraiture, either in studio or on location.

How would you characterize your style of photography?

I like to think of my style as flexible. If my clients have a vision of what they want, I can adapt the photography to suit their ideas. If they don’t know what they want, I can direct and pose them for the most flattering results. With children, it’s all about timing and, over the years, I’ve gotten to the point where I can see a moment coming and be ready when that elusive smile emerges. Practicing on your own kids really helps! Ultimately, I want my clients looking natural, relaxed and completely at ease with the process..


Who are your clients?

My clientele are mostly young families, which make up a huge proportion of Steveston, but every young family has grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. so I also get my fair share of multi-generational families, too. Those sessions are the most challenging but the most rewarding when you make a large group look great!


What should your mom clients expect when working with you?

Patience. The one thing my clients tell me most during a session is “I can’t believe how patient you are!” It’s simple, really – I have to be, because children operate on their own agenda much of the time and all the camera and lighting equipment in the world won’t replace patiently waiting for a child to give up a brief smile or a sweet glance. Also, parents can feel awkward if their kids are being difficult or uncooperative, so being calm, I can assure them that this is all normal and it doesn’t bother me a bit. Then, they relax and enjoy the session.

Family photos are part of that family’s history, a small piece of the collective memories of many generations and I always try to remember that. In this age of disposable digital pictures, I feel privileged to be creating unique and enduring portraits.

The Lighthouse Photographic Studio | Twitter:  @TheLighthouse1 | Facebook

All photos © The Lighthouse Photographic Studio.

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