We had the good fortune of connecting with DeAndre Stratton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DeAndre, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneur mindset. Even as a kid I had multiple side hustles I would do like selling candy, working in the barbershop or shoveling snow. So now as an adult I figured “why not make my passion an actual business”. It also allowed me to potentially have something to pass down to my future kids and gives me the opportunity to employ people who actually have the same mindset as me.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
When I created Leo Lifestyle Photography, I set a goal to help create memories and tell stories for individuals that would last a lifetime. I know what it’s like have pictures from the past destroyed or lost in between moves. So that’s why I make it a mission that all of my clients have a great time on location during the session, so I can capture the greatest candid moments as well as posed pictures. The journey was definitely not easy, especially being an active duty sailor in the Navy. I’ve definitely learned to be a lot more patient. Times of adversity will be part of life, but it’s what you do to make it through that matters.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh man, San Diego has too many places to offer lol. But let’s just say this, you can’t come to San Diego and not try some of the best Mexican food around especially being this close to the border. A couple places like Tacos el Gordo, the Taco Stand and various other places are a definite must visit. I would also take them to places like La Jolla, mission beach and Balboa park. Those three places would definitely give you a great sense of how beautiful San Diego is.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly I don’t know where to start. There have been many that have supported me but I definitely want to shout out my friends and family who first supported me when I was starting. Special shout out to my mom and sister for supporting my merch and even ticket sales to events from across the country. Also I wanted to shout out Raw Artist, the events I’ve done with them have severely boosted my confidence. Also, the models I’ve consistently worked with who are now good friends of mine. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and the many role models/mentors I have had throughout the years… especially Alex (@liquidverve) Jon (@JonSnip) and Shani (@Shanivarner). Also, my old lady who has supported me and motivated me to get back out there. COVID changed a lot and her words of encouragement really helped.