Skip to main content

The Dreamers #94 - With Lifestyle Photographer Leslie Carvito

The Dreamers #94 - With Lifestyle Photographer Leslie Carvito

Aloha and G’Day from our latest Dreamer - Leslie Carvitto. A California native, she has deep connections to both Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. Eventually settling in Australia, Leslie now proudly calls the Surf Coast her home. A self-taught photographer, she passionately captures natural moments, inspired by her love for natural light and the compelling narratives of women and their distinct gifts.




Tell us about your family.

Aloha! My name is Leslie, and my fam bam consists of me, my husband Jared and our two-year-old son Weston (Westy) Addis. My husband and I are both fun-loving, adventure-seeking souls who love to spend our days outside surfing, trail running, travelling, and exploring along the coastline. 

Weston’s a warm-hearted, friendly toddler who is quick to laugh and make friends. He’s currently obsessed with trucks, water, and going to the park and saying goodbye to everyone he sees.

American in Australia, tell us how this happened.

I was born and raised in Hollister, a small rural town in California about 45 minutes inland from the coast, and Jared is from Washington State. I moved to Hawaii when I was 19 to play volleyball and study at Hawaii Pacific University. I’d been living the island life for six years when I met Jared on Mt Olomana, one of my favourite hikes on Oahu. 

 My friend and I started chatting to him and his group of friends, and I ended up being their unofficial tour guide while they were visiting. We had a special connection and kept in touch as friends for a year by sending each other letters (yes, physical letters, pen-pal style, not emails!) and visiting each other a few times. A year into it, he confessed he didn’t want to keep me in the “friend box”, and shortly after, we began dating. 

 After a year of long distance, I moved to Seattle. We got married and spent a lot of our time hiking, backpacking, biking, and adventuring around the Pacific Northwest in our VW bus, ‘Buttercup’. Travel and experiences have always been really important to us, and after a few years of international trips, we decided we wanted to live abroad for a while. Luckily, Jared works for an international company, and there was an opening in Melbourne. He applied and got the offer, and seven months later (after heaps of paperwork), we arrived in Australia!  

 Even though we lived in Melbourne, we were driving down to Torquay two to three times a week to surf. When our lease was up, we hightailed it down the coast and now live right at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. The original plan was to stay in Australia for a few years, but it’s been five years, and we just received our permanent residency in 2023.

What’s a big difference that you notice living in Australia compared to the USA?

One of the biggest differences is space. Australia feels so spacious compared to the US. Where I’m from in California, beach towns are busy year-round, there’s always traffic, and everything is a bit more built up. Here in Australia, there are fewer people (USA population - 331.9 million vs Australia population - 25.69 million), so it feels more laid-back and a bit less chaotic.  

 I also think Australians lean into work-life balance more. We just got back from a nine-week holiday to visit family and friends back in the States, and our American friends wouldn’t ever dream of taking that amount of time off. But we know a bunch of people in Australia who have taken two, six, or 12 months off.

Magic Mama Cord Cap
Old Mate Cord Adult Cap - Moss
Rad Kid Spliced Cord 5 Panel Cap - Brights

Your photography is so inspiring. We love the vintage look. How did you get into this?

Thank you! I’ve enjoyed taking pictures since I was a kid. When I was eight, my parents got me a Kodak film camera, and I’d bring it with me on family holidays and even to school to take pictures of my friends. There’s something about documenting or preserving a moment that’s always felt important to me. But I didn’t grow up thinking I would have a career in photography. I went to university, studied public relations and communications, and kept photographing for fun as a hobby.

When I moved back to the mainland, I was surrounded by artists and creatives who were freelancing and owning small businesses. It was the first time I started to really think about building something of my own and watching the people around me do it gave me the confidence to try. 

 I began assisting other photographers, taking classes, and creating photoshoots with my friends as my models so I could practice. A lot happened between when I started (2018) to now photographing full time (being a business owner is a roller coaster!), but I wake up every morning feeling extremely privileged and purposeful with my work.

What’s it like juggling life as a mama and business owner? 

It’s a constant dance. Every day, I’m reminded to commit to the experience I’m having (which changes daily) instead of my expectations of how I think the day will go. It’s tough not having any family around to help, but thankfully, Westy goes to a family daycare in our neighbourhood two days a week and loves it. Those two days are my work days, and it’s a lot to fit into a short time. Jared is a huge support and encourages me to keep building my business and take time for myself without guilt.

Any future plans for the year? 

Some more travel! We’ve got trips planned to Yamba and Queensland to visit the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree. Also, doing a lot of fun photoshoots (hopefully a few while we’re travelling), hosting a retreat for creatives, and I also run a group for women entrepreneurs, so I’ll be collaborating on events to build community and support others in their business journey.

Fav Banabae pieces?

I love all of our hats, the Holiday Mode sarong, and Westy’s rashguard and swim nappy!

Leslie Carvitto

- Activating + amplifying women's magic

- From bump, bubs, business and beyond

Website: Leslie Carvitto Photography

Instagram: Leslie Carvitto

Shop Leslie's family favourites:

Island Time Hemp Tee - Ladies
Reef Splice Organic Rib Twinset
Holiday Mode Sarong
Park Hangs Organic Cotton Tee - Adults