the Journal

I'm Sarah Leying: friend of God, photographer of marriage & family, and hopeless romantic. On this journal, I share my recent work, experiences, and personal journey with Jesus, art, heritage, and learning to capturing the nuance of Love and life in still photographs.

Welcome, and I hope you stay a while.

When you photograph as many UNC grad photo sessions every spring as I do, it’s easy to begin working off mental templates and shot lists. I realized this a year ago when my grad sessions started looking the same: reliable, but a little too reliable. So I made it my mission this year to make […]

UNC Chapel Hill Grad Photos: 2024 Roundup

UNC Tar Heels basketball grad photo idea

Senior Portraits

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A Joyful In-Home Marriage Celebration & Luncheon


Emily & Harrison were wed in a small courthouse ceremony, then headed to Harrison’s family home for a joyful and intimate in-home marriage celebration. They welcomed in their new marriage surrounded by family and their dog, Artemis. This family luncheon brimmed with life and joy! The families catered lunch from a Chinese restaurant near Cary […]

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Carly’s colorful artist personal branding session was so much fun for me to capture. Carly is one of my very dear friends and wanted to shoot a few low-key personal brand photos to kick-start her business website launch for her multimedia art business. These are so true to her personality and brand: full of whimsy, […]

Colorful Personal Branding Session: Carly Kruse Art

Colorful artist branding photo


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Personal Documentary: Food and Family, Part 1


One of my greatest joys from behind a camera is personal documentary photography. The mundane turns magical, the routine turns rare, the every day moments become fleeting moments that I swell with pride to have captured. The older I get (although I am admittedly still very young), the more I treasure having photographs of this […]

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My name is Sarah. I’m currently an undergraduate junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the United States’ first public university. I study sociology and communication with a concentration in interpersonal and organizational communication. Here are my thoughts after the UNC shooting of Monday, August 28, 2023. Monday, August 28, 2023: The […]

After the UNC Shooting: A Student’s Thoughts


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Coker Arboretum Chapel Hill Engagement Photos

Couple kissing for engagement portrait as a car drives by in the background

Engagement Sessions

Jazmine and Eli have a movie-romance charm to them. We met up bright and early on a winter morning earlier this year in Coker Arboretum for these Chapel Hill engagement photos! It was COLD, y’all, but you wouldn’t know it looking at these. I think morning light is even more magical than sunset. There is […]

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Spoiler: I recently discovered that the Holga 120n is my friend when it comes to capturing nostalgic photos, and now I’m in love. The world seems to be very taken with nostalgic, grainy, and cinematic photographs lately, and rightly so. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I opened my email inbox to see […]

How to Take Nostalgic Photos with the Holga 120n

Nostalgic double exposure on Holga 120n

Film, Reviews, Travel and Documentary

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Merritt’s Pasture Engagement Photos

Engagament photos at Merritt's Pasture

Engagement Sessions, Featured

Grace is one of my best friends. The very first day we talked, we FaceTimed for seven. Hours. (I can’t make this up, y’all.) Because of our God-given friendship, I’ve also had the privilege of seeing her relationship with Ethan unfold from beginning until now, and last month, I captured their engagement photos at Merritt’s […]

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