FACES of Flint & Genesee Business: Leni Williams, Leni Kei Photography

Leni Williams started photographing 10 years ago as a hobby. She and her husband just moved to Michigan, and she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her career, so in the meantime, she used her digital camera to take some photos. With the encouragement of her husband, she started to take photos of family and friends for fun, until one day a friend approached her to give her an opportunity. 

“I had a family friend who said, ‘I want you to do my wedding, I don’t want anyone else to do it,’” says Williams. “I tell people that photography chose me. I photographed her wedding and through word of mouth everything else blossomed.” 

Now, Williams runs Leni Kei Photography out of a studio space on Saginaw Street in downtown Flint where she has been located for the past year and a half. Her business specializes in weddings along with studio photography including women empowerment, boudoir, maternity, and lifestyle shoots.  

“Although we don’t typically cater to foot traffic, and see clients by appointment, we’ve received a lot of interest and inquiries from people who have seen our storefront and want to connect with us,” says Williams. 

Williams, who is originally from Lexington, Kentucky, decided to open her studio in Flint because it is where her husband is from and has been amazed by the community support. 

“With photography, you can conduct business from anywhere,” says Williams. “I had the opportunity to open a studio in Flint and it was perfect. It felt like more than a business location but a place where family and work can blend together.” 

How would you describe Flint to an outsider? 

One of the things that comes to mind is the creativity and resilience of businesses and talent. There are so many people of color and women-owned businesses, it is so diverse which makes it charming to me. Despite the challenges, Flint has thrived on adversity in a way and created opportunities for people without feeling like there is so much competition.  

What is your favorite part about running your business? 

It is a collection of everything I have been able to do, from photographing weddings to women who face challenges with self-image or are overcoming hard things like breast cancer. The collective impact defines my sense of accomplishment.  

Where do you like to spend your time in Flint & Genesee? 

I’d say XOLO Flint is my favorite place downtown. Flint Crepe Company has the best coffee I’ve ever had. I love going to the Flint Institute of Arts. Eight Ten Nail Bar has the best nail techs in the world. I love to shoot at For-Mar Nature Preserve. There are so many underrated places. 

Where are some of your favorite venues to capture weddings? 

I love the Durant, it’s so beautiful. The Flint Institute of Arts is also a beautiful venue. We’ve shot so many weddings at the Flint Farmers’ Market which people don’t normally think about, but it’s industrial and cute.  

Why did you decide to join the Flint & Genesee Chamber? 

I recently joined in the last year for the opportunity to connect with local businesses and for the potential collaborations and growth that can come from being a member.  

For more information on Leni Kei Photography, visit LeniKeiPhotography.com