Anesha: If you have a desire to start a business (whatever that may be), go and do it! Don't let anyone hold you back, not even yourself. Sometimes people don't believe in your entrepreneurial journey because it's too scary for them to understand, and that's okay — it's not meant for them to. Sometimes the journey will even scare you, but you have to keep going. You need to wake up everyday (even the days that you don't want to) and pursue your dream wholeheartedly. You don't have to make announcements; put in the work, and then show it. Let your work speak for you, and watch how evangelists of your brand follow suit. After you show it, go to the next thing. I always say that the current project or booking you're working on is what's booking you for the next thing, so always be on point, stay focused, and enjoy the journey.Read More
One part that really seemed to stand out last month according to the feedback was the story about none of the vendors posting photos of the black bride's wedding. Her story really drove home why I push the phrase, “Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated,” so much. It's very important that on top of realizing these issues, we do our part to support those who truly support us! How many times have you been online and come across a new viral post about yet another business owner coming out as having been racist?! How many of these business owners had you supported in the past? Yea, I know girl, me too, and the worst part is there is no way for us to be able to tell, right?! Well of course there isn't, but we can damn sure look for the businesses that SHOW us that they are here for us. It's really easy to do; if you go to their website and don't see anything close to a representation of you, peace out! You'd be taking a chance with giving this business your support, or in other words, your coins!!Read More
Cassandra: June 2012 was momentous for me personally, as I got married and officially started my business in that same month. Planning a same-sex wedding prior to marriage equality, while it was mostly wonderful for us, still stirred up emotions that should never be associated with such an exciting experience. We dealt with anxiety, nervousness, and worry about how vendors would treat us. With every email sent, the question "Are you comfortable working with a same-sex couple?" was included so that there weren't any uncomfortable surprises later. A bit of our joy was stolen from us simple because of who we were. For these reasons, I realized it was imperative to effect change in the wedding industry, and I knew I could make a difference with photography. And so, I overhauled my business in the fall of 2013 to refocus on LGBTQ+ weddings and elopements. The work I am doing now fills my heart and soul in a way I never could have imagined possible. Being able to share my passion and mission, while having life experiences that allow for a true understanding of those in the community, while inviting them to love openly and honestly, is a gift that I am honored and privileged to give.Read More
I have always wanted to get myself involved in things that not only affect me, but others—whether it's sexual orientation, gender, race, or for some of my friends, it's religion. But I had a hard time finding my voice. As a bi Afro-Latina woman and first generation American in my family on my mother's side, I've seen and heard and felt a lot of things.Read More
Kanayo: My fiancée, now wife, bought me a camera for Christmas. So she tends to buy me enabling gifts when she notices a new interest I may have. I think I have an extreme personality, so say you give me 10-pound weights, I may end up a body builder, or you buy me a bike, I may start biking 20 miles a day. All of this happened by the way. So she gave me a camera, and it ended up as a photography business.Read More
Liz: So what does your business look like today, nine years later?
Liz: That's great to hear. And reassuring to all of us who are younger in our businesses.
Amy: I've had opportunities that I never would have imagined nine years ago. I moved here with 2K in my bank account with a hope and a dream. I had no apartment; I slept on my aunt's couch for months, but slowly I've made a way. Nine years later, I live in a brownstone and make enough money to support myself, my family, and then some... So that makes me proud of myself.Read More
Recently I have been getting more involved with my engagement sessions and spending the whole day with my couples. When we are hanging out we really get to know each other and create photos together that reflect real aspects of their lives. So I spent all day with these two, and we had a blast. We started the day chillin' at their home and then eventually adventured out to Rattlesnake Ridge. They met at a bar, so it felt only natural to end the night at a few bars.Read More
If you find yourself questioning something that feels inappropriate or abusive, then it probably is. Do not "use" an interracial couple in a shoot just to make your portfolio more diverse so you can start seeming more inclusive to the industry. Start first with yourself. Take a step back, and look at the inner circle of people you see every month. Who are they? What do you all talk about? Are you discussing issues related to populations you have no experience with? Do you participate in tokenizing? Overall, if you share these values and want to start out in the industry, double and then triple-check yourself and your own life. Because if you're still participating in social practices that are damaging or harmful toward marginalized groups in this country, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, then frankly you haven't done the work.Read More
Tomayia Colvin, a portrait photographer and educator in Houston, is a well-known leader and activist in our community. She is a children's book author, a doctoral student in the field of educational leadership, and she works with conferences to connect them with talented and diverse speakers and educators.Read More
Liz: Is there anything else you would like to share with folks reading who are also working to find their own place and their own identity?
Bri: I would say to others that it starts with stepping out of the denial. Don’t deny how you feel or think because it is beautiful, and it is you. Once you stop denying you can start loving, and that extends to yourself.Read More