The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: From Up Above

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: From Up Above

I was on vacation in Hawaii celebrating my friend's 30th birthday (she's pictured here), and as we were walking through the hotel I looked over the balcony and instantly had a flashback to Solange's "Cranes In The Sky" video. I told her "I have a crazy idea. I need you to lay on the floor and let me photograph you from above," and she said "of course!" and did it with no hesitation. I appreciate my fearless friends.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Future Queen

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Future Queen

Ja'Myah's mom Jessy texted me to say that when she showed the photo to Ja'Myah, Ja'myah said, "Awww, Mama I look pretty." Those words alone let me know that I had done my job. After seeing her photo Ja'Myah gained a new sense of empowerment and confidence. To be able to give that feeling to future a queen so she can see and know who she is meant a lot to me.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Newborn

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Newborn

Most of my clients prefer simple timeless art for their newborn photos. For this photo, the client was a relative who said "just do what you do." With no specific requests or expectations, I felt like I had total creative freedom. I'd been wanting to experiment with compositing newborn images, and this fall background, along with the baby's romper from my stock of newborn outfits, worked perfectly together. So I chose a couple images of the baby and a couple background images that I purchased from a vendor for the final blended images. I'm so please at how they turned out.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: The Hidden Side

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: The Hidden Side

When I took this photo I was catching up with my dear friend Coop. We were playing catch up as we tend to do. This was a photo of him I captured during our visit. I just wanted to show people a side of my friend that isn't shown often: vulnerability, openness. I'm just girl who loves to connect with her subjects and show them how beautiful they are.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Baby Genius

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Baby Genius

This was Kyrie's two month milestone photo, booked by his grandmother. He's something of a baby genius, as his grandmother would say. Kyrie is his grandmother's strength, and he's what keeps her going. Right now she is battling stage two breast cancer for the second time. She wants nothing more than to watch her grandson grow. This was a very special photo session for her.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Vulnerability

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Vulnerability

This photo is a photo of a man who let his guard down and allowed everyone to truly see him for who he is. I made the image with studio light, which is something I thought I wasn't good at. The photo is meaningful because it represents both the subject and the photographer being vulnerable.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Wednesday + Cousin ITT

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Wednesday + Cousin ITT

I hosted a costume shoot for clients of all ages, and this image is just one from that session. The mother of the two children made the costumes: Wednesday and Cousin ITT. If I had to say how the image represented me as an artist, I would say it shows the artistic training and creativity that I love to add to all of my images. This type of imagery reflects more of my fine arts training and actually makes me smile every time I look at it.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Simply Ronis

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Simply Ronis

I live in Phoenix, and the Black population is small. The studio that holds these happy hours doesn't have too many Black models. When I saw Ronis, I knew that I had to support her. For me, it celebrates the beauty of Black women. All too often, we're negatively portrayed, or our beauty, in all of its forms, isn't seen as beautiful by mainstream society. This image, for me, exemplifies Black Girl Magic.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Beauty in Blackness

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Beauty in Blackness

I have been working on a book for quite a while about natural hair, and I thought these little girls would be lovely to photograph with their natural hair on display. I wanted it to be very organic and earthy. The cheesecloth that they are wearing as tops was a last minute decision by me while I was packing my gear for the session. I thought the muted colors would allow for the girls to be seen without frills, and that the story of three sisters would come through clearer. I believe there is so much beauty in blackness and that's what I wanted to show.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Beautiful Now

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Beautiful Now

My parents always knew what drawings and colorings were mine at parent teacher conferences because all the people were brown. Cinderella, Snow White, She-Ra — they were all brown. Growing up I was teased about my skin tone and color by kids at school and family members. I let it get to me until one day I decided I was beautiful and wanted to see more people like me. I would take images of characters around me and reimagine what they would look like if they looked like me. One day I was at home and Sex in the City came on, and I said to myself: what if Carrie was a brown girl from Brooklyn? And that's how's this photo came to be.

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Growth

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Growth

This photo, to me, represents growth. It's been a LONG time coming, but I can finally say that I am completely confident in the work I am producing! After 10 years of shooting, I am just finding a community of supportive creatives that encourage each other, The Queen Photographers. I am so grateful to be (virtually) surrounded by talented women that look like me!

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The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Stuck in Time

The Queen Photographers // Photo of the Week: Stuck in Time

This image reminds me of my childhood, growing up on Liberty Hill in Charleston, South Carolina. We lived walking distance from this classic train station, and it was our playground. Yes, we played on the tracks (we didn't know any better). We would put pennies on the tracks to watch the trains flattened them as they rolled by. We would also go inside the station just to make the security guard mad by playing with the payphone and running around—you know, just being a kid. The guard would say, "Stop it! I'm calling the police!", but he never did. I never noticed the Charleston sign until years later. It was a must that I capture that sign. So, I went to the station and asked if I could get some shots, and to my surprise, the inside still looked the same! I felt like I went back in time; if that old security guard was still there, I would have passed out! I presented a huge canvas of this image to my sister on her 54th birthday, and the tears started because she remembered.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Florida Photographer Anesha Collins of Unashamed Imaging

Woke Wednesday // Meet Florida Photographer Anesha Collins of Unashamed Imaging

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.

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Black BeauTEA Talk // Celebrated, Not Tolerated: Woke AF Wedding Vendors List

Black BeauTEA Talk // Celebrated, Not Tolerated: Woke AF Wedding Vendors List

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!!

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Woke Wednesday // Meet La'Quitia Denson of Beyond the Pond Photography

Woke Wednesday // Meet La'Quitia Denson of Beyond the Pond Photography

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.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet St. Louis Photographer Raquita Henderson of Pinxit Photo

Woke Wednesday // Meet St. Louis Photographer Raquita Henderson of Pinxit Photo

For Woke Wednesday, we chatted with Raquita Henderson, the photographer behind Pinxit in St. Louis, to discuss how she started photographing weddings at age 13, how she risks losing business by being vocal about her values, and how much she deeply loves weddings.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Washington, D.C., Photographer Kanayo Adibe

Woke Wednesday // Meet Washington, D.C., Photographer Kanayo Adibe

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.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet New York Photographer Amy Anaiz

Woke Wednesday // Meet New York Photographer Amy Anaiz

Liz: So what does your business look like today, nine years later?

Amy: Prosperous.

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.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Atlanta Wedding Photographer Kelley Raye

Woke Wednesday // Meet Atlanta Wedding Photographer Kelley Raye

We sat down with Kelley Raye to learn more about her deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit, how she taught herself the art of photography, and how she and her wife scrapped their wedding plans after four stressful months to elope and travel.

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Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

I greatly underestimated the journey to motherhood. I had nine months to change my mentality and to become the woman and mother I have always dreamt I'd be. I've learned more about myself in these past months than I have in my 28 years on earth. I wanted my maternity session to reflect that growth. My journey hasn’t been easy to say the least, but I have and will continue to overcome all obstacles in my way. At the time of my session, I felt confident in my new role of Mommy-to-be. Megan and Garrett were spot-on with a location that would reflect this change. Mansions are beautiful and known to  symbolize wealth. I found beauty in my transition from independent young woman to highly-favored young mother. I have now become rich—rich in knowledge, strength, and unconditional love for another. Like a mansion, the home for me and my daughter, Ava, will be built brick by brick on a solid foundation of faith. I’m so thankful that I have pictures that truly depict the woman I have now become and the mother that I know I will be. 

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