A look back on the past decade
I never saw myself in the corporate world long-term. I had personal goals. I wanted a family. I wanted freedom. I was making great money at a young age, and I made that money work for my vision. My husband and I saved and paid down debt until I was able to quit, be a stay-at-home mom, and start dabbling in photography as a career.
In the early days (circa 2008), I took advantage of every opportunity I could. I was living in Atlanta and shot press photography at the BET Hip-Hop Awards! That was a cool experience but definitely not my passion. Fast forward to 2013, a conversation with my own wedding photographer turned into an opportunity to shadow her. Soon, I took on my first wedding, charging way too little for what were “decent” photos. Energized, I took on more weddings, styled shoots, workshops, and other opportunities to hone my craft.
As I continued to diversify, I was getting a lot of requests for headshots. The way people expected them done back then was not exciting. I realized I could do more for these entrepreneurs than take a close-cropped, generic photo. Instead, I helped people tell their story through photography. I built a team who helped me position our clients as representatives of their brand with curated styling, makeup, and staging. And I loved it.
There’s no other way to explain how I ended up finding my studio: I manifested it. In 2018, I posted an inspirational photo of my dream workspace--an all-white studio so I could do whatever I wanted with it. 9 months later, it appeared before me, prime real estate in downtown Winston-Salem. It was meant to be and I snatched it up.
Said "I do" to weddings
took the microphone
Along with friend/photographer Ariel Perry, I founded and hosted the first Born to Shine Conference. We created the event as a one-of-a-kind, diverse, boutique conference, offering photographers hands-on learning opportunities. With curated styled shoots, our attendees walked away with images for their portfolios. We also brought in experts in marketing, accounting, mindset--everything you’d need to run a successful business. We designed the three-day event to promote inclusivity, encouraging openness and interaction between peers and instructors. And we can’t wait for the second Born to Shine Conference!
The past two years have tried to slow us all down, but I just won’t quit. I know what I want and how to get there. I operate a six figure business with no work on weekends! I’m making time for coaching and mentoring, including my new educational resource, “The Brand Photography Course.” And I’m still being honored with invitations to speak, as I did at the Creative at Heart Conference alongside Ariel Perry as keynote presenters. I’ve spoken alongside amazing creatives such as Katelyn James, Amy & Jordan, Ashley Joy Sutton, and Laylee Emadi just to name a few. I’ve done so much, but there’s so much more for me out there. And I’m going to do it.