When A Vision Becomes Reality

queen photographers of sc

When A Vision Becomes Reality

2015 was my year of growing as a entrepreneur and stepping out to do things I’d never tried before.  I’m not big on networking (yes, I’m an introvert), but I wanted to meet others in my field and make real, genuine connections with them.  I came across the online movement of Brown Girl With A Camera after they featured one of my photos on their Instagram page.  From there I saw that they were doing a meet-up of female photographers in the Greenville, SC area.  Although I was unable to attend that gathering I made sure to follow the Brown Girl social media presence.  From there my fellow sister-tog, Sirena invited me to join a new social movement happening right here in my home state known as Queen PhotograpHERs of SC.  Over the last few months I’ve gotten to know some of the ladies in this group and I love the camaraderie we share.  I love what QPSC stands for and I wanted the Founder, Latoya Dixon Smith, to share the story of how it began…

queen photographers of sc

In 2012, my son Kent was born. Two weeks later, I hired my friend from college, Cameron Robinson, of Arthur Cameron Photography, to come shoot his newborn photos.  They were perfect!  I was a first-time mom and slowly but surely realized the value of having a fairly decent camera phone. However, slowly, but surely I realized that my phone’s memory was not enough to store all of the photos that I took daily. Rational or not, I had a fear that I would one day forget how small my son was, how smooth his skin was, how his tiny fingers and toes fit right into my hands.  In 2013, my husband and I bought our first DSLR together, a Canon Rebel T3. I wanted to make sure that I could produce some quality photos to always go back and reference our son’s youth (and maybe even satisfy my baby fever because there will be no more babies anytime soon)!

In 2014, we moved from Upstate New York down to Greenville, SC.  At that point, I wasn’t even considering photography neither as a hobby or a potential business venture.  My camera was solely my connection to my son’s youth.  Day after day, I’d pick up the camera and practice; taking photos of my son at home in his little outfits before I took him to daycare, as we played together in the evenings. I wanted to learn more and meet someone who would be willing to help me do just that.  

One day while scrolling through Instagram, I came across Sierra Collin’s page.  I saw that she too lived in Greenville and was new to photography. I was excited to see another woman my age, who looked like me, also new to photography and so close to me, so I reached out to her and invited her to come shoot with me. Soon after, we met up in Downtown Greenville with our cameras and have been partners in crime in photography ever since.

queen photographers of sc

As Sierra and I continued to shoot together for practice, we discovered and began to follow Brown Girl With A Camera on Instagram. I saw that the creator of BGWAC, Ruby Melton, had done a meet-up in another city and it struck me that it would be great to bring her to SC, specifically to Greenville, SC.  I told Sierra about it and she was on board. We reached out to Ruby and pitched the idea to her. A few months later the Brown Girl with a Camera Portfolio Building Meet-Up – Greenville happened.

The meet-up was phenomenal! We had photographers from several different cities within the state, Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Columbia, Blythewood, even from Atlanta. Aside from meeting fellow women of color photographers, it was a great moment of bonding with the make-up artist and models alike.  There was no way I would allow that dynamic group of women to lose touch after such a successful meet-up. I called up Sierra again and told her about the idea of starting a local group for the Brown Girls with a Camera within South Carolina. Again, she was on board we created the Queen PhotograpHERs of SC.

queen photographers of sc

Today, our QPSC Community is almost 60 members strong! We are truly a sisterhood of photographers, readily willing to help answer each other’s business-related questions, photography inquiries, share leads, etc.  We have a full calendar of events for this year including portfolio-building meet-ups, community service, and workshops to expand each area of ourselves as artists and business professionals.  

To join the QPSC community, email [email protected] with your name, a little about yourself, and how you got interested in photography. We welcome anyone of any level of expertise.

Thank you so much to Latoya for her guest blog post and I hope to feature more posts from others in the industry!


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