Five years ago Tomayia Colvin was working as a full-time teacher and making scrapbooks for friends for fun. Fast forward to 2017, she was named one of The 50 Most Inspiring Photographers in the United States by Beauty Revived, and her professional snaps have been published in national magazines and blogs such as Essence.com, Munaluchi Bridal, Black Bride, and Seniorologie. Plus, she turned her creative outlet into a mission-driven business with Tomayia Colvin Education, a platform that educates and supports photographers and speakers of color.
With a passion for documenting the memories of families and high school seniors across the United States and abroad, Colvin launched her first solo photography exhibit, The Unboxed Project, which features the faces of 25 teens redefining the “in crowd” and changing the negative stereotypes of teens in the media.
We caught up with Colvin to learn more about her journey.
What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
The lack of diversity at conferences, workshops, podcasts, and features across the photography and creative industry.
One day after sending an email to suggest speakers of color for a conference, it occurred to me that if I wanted to see a change in speaker lineups and conference attendance, then I needed to be that change. I needed to have a platform that supports photography speakers of color and diversity.
Through Tomayia Colvin Education, my online photography site for photographers, course attendees have the opportunity to learn skills on marketing, business, photography, editing, and much more from a diverse team of instructors for an affordable price.
Since launching your own business, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Always believe in your dreams even if you’re the only one that believes in them. Sometimes your dreams are so big that it scares you, your family, your significant other, and sometimes your closest friends. Regardless of the opinions of others, never give up on your vision—no matter what.
What’s your best advice for someone looking to launch a business in professional photography?
Practice your craft and believe in your vision. Always be a lifelong learner and continue to take courses, workshops, and attend conferences to better yourself.