In this episode we sat down with 3 of our South Carolina area leaders — Sirena White-Singleton of Aneris Photography, Kristen Gordon of Lavish Moments Photography, and Tangela Kitchens of Tangela Kitchens Photography for part 2 of “Getting To Know the SC Area Leaders.
We jumped right in to learn about each photographer and their early beginnings.
How Did You Get Started in Photography
For all of our area leaders, they were all self-taught. They picked up their cameras and were very eager to learn how to improve. After being contacted by friends and family to take their photos, their photography careers were kicked off.
Tangela is probably one of our boldest area leaders on this episode. She accepted a wedding gig on her first shoot with a point and shoot and got a crash course the night before (which we DO NOT recommend, by the way). Now that’s confidence! However, she later learned that her passion is now in school and sports photography.
Sirena’s first mentor is another Queen Photographer member, Tanya Hearn of Tanya Hearn Photography. She mentions how she bore the nickname “Rookie” in her local photography community when she was just getting started. Sirena initially didn’t know technical aspects like f-stop, ISO, and shutter speed, being that she shot in automatic mode. After being challenged, she switched to manual mode and began getting comfortable having more control of her camera settings.
Kristen found some mentors within the Queen Photographers, then the Queen Photographers of SC (QPSC). She asked questions in the group as well as using her best friend, Google.
Tangela found photographers whose images that she loved and reached out to them, again proving that she’s bold and fearless.
Sirena says her greatest investment was attending workshops while shooting general portraits. She first attended WPPI in Las Vegas. She says it changed her life. Shortly after, she met a few other black photographers like Jenni Woods and Isaiah Haynes who showed her that there were successful and supportive black photographers also here in the photo industry.
Kristen agrees that conferences, workshops, and classes are great investments. She also is a hands-on learner and found it helpful to get out there and start shooting herself, learning her equipment and sticking to the basics.
Tangela suggests investing time in shadowing other photographers.
It seems as if all of our area leaders didn’t quite see themselves in leadership positions, but that’s one thing about our area leaders. They are appointed because they exhibit a love for community and helping others.
Sirena is a transformational leader. She doesn’t like defined, organized roles, but finds herself in different roles due to her hands-on nature. She’s quite the encourager, but allows people to take their on leaps.
Kristen is a giver. While she was surprised to be asked to serve as an area leader, she says that she doesn’t mind helping or serving however she may be asked to do so.
Tangela is herself, 100% of the time, and encourage others to do the same whenever she’s put into leadership roles. She understands that especially as photographers, art is subjective.
Photography “Horror Stories”
- Forgotten batteries
- Overheated speedlights that failed at an event
- Errors in camera
- Losing memory cards in public parks
Mentioned in this episode:
WPPI – Wedding and Portrait Photographers International
Queen Photographer Communities
Texas – Are you a woman of color photographer, based in Texas? If so, join our new Texas group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/QueenPhotogsTX/
Florida – Are you a woman of color photographer, based in Florida? If so, join our new Florida group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/QueenPhotogsFL/
Collaborative – Our Collaborative group has been especially POPPIN’ after #QPWorkshop2017. If you are a photographer or other type of creative, this space is for you: bit.ly/QPCollaborative