Ep 004: Growing a Community on Instagram with BGWAC
On this episode we have the Creator of Brown Girl with a Camera, Ruby Melton on the podcast. If you remember back from episode one, we first met Ruby back in 2015 when we invited BGWAC to Greenville, SC for a portfolio building experience. This was shortly after Sierra and I met and were elated to find each other, two young black women interested in photography. Both BGWAC and the Queen Photographers have grown tremendously since then. In this episode Ruby shares her early beginnings with Brown Girl with a Camera as well as some extensions to her brand that has garnered over 40,000 tags on Instagram.
Ruby’s journey to create the Brown Girl with a Camera platform may surprise you; it certainly did for us.
Travel & Volunteerism
Ruby mentions she first got into photography on a travel expedition with a volunteer nonprofit organization to Costa Rica. She toted her camera, 2-3 lenses, and her battery. Packing light with camera gear was essential. Ruby found that volunteering was a safe way for her to travel around the world while also giving back.
Traveling widened Ruby’s worldview and allowed her to view her lens through another perspective.
Four months after BGWAC was launched on Instagram, Ruby decided to plan a meet-up in New York City. The theme incorporated night photography and the NYC skyline. Ruby and the attendees met in Times Square. They started with a ship as the subject then played around with different photography techniques. After the meet-up, photographers in her DC community wanted to get together as well.
From Photographer to Creative Director
When asked how being a the creative director for her experiences is like, Ruby describes it as “hectic”. Coordinating the events forces you to take into consideration many elements such as where the shoot is going to be held, calling for models, and asking the community what their portfolio building needs are, to name a few.
For planning purposes, Ruby gives herself and her team a few months in advance to plan.
Ruby is a huge proponent of using Airbnb for her Porfolio Building Experiencess. This is a great tip for photographers looking for unique shoots. Sometimes she will find studios to host them in.
On Being a Mom & Serial Entrepreneur
Ruby is a mother with a full-time job and also runs her own photography business.
“There is something deep inside that fuels me to keep pushing even beyond what my limits are.”
No excuses. Her work has to get done or it will never get done, she says.
Balance is always a challenge, but she does her best to making time for her son, herself, and her friends. Whenever her son is home she is fully devoted to him. When he’s away she’s head down, going hard in her work.
Balance is an ongoing feat.
- What is the MINT Conference
- 2-day conference
- Annual Exhibition
- Celebration of diversity
Brown Guys With a Camera
“What about the guys?”
BGYWAC began last Fall. Ruby is still developing this brand, but it’s clear that it serves to celebrate our melanated brothers in photography as well.
Mentioned in this episode:
You can catch both myself and Ruby at the I
Where Can You Find Ruby + Brown Girl With a Camera
Queen Photographer Communities
We have over 20 new individual state groups we’ve added to the Queen Photographer network! Despite what you’ve heard, we are not just an organization of photographers in the South. We’re growing with you. Head to www.queenphotographers.com/join to link up with women of color photographers in your state!
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