Industry News

The Photo Cookout, a New Conference With Diversity in Mind

November 6, 2018

By Angela Mickle

Photo © Walter van Dusen

In the photography community, there are conferences and workshops galore—especially lately—that reinforce community, demo new gear and provide valuable education from industry leaders. But not everyone feels fully represented, says Houston-based photographer Tomayia Colvin, which is why she organized the very first Photo Cookout. Image-makers from diverse backgrounds gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, in September for what she likes to call “one part photography conference and one part family cookout.”

“Opportunities for minority photographers to speak and network at large conferences don’t come every day,” says Colvin, whose ongoing goal—not only with this conference, but also with her monthly magazine Toffee & Honey and Tomayia Colvin Education—is “to create more opportunities for empowering black photographers and their communities.” Colvin has taught at WPPI, Imaging USA, United, The Focus Tour and a host of other photo events.

The kickoff for the three-day event was catered in a local park, complete with music and dancing (and “bomb potato salad,” according to the menu). Monday and Tuesday’s lineup included presentations on everything from lighting and sales to website critiques and managing client expectations, presented by industry leaders including Jide Alakija, Kesha Lambert, Regis and Kahran Bethencourt, Tim Riddick and Lynsey Weatherspoon. Photo walks and a styled wedding shoot helped provide portfolio development.

“I was overwhelmed with joy to see so many people who were already online friends and networking partners in real life,” says Colvin. “Continuing to build those relationships offline enhances personal and professional growth potential and enriches community exponentially. I’m looking forward to the New Orleans cookout next year to provide more opportunity for even more photographers to grow their businesses and themselves.”

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