Feature Friday: LaToya Dixon Smith

This summer, I had the genius idea of featuring some folks doing some cool things in entrepreneurship or within their respective career. I thought it'd be a great opportunity to not only introduce you to some cool people, but to expose you all to some pretty cool things that will inspire you to go for your dreams. So, why not do a Feature Friday?!? I've decided to share some #BlackGirlMagic for the month of July (and possibly beyond). I'll be featuring some ladies who have harnessed their creativity and gifts and shared it with the world.

Today's featured lady is Latoya Dixon Smith. I was introduced to Latoya via Facebook about 5 years through a mutual friend. We are both engineers by training and share a similar career path. Though many know her as the woman behind the lens, owner of Latoya Dixon Photography, and mother to the cutest 4-year old ever, I've had the pleasure of knowing her on a professional level. I can assure you that her success outside of the office is mirrored within.

Grab your coffee and snuggle up as we get up close and personal with the self proclaimed spottieottiedopaliscious mom, wife, engineer, and photographer, Latoya!

Before we jump into the business, let's get the good ole gov'ment deets. How old are you, where are you from, favorite quote, and what do you like to do?

Age: 26

Hometown: Columbia, SC

Favorite Quote or Verse: 
“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” -from Max Ehrmann's 'Desiderata'

Interest, Hobbies, Fun Facts: Film photography, Crossfit (new hobby), soccer. 

Let's talk about business and your entrepreneurial spirit. What's your business, why'd you start, and what keeps you going?

Business Name: The Queen Photographers of SC | TheQPSC.com

Tell me about your business. 

The Queen PhotograpHERs of SC is a group for female photographers of color in South Carolina.  The purpose of this group is to provide a network and internal resource so that female photographers​ of color, local in South Carolina, of any level of expertise can share best practices, ask questions, plan meet-ups, network, and most of all grow.

Have you always wanted to be a business owner?

Yes! I've always known that I've wanted to make an impact with whatever I do. I've always felt that the best way for me to pour my heart and passionately serve is by having an entity of my own.

What inspired you to start it? 

Whenever I started out in photography, I knew that I needed to quickly find a mentor, someone who had been in the game for some time who could help me navigate the waters as a novice.  I'd reached out to several individuals (none who looked like me), and was very fortunate to receive 2 generous replies from photographers whose work I admired that they would be interested in helping me learn a few tricks of the trade.  I quickly noticed that the photography industry was very competitive and there were very few (if any) women of color present. I wanted to create a local group that would support women of color photographers, wherever they were in their journey, and be that network that I never had...offer resources that I had to work hard to find.

What keeps you going?

Whenever I see a member of our group post photos they're proud of, share a moment that indicates growth in their photography journey, or support a fellow member.

What has been the key to your success and growth?

Building relationships with the QPSC members in person through our workshops and meet ups. I'm a firm believer that there is no success and business without the people and firm foundations of genuine relationships.

What has been the greatest entrepreneurial lesson that you’ve learned since being in business?

Outsource, if necessary. Don't try to do it all. Professionals will save you time and money.

What’s the best business advice that you’ve received?

Be yourself.

You've accomplished a lot, so what's next for you and your business? Where do you go from here?

QPSC will be expanding its portfolio and be partnering with various vendors across the state to not only promote our fine Queen Photographers, but the hard-working teams they partner with to ensure they create and deliver excellent photography.  This will be in the form of workshops and seminars, styled shoots, and community service.

What are some books, podcasts, or other resources that you’d recommend for up and coming entrepreneurs?

Gary Vaynerchuk at garyvaynerchuk.com or on Facebook

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

You can find more info about Latoya and The Queen Photographers of SC at TheQPSC.com. Be sure to follow them on social media @QueenPsofSC on Instagram and Facebook and grab their dope tee!
The Queen Photographers of SC

Know someone who should be featured? Email info@foalexander.com for details on how to be featured!



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