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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

2nd Annual Photography Conference Exclusively Celebrates Black Photographers

Tomayia Colvin, a Texas woman on a mission to empower and celebrate Black photographers recently hosted the second one-of-its-kind photography conference. It was met with resounding success.

Black Photographers Conference

Houston, TXTomayia Colvin Education (TCE), an online education platform for photographers that features Black speakers and speakers of color and celebrates diversity, hosted its second The Photo Cookout photography conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 6-8, 2019. More than 225 photographers from all backgrounds, from all over the United States, gathered in New Orleans to learn technical and business skills and to network with like-minded creatives sponsored by Sony. The full video recap by Smitha Lee showcases the love and community that attendees felt for three days while attending the conference.

The event held in New Orleans at the Ace Hotel featured a lineup of all-Black presenters, each professional photographers acclaimed in their fields. But more than just a photography conference, the Photo Cookout is like a family reunion of cousins. Attendees enjoyed a welcome cookout & meet-and-greet in City Park, followed immediately hands-on demonstrations and courses to up their photography skills.

On Monday & Tuesday, attendees gathered at the Ace Hotel, to hear keynote and breakout speakers cover topics ranging from professional lighting, posing, commercial photography, bookkeeping and sales, marketing, and more. Conference attendees were able to apply what they’ve learned throughout each day to dedicated photography walks and styled photoshoots each afternoon, led by industry leaders. Also, photography software vendors demonstrated software solutions for editing, bookkeeping, album prints, and more during the conference’s on-site expo.

Tomayia Colvin, Founder and Doctoral Candidate studying Executive Leadership with a research interest in Black Women Photographers said, “Creating The Photo Cookout was everything I knew our community needed.”

Speaker Ramonica Plishett shared, “The community and the event are simply amazing! There is no other photography conference that allows you up close and personal access to speakers. They genuinely want to help you grow!”

Attendee Tina Stickland echoed Plishett’s sentiments and stated, “The Photo Cookout places a high value on inclusion, excellence, and support.”

“Opportunities for minority speakers to speak at large conferences and black photographers to network don’t come every day,” says Colvin. After years of attending conferences where the sessions were often lacking even a single panelist of color or were missing voices from marginalized communities, Colvin created the online teaching platform, with an accompanying Facebook community for open discussion; the Photo Cookout was a natural expansion of those efforts, providing a rare opportunity to share knowledge one-on-one. She hopes to give speakers of color an opportunity to teach and empower their community.

Colvin indicated that “Diversity and inclusion are essential in the photography industry. Celebrating these photographers and giving them a platform to share, learn & grow at a conference like The Photo Cookout not only enriches the industry as a whole but also benefits the individuals they photograph.”

The Photo Cookout 2020 is set to take place on October 4-7, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For more details, visit www.tomayiacolvineducation.com or follow the event on Twitter (@thephotocookout) and Instagram (@thephotocookout).



Tomayia and any of the instructors are available for phone, Skype, or locally based in-person interviews; all interview requests

The Cookout’s line up of acclaimed instructors includes the following, among several others:

Derrel Ho-Shing, a Canadian commercial and destination wedding photographer who photographed rapper Nick Cannon’s latest headphone release marketing campaign.

Kesha Lambert, a New York lawyer, and photographer who educates creatives about best practices for securing their business with contracts and workflow systems.

Toni Black, a Dallas photographer whose Body Undefined photography project highlights the beauty, sensuality, and power of the diasporic black woman.


About Tomayia Colvin:
Houston native Tomayia Colvin is a bestselling author, educator, and nationally-published and award-winning senior portrait photographer. Colvin provides modern senior pictures for high school seniors in the Houston area. She is on a mission to celebrate diversity by working with conferences and workshop organizers to bridge the color divide, so voices that are missing from the photography industry are included. Colvin has previously taught at WPPI, Imaging USA, United, The Focus Tour, and a host of others. She was also featured on her local news station. Colvin is a full-time entrepreneur and a mother of two beautiful children. For more details, visit


Tomayia Colvin Education