The photography industry has a long history of excluding Black women, denying them a platform to tell their stories. Candace Connor, however, has found a pathway in the industry, capturing moments of tenderness and triumph through her own unique lens.
Candace, whose photo business is aptly named Captured by Candace Photography, is a skilled wedding and lifestyle photographer. Despite having a keen eye for the medium from an early age, she was raised in an environment where traditional education such as trade schools and universities were encouraged as the way to guarantee a lucrative career. She ended up pursuing a degree in social science at UW, which she says she now puts to use in observing and connecting with the people she photographs. It was motherhood, however, that would put her on the path to entrepreneurship.
A Photographer’s Journey
Candace’s ancestors are originally from Texas and Louisiana, but they eventually made their way to the Pacific Northwest. Her family was always good about documenting their history in photo albums and Candace loved looking through her family's photographs and feeling like she was a part of the rich history that they held.
In high school, Candace took a photography class. It was the first time she’d worked with film, and she immediately felt a connection to the work. She continued taking photos in her spare time and slowly refined her talents while pursuing other career opportunities.
When Candace was ready to get married, she began the arduous process of looking for a photographer to capture her big day. She ended up hiring a talented professional, who she now counts as a friend, but the process left her frustrated with the lack of Black wedding photographers in the industry. The space is dominated by white women, leaving a gap in representation for Black families in search of someone that looks more like them to capture their special day.
A few years later, Candace was working at a cancer research center and realized it was time for a change. She wanted a career that would help her to confront her social anxiety, that would push her to step out of her comfort zone and interact with people. She was preparing to have her second child, and because her career hadn’t allowed her to have as much time as she would have liked with her first child, she wanted a job that would allow her to spend more time with her kids. Photography offered an opportunity with flexible hours and a creative outlet that was deeply meaningful.
Honing Her Craft & Business Acumen
With little experience as a business owner and as a woman of color, Candace knew she would have a tough road. Thankfully, she learned early on that her creativity would give her an edge. Candace rarely looks at other photographers' Instagram accounts (she feels it can be a distraction from developing and expressing her own personal style) but she tracks her own metrics and knows what’s working for her and what isn’t. Candace has also learned the importance of standing her ground as a business owner. She knows her worth and her prices are a reflection of her experience and talent.
Self-Expression & Self-Care in 2020
As an introvert, Candace had a hard time knowing how to express herself in wake of George Floyd’s death. “The day George Floyd was killed I was pissed and angry. I took my daughter to the park and just photographed her. I posted the photo of her on Instagram. I wanted to share my feelings and thoughts through photography.”
Candace has been focusing on self care during these tumultuous times. When Seattle entered Phase 2 of the COVID Safe Start program, Candace started a “bistro” on her back deck. “I bought all this new outdoor furniture and had my friends over with gloves and masks and we just hung out outside. It was great to see everyone and gave me something to look forward to.”
Candace has a lot of hopes for the future of her business. She’d like to see continued growth while maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and would love to find an associate photographer that can give her clients the same great satisfaction that she already provides. “I love my job,” she says. “I never feel like I’m dreading it. I love being busy and being appreciated.”
"Carissa is an amazing makeup artist and hair stylist! We met connected through Instagram and she was able to help one of my brides at the last minute with hair and makeup! We had only planned on makeup, but Carissa was able to step in and help with both areas and the client looked stunning!"
"Shalonda is a very talented makeup artist! With a rich history of makeup, she’s able to give her clients both soft and dramatic looks. Besides her talent, she’s very kind and easy to connect with!"
"In the PNW, it’s tough to find black healthcare providers. This is extremely important because of health disparities facing the black communities have fueled a high level of distrust between patients and providers. As a black person, having a provider who listens and understands you is critical. Dr. Towolawi gets it! She’s board-certified and well versed in several clinical interests. Recently she launched a private dermatology practice that has a focus on how to treat various skin conditions for people of color."
"Dr. Trevor has been taking care of my family for years! He’s knowledgeable, makes you feel comfortable and is even great with kids! He’s very down to earth and is able to relate to his patients."
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