Kicking off October Issue for BlaQ Stardom Online is Fashion and Portrait photographer Tameka Alicea. This savvy and dope photographer has a keen eye when it comes to shooting people and images. Even though her love for photographer wasn’t really her passion at first, she learned to love it after she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Media Arts at University of South Carolina. Her first actual photo shoot was at a fashion show at her very own church. Since then Tameka has been traveling in her hometown and in North Carolina to fashion shows, fashion events and other places spreading her passion and skills.
Check out this exclusive interview that BlaQ Stardom did with the incredible Tameka Alicea!
“I have always loved fashion since I was young. It’s a creative way to express yourself. When I first started in photography, I did almost everything, but I realized I didn’t like everything.”
BLAQ STARDOM MAGAZINE: YOU HAVE A VERY KEEN EYE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN CAPTURING PICTURES?
TAMEKA ALICEA: Well thank you so much for saying that! Honestly, I have to look at everything! From the hair, makeup, clothing, location, colors of the background that would best compliment the theme of the shoot and what the client is wearing. I have to make sure there aren’t any unnecessary things laying around that wouldn’t look good in the shot. There have been times though where I’ve missed something, and I didn’t catch until I started editing the images. If I can remove or correct it then I will, otherwise I won’t make a big deal out of it.
BLAQ STARDOM: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PHOTOGRAPHER? WHAT INSPIRED/MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME ONE?
TAMEKA: I started with photography professionally about 3 years ago at the age of 40. Although, during my first year I wasn’t as consistent because I was so insecure and wasn’t sure if I would be great at it. I doubted myself so much, but I had to realize that of course, I’m not perfect and that art is subjective. Everyone must start at the beginning and work their way to the top and I’m no different. I’m better about not being as insecure, but I still deal with it at times though.
BLAQ STARDOM: DID YOU ALWAYS USED TO FIND YOURSELF TAKING UNIQUE PICTURES WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER?
TAMEKA: Actually, no…. my interest in photography started when I was attending the University of South Carolina studying Media Arts. Before I bought my own camera, I would rent a camera from Media Services and just go around campus taking pictures of random things. It wasn’t until I really started to focus on what I captured to see that I might actually be good at this! So that’s what I did, took photos of streets, buildings, flowers, trees, whatever. There was a photo I took of a parking meter and I thought that was one of my best images haha! Maybe I liked it so much because I had to spend a lot of money parking on that campus! So, it had a very significant meaning. Then some time later, I got hired for my first fashion runway show and I was hooked ever since!
BLAQ STARDOM: WHAT TYPE OF EVENTS DO YOU ATTEND AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
TAMEKA: I attend mostly fashion related events. I don’t get the chance to attend as often as I did before because I work a lot, but those are what I’m mostly interested in. Although, every now and again, I will attend an art event or a concert. It’s all art so I’m still in my element.
BLAQ STARDOM: BEING IN THE FIELD OF PHOTOGRAPHY CAN BE CHALLENGING AND COMPETITIVE. HOW DO YOU CONTINUE TO SET YOURSELF APART FROM OTHER PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESSES?
TAMEKA: Yes, the field of photography can be very challenging and competitive! Honestly, how I set myself apart is to simply BE myself. I really don’t try too hard and I know that may sound like I’m lazy…which, at times I can be! I realize it’s not a mind-blowing formula or anything, but it’s the God honest truth! I always get the same compliments from people…that they love working with me because I’m down to earth, I make them feel comfortable and I’m easy to get along with etc. I always appreciate hearing things like that because I really do care about the well-being of my clients and I feel that I’m helping them to emerge from their comfort zone or enhance them in some way. Also, as funny as this may seem, I think my overall look, especially my hair, helps to set me apart! Even my logo is unique! It’s crazy at times because people look at my hair and would ask (if they aren’t too afraid) who I am and what I do. Just this past weekend I was asked for my autograph because the person thought I was an artist in music haha! I had to tell her that I wasn’t, but I was truly flattered!
BLAQ STARDOM: HAS SOME OF YOUR WORK BEEN PUBLISHED IN SEVERAL OF MAGAZINES?
TAMEKA: Why yes some of my work has been published in a few magazines! The first time was in SHE magazine based in Florence, SC. I shot both the cover and spread for Bellah A’ffaire Magazine twice! VoyageATL based in Atlanta GA, The Loop Mag in Charlotte NC twice, your magazine, Blaq Stardom and even Hype Hair Magazine. I have really been blessed with these amazing opportunities and most of them took me by surprise!! God truly is awesome! I hope to work with more magazines and fashion ad campaigns!
BLAQ STARDOM: FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS? GOALS?
TAMEKA: For the remainder of the year I plan to revamp my website, update contracts, create new marketing material etc. Basically, I’m doing these things to get ready for 2020! Photography is not the only thing I do, however most of what I do is related to fashion. I also have an online fashion store and I’ll be looking for models to do some promotional photo shoots for new merchandise that I’ll release in the upcoming year. I also have a few other projects in the works, and I want to be sure I get things in order for this new season in my life! It’s exciting and a bit overwhelming, but I’m really looking forward to new ventures!
BLAQ STARDOM: HAVE YOU TAKEN YOUR WORK OUTSIDE OF COLUMBIA? HAVE YOU TRAVELED TO OTHER STATES FOR GIGS?
TAMEKA: I usually travel to Charlotte, NC for work and Greenville SC at times, but I haven’t been anywhere else. However, I plan to travel more in the near future.
BLAQ STARDOM: WHAT TYPES OF MARKETING STRATEGIES DO YOU PRACTICE TO RECRUIT NEW CLIENTS?
TAMEKA: Honestly social media is a huge component of my marketing strategy. It’s free and easy to use. I post images and people will bypass my email (lol), which I don’t mind and just DM me to inquire about booking appointments. I also get a lot of work by word of mouth! It’s a huge blessing and an honor because it goes back to people feeling comfortable with me and loving the results, so they tell their family and friends!
BLAQ STARDOM: I SEE THAT YOU ARE A FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER AS WELL. DO YOU HAVE A LOVE FOR FASHION? HOW MANY FASHION SHOWS/EVENTS DO YOU ATTEND?
TAMEKA: I have always loved fashion since I was young. It’s a creative way to express yourself. When I first started in photography, I did almost everything, but I realized I didn’t like everything. For example, weddings are not my area of expertise. I’ve shot two of them before and although my clients were absolutely wonderful, I just didn’t develop a passion for it. So I narrowed it down to what I know and love….fashion! I don’t attend as many fashion events as I use to just as a guest, but I still work a few of them and will attend a lot more very soon!
BLAQ STARDOM: WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
TAMEKA: My motto is “CREATE. SIMPLE. ART.” It simply means that anything can be classified as art because again, it’s subjective. I can capture an image that no one else may understand, but it takes my breath away! I realize that every shoot will not be high fashion or overly glammed, but it can be just as simple as a subject sitting on a porch with lots of trees around them as the sun is setting. Or a simple thoughtful gaze into to one’s eyes as they stand in front of you. Keeping this motto in the forefront of my mind helps to remind me NOT to overthink everything. I always pray to God before any shoot to allow me to see things as He sees them and to allow myself to be as creative as possible and to be free of any anxiety. It keeps me humble as an artist and because of this I can simply be myself.
BLAQ STARDOM: HOW CAN READERS CONNECT WITH YOU?
TAMEKA: Readers can connect with me through my social media pages.
Instagram and Twitter: @mekatookmyphoto Facebook: @TamekaAliceaPhotography
My website is www.tamekaalicea.com …don’t judge it too much, as I said, I’m revamping it! I’ll also keep everyone posted of when I create my blog about what goes on behind the scenes of photo shoots and my travels.
Thank you so much for this opportunity to sit here and chat with you about who I am as an artist and to give insight of how I run my business. It’s truly been a pleasure for me and an honor to be featured again in a magazine that celebrates Black women and men in business! Congratulations on the continued success of your magazine!!
BLAQ STARDOM: YOU ARE VERY WELCOME! THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME OUT TO INTERVIEW WITH BLAQ STARDOM MAGAZINE!