50 Shades of Black Stock
For a few years now, since going into business for myself, I have been very frustrated with the poor choices available in diversity images and black women photos that I could use to represent me and my various businesses. Organizing a photoshoot is just way too expensive especially when you’re just starting out and I just couldn’t find juicy photos that really reflected my brand. So what did I do? I used gorgeous photos of lovely white ladies to represent my brand and something just felt so inauthentic about the whole thing.
I really hated not being able to fully represent myself online. And so what did I do next? In April 2015, I went on to some Facebook business pages to vent my frustration in the hopes that someone (not me) just someone would turn my frustration into a business… another year went by and nothing happened… see one of my embarrassing facebook rants in the image below:
I increasingly started seeing posts and comments from women who were equally frustrated and sometimes, I chose not to comment as I could just feel the pit of my stomach boiling over. Eventually after seeing too many photos of black women with chipped nail polish, over greased hands and cheap shoes, I had had enough.
I hadn’t considered taking up photography as a profession but this time I felt like I had no choice. If I wasn’t going to do it – who was? (I mean it’s been a year since my Facebook rant in April 2015). So in order to ease myself into the whole idea I knew that I wanted to partner up with another photographer, preferably someone in a different shade of black to myself (as we come in so many shades). A business woman who I had met only a couple of times kept flashing up in my mind. She seemed to fit my vision of who I wanted to work with so perfectly – it really was hard to resist giving her a call.
Everybody Meet Tracy 🙂
Not really sure if she would be up for the idea, I decided to take the plunge and find out if she shared the same frustrations I felt and if she was willing to commit some time into this “side project”. After a couple of hours of yapping away at the idea via skype, she said yes and we fixed a date in the diary for a test shoot to gauge how well we worked together and if we could create something really cool together. We both agreed we wanted to do a shoot that involved our hands and that we would have to be the models for our test shoot. So we swapped roles of photographer and model throughout the day and captured about 150 epic photos.
After the shoot, we both felt positive and knew this was something we wanted to invest more time into. We decided we would be the ones to help women of colour with their various businesses. And so, on Saturday, 4th June 2016, my business partner and I released our launch page for 50 shades of black stock. It was well received and in the space of 2 days we have had over 200+ sign ups to our waitlist and incredible feedback from all the women who received their free stock images from us. Here is a snap shot of some of the amazing comments we have been receiving via Instagram: