Today we’d like to introduce you to Quinton Clay.
Hi Quinton, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I would have never thought that I’d grown to love the art of photography until the day I was first approached by one of my best friends and she asked me “Can you take my picture?” From that moment on, I knew that this is the direction I needed to head into. By my senior year of high school in Augusta, I’ve developed and learned several skills and hobbies; writing, music production, film and a tad bit of fashion. I graduated and moved to Albany, GA to continue education in Computer Science, which was a little out of my comfort zone, but I figured I could handle it. Well, that was short-lived. But, it was due to me realizing that I want to pursue a career in something I would be interested in rather than a career others would want me to pursue. So, I decided to transfer to the Arts Institute of Atlanta and made a big move to Atlanta to major in Film Making & Audio Production. Throughout my time there, I thought more about my life and what career goals I’d like to head into. This is the moment I wanted to pursue photography.
I moved back to my hometown, Augusta, and invested in my first DSLR camera. My oldest sister was my official first client and we did a maternity shoot outside, only utilizing natural lighting and our surroundings to make the shoot a moment. With that being the only shoot under my belt, I figured it would be a good time to develop my portfolio. I started advertising free photoshoots on Facebook, depending on some old friends and loved ones to support in allowing me to take their pictures but, unfortunately, I didn’t receive any inquiries. It was discouraging at first, but I told myself to keep going and don’t lay this talent to rest. Since then, I moved back to Atlanta and worked with my best friend on doing more shoots into my portfolio, taking time to understand the technicalities and structure behind photography and learning what I can do better. By that time, I invested more attention into my craft by purchasing a well-equipped DSLR, more photography equipment and professional editing software.
I, then, joined several Facebook communities for photographers, models and other creatives in Atlanta. I have met so many inspiring, talented and beautiful individuals who were willing to work with me and bring the confidence out of my work with their positivity, kind words and killer professionalism in working. With the Shotz Photography was the first name for my business when first released in 2019 but with Covid-19 occurring shortly after, I had to take a pause in business and still continue to learn more about photography as a whole. With the help of my boyfriend, close loved ones, friends and supporters, I have flourished into not just any photographer, but an inspirational creative who creates visual moments with anything I decide to pick up but most importantly, my camera.
In the present day, I am currently rebranding into my self-named photography business, Quinton Clay Photography & More; Utilizing my creative skills to design custom sets, plan visual themes and concepts, bringing forth my secondary focus as a creative director, all while operating as the man behind the lens.
Photography has become a true passion of mine and I am pleased to know that I can be an inspiration to others and create moments through the lens of my camera.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Of course with creating greatness, there will come struggles. Most of the struggles that I’ve faced came from not having confidence in my work and myself. I am a small business so I don’t get thousands of likes on my work and oftentimes, I may not get a single like on my work. I figured in order for me to be successful in this field, I would need to push hard to get popular on social media to maintain a strong presence. However, with a great support system and talks with those who inspire me the most, I learned that it’s not about the likes. It’s not about the comments or the attention. If I feel and believe that my work is good enough for the world to see, then that is the part that matters the most. Good work speaks for itself. People would not be looking and listening into my story if my work was not good enough, right?
I am thankful for going through the struggles that I have faced. Without it, I would not have gained the strengths I possess now to handle the business and art of my talent(s).
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Primarily, I am a photographer but my talent does not stop there. I also specialize professionally in creative direction. Also, as a small business with little to no help, I act in every position needed to create the photoshoot. I design and construct my own sets, I have the ability to do light hair and makeup for any of my clients, if needed, of course photograph clients, and also edit my own images as well.
If there were to be something that I am known for, I would definitely say that my uniqueness and the creative direction is what draw attention to my work. In a lot of my photoshoots, you will see a level of uniqueness that I’ve gained from inspiration, following trends in pop culture, contemporary and modern-day art, and using my natural eye in examining what makes me (and others) feel good. I think what sets me apart from others is my authentic connections to my work. My photoshoots have a deeper meaning or message behind them than what you see, to which, I include a passage of the meaning when I post my work on social media.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
I am always looking for new collaborations with more inspiring creatives like myself. For those purposes, my DMs are completely open. My social media are:
Instagram: @quintonkclay (Personal) / @quintonclayphotography (Business)
Facebook: Quinton Kendriques Clay
I am currently rebranding for my business, Quinton Clay Photography & More so my website is currently going through maintenance but I will be releasing it within the next month (or two)! I am still taking inquiries through email and DMs.
Also, as a small business, support comes in many ways. Monetary donations, donations of equipment (because these things can get very expensive), sharing/retweeting, likes or even referrals to those if you know that are in need of photography/creative direction services. All of these ways to support can be referred to the social media handles above and also my business email: email@example.com
I want to take the time to thank those who support me because without you, THIS would not be possible! Love you all to the moon and back.
- Website: quintonclayphotography.com (TBA)
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/quintonclayphotography
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/queclay1497
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/quintonkclay
Here are the beautiful individuals that I have shot in the images you see. Their Instagram handles are (no specific order): Zhane: @zhanealiya Jah: @jahrichard Jordan: @jordan_kendall_ LarKara: @_larkaraniakim Keyarea: @keyareaaaa Derriyon: @tokyamamoto