We had the good fortune of connecting with Tchanavia Lastie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tchanavia, what do you attribute your success to?
One of the most important factors behind my success and the success of my brand is just being my authentic self. I am a big geek and a little bit goofy and high energy. I try to convey that from the very first interaction with a client. I add exclamation points and emojis in my emails. When we talk on the phone I try to convey just how excited I am for the client’s upcoming session. When I show up to a photo session, you will likely see me in a geek-themed shirt and full of energy. I will lay on the ground or wade in the water to get my client that amazing shot. I’m always looking for ways to make the client feel comfortable and relaxed during their session. One way I know to do that is to just be my authentic self so they know it is okay for them to be themselves. I think that people really gravitate towards that authenticity and appreciate that they know what they are going to get when they work with me.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. 
When I create my art I love to do themed sessions. For instance, I’ve done themes on the four seasons, Afrofuturism, Steampunk, 70s, etc. I’m really proud of all my creative sessions. Each time I do a session I learn and grow and I become a better photographer. Now that San Diego is opening up more, I’m excited about some new creative sessions I have coming up. I got where I am today through trial and error, hard work, and collaborating with others. Some days were easier than others. Like most people going after their dreams, there were days where I did doubt myself. However, I just kept reminding myself that as long as I am moving forward, no matter how slow, and keep doing my best, I’ll achieve my dreams. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to not compare myself to others. When I stopped comparing where I was in my business to where others were, it helped me fully focus on my business and how to continue to make it great.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego is such a great city with so many fun things to do. If my best friend was coming to visit we would definitely have to go to Suckerfree Southern Plate and Bar. The food and service is AMAZING! I had some delicious shrimp and grits and hush puppies. The server was super friendly and it was just a great atmosphere. We’d definitely visit Gaslamp and downtown to just see all the various shops and restaurants. We would also go to the Northpark and Little Italy neighborhoods. North Park and Little Italy not only have amazing shops and restaurants, but they have some really fun street art littered all through the neighborhoods. Of course we would have to go to the beach because we are in San Diego and how could we not. We would also go to Belmont Park. I absolutely love amusement parks and love the retro vibe I get from Belmont Park. We have to go visit Balboa Park. This is a staple of San Diego. We would also go to Coin-Op Game Room. I’m a big geek and gamer so I love the fact that there is an arcade for adults here in San Diego.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I just want to shoutout the many creatives that I have worked with here in San Diego. I’ve met some amazing models like Tanzania (@tanzania_akia), Alaysia Yue (@iamalaysia.yue), Miah (@momma.miah), and Sara (@sara.maxine.carter) just to name a few. They’ve helped me create some amazing pieces of art and even get published. I know some awesome fashion designers like Dominique (@dialiciousdesigns), who has supported me from the very beginning with custom pieces for photo shoots and Latara (@iwearcoldpeace), who has not only created some amazing original pieces, but has also served as a model for some of my photo sessions. One of my clutch makeup artists, Desiree (@desires_design) who always comes through whether I need her for a creative session or a client session. She will always slay my client’s face. I have had the pleasure of working with an amazing jewelry brand, Jazzie Naturals (@jazzie_naturals). Jazzie has so many amazing pieces and she is always adding more. Last, but certainly not least, all the amazing photographers that have inspired and taught me: Que (@q88photography), Malani (@wildflowerlovings), Aaron (@searcyshotit), and Angela (@angelaledyard.photography) just to name a few. All of these creatives help me be great and I can’t thank them enough!

Website: www.blackqueenphotography.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/blackqueenphotography
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tchanavia-lastie-60482b195/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/blakqueenphotog
Facebook: www.facebook.com/blackqueenphotog
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp_KvevPWSXKY10eqQ7SUyw

Image Credits
Models: Sara (@sara.maxine.carter), Tanzania (@tanzania_akia), Tasha (@tashaponce), Sarah (@sarahnicole__xoxo_), Hanna (@horoshavkaann), and Reine (@_reine.noire_)