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Daily Inspiration: Meet Javan Walker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Javan Walker.

Hi Javan, 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?
As a kid, my dad was a photographer. He used to force us to stand while he practiced his lighting techniques and I would try my best to not look photogenic. Let’s just say I did not like to be photographed. Still, I found something interesting in the profession even at that point of my life. When I graduated high school and ended up in college, I had a yearning to be creative. I tried learning piano and to sing. They both definitely weren’t for me! Yet, I still had a creative itch in me that I wanted to get out. One day while working on a paper in the library, I decided to procrastinate by going down the rabbit hole of YouTube. Dozens of videos later, I landed on Jared Polin’s photography channel and began a new rabbit hole of photography tutorials, reviews, tips, tricks and became enthralled by the stories and emotions of these photographers and their photos. I definitely wanted in! But, my confidence in myself was not at its highest and I wrestled with self-doubt and fear of failure due to athletic injuries received at the beginning of 2012.

Needless to say, I held onto that dream, SILENTLY, for the next five years. By the end of that time, I had probably watched close to 1,000 hours of photography YouTube, with not a single photo to show for it, until I met my wife. At the time I met her, she was just getting over a rough patch in her life which forced her to make drastic changes affecting her self-confidence especially when it came to her beauty. Me, being the supportive boyfriend at the time wanted to show her that she had no clue of how amazing she is, and that was the catalyst to do something with photography. I spoke with my dad about the passion that was growing within me, and he almost immediately sent me my first DSLR. At first, I sucked (just as I had been afraid of), but over time I implemented what I had learned and built Tony Lake Photography LLC. I named the company after my parents as a thank you for all of their continuous support. Tony Lake Photography is a multi-published media company currently specializing in beauty, lifestyle, and portrait photography located in Woodbridge, VA. We are available for travel bookings too!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There’s always a trial before the triumph, so this has not been an easy road. I’ve had my share of self-doubt especially when it comes to funding my craft and my quality of work in the past, but what is most important is to keep solid people around you to keep you focused on your goals. My wife is definitely my number 1 supporter and having her in my corner is my secret weapon. I also have talented friends and family who push me to work smarter and improve little by little each day. I’ve made so many friends within the photography community that have helped me grow so much piece by piece it is crazy to think I thought I could get better only by myself. Definitely community has brought so much invaluable return.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Tony Lake Photography LLC specializes in portrait beauty photography. This ranges from headshots and fun photos to share on your Social Media Platforms (both personal and professional) to graduations and engagements. We also provide branding packages to help your business have a more professional look. What makes us different is our belief in three main goals for every client: 1. Showcasing your beauty inside out, 2. Professionalism and comfort throughout the session, and 3. Making your photo experience a precious memory in and of itself. I always require a phone/zoom consultation to discuss more details of each client shoot and to allow each client to get to know me personally before I push a camera into their face as well. Finally, as a black-owned business, we truly work hard to make sure each photo has skin tones that pop! We want each client to feel like their photos are a priceless work of art!

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, I would say I was timid, shy even around people I did not know and very rambunctious around those I knew too well haha. I believe I always had a yearning to be creative but was filled with the fear of failure to actually go out and do it. I also did feel like I was a bit of a loner at times due to being an Army brat that moved around every few years. Looking back, there were definitely times when I felt I was building roots in a place I truly liked that got ripped away from me uncontrollably in the blink of an eye.

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Image Credits
Zevin Holley Estella Obi-Tabot Sterling Giles Bri’elle Black Vanessa Laureano Shannon Ferguson Megan Soigné (Coggins) Imani Gold (Lewis)

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