We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharde Chapman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sharde, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I began my photography business I did not have much of an idea where I thought my niche should be. For years I had been encouraged by friends and family to consider doing photography as a side hustle because I was good at it. At the end of 2019 I invested in a group mentoring program for boudoir photography and sort of found my interest there. I was already developing a bit of an editoral eye to how I shot portraits but boudoir just seemed like somewhere I could really be comfortable and postively impact my client’s lives. My goal continues to be to help women who are nerdy and quirky to feel empowered and baddass; to allow them to really see their essence in portrait form and display it whether in boudoir or their brand.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think what sets me apart is that I really lean into my own nerdiness as part of my brand. As a long-time educator, I believe that one has to model the behavior that they want to see from their students (in my case potential clients). I have gone about doing that by committing to regularly photographing myself in such a way that showcases not only possibilities for boudoir for women in bigger bodies, but also those who are quirky but do not see how that can also be sexy. I center on producing visual narratives that defy and resist limiting narratives around how one can be or perform their personality. It has not been easy at all! Because my work is also deeply personal, I continue to grow and heal through my own insecurities while being a safe space for others to be vulnerable and empowered. Boudoir is literally an intimate style of portraiture. Because of that, my clients tend to get personal with me and it yields beautiful moments where they have space to heal and be authentically themselves. Through them I continue to learn the importance of safe spaces to be and that we all have gifts that deserved to be shared; I have the unique opportunity to help facilitate change and growth which I take very seriously. If there were anything that I can say about my brand it is this: I provide a pretty unique experience where anime, books, Dr. Who, and other nerdy things are the foundation for authentic and amazing portraits. I really live the things I espouse and the joy is undeniable.
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?
That’s a good question, especially since I am a Houston transplant. Over a week I would explore black-owned business and restaurants in Third Ward. There is such a rich history their and really amazing vegan spots like Sunshine’s Vegetarian Deli & Health Food Store and Soul Food Vegan. I would also go around New China Town to any of the Asian Markets and teahouses, which is where I like to work. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are a number of people that have deeply shaped how I continue to run my business and develop my photographic skills: Tomayia Colvin Education, a black woman-owned educational platform for photographers. TCE hosts the Photo Cookout, a conference for photographers of color which is where I began my business journey. Trunetta Atwater and Gerrick Walker are both amazing photographers that I have the honor of also calling my mentors. They both offer a great amount of knowledge and support that have helped me to really grow as a creative entrepreneur.
Instagram: @shardechapman @shardeshootssports
Models: – Autumn McAfee – Free Lane – Tamara Heredia – Barbara Flores – Azia Ellis-Singleton – Nazahah Yasin