Meet Rashiid Coleman, an MBA turned photographer and videographer. Based in Philly, Coleman has traveled the world and captured images of music artists like Cardi B. and Usher. And in addition to weddings, he also shoots high profile corporate events including the Essence Fest.
Coleman took control of the course of his life and decided he wanted to live more creatively and have a flexible lifestyle that allows for more time with his little girl, Hendrix. Find out how he crafted a vision for his life and took the leap to live it on his own terms with more freedom, creativity and passion.
Please explain how you got into photography. Were there ever any other career choices? If so, how did you transition?
I actually went to school for Sports Management and had a minor in Business Management. When I graduated I got my MBA in Finance so the camera was the farthest thing from my imagination.
I got into photography initially as a result of my partner at the time. She asked me to take a few photos of her and they turned out pretty well. From there I continued to shoot as much as I could and work on the craft. I also got tired of paying people to do things for me and thought, I can do this! So I went to YouTube EDU, watched a million tutorials and got out there. This all came about while I was working. Over the course of two years I transitioned into doing photography and videography full time.
It appears you lead a life that lends itself to a lot of freedom and flexibility, something a lot of people want. First, is that true? Second, if so, was it intentional and how did you craft the lifestyle? Or is it the nature of your business or both?
Very true, it’s the way I always wanted to live my life so it was very intentional. My family is full of entrepreneurs and artists so in my mind it was only a matter of time before I was doing the same. Then Hendrix (Rashiid’s little girl) came along and I thought to myself how could I ever tell my daughter to fight for her dreams if I wasn’t doing the same? So, I quit my job and went for it! I would say that it’s partially the nature of the business but it’s also something I’ve forced as well. I take opportunities in other places and yes, I also get to travel a lot because of the workl.
How have you created opportunities for yourself? What would you suggest to others who want to pursue more professional and/or creative opportunities?
The biggest key for me has honestly been networking and then maintaining those relationships. My advice would be to get out there in whatever city you’re in and work the circuit until you find your next lane. Be authentic and genuinely get to know people. It will help your business in a major way.
What would you say has been your biggest personal and professional win? And what has been a big disappointment/challenge for you that you’ve had to navigate? How did you get through it?
My biggest personal win was hands down leaving my job. It takes courage, it’s risky. Nothing is guaranteed but I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. Being able to wake up and feed my daughter breakfast, read her books and just make my own schedule is invaluable. Professionally, my win is that I’ve shot a lot of events all over the world but I think the biggest win was just getting paid that first time. Once you get the first time out of the way you realize this is actually possible. It gave me the ultimate confidence that if it can happen once, it can happen twice.
What gives you joy?
I get joy from hearing my daughter laugh, capturing beautiful moments and learning. Learning can be reading books, listening to podcasts, traveling or trying out a new dish to cook. I’m a pretty simple dude.
Being a new dad, what are the best experiences and biggest challenges so far? How did you mentally prepare for fatherhood?
The best experiences are hands down just watching her soak up everything in the world. She’s a sponge, super smart and just a cool kid. The challenges I experience are just making sure that in the time I have with her that I am present. I hate when she’s with me and I’m busy. Some days are better than others but I always want to be present.
The other challenge is just balancing work and being a dad and finding time for myself. That kind of flows into the other answer but it’s probably my biggest challenge right now. Trying to satisfy my responsibilities and still take care of myself.
Tell us about the platform you created to highlight black fathers and why you created it. What do you hope to accomplish with it?
Dadprenuers, it’s really just a play on words. A lot of times, you hear momprenuer, or moms get celebrated a lot, which they should because they’re amazing. My mom had me at 15 and made a way. My daughter’s mother is great and I remind her often how grateful I am for her and how she mothers our child. So, I really just wanted my guys to get some love because there are a lot of deadbeat dads. For instance, I don’t even know who my biological father is.
He could walk down the street and I wouldn’t know what he even looked like. So for fathers who are present and taking care of their responsibilities it’s important for me to let all my brothers know they’re appreciated and doing a good job. Down the line it is my intention to grow the platform to make resources available to those guys in the entrepreneurial space to expand what they’re already doing.
When you look at life and reflect on all its peaks and valleys, do you have a philosophy or belief system that carries you through each phase in your life? Has there been any advice, teachings, books etc. that influenced how you process life and deal with ups and downs?
Those are some of my all-time favorites and I’m sure I left some out.
When I’m going through something tough, I just remind myself that what I am experiencing and those emotions are real but they’re temporary. I asses everything by asking myself will, “I care about this situation in a year?” if not, I let it go. It helps me compartmentalize where I should be placing my energy. I also believe if you put good out into the world that’s what you’ll get back and even though I sometimes fall because I don’t have it all figured out. I just try to keep getting better and really question why I do or have done some of the things I have and just get really honest with myself.
Have faith in yourself, have faith in your ability, and have faith in whatever deity you believe in. I think those things are key and help set the table for everything else. Lastly, it’s just that everyone has a story, so I try to be sensitive to the fact that I don’t know what the people I encounter have dealt with or are dealing with, so I try to practice grace with them and myself. Oh, and Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast that I got put onto is also phenomenal and helps me with a lot. Check it out!
Thanks to Rashiid Coleman for a great and inspiring interview! You can check out his awesome work here!