“The whole thing about it is knowing that I did it. It makes me feel accomplished.”
Junior Riquel Cantleberry is not talking about cheerleading.
Cantleberry has practiced amateur photography since she purchased her first camera, a Canon EOS 60D, in middle school. A few years later, she received photo editing software, Coral Paintshop Pro, from her parents as a Christmas gift. Cantleberry has never taken a photography class, so she had very little experience with the software.
“When I first got it, I was basically clicking everything and seeing what it did,” Cantleberry said.
Cantleberry was able to teach herself how to use her camera and photo editing software through experimentation and tutorials. After she learned the basics, her creativity took over.
“I’ll just randomly get a thought in my head,” Cantleberry said. “I’ll picture it in my mind, and I will see it come to life.”
When Cantleberry took a photo that she liked she would post it on social media. She received her first customer sophomore year.
“When she came to me, I was so excited,” Cantleberry said. “But I also had to show her that I know what I’m doing.”
Cantleberry did her first photo shoot with then-senior, Kianne Laureano, last year. Despite it being her first professional shoot, Cantleberry made sure that Laureano’s photoshoot was a success. Cantleberry’s business blossomed from there.
“I wanted to give her the chance to show people her work,” Laureano said. “It was so fun just being able to laugh and not be awkward while getting my pictures done.”
Photography is not an easy hobby, and Cantleberry gets frustrated at how difficult it can be. She sometimes regrets not taking a photography class.
“I know it would’ve taught me way more than I already know,” Cantleberry said. “Even though I’m confident with it, it’s always good to learn more from professionals.”
Cantleberry has reflected on her early days and wants to make a career out of her business.
“It was a good starting point for me, and I can always look back and see that’s how I started, Cantleberry said. “That was when I realized this is what I want to do.”