Chamber Insider Blog

Black History Month Spotlight: Marquel Forbes, Marquel Yvette Photography

Thank you to Marquel Forbes, owner of Marquel Yvette Photography, for answering our questions! Learn more about the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) Committee here.

Where were you born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun?

I was born in Topeka, Kansas, as my dad was in the Air Force and that is where he was stationed at the time. However, I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia.  I went on to attend to James Madison University where I met my husband Paul, we got married and decided to settle in Loudoun County.  We’ve met many families here and have developed close friendships…we are proud to call Loudoun home.

Tell us about your business, and how long you’ve been in your industry.

I have been a professional photographer for 5 years.  I started as a wedding photographer but didn’t enjoy it.  I transitioned my business to headshots during the pandemic and I absolutely love it!  I enjoy connecting with people and coaching them to shine.

How did you get into this line of work?

I signed up for coaching with Michelle Harris, a talented wedding photographer in 2018.  She taught me everything she knew about how to set up and run my business and I could not have started without her coaching.  She hired me as one of her associate photographers and she gave us a lot of technical training.  I immersed myself in all things photography related and have completed many training programs including Youtube University and various in-person classes. I’ve learned all about headshots from Peter Hurley and the Headshot Crew.

Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that guided your career?

Derrel Todd has been a supportive, wonderful mentor for me…both as a teacher and an inspiration.  I thought that I knew a lot before my first class with him but he filled in all the gaps and pushed me out of my comfort zone.  He holds classes at his studio in DC (The Bakery Studio).  Peter Hurley has also been a great mentor…he owns the Headshot Crew.  My headshots have improved exponentially since joining the Headshot Crew in 2020.  My goal of becoming an associate on his team has pushed me way beyond what I thought I could do in the headshot photography space.  I am determined!  He is such an inspiration, I am very fortunate to have been taught by some heavy hitters.

What is the best part of your job and why?

I get paid to show people how beautiful or handsome they are…how fun is that?  Clients think it’s the lighting but it’s really them that shine.  I do have some great skills with the camera and lighting but like I tell each one of my clients, I capture what I see.  I give each client the steps needed to get a great image of themselves.  Many of my clients are nervous when we start but that’s over within the first 10-15 minutes.  I show them their pictures as we go along and that always gets them really excited.  If my client follows my formula, they are going to get some amazing images.

What is it like doing business in Loudoun?

Well, we have two businesses here in Loudoun, an insurance agency and a photography business, as well as an insurance agency in Reston.  I opened my insurance agency in Broadlands almost 7 years ago and it has been a great experience.  I love having businesses that allow me to have direct interaction with members of my community.  Doing business in Loudoun has allowed me to meet some amazing people which I think makes it easier to do what I do for them.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month gives me an opportunity to talk about and celebrate my ancestors, who overcame so many obstacles and forged a path for me to have the opportunities that I have today.  It also gives us a platform to share with others all that we as a people have contributed to the world so that future generations can be proud, like I am, of those who paved the way.

Favorite things to do when you are not working?

That’s an interesting question.  Photography is my passion so I don’t consider it work…however, spending time with my family and sharing a bottle of wine, or two, with my girlfriends is what I do when I am not working.

Check out Marquel’s business, Marquel Yvette Photography here.