20 Jul Meet Margarita Toler
Meet Margarita Toler
Carteret Community College
Associates Degree in Photography 2016
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Margarita Toler, and I am a professional photographer. I wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. I played with photography a bit in high school, but it wasn’t until I came to Carteret Community College in 2014 that my dream of being a professional photographer came true. What impressed and inspired me right from the start was the amazing campus located right on the sound. The location itself is a reason to fall in love with this school, but when I started the program, an outstanding team of instructors helped me truly understand the art of photography and find my future career.
I consider myself very lucky, as I got an opportunity to learn from the best and start working as a professional photographer before finishing the program. As a student, I got an invitation for a summer internship that turned into a job. All my instructors supported me as I pursued both school and career at the same time. They worked with my schedule and through a lot of hard work I was on the President’s list 3 semesters in a row.
I currently work as a photographer for Charles & Colvard, a jewelry company based in Morrisville. I have been with this company for three years.
What did you like best about the photography program at Carteret CC?
To me, the most important thing for a beginner photographer is not only an opportunity to develop necessary professional skills, but also to find inspiration and support in a life-long journey of art. This is exactly what you get as a Carteret Community College student. You’ll find people with whom you’ll become true friends with for life. To this day I feel a strong attachment to people I studied with and my instructors.
Do you have a favorite photography course at Carteret CC?
It would be unfair to choose just one course because I truly loved them all. But if I had to pick one it would be Portfolio II. This is the class where you can truly see how far you’ve come and improved. Each picture represents a set of challenges that you had to overtake. For instance, for my portfolio, I prepared several pictures of small objects such as a cherry and strawberry and photographed them with a macro lens. These pictures played a tremendous role in me getting a position as a professional jewelry photographer. To this day, there is a lot of my college work that I keep on my website. I am proud of the work I did there.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned at Carteret CC?
I started my journey at Carteret Community College with zero knowledge of how a camera works, and every time I opened Photoshop, I would get intimidated. But this wasn’t the biggest problem for me. Developing a skill is easy if you have good instructors. Believing in yourself as an artist, on the other hand, is way harder. Believing in myself and trusting myself as an artist was the most valuable and moving lesson. It is impossible to be an artist without listening to people and trusting yourself. You need to learn how to listen and receive critiques, while at the same time, learn how to follow your own ideas. You won’t find better people than instructor’s Scott Taylor and Ryan Adrick. Their guidance helped me believe in my vision and to be open-minded about my work.
How did the photography program prepare you for being successful in your career?
The program is built to show you all the aspects of a job and let you experience some parts of it so you’d be able to find your place as a photographer.
You’ll learn the basics such as working with chemicals and creating amazing state-of-art black-and-while pictures. You’ll learn how to use the newest software to edit and improve your pictures; you’ll have some crucial insights into the concept of modern art and learn the history of photography. No matter what direction you decide to take, you will feel prepared for the journey.
Do you have any advice to those who might be interested in taking a photography class?
We take pictures to show the world around us. Every moment of your life is unique. Being an artist is not about techniques or complicated equipment. It’s seeing things around you and choosing what to show to people now and in the future. You never know what will happen with the work of art you create. So don’t waste time. Go and do things you dream of. Carteret Community College will help you with the rest.
Links to Margarita’s websites and personal work: