Carla Thomas

Carla Thomas

Photographer/Creative Director of CYT Images

July 14, 2020


CYT Images


[email protected]


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I enjoy hosting photo events and themed photoshoots.

One of my favorite events was a 50’s & Fabulous photoshoot where I invited men and women ages 50+ to share what being 50 and Fabulous meant to them. For the price of their ticket, they received a 15-minute mini-session, dinner, and their photo featured in the Sojourner’s Truth newspaper.

An example of a themed shoot I did which was also featured in the Sojourner’s Truth was of positive black male role models which featured a Battalion Chief, Dentist, Detective, and business owner.

I also like giving back to the community so a few years ago I partnered with Taylor Made Productions, a husband, and wife event team that offers catering and DJ services. Together, we provided free family photos, food, and music for the families at the Family House Shelter.

What current projects are you working on?

Right now I’m preparing for my 6th annual Naturalista Photo Shoot event. The Naturalista Photoshoot involves African American women and girls who have chosen to wear their hair in its natural state and it is intended to showcase the beauty and versatility of our African American hair.

The theme of the shoot changes every year and this year’s theme will be headwraps & masks. Headwraps, are representative of African culture and masks because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. The captivating element is that the headwraps and masks will match and each woman will be adorned in a wrap reflective of her unique style and personality.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

Toledo is where I was born and raised so the familiarity makes me very comfortable with my surroundings and appreciative of what the city has to offer.  It also doesn’t hurt having an established network of friends and family when trying to launch a new business or artistic endeavor.

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

My greatest success is finally developing my mindset to believe that as long as I am actively pursuing my dreams and desires, I can never fail.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

Everyday people who are living the life they love on their own terms.

Tell us about your background.

Born in ‘64 … I’m the middle child so that means I’m “special”. … Graduated from Start High School in ’82. Married young and moved away… I was an Air Force wife until the untimely death of my husband.

Returned to Toledo in “88 with two young children tow.

Between 1988  and the present, and in no particular order, I obtained my Associate's Degree in Communication from the University of Toledo …. decided to switch gears and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. 

Remarried and had my third child.

I purchased my first real camera (team Nikon) after I started covering events for the Sojourner’s Truth’s “Soulcial Scene” and was reminded at that time by my mother that while growing up, I was always the one with a camera in my hand taking pictures.

I reconnected with my passion for capturing the true essence of people through photography and have been developing my skills and talent ever since.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

Opportunity comes when we’re free to seize it.

Favorite place for local culture?

Outdoor events and festivals; my favorite being the Old West End festival, the Toledo Museum of Art and their annual Block Party, Promedica’s summer concert series at Promenade park and I also love exploring the Main library.

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

Undiscovered musicians, singers, dancers, designers etc.

My favorite place to chill locally is . .

Anywhere hosting live jazz and old school music, and also on my living room couch binge watching Netflix.

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is
. . . 

Swan Creek Metro Park trails.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found
. . .

When I’m not working hard I can be found upcycling old jewelry, clothes, and furniture, trying out some new craft or reading. Before the pandemic you could find me on the dance floor enjoying urban ballroom dancing or attending concerts, visiting garage sales, and flea markets or occasionally having dinner and drinks with friends.  

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

More opportunities to showcase their work and talent.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

I would LOVE to do a photoshoot with Angela Davis

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.


3 words that best describe me . . .

Positive, funny, curious.

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Give me any greatest hits album of Motown, 70’s R&B, random pop songs, Seal, and I’m good.

My biggest vice is . . .

BBQ potato chips.

I’d like to see a __________________
 in Toledo.

Jazz Club

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

“I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that and something that I left behind
When I leave this world I'll leave no regrets
Leave something to remember so they won't forget”

Beyoncé - I Was Here

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

A sewing machine from my mom.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

Watching people from all ethnicities, nationalities and countries stand in unity against racial injustices.

I want my last meal to be

Smothered chicken, smothered cabbage, mac & cheese, and a Patti Labelle peach cobbler.


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