Black Chamber Names Roland Photography as “Business of the Year”

Shown l-r; Susan Vanderbilt, Chair; Emanuel Roland of Roland’s Photography and Carolyn Waller, President

NASHVILLE, TN — Emanuel Roland is dynamic and innovative. A native of Chattanooga, he came to Nashville in 1995 to attend TSU. While matriculating, he took a couple of electives in photography and his passion grew from there. While finishing up his last semester, he was charged to write a business plan for his senior project, which turned out to be the foundation of his business today.  Upon graduating from TSU, he accepted a full-time position as Student Service Manager of a youth enrichment and entrepreneurship program that taught youth how to start and manage their own home-based businesses. After 4 years, he felt a sense of guilt that he was encouraging youth to be self-employed, but he wasn’t aspiring in that direction himself. So, he resigned with one goal, to be his own boss.

Over the next seven years he juggled part-time jobs while trying to run a successful business, then he stepped out on faith and signed a lease for his own office and studio in a business incubation center that provide him with mentorship and business development programming.  Upon completion of that incubation program and with a renewed vision for his company, he differentiated himself from any other photographer in Nashville. After four months of planning and research, he invested in a 35 ft. Class A Motorhome and within six months refurbished the vehicle into a mobile portrait studio – the only of its kind in Tennessee. Now known as The Roland Experience, it is equipped with changing space, portrait studio, and a preview station. The bus also accommodates portrait shooting day or night, rain or shine, hot or cold and offers waiting area with couch, Wi-Fi and beverage/snack station.

Roland’s Photography has shot hundreds of weddings and has provided work for individuals, businesses, and major corporations, locally and across the country.  Some of those clients include,  Ernst Young – Global, Delta Dental, Google Fiber, Frist TN Bank, MiTech Partners, Kroger, Johnson Controls, DVL Seigenthaler, Suntrust Bank, Jet Magazine, Ebony, Pepsi, MedMD, Meharry Medical College, Zycron, TSU,  Nashville Airport Authority, Habitat of Humanity of Greater Nashville, Cigna Health Springs, and Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce.

His Philanthropic & Community Service Efforts include, Deacon at Olive Branch Church, mentoring with organizations (4:13 Strong, Boys & Girls Club, Preston Taylor Ministries, and Black Achievers), Speaking with youth groups and high school students about photography and entrepreneurship, donating services for various non profit organizations, he is an inaugural member of the Alumni Advisory Board for the Tennessee State University College of Business, and the creator of an online networking group for local photographers of color.

With all this growth and success he has not forgotten his most important priority which is his family, married to Ronja Fayne Roland for the past 17 years, they parents to 2 beautiful children, Elayna and Emanuel (Orlando) III.

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