|UHV student Toya Stone visits with village children during a medical mission trip to Honduras.|
Not every photo shoot is as easy as asking a subject to smile and say “cheese.” In fact, when children are involved, that’s rarely the case.
Luckily for University of Houston-Victoria senior Toya Stone, a photographer with plenty of patience, she’s found ways to transform the giggles, tantrums and everything in between into treasured candid shots.
Stone has harbored a long love for the art of photography and, at one point, even owned her own business, T Stone Photography. While her two favorite subjects are landscapes and children, she said it’s the latter that’s always provided the candid shots she likes.
“Children are changing the world every second, so I like to capture pieces of that,” Stone said.
The photography bug first bit Stone when she was about 13 years old. Her weapon of choice at the time was a hand-held Olympus camera. As she progressed, however, so did her equipment.
In December 2008, her boyfriend, Jason Stone, presented her with her first Canon Rebel and encouraged her to go after her dreams.
“I actually thought it was going to be a ring, so I was kind of disappointed,” Stone said as she laughed. “But I loved my camera. It was the perfect gift.”
The ring came later when she married Jason in 2009.
The 26-year-old psychology major plans to graduate in May and then continue her education by pursing a master’s degree.
Photography isn’t the Marble Falls native’s only passion. A lifelong animal lover, she rescues creatures in trouble and is working toward a license in animal rehabilitation. Three dogs, a cat, a rabbit and several rats share the couple’s home.
She enjoys saltwater fishing and traveling. She has traveled to Australia, Jamaica and Costa Rica with her husband.
Giving back to others is another big part of Stone’s life, and she believes God has blessed her with the passion to serve others.
She spent July and August in Honduras, serving in the Opalaca Mountains with a medical mission team.
Stone also volunteers with Victoria’s Parkway Church, taking part in outreach ministry. She said her community work not only helps those throughout the community, but offers real-life experience in something she loves.
“Growing up, I was always interested in helping others – in serving,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to work with people and to really make a difference.”
I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Paula Cobler, UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.