In focus In focus In focus

Tina Dang and Miguel Laureano Damian combine their skills to create striking imagery and videos.

By Aleenah Ansari | March 19, 2024

There’s no one path to being a creative or small business owner. Sometimes, it comes from following your passion and the general feeling that you’re in your element. This has been the journey for MXT Visuals, a Seattle-based production, photography and film team comprising Tina Dang, ’22, lead photographer and creative director; and Miguel Laureano Damian, ’19, lead videographer.

I sat down with Dang and Laureano to learn more about the business’s origin story, how they bring creative ideas to life and what they’re celebrating.

You initially met through your high school’s journalism program. How did you start working together on photography specifically?

Dang: I had a Canon T3i as a starter camera that I later sold to Miguel, who started to get into photography. Eventually, we shot a wedding for Miguel’s family, and they loved the photos. We loved the process of working with people and capturing special moments, and it made us realize that we were on to something.

Laureano: When we started our business, we shot our peers during senior portraits and grad photo sessions, and we had a lot of support from word of mouth and early events. We’re grateful to have such a supportive community.

We tried a lot of things and ultimately gravitated toward the more creative projects where we could experiment with lighting, colors and flash. Working together enabled us to pull off things we couldn’t pull off alone.

As creatives, your work is like a living business card of what you’re able to create for future clients. You’ve done a number of creative projects from creating enchanted gardens to sets with 90s-inspired shapes and colors. What tips do you have for bringing a creative vision to life?

Dang: While photoshoots can look effortless, it usually takes a lot of pre-planning. Having a moodboard is a first step, and we’ll think about how we can recreate similar backdrops or props. It can also help to think about the desired look and feel of a project and work backwards. No matter what the project looks like, we want to ensure that the client can stay true to who they are.

What do you do to stay creative and inspired?

Laureano: When you’re trying to balance creativity with the business, it’s easy to focus on getting clients and forget to take care of ourselves. We’ve tried to be more intentional and say no to projects so we can say yes to opportunities that are more aligned.

A few years ago, you got a dedicated studio that you transformed for some of your photoshoots. Why did you decide to take that step?

Dang: We used to do photoshoots wherever we could, whether it was people’s garages and living rooms or other studios. Now, we have dedicated space with room to experiment with new concepts, and it helps us separate work and life.

Both Tina Dang and Miguel Laureano Damian grew up in South Seattle, where the MXT Visuals studio is headquartered.

Do you have any advice for other small business owners?

Laureano: If there’s a concept that you’re excited about, take the initiative to do the work instead of waiting for the inquiries to come to you. As you get better at it, it shows what you’re capable of creating and you’ll get interest from who want to create the same thing.

Dang: Don’t be afraid to tap into your community. We used to rely only on each other, but now we connected with other photographers who we see as our collaborators, not competition. We’re able to learn faster by getting advice on how to run our business, and it’s better for everyone.

What’s something you’re celebrating?

Dang: In South Seattle, we didn’t know a lot of creatives that were trying to pursue photography as a career, though there are more now. People will share that we’ve inspired them to start taking photos, which is really gratifying. We’re proud that we started MXT Visuals, and we hope we’re playing a role in bringing more representation to photography and videography.

Learn more about MXT Visuals on Instagram and their website.

About the author: Aleenah Ansari (she/her) is equal parts storyteller, creative problem solver, and journalist at heart who’s rooted in the stories of people behind products, companies, and initiatives. She writes about travel, entrepreneurship, mental health and wellness, and representation in media for Insider, The Seattle Times, Byrdie, and more. You can usually find her searching for murals, reading a book by a BIPOC author, or planning her next trip to New York. You can learn more at