The Creative Minds Behind Loupe and Grain

Meet the co-founders of Loupe and Grain. We are working for social change and committed to making sure the media we see represents the world around us.
two black woman co-founders standing shoulder to shoulder smiling with arms crossed

Our Story

Loupe + Grain was co-founded by Erika Layne and Valerie Singleton, two black mothers working for social change. Erika and Valerie initially set out to create a photo editing company to help busy photographers outsource their photo editing. After spending countless hours of energy creating that business model, we realized that we could have a more significant impact on the lifecycle of a creative project by broadening the scope of the creatives we serve and having creatives of color enter the creative process sooner. We are focused on building a company that amplifies the voices of diverse creatives and offers them paid opportunities within the creative industry. Loupe + Grain is powered by our commitment to make sure the media we see represents the world around us and the creatives behind the scenes are paid equitably for the work they create.

Erika Layne Salazar
Erika is a free-spirited mother of two with an insatiable passion for photography and art. She started her career in photography with a 35mm camera as a child and fell in love with the medium. Erika pursued that love, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in New York from the prestigious Cooper Union. After graduation, Erika taught fine art photography and graphic design (to young women). Since then, her calling is to capture connections between people and their world. She prides herself on having an extremely diverse portfolio and has always believed in capturing and sharing the multifaceted aspect of her clients, helping to contribute to the collection of authentic images of underrepresented people.
Loupe and Grain co-founder Erika Layne with quote
Black woman co-founder Valerie Singleton smiling
Valerie Singleton

Valerie is a digital optimizer that loves to solve complex problems and create design-driven, user-friendly interfaces. Valerie received a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) focusing on marketing. She has been in the digital industry for over ten years and works with teams to improve their products based on performing tests with users. Valerie believes in the power of execution and knows that nothing is impossible if you work hard, stay focused, and have access to the right opportunities. You can usually find her outside when she is not working, walking through nature, and exploring with her busy toddler. 

Our Company Why

Loupe + Grain was built on the belief that every person’s work is worthy of recognition and that people from a broad range of communities, experiences, and identities should be able to participate in creative fields and be paid for their work. We’ve built our community of creatives by providing them with opportunities to get paid to create content while they’re building their portfolios and connecting with brands. Our goal is to encourage non-profit organizations, educational institutions, companies , and policymakers to think beyond their immediate communities and connect with a wider range of creatives. We believe that collaboration is the path to produce work with far more cultural depth.

Loupe and Grain is a creative staffing agency that connects creatives with companies looking for freelancers, part-time and full-time employees. Learn more about us here.


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maternity photo of a black woman with long curly hair wearing a gold crown and a sheer beige tulle dress.

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