Becoming a Peak Performer by Courtney Dailey
April 17th, 2014   |   0 comments
Courtney Dailey Beauty Photographer 3

I recently had the fantastic opportunity to interview Courtney Dailey.  She is an amazing fashion photographer based out of LA and had some great things to share about being a peak performer.  Thanks Courtney for your words of wisdom!

Share your story.  How did you find photography, what got you started, why did you start specializing in the beauty industry with photography?  What exactly do you do now as a photographer?

I’ve always loved taking photos, as we always had a 35mm around our house growing up. My neighbors had a really awesome Canon AE-1 with a 50mm lens, which I often borrowed when I was a teenager. The glass of that lens is so beautiful.  I still haven’t returned that camera to this day! I guess I’m still borrowing it. When recently asked if they wanted it back, my neighbors told me that they felt it was mine years ago. I really didn’t know how it worked until I checked out a “Basics in Photography” book in High School. After that my subjects were ranged from portraits of my friends, my neighborhood and my cat. So I've always been a photographer at heart, I just started shooting professionally in 2007. I have also been a makeup artist for years and I think that really opened my eyes to the visual side of things. However, I didn’t just pick up a camera one day and BOOM, a career was born. I just brought two of my clear loves together, and started shooting beauty. I currently run a successful commercial beauty business. I shoot commercial campaigns, magazine editorials and I do maintain a number of private clients.

Courtney Dailey Beauty Photographer 4

Becoming a success takes having successful habits, what habits have you developed over the years that have helped you become what you are today?

So this is the thing, we all have bad habits. No matter who you are and what you do in your business, bad habits exist! I have a tendency to procrastinate. I learned years ago from a photo coach that I should make a list of 5 business based things to accomplish a day, so I try and stick to that. I like to wrap up 5 business tasks a day. That way I feel like I’m reaching goals and not overworking. 

Courtney Dailey Beauty Photographer 5

What do you do to make sure you have a winning mindset with your business?

I’m a total fighter. I’ve learned over the years and I coach my mentoring/coaching clients that as creatives we have times that we question everything we do. We dislike the direction we're headed and we feel like we're not making it. This is the best time to sit down and figure out a map for success and happiness. Every time I think “I could have a normal job that pays me every week” I think about how in one day I often bring home what my husband does in 2-3 weeks. BOOYAH!

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Who are your role models and how have they helped you in your journey?

To be honest, I’ve never had a role model in my life. Even with role models I see people saying “well so and so did this in 5 years, why didn’t I.”  I don’t like comparing myself to others.  Everyone's business is unique and their market is different.  I think its dangerous for mentors to give their clients unreasonable expectations.


How would you coach a beginning photographer to become their best?

Well it depends on how “beginning based they are! A strong business requires a strong sense of visual voice. I tell them to find a style of photography that draws them in and figure out what stands out to your eye. Is it the toning? The subject? The atmosphere? Something is drawing the eye in. By really sitting down and looking at the images they like you’ll see a trend.

 So many of my mentoring clients can’t find their visual voice until we sit down and narrow down their “style”. It seems that the first few years of shooting, we are all emulating others work we enjoy. But sometimes being inspired by so many others gives a portfolio a very strong feeling of disconnect. You want your work to be a strong representation of your brand. Can someone look at your work and know just by looking at it, that it’s yours? Once that's determined, we sit down and build a brand around that voice.

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Also, check out Courtney's mentoring program she has for photographers like you.



So, Your Friends Booked With Another Photographer
March 26th, 2014   |   0 comments
photographer friends

This week I was chatting with another photographer about their business, how to build their status, how to find new clients, etc.   The topic came up of friends and she mentioned how disappointed she was when her BFF’s booked their photos with another photographer.  It got me thinking about when I had started a different business about 16 years ago where I was in sales and how my friends and family wanted me to share my products and also wanted a huge discount.

Here is what I learned then.  While that close circle of friends and family are great for getting your business started and referring you to their friends, in many cases, they are not going to be your solid customers.   Want to know why?

They know who your first kiss was.

I know this sounds funny, but your BFF’s and your family members know everything about you.  They know you threw up at the school carnival and that you kissed a boy behind the stadium.  You are now presenting yourself as a professional and you want to be taken seriously, but sometimes it takes this group of friends a while to see you that way.  Don’t worry, they will (or should be) your cheerleaders, just keep forging ahead and they’ll see you for the professional you are over time.

I always share with my photographers to start your business with those friends and family, but work through them to find your real customers. Your real customers are customers that look at you as a professional from the beginning, are impressed with your work and even more so with the way you present yourself through timely communication, great packaging and an overall great experience.  These real customers won’t be questioning you about your prices and asking for the family discount.  They value you as a professional and pay you that way.

You can also consider it a blessing that you don’t have to get caught in an awkward situation with your friends because money is involved and that can get sticky.  Move upward and onward.

Why not give them permission to use others and not feel they have to stay with you year after year.   This gives your schedule more openings for real paying clients, and eases the awkwardness between you.

Remember that choosing a photographer can be based on pricing and style.  Some of your friends just may not have the funds for you, even with your friend discount.  And some may choose a different style than what you shoot, which isn’t the type of client you want to have.  Put yourself in their shoes for a minute, remembering they still like and respect you as a friend, but may just have different needs and wants.

Want Higher Paying Clients? Try Using This...
February 27th, 2014   |   0 comments

Believe it or not there are clients out there who are want to pay higher prices for good photography, I promise. Don't believe me? Walk into a Nordstorm's department store. Clients who want to pay more for photography also want to have a Nordstrom experience with you. Nordstrom attracts higher paying clients through their branding, … Continue reading

Mastering Your Time and Skills
February 24th, 2014   |   0 comments

Ever feel like your spending so much time on the little things that you never get to work on the big things, like getting better at your camera? I know how it feels, I’ve been there before! I remember in my early years as a photographer I signed up for this super web site where … Continue reading

You Already Use The Best Marketing
January 30th, 2014   |   0 comments
Marketing for photographers

Do you ever feel like your spinning your wheels and not getting new photography clients?  Frustrated with how everyone else is doing it, except you?  I know the feeling, it sometimes feels like there is a secret code to crack and everyone knows the code except for you. Fortunately for me, I have spent many … Continue reading

Get Booked in 2014
January 2nd, 2014   |   2 comments
Get booked marketing ideas

When I started my photography business a number of years ago, I started making friends with other photographers in the area.  It was great to share notes on how to use the camera, how to deal with customers and other things that we were all trying to figure out together. I noticed fairly quickly that … Continue reading


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