Courtney Dailey shares how make-up and photography go hand in hand


Courtney Dailey has spent years working within the beauty industry. From starting as a make-up artist and moving into photography, she has shot campaigns for a number of international magazines and celebrity names. Hear her story and what the people behind her images mean to her.

Production Paradise: How do you feel your journey has been going from a Makeup Artist to now leading your own beauty team?

Courtney Dailey: It’s been an exciting time in my life. I have really enjoyed building a team of creatives, to help me bring campaigns to life. Having make-up artists on my side, who do things differently than I might, has allowed my Photography work to grow and adapt while bringing new voices into what I do. I think we all have a very particular unique way of seeing things and having others on your team, who share a similar love for products and textures, is really fun.

Production Paradise: Who of the world’s creatives have truly inspired you and influenced your work?

Courtney Dailey: I am a huge fan of Craig McDean. I think he has such a beautiful way of capturing classic beauty. Over the years, his work has dominated my inspiration folders and I strive to build such a robust and healthy career.

Production Paradise: Which image do you feel communicates the strongest message and what you represent? 

Courtney Dailey: I like women to look confident and sure of themselves. I feel so much of the marketing towards women has models looking as if they would be saying “tell me I’m pretty”, whereas, I like my images to say “I KNOW I’m pretty”. Classic and colorful, glossy and yet real.

Production Paradise: When doing a beauty shoot, what does the pre-production process involve?

During the pre-production process, I have to first determine my team for the project. If the product calls for more drama I might bring in one team over another. If the client has a model known for a big personality, I’ll bring in an artistry team who can handle that personality. I enjoy the creative process of planning. Sitting with my prop stylists and talking about the props we might need, can be really fun and allows us to use our imaginations.

Production Paradise: What is the biggest difference you notice when it comes to shooting for magazines such as Marie Claire and Tatler?

Courtney Dailey: Content can differ greatly between magazines, especially depending on market. I stay generally refined to appeal to both the classic beauty market like Marie Claire and modern beauty like Tatler. Both classic and modern can blend well and appeal to larger audiences.

Production Paradise: You also work as a ‘Photo Beauty Coach’, what does this entail?

Courtney Dailey: I have a very rewarding role as a mentor to other artists looking to build their photography and makeup businesses in small markets. As a Photographer, I started in Detroit Michigan, which is a tough place to start as a beauty photographer. Through a million missteps and learning the hard way, I found the way on my own to build a healthy business. I now mentor and train other artists to find the visual voice and help them develop a brand based on their style. My hope is that with each student, that they can avoid the same pitfalls I fell into during my building phase.

Production Paradise: How has being a member of Production Paradise helped you the most?

Courtney Dailey: I have enjoyed being connected to creatives whose work I deeply admire and also the wealth of traffic I’ve seen. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a platform where briefs from the other side of the planet can reach you.

We would like to thank Courtney for taking the time to speak with us. You can see more of Courtney’s work in Cosmetics & Fragrance Photography, Hair & Beauty Photography, Still Life Photography Spotlight Magazines and also in New York and Los Angeles Showcase Magazines and her website.

If you want to show off your latest work to the industry in the next edition of Production Paradise’s Spotlight or Showcase magazine, contact us now at or

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