Today we’d like to introduce you to Candace Perry.
Candace, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved pouring over magazines & have always wanted to be involved in creating them in some way. For some reason, the idea of becoming a photographer never entered my mind, and in college, I took writing & graphic design courses thinking I’d either write for magazines or design ads. Later, during the recession, I found myself constantly in & out of work and in 2011 when I found myself unemployed yet again, I decided I needed to try to get into something different. I remembered a friend telling me she made a ton of money as a wedding photographer and on a whim, purchased a cheap camera & taught myself how to use it. Later that year I won a better camera from a national photography contest, and then the following year I won a local magazine’s photography contest.
As time went on, I realized I had no passion for weddings & decided to pursue my passion for fashion. I spent a few years building a fashion photography portfolio & got published a bunch of times in national & international publications, thinking eventually I’d be paid…but after meeting two famous fashion photographers who admitted that they rarely got paid for fashion work, most of it was just for “exposure,” I realized I’d have to find a different way to monetize my passion. I remembered loving getting Glamour Shots when I was 16 and how beautiful that had made me feel at the time…so, even though every photographer around me said I’d never make money doing it, I was the first in my town (Savannah, Georgia), to launch a makeover portrait business, which I’ve now moved to Dallas, Texas.
Doing this is really the best of both worlds…you get the feeling of a fashion production by having a hair & makeup artist on set, and I get to do something that makes me feel good inside, too. Most of the girls who come to me have never done a shoot before & walk in pretty scared…I just LOVE seeing their eyes light up when I show them the back of my camera during the shoot when they realize how beautiful they are, some of them for the first time. Something about instilling confidence makes you feel like all the hard work of doing pose coaching is worth it…it kinda helps that I have a background in modeling myself. For me, photography is about so much more than taking pictures…I often feel like a counselor in a way. If a girl leaves my studio feeling more confident, she’ll be able to walk the halls at school with her head held high, present herself well at a job interview, and be less prone to marry a jerk…and knowing that I had some part in that inner change gives me purpose. I still have a long way to go before I’ll consider myself a really successful photographer. But I love that I’m finally getting paid at least occasionally to do what I love and that I was recently named one of the Top 25 Teen Photographers in America by Modern Style Magazine. I feel so blessed that God brought this randomly across my path, He has truly given me a new fulfilling vision for my life that I didn’t have before photography came along.
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Beautiful You Seniors story. Tell us more about the business.
Beautiful You Seniors is a luxury makeover portrait studio located in downtown Dallas, Texas, that provides hair & makeup application, wardrobe styling, photography, and videography services. We offer portraits for teens, high school seniors, prom, quinceanera, and pageants. We’re known for both studio & on-location shoots.
I think what sets us apart from other studios is that I hire only the best to work on my team. Coming from a fashion/beauty photography background, I’m extremely picky about how hair & makeup looks so as soon as I got here, I set out to hire only the best, and I think I found that as I found artists who have worked on the hair & faces of actual Hollywood celebrities. Beautiful You Seniors isn’t cheap by any means, but I think people know when they hire us that they’re not only getting a fun experience (as I’m a pretty fun, goofy, & random person most of the time), they’re also working with published pros, not people who got their training from YouTube. A lot of the girls who shoot with us, though they had never done any photo shoots before, are actually able to use the photos from our sessions for modeling agency submissions – some have actually been signed – and that’s something I’m really proud of.
Another thing that sets us apart is that since moving to Dallas, I decided to add a professional videographer to my team. She films behind the scenes footage for nearly all of our sessions, which really makes ours an all-encompassing experience. Photos tell a pretty story, but a video really helps our clients remember the emotions they felt during their experience.
Oh and finally, the thing I’m most proud of is that the Beautiful You brand is fully, 100% women-run. I’ve thought about hiring men before, but because Beautiful You is a brand about being well, BEAUTIFUL, I’ve decided to keep it FOR women, BY women, And I feel like that’s a specialization that many others in the business can’t say, as others in the business just photograph whoever & whatever. But I really felt that specializing is important, and much of what we do (makeup, hair, several outfit changes) doesn’t really interest most boys anyway.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck does play a small factor; some are born into money & are able to start giant studios, others are lucky to be household names even though their work might be a bit old school for the modern teen. But there is also a LOT of hard work involved and sacrifices to be made…but every time a girl or Mom writes an email telling me how much their session changed their lives, I know that it is all worth it.
- Sessions start at $350 which includes hair, makeup, wardrobe styling, 3 hours of photography, & unlimited outfit changes. Collections which include digital images, canvas gallery wraps, matted prints, albums, & more are additional. Most of our clients spend $1500-$2500 to get everything they love from a session with us.
- Website: http://www.beautifulyouseniors.com
- Phone: (214) 301-5808
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beautifulyouseniors
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beautifulyoustudios
Candace Perry, Beautiful You Seniors
Photo of Candace shot by Megan Jones, Savannah Glamour