We had the good fortune of connecting with Shaleena Danielle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shaleena, what do you attribute your success to?
Real emotions in photos. I’ve been told again and again that they wanted me because the smiles and laughter looked genuine, and i always tell them that they are! I have loads of weird jokes and comments that I make, prompts to get real reactions, and I always make sure that my clients are being 100% authentic to themselves. By the end we were laughing the whole time and part as friends. That’s my ultimate goal with my business and it’s the biggest reason behind my success.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I worked really hard to get where I am. I did classes and practiced and honestly spent a lot of time and money on my craft. I knew that this was what I wanted to do and it was what I needed to do. As someone with chronic illnesses, photography is more than just a source of income, it’s how I interact with the world and release some of the anxiety that gets built up inside. Not to mention I am generally introverted and if I didn’t have clients contacting and hiring me I would NEVER get out of my home. Haha. I’ve learned a lot and one of the biggest things I have taken is never think you are done learning and growing. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in business, you can always learn more. Being humble in life is a way to grow.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oof, I would definitely eat at Arizona Wilderness Brewery, they have the BEST burgers and fries and beer and I just love the vibe in general, they have two locations, one in Gilbert and a new one in Phoenix! I would definitely hike Peralta Trail, especially if it was after a good rain, it’s such a beautiful hike that you forget that you are exhausted haha. I also love walking through Downtown Phoenix or Downtown Mesa, it’s a fun way to spend the day and there are a lot of cool little shops and coffee places and restaurants, you are guaranteed to have an adventure. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Boyce Thompson Arboretum, it’s a drive for most people as it’s up in Superior, AZ, but it’s beyond worth it. It’s essentially a giant natural garden with hikes and beautiful plants and trees. I regularly take photos there and every time I take someone they come back and buy an annual membership. It is an amazing place with an incredible history. I can’t wait for them to restore their little Mansion on the property because I’ve been dying to see it since I was a kid. So please! Go there and get a membership, or donate money so I can see it. Haha
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My clients and my parents 100% my parents have supported my art and ambition since I picked up a camera and started doing sessions at 13, and I have soooooo many clients/friends that have stuck with me since I had a point and shoot camera and charged $50 a session. Those people continue to support me regardless of pricing and I would not be doing this still if i didn’t have those people always coming back.