Member Spotlight: Laylee Emadi Smith, Photographer and Next Level Photography Retreat Founder

HoneyBook member and photographer Laylee Emadi Smith is the owner of Laylee Emadi Photography, based in Dallas, TX, and the founder of the Next Level Retreat for photographers. Here she shares why she started the retreat, her favorite photography trend and overcoming insecurity. 

What was the biggest challenge you faced early on in your business? 

The biggest challenge I faced when I first started out was overcoming the insecurity and lack of community support as I was growing in my craft and in my business. People are (understandably) protective of what they build, and I really had to search for my tribe. When the Rising Tide Society first started, that was huge for us!

What’s your source for inspiration?

I try to take time to tackle passion projects to find inspiration. I try to find the things that move me as a person and create art based on that. It saves me from getting stuck in a rut, or feeling like this creative business of mine is more of a day job than anything else!

Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever worked?

The craziest place I’ve ever shot was probably the mountains of Colorado. Between the elements and the dancer I was photographing I really had to learn to be flexible and trust my instincts!

What’s a consumer trend you’re really enjoying in photography?

I’m really loving the growing desire for real/candid moments. I think social media truly helps spread the value in diversity of images, taking a step beyond formal portraits and into real moments!

How did The Next Level Photography Retreat come about?

The retreat is an educational experience that will combine balance-driven classes and events to clear and refresh the mind. It will focus on tangible content and activities to create realistic goal setting with an emphasis on the individual’s actual needs. It takes place September 10-13, 2018. I created this retreat after spending time looking for an experience like it for myself! While I love mentoring, and hosting workshops, something about having all the attendees in one place creates an environment where learning and growth is amplified. I wanted to create a space where attendees could work closely alongside each other and the speakers to impact and change their businesses and lives.   

Who is The Next Level Retreat for?

This photography retreat is for experienced photographers who have reached a plateau or rut in their business. They love what they do but may feel a pull to do more. Uunlike other workshops offered in the past, this is not created for those who are just starting out, but for those who have a few years of business under their belt.

What excites you the most about the retreat?

An experience that embraces balance excites me so much! Content-filled sessions balanced with yoga, a trip to Waco’s Magnolia Market, a styled dinner, and more will keep up fresh and continuing to embrace growth without overwhelm!

What do you hope people will come away with after the retreat?

My hope for this photography retreat is that it will provide every attendee with the tools and steps they have been looking for to move forward in their business. Tangible action items that they can immediately put into effect to grow.  

What’s your favorite HoneyBook feature? 

It’s hard to choose a favorite HoneyBook feature, but right now I would have to say the templates! They help save so much time, keep everything so organized and help streamline communication with all of my clients.  

It’s hard to choose a favorite HoneyBook feature, but right now I would have to say the templates! They help save so much time, keep everything so organized and help streamline communication with all of my clients.  

Thanks, Laylee! For more information on the Next Level Retreat, including how to register, visit the website here.

Get Laylee’s Templates 

Access Laylee’s favorite contract, invoice and proposal templates in HoneyBook. They’re re-usable and customizable, saving you time and money.


Sobrina Pies

I'm a HoneyBooker—writing about small businesses, the people who run them, and tips and tricks to help them grow. I also run Quiet Like Horses, helping small business owners become better writers. So you can use your words to grow your business—and make more money.