We had the good fortune of connecting with Chase Daley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chase, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
I grew up in a small town in rural Ohio with a population of about 8,000 people. I knew at a very young age that if I was going to grow and be successful, that I’d need to surround myself with likeminded people in new environments that would and could promote that growth. How I got here, though, isn’t exactly what I originally had in mind.
I had a long distance relationship in High School with a girl from Las Vegas. After a year of college at Ohio State University, I moved my entire life across the country to good ole’ Reno, NV, chasing teenage, angsty infatuation. Had I ever been to Reno, hell no! But I was 19 and full of big dreams and aspirations. Reno couldn’t be that much different from Vegas, right? It was the hardest decision I’d ever made. I left everything I knew behind. Everything that made me feel safe and loved was thousands of miles away. When I arrived, she dumped me. That very day I stepped off the plane into a city that very much felt like Mars. I went from excited and terrified to beyond sad and terrified, not a great combo to some, but for me that was the push I needed. That was the kick in the ass that propelled my life into motion. From there I went on study in Italy, meet some of the best people I still admire today and turned tiny risks into gigantic, never thought I’d do this kind of thing, risks.
I’ve never been afraid to make the ‘wrong decision’. Hesitant, most definitely, though I create the best work when I’m uncertain of how it will all play out. Without that leap to better myself when I was ‘JUST A SMALL TOWN GIRL’, I might never have understood what I ultimately needed to learn about myself. I’m very much at my best when I throw caution to the wind and just go for it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a Photographer and Filmmaker primarily dedicated to documenting weddings, I really just aim to tell authentic stories that are free of fluff. So many choose the path of playing it safe which can totally work for some, but I really lean into the funky, raw and natural way of filmmaking, much like you’d see in a true to life documentary.
Weddings are not the most prefect, unflawed day and more people should talk about it. Are they wonderful and heartfelt? Most are, yes haha! Do they represent one day in your life that is hopefully one of the most memorable and special? Absolutely! But they require so much attention to detail and teamwork to pull off and the reality of that is that they aren’t going to be perfect but that’s what makes them ACTUALLY PERFECT. It’s the imperfections throughout a wedding day that tell a real and true story. Your wedding is just one day in the grand scheme of your entire relationship. It’s a highlight reel of your love and I aim to make it the best damn 5 minutes you look back on fondly for years and years. The best films are those where the main characters just say, f*ck it, Jesus take the wheel. Imma let you do you, boo boo. So when hiring your wedding vendors, make sure they understand this simple concept of allowing imperfections to shine. I promise you’ll thank me later for it!
I first got into photo and video just a few years ago. I shot my first wedding 1.5 years ago when weddings weren’t really even supposed to be happening again due to our loving friend, Covid. I asked a photographer friend if she’d be open to be second shooting for her which is just essentially an assistant that gets some extra angles. The couple didn’t hire me. I didn’t get paid to do it. I just wanted a shot to see what it was like to work a wedding. I wanted to see if I could hang with the big dogs. And you know what, I sent it. I was all in. The feeling I got from that experience gave me the confidence and affirmation I needed. It’s nice feeling validated by others when you love what you do. Luckily the wedding industry can be quite supportive. See, my wife and I started a company called Bar Baby Co. a few years back. We were one of the first mobile bar businesses in the US and specifically in California. We took an old 1972 beat up Miley Horse Trailer and turned into a Joanna Gaines worthy mobile bar. We gained popularity so fast and quickly became one of the most sought after wedding vendors to have at your wedding. Unfortunately 2020 happened and we just decided it was time to move one. Different seasons for different reasons, am I right? And after finding out we were pregnant, It was a no brainer to sell our business and invest all our time and efforts into raising our family and growing my new business as a Wedding Photographer and Filmmaker.
I can’t tell you how many times I’d show up to photograph or film a wedding only to be greeted with the most confused looks from other vendors who only ever saw me behind the bar, getting the party started. It’s always funny to me to explain that I somehow do it all and because of these vendors or ‘friendors’ as we like to call each other, my business propelled super fast. Referrals are everything in this industry and much like our old bar biz, each one saw the value I brought to the table in both the product I was creating and the service I was providing. Super humbled to have so many in my corner and I’m always stoked when I get to repay the favor and refer them as well.
If I’d want anything to be known about my business is that working with me should feel like working with an old friend. I really aim to make those around me feel comfortable and just as excited as I am. We’re all just here trying to create little moments that add up to something a bit bigger in the end and If I can help others attain those moments then I’d say I’ve created a little corner in the world that I’m proud to share with others.
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.
For most of my life I was in the Food and Bev industry as a professional cook and bartender so showing friends and family around my own city is always a pleasure. Though we’ve lost some of our favorites due to 2020 wreaking havoc, I still have a few safe places to always ensure a good time will be had.
You can’t go wrong with cocktails at The Snug. They bring years and years of experience in hospitality to the table with unbelievably creative and elevated cocktails that are featured in many trusted publications throughout the world. Whether it’s a classic libation or something new they’ve released, you’re always in good hands at The Snug.
For a light lunch, head to Sushi Q in Elk Grove or their new location in South Land Park. You’l be welcomed with some of the best sushi in Sacramento. I’m obsessed with any and all seafood and they not only feel like home when I’m bellied up to the bar, full of nigiri, but they really take the time to create a menu that isn’t like every other sushi bar. Don’t let the strip mall storefront throw you off. You’ll be in fishy heaven.
And for an all out kind of night, head to Canon. As one of the few Michelin recognized restaurants in the Sacramento area, Canon leans all in on embracing what is local and special to Sacramento. They support the ranchers, farmers, artisans and vintners that make this place our home and it’s always a treat to explore their ever changing menu full of shared plates that really embrace the term, community. Sharing is caring, right?
Most, like myself before moving here, simply knew Sacramento as ‘that place off I-80 that has an Ikea on your way to SF’, but it’s so much more. This city has all the right ingredients to draw you in and even make it your place of residence. Give it a chance and you’ll be happily surprised.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without my mother, Cheryl Stevens, and my wife, Abbie Daley, I’d absolutely not be where I am or who I am today. My mother was and is to this day one of the most selfless and giving people I’ve ever known. She was always cheering me on to do what made me happy, even if that was the path of a ‘starving artist’. She sacrificed so many things in her own life to make sure I had the education and tools at my fingertips to create the life I wanted for myself. Thank you, Mom!
My wife, Abbie, deserves more credit than I can even begin to put into words. From day one, she’s been my biggest fan, cheerleader, support system and the one supporting my every decision (even the unrealistic pipe dreams). When I knew I was the unhappiest I’d ever been in my previous job as a Creative Director, designing brands for other people’s dreams and companies, my wife was there to guide me in the direction she knew would make me thrive. It takes someone special with a lot of love to give to tell your partner who just lost their job in the midst of a global pandemic, all while pregnant, that he should start his own business and that she would support him through it all. My wife holds it down for our family. She’s the organized and beautiful soul I needed to bring to life my own dreams. She’s helped my own business flourish and grow faster than I ever imagined it could. Forever grateful to you, Abbie!
Other: Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/chasedaleyphotoandfilm
Main photo is taken by Hailey Ayson