That Southern Charm
I came across an article recently that talked about branding. Now, y'all may or may not be familiar with the term, but basically, in a business, you have a brand. Your brand is what your business is in regards to clientele, style, representation and presentation. Your brand is what potential clients see and feel when coming across your business or your work.
This area has been so difficult for me as a business owner. To try and hone in on one thing has had many challenges. I know what I enjoy capturing and what makes my heart happy, but how can I brand that. How can I brand a feeling?
The article mentioned assigning keywords to what you see your business as. Things like fun, love, bonds, family, etc. Having these tangible words helped me move closer to what I wanted my business to look and feel like. My brand as the owner of Chelsea Mackey Photography.
As a photographer, I think of three words that come to mind when I am both reviewing images and capturing them. Family, joy, & bonds. I hope that with each image during sessions, I am able to capture those three words in the form of a photograph for my dear clients. I also use these words as a basis for my posts with wording and images. I want potential clients to be able to identify and see what it means to book a session with me and if I will be a good fit for the style they are looking for.
As I was culling and editing images of my most recent session, there were several images that spoke to my heart more than others. This is something that I come across with each session, but this time, I began to ask myself why. Why do these images speak to me more. Why is it that when I am submitting for publications, I am picking these types of images over the others. It becomes clear there is a similarity in them. Most involve someone laughing, dancing, or doing something in the moment that I wasn’t intentionally trying to capture but did. And I realized it was the emotional content of these images; the way they made me feel. It was the smiles, the laugh and the genuineness of the image. It was the feeling of family, bonds, and joy. The feeling of “home”.
I grew up in a very small town. No red-lights and everyone knew everyone. Sometimes this was a pain, but you couldn’t beat that small town family feeling. Driving through town, I knew I would see a familiar face and be met with a smile and a wave. Part of this small town charm was the memories I have with my grandmother. Growing up and well into adulthood, every Sunday we had dinner at my Nonnie's house. It began when we were kids and my cousins would come in with my aunt and uncle. As we got older we started bringing dates or friends of both. Then one day we had families of our own so our Sunday dinner attendance grew along with the love and joy we all shared in those moments. I remember finding frogs in the creek out back and running through her sunflower garden. I remember sitting on her front porch listening to the wind chimes and watching the hummingbirds fly among the trees. There seemed to always be a peaceful breeze on that mountain top at Nonnies. The air was cooler and things felt at ease. That true hometown, porch swing feel.
Reminiscing on these memories and feeling that same joy when I looked at those images is what made me realize what my brand is and who I am as a photographer.
My images are about connection, feeling, calm, & ease. My images are about joy and memories. I want each session to feel like you're just strolling along on your family property chatting away with a new friend and making new memories along the way. I want clients to feel like I am not there to take stiff posed portraits, but I am there as a dear friend helping you document what life and family means to you. My sessions are about that feeling of home and capturing joyful moments between loved ones. As a photographer, my job is to make memories with you and be there to document them.
As a photographer, I am a southern, tea & lemonade drinking, porch swinging, small town girl. And I can only hope to bring that charm with me to each session.