As the Queen of “I did a thing”, I did a thing! I have made the decision to brand myself as an NC brand photographer and focus solely on my business clients. How did I get here, you ask? Here goes!
How It Began
Well before my life as a professional photographer, I thought that I wanted to have a career as a paralegal. So I began my degree in Legal Studies straight after high school. After one semester in, I started working full time in a law firm as a receptionist. As a 19 year old with their first full time job, the money seemed better than the education. So I withdrew from the Legal Studies program and put all of my energy into work. I ultimately worked my way up to paralegal.
Along the way, I created several systems that helped increase productivity among my team at the firm. I was on my way to what seemed like a great future at The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC. But our office was located in Lower Manhattan, directly adjacent to the World Trade Center. We were affected by the tragic events of 9/11, and the NY office ultimately closed down. After working as a paralegal, I knew that this type of position wasn’t where I would be happy. So I took the closure to mean a new beginning.
I’ve always been a creative. My favorite class in school was Art! I had begun teaching myself programs like Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop while working at the firm. My side hustle for a little while was party promotion and designing fliers for NYC nightlife events. So while I was receiving unemployment from being laid off from the firm, I decided to go back to school and focus on graphic design. But once the unemployment ran out, I had to make a decision. Was I going to commute an hour plus to school after working all day? Or was I going to work? I chose work.
I secured a job working at a textile design firm as a receptionist. Again I worked my way up and out of the receptionist/admin position and into one that gave me an opportunity to exercise my graphic design skills! And again, I implemented new and more productive ways of completing processes that we performed over the course of the day. But…things went south with the company and yet again, I found myself unemployed.
After a time of uncertainty, a legal position with Morgan Stanley literally fell into my lap. This position was again administrative in nature. And as I stepped into the role and lived in it, I began to see where I could streamline processes to allow for faster response times to our clients; the branches. I left Morgan Stanley in 2010 to get married and move to NC. But by the end of my time there, I was responsible for guardian and conservatorship withdrawal approvals for hundreds of branches and thousands of clients across the country! And I was able to provide these decisions to my clients at the branches, both efficiently and accurately!
Once I moved to NC, I knew that I wanted to finish my degree. But I also fell in love with photography at the same time. So while I completed my BSBA online in Management Information Systems from East Carolina University, I was building my own business. I wasn’t sure how everything would come together, but I trusted the process. After 8 years of being a wedding and portrait photographer with occasional brand clients, I now know my purpose.
What I Offer as an NC Brand Photographer
This past year was literally a year of clarity for me in a lot of areas. 20/20 vision for sure! And in that, I realized that I could leverage my background in business, my love for fashion (Little known fact: I volunteered in the Dress For Success closet styling women for interviews), and photography to help women navigate through all of the redundancy to present their best self to their target audiences.
In this new space of solely being a branding photographer, I’ll be providing my clients with images that get noticed by their target client. And in addition, I will be giving advice on how you can elevate your client experience by helping you identify and create systems for processes that are repetitive in your business. I’m excited! So stay tuned! It’s gonna be a wild ride!!!
Do you want more information on the types of sessions that I offer my clients? Click here to schedule your complimentary consultation with me!
NC Brand Photographer Dawn Michelle Downey