United MS Bank: Matching Excellence in Banking Services with Online Marketing (and a Drone!)

Drone Photography Enhances Business Image – What You’ll Uncover In This Article:

  • Michael Chapman Studios (MCS) used a drone to enhance the marketing efforts of United Mississippi Bank.

 

  • Natchez-Vidalia businesses utilizing a creative, well-equipped media services company likes ours can benefit. MCS can work together with you in innovative ways to help your business grow thru quality and professionalism.

 

  • Successful, growing businesses such as UMB Bank use their outstanding content value, relevant media, and a strong, clear message. This powerful package presents an image to local people of value, innovation, professionalism and quality.

 

Drone Photography Enhances Business ImageTwin Measures of Success

The most successful Natchez businesses and corporations have a keen sensitivity to their brand’s image. Moreover, they wisely understand that they must portray their business as one of quality, professionalism, and value. Accordingly, they deliver on what they promise. On the other hand, equally important is how they present themselves in the public marketplace must also “deliver.”

 

Thus, a business’s presence to the larger community, indeed their “image,” must be both effective in cost value and attractive. Otherwise, people will opt for other choices. Commerce flows to the enterprise that has value and portrays that value effectively to area consumers. Ultimately, businesses that successfully match the content value of what they offer consumers with a presentation that attracts those same consumers are the ones that are going to be successful and grow.

 

The Mousetrap, the Media, and the Message

Using an old analogy, businesses in the marketplace must find ways to “build a better mousetrap” than their competition. Accordingly, the first factor of a successful business is having something of real value. Obviously, that’s the mousetrap: the product or service that consumers want and need. Next, what follows the building of the better mousetrap is to communicate effectively to those who want that mousetrap. No doubt this sounds elementary, but it’s often overlooked.

Arguably, a business or company may possess an outstanding service or product (a great mousetrap). However, if consumers never learn about it (or aren’t reminded often enough), then the business will fail. The effective communication of having something to offer can be broken down into two very important – but very different factors. Namely, utilizing the right Media, and conveying an effective and powerful Message. Let’s take a brief look at both.

 

The Media

For many hundreds of years mankind existed in the age of print media. Newspapers, circulars, and other forms of printed media were how we communicated news and events of the day, including use for commerce and business. In the last century especially, that changed dramatically with the advent of radio, television, movies and photography. Added to that, the last generation has seen the explosive growth of the Internet, cell phones, and mobile technology that is advancing at a rate that is dizzying.

 

Today, businesses and companies must carefully choose which media outlets and platforms to utilize to convey news of their better mousetrap, and how much to put into each. These include but are not limited to: print, radio, television, web and Internet, roadside and billboard, and social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, just to name a few. There are other platforms to deliver the message as well, including word-of-mouth, sponsoring teams and clubs, community outreach activities, volunteering, promotions, and so on.

 

The Message

In summary, Media can be seen as different ways to deliver the news that a company has a better Mousetrap. Additionally, Media reminds the community that it has something of value to offer. So, what is the actual message that is delivered? The style, quality, presentation and delivery of the Message is just as critical. The message itself has a profound effect on how a business is perceived by the target market. The message must match the image of the business and company that is delivering it. Furthermore, it must match in several important ways.

If a business sends a message that is poorly done, then the overall message of that business fails. Remember, “What I see you’re about is more important to me than what you say.” The businesses that are most successful understand all three important factors. They are: content value, media, and message. Successful businesses always present consistent quality, professionalism and excellence no matter what. This “culture of excellence” must extend to the kinds of media they choose to utilize. Furthermore, it extends to the actual message they are conveying. Messages and Media done with quality, effective content, and matching style are winners!

 

United Mississippi Bank

Drone Photography Enhances Business Image

A couple of years ago UMB licensed one of my images of the bridges between Natchez and Vidalia for use as the masthead in their online banking app.

Enter United Mississippi Bank and a recent assignment. In this contract, I worked to assist them in a small way with these very issues. UMB has been a core business presence in Natchez for many decades. Moreover, the bank has successfully grown their business model over the years. They’ve done this through excellent service, professional management, and financial products. These services, products and management offers value to the people of our region. I know because I’ve been one of their customers for many years.

 

Recently, they assigned me to photograph their eleven branch locations, The goal was to enhance their online presence through their website and online banking app. Consequently, I worked with two of their managers that handle their marketing and advertising. As a result, we crafted a plan to have the images of UMB’s eleven community bank branches match their branding. The images of their banks simply needed to match the brand image they’ve work so hard to build. These images would need to show quality, innovation, and professionalism. 

11 Branch Locations

UMB’s eleven branches are spread wide and far. They range from Natchez, west to Vidalia, north to Fayette, Bude and Meadville, and south to Gloster, Centerville and Woodville. On their existing website a few of those branches are currently not supplied with images. The other images that are present were deemed not satisfactory. They wanted them updated for the new website which will rollout in the near future.

 

When we had our meetings, I quickly became impressed with the UMB team. First, they are dedicated to quality and professionalism with how UMB’s image is portrayed. Second, they are not satisfied with anything less than excellence. Third, they are utilizing their own creative and innovative ideas to improve their company. These qualities shone in how they do things, what they offer, and the media and message they employ. They also allowed me creative freedom and input to create unique and high-quality photographs for them. That made for a very effective collaboration!

 

Strategy

After careful thought, research of their current site, and some scouting of local branches, my plan to match their need for images which would help present UMB in the way they wanted was twofold: 1) shoot the branch locations at an angle that was just a bit different than what most other photographers normally do. This would be a subtle, perhaps even subconscious reminder to viewers that UMB was different and innovative, that they have an “edge;” 2) put a lot of effort into cleaning up the images in post-production once they were taken, in order to make for the best final outcome. With this in mind, I supplied them with a test shot which they loved. With the green light to proceed given, pre-production planning was over and I swung into production.

 

Final Images

Over several days and traveling to all the locations I took many images from a height of around fourteen to sixteen feet, and most often from an oblique angle. This was one of the creative decisions that I was able to offer and effectively execute with relative ease due to my having a drone in my equipment kit. I knew coming in that all too often, photographers supplying architectural photographs – which is what this assignment consisted of – do little more than walk up outside the building and take shots from the “tourist” angle of view, which is to stand upright at eye-level and usually from straight in front of the structure.

 

This can certainly be an effective angle sometimes, but my thinking was that this point of view was a bit worn out. It was time for something fresh and new, which coincided with UMB’s ongoing “image.” Thus, I tried the more interesting angle of subtly raising the camera higher than one could reach on a ladder, but not an obvious aerial shot, and moving it quite a bit off center. My professional-level drone shoots in high definition 4K video and photo, and is almost as adjustable as my expensive DSLR camera in that I can shoot in RAW format (much better resolution than a .jpeg) and can shoot in full manual mode from the radio controller. This supplied me with ultra-high resolution photos which I could then take into post-production retouching and work effectively with. This effort was a successful compilation of creative vision, effective equipment, and proper execution.

Retouching the Photos: The Wires!

In post-production retouching, I was faced with dealing with what I had encountered on location after location. Massive wire and pole pollution surrounds us! Strangely enough we don’t notice it with our eyes because we are so used to seeing it. Paradoxically our eyes scan the scene and filter out many of the unpleasant things we see. Not so with a still image. Everything is locked-in and is right there in front of our noses when we view a photo. As a result, it took hours and hours in Photoshop to clean up the images. This included oil stains in the parking lot and undesired extraneous signage.

 

Delivery

In the end however, I was able to effectively deliver UMB the images of their bank branches that they are very pleased with, and that match their excellent mousetrap! If you’re wondering whether all of this fuss about eleven photos of bank branches on a company’s website really matters, trust me it does! This is the kind of attention to detail and commitment to excellence that successful businesses and companies practice as a matter of their culture, and unsuccessful ones do not. I was able to share this approach with UMB on this project, and it was a pleasure. I can bring the same attention and creativity to your image needs!

 

A big thanks to the management team of UMB that I worked with, and I enjoyed very much collaborating with people and a company who share a strong commitment to quality, hard work, creativity, innovation and professionalism in everything they do. Their motto is “Together We Grow!” I can attest that United Mississippi Bank and my own image service company are growing, and doing so together. Get on board the quality train and come grow along with us!

 

If you have a desire to improve the quality of your marketing and advertising visuals, whether it be photographs or video of your products … your employees or you in action with your services … have a consultation regarding your marketing and media needs including social media presence … or perhaps a fresh and new website, then connect with me and let’s talk about how we can work together to help your business grow!

BEFORE & AFTER of 3 Branches

Three Photos of three bank branches – EACH SET: Topmost photo: EXISTING branch photo / Middle photo: UNRETOUCHED new photo / Bottom Photo: RETOUCHED new photo.

Think about your own business’s images in your advertising & marketing: would you rather use the top photos in the sets below, or the bottom ones? Details and quality send a very powerful and crystal-clear message to your clients and customers about your company or business!

 

Drone Photography Enhances Business Image

Morgantown Bank Branch of UMB

Drone Photography Enhances Business Image

Main Headquarters Building – UMB

Drone Photography Enhances Business Image

Fayette Bank Branch of UMB

My Facebook Page

My Instagram Page

Dee Fleming in a Sports Illustrated Cover style

Natchez MS Photographer Creative Portraits

I met Dee as the son of one of my fellow law enforcement officers, Tyrone Fleming. Tyrone and I both worked the same shift for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. When you face all the things we face on patrol, your shift-mates almost become like brothers and sisters. Through the course of those years, Tyrone and I kept up with goings on in one another’s personal and family lives. It didn’t take long to understand that Dee played outstanding high school football. Dee played at a couple of area schools, and finished up his career at Natchez Cathedral. In the process, he won a State Championship as their star running back. He now plays football for Louisiana Tech, a NCAA Division One Bowl Subdivision school.

 

The Study That Led To The Action

In the time just before making this creative portrait, I studied and practiced lighting patterns. There are certain very well known set-ups in lighting a subject when portraits are made. Lighting patterns known as Paramount, Loop, Rembrandt and Split don’t mean much to the average person. But for the portrait photographer, they are the fundamentals of lighting. However, beyond those fundamentals are many unorthodox approaches. Accordingly, I was studied various methods in order to be more creative with my portraits. 

Exploring some of those other lighting patterns led me to the work of Joel Grimes. I won’t go into details about how many lights, grids, and angles and such that he often uses. Above all, Grimes’ fearless approach utilizes shade, shadow and darkness to create drama. The rule he follows (and that I now use a lot) is that the more a light is “off angle” the more shadow it causes. The more the shadow, the more the dramatic effect. Grimes famous Sports Illustrated covers are widely appreciated for their stunning visual quality. Therefore, inspired by Grimes’ work, I set out to make a “Sports Illustrated” cover-style shot of my own. That’s when I thought about Dee.

 

Creative Portrait In the Making

I contacted him to see if he might be interested, and he responded enthusiastically. The rest is history except for the details. For the session, I needed a rather large space for the backdrop and the lighting equipment. I phoned my friend and fellow photographer Stan Smith to see if I could set up at his store. Not only did he allow it, he even helped. The resulting creative portrait is one that most viewers agree is indeed reminiscent of a sports magazine cover. Drama and mood are definitely qualities of Dee’s portrait.

Dee probably had no idea how much would go into creating his portrait. I remember the session lasted a couple of hours. He endured several wardrobe changes and many various poses and stances. He also suffered through being sprayed down with “simulated sweat” in the form of water and glycerin. However, he held up very well and did a great job being himself!

 

Summary

I learned a lot from this shoot, and definitely added it to my bevy of lighting techniques. Channeling Gregory Heisler, I follow the more “subject-centered” approach to how I light a subject. Heisler’s approach focuses most on the subject of his portrait. Of course, the end usage for the shot and the message of what the shot needs to convey are also important. Ultimately however, the person or subject of the portrait drives the story of the portrait. Similarly to Heisler, my focus on Dee in his portrait heavily influenced how I styled and executed his own portrait. It doesn’t matter that I used inspiring techniques and approaches of amazing artists in the creation. In studying the work and techniques of others (not copying their photos) other artists such as myself learn to create our own unique approach and style.

Dee’s Sport’s Illustrated Cover – High School Era! His portrait of course never made it to the real magazine. However, what I enjoy most about this Creative Portrait session has to do with its uniqueness. Despite having many, many images to remember his high school football career by, this one certainly stands out for him and his family, and will for a lifetime!

Natchez MS Photographer Creative Portraits

Natchez MS Photographer Creative Portraits

The Tear

Event Photography Captures Natchez Moment

 

I’m not sure why she shed her tears.

Busy working the crowd at the 2016 Sheriff’s Deputy Rodeo, I scanned the audience for photo opportunities. I primarily looked for the reactions of people to the show, especially the children. Often children display the most gregarious emotional responses to the action and the entertainment. To that point, success had been mine in capturing the faces of smiles, wonder, awe, and curiosity that those enraptured, innocent ones are so adept at displaying. Then suddenly, one face that stood out. Her’s was different than all the rest. A small child with a face, with warm tears streaming down her cheek.

 

Focusing In On the Face

Faces, with their eyes, are immediate producers of our attention. Hers got mine. This small face did not display anger or frustration, the sort one often sees in fit-throwing, twisted face tantrums. No. This was a quiet cry. These were tears that had leaked out of a little body because of some unknown hurt, disappointment, or pain. I raised my camera to invade the moment, and that’s when she perceived me. She turned and looked straight into my lens.

I took a string of exactly four images of her, and the one shown is the first. In the others, a woman that I can only guess is her mother puts her arm around her and comforts her. In the last, I see a partial figure of a male child standing in front of her, and the mother is looking at him. Perhaps he is her brother, and maybe he did or said something that caused her to cry in one of those sibling kind of ways. Who knows?

 

Emotional Images In Time & Space & What Motivates Me In Capturing Them

I can only tell you that this is the kind of photographic image that can definitely move me. There are many kinds of images that can do that for me as a photographer that is capturing the image. But I must say that human emotion in the human face, especially with eye contact, presented in a serious way, is one of the quickest ways of doing so. That leads me to say this: I don’t really take images for other people … or maybe it’s more accurate to say it like this: I do not take images with other people or viewers in mind. I take them to move myself.

This is my goal even when I am hired to do work. Sure, I have the end-user and end-usage in mind. And of course I want to please the client and meet the goal of what they need for the image. But with this in mind, ultimately I take … no I make … the image for myself.

This may sound selfish or self-centered at first glance, but really it is not. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It is simply me working to capture an image that I think is worth more than just a casual glance – even by me of my own work. I don’t know how else to attempt a serious work of image art. If it doesn’t move me, how can I expect it to move anyone else?

Human emotion. Sometimes it is rapture, glee, the glow of victory, happiness, laughter, love, admiration, and triumph … but at other times it is a face with pain, hurt, sadness, loneliness, disappointment, defeat, and even despair. Occasionally, unfortunately it is evil, malevolent, and violent.

My motivation is to move the viewer – myself and you – and draw us in for more than one nanosecond for a closer look into another human being’s story.

That’s what makes us human to begin with – sharing stories.

 

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