United MS Bank: Upgrading Their Website Using 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.

Twin 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!



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.



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

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Drone Photography Enhances Business Image

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The Balloon Festival in Vidalia!


I was recently retained by the City of Vidalia, Louisiana, to get some photographs of the 2015 Balloon festival activities along the city’s amazing riverfront. Typically, as with any genre, outdoor event photography has its own particular set of challenges that must be overcome. It usually is a tough combination of the physical strain of being on your feet for many long hours while constantly moving, coupled with compositional challenges such as getting quality, compelling shots without power lines,  light poles, or other “ugly elements” in the photos. I must say however, that this past weekend was made into a fun and very pleasurable experience, and it was primarily due to the overwhelming friendliness and pride that the citizens of Vidalia displayed to me. Their warmth and enthusiasm made the difficulties of the work seem so much less bothersome

The community of Vidalia prides itself on being a family-oriented community and it clearly shows! I can testify first-hand that this was very much in evidence throughout the entire weekend. There were families and children all over the place, plenty of smiles, and a lot of excited chatter about almost everything: from opinions on whether the balloons would be able to fly … if  the windy conditions would ever calm down … on how good the food was … to predictions on the LSU – Florida game! In the midst of all of that, I noticed a couple of the children taking advantage of the water sprinklers despite the cool temperatures. I was able to corral one of them for a nice shot. Alas, those dastardly winds didn’t ever subside, and the featured hot-air balloons were not able to fly. However, that didn’t deter the spirits of the many people I met and spoke with! While most were hometown citizens of Vidalia, many were from far away locations. As just one example, I spoke at length with a very pleasant married couple who hailed from Wichita, Kansas. The woman told me that this was her first trip to Vidalia, and both stated that they absolutely loved the area and were very much looking forward to the remainder of their stay. They were lined up along the rail to watch the fireworks display.

On assignments such as this where you engage directly with the public, and you have a couple of high-end cameras with big lenses around your neck, people can have various reactions to you coming up to them. Some of them can be quite humorous, especially with the children. In this photo, most of this golf cart’s occupants were all too happy to smile and wave, and really got excited that their photo was being taken … all but one very camera shy young lady! Look at those smiling faces, you gotta love it! I often receive eager queries as well, such as, “Are you shooting for the newspaper? … CNN?” … “Will my photo be on T.V.?!!!” When I told them I was shooting for their City – Vidalia –  they beamed with pride and said, “Wow! That’s very cool!” They really were impressed that the City’s marketing director Sheri Rabb is constantly looking for innovative ways to display their City in a quality manner. I’m not just saying that either. I was genuinely struck by how person after person I talked to, when they discovered I was shooting for them, really came across in a manner that told me that they are very unified in their efforts to be a city they can all be proud to live in. They often mentioned Sheri by name, as well as the mayor, and other City employees. In a small town, everyone knows everyone else. I was impressed at how they all were on the same page and all truly interested in the image of their community. They have a lot of pride, and it shows in their efforts, their out-going, friendly nature, and the results that the City is achieving.

There were lots of fun activities, including the face-painting shown here. One of the best single moments of the entire weekend was the fireworks display. I’ll be honest, I’d never experienced or photographed it from the Vidalia side of the River (I know, I know – shame on me!). I’ve always shot it from the Mississippi side, and from all the obligatory angles: from (of course) the old Ramada hilltop; from the Bluff near the gazebo; from the bottom of Roth’s Hill Road; and even from the waterline at Bailey Park with the water soaking my feet. The view from the Vidalia riverwalk is truly stunning, and I think it tops them all. The crowd along the riverwalk was enthusiastic, and asked me all kinds of questions, “Now what is your name?” “Are you from here?” “Do you know so and so…?” It was a lot of fun, and we all had a great time.

So, hat’s off to Vidalia! Again, a big thank you to all of the kind folks who endured me sticking my camera in your face and taking your shots! I enjoyed your hospitality, your gifts of water or a bit to eat, your friendly waves, and your smiles … and I hope to see much more of you in the future. Until then, I’ll close out this post with one of my results of the fireworks display: From Vidalia With Love!  


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