When you first meet the naturally beautiful Dawn Michelle Downey you’d probably expect her to be in front of a camera, instead she’s behind it. Born and bred in Brooklyn, Downey was given her first camera by her grandmother around the age of 7 and ever since that day she was always, “the girl with the camera” recalls Downey. As the owner/visionary behind Chronicles Photography, Downey uses her innate creativity to capture the moments that last a lifetime for her clients.
Despite being the resident photographer among friends, it wasn’t until getting married and moving to North Carolina approximately 5 years ago as Downey recounts that “a close friend put a DSLR in my hand and a manual lens and was like…here play with this.” that photography became a viable option. “I knew I wanted to do something wedding related and I had this graphic design experience so I could pour that into photography and make my photos look better.” says Downey. That same friend had her accompany them to shoot a wedding and it wasn’t long after; that Chronicles Photography was formed.
With the abundance of technology, photography is a field that is inundated with those who profess to be photographers. Downey sets herself apart from the competition by studying and understanding the craft. “There’s so much involved in photography. For instance, without light there is no photo.” Downey also emphasizes that understanding your clientele, the ability to make people comfortable in front of the camera and customer service as components that aide in the success of Chronicles. When potential clients visit her website for an inquiry, the process of understanding the client begins for Downey. She asks them three questions to get to know their likes and once the relationship is established, she sends them welcome packages.
Vendor relationships have aided in what Downey considers one of the most challenging aspects of the photography business, targeting the preferred client. Acts such as providing complimentary head shots to wedding planners, sending venues photos from shoots and networking with other photographers by referring clients when booked have been essential in building the kind of relationships that are beneficial to all parties. The way that Downey brands herself via various social media outlets and Chronicles’ blog have also played a role in attracting her target client base. Downey acknowledges, “Its easy to get a client but its more difficult to get the type of client that you want who’s going to value the services that you provide.”
While Downey’s primary focus remains wedding shoots, she also specializes in engagement photos and family shoots. As she looks to transition to photography full-time in the next 5 years, Downey is expanding by incorporating corporate clientele with the offering of corporate headshots and events. “They give me their vision, we talk about it, we strategize and then I execute it from there.”
Downey understands the importance of the service that she offers to her clients. She explains, “Everybody is trying to brand themselves whether or not they know thats what their doing. And everybody needs a picture..everybody!”