S&B New Brand by JESSICA CONLEY

The journey to finding my brand and let's be honest myself has been a long one. I’ve created and had logos made in the past lots of times and they just never felt right and like my forever branding. My life has been a long one so far full of hurdles and uphill battles but also full of sunshine and love.

In the last year, I’ve grown exponentially. I’ve really found myself, who I am, my style and what I love. You may be wondering…why is she telling me her life story when talking about her new branding?! Well to me…they go hand in hand. I live and breathe my art. My business is more than just my baby it is a huge part of me. Being a business owner, every aspect of your life is affected. The amount of time that is taken from my kids is contingent on the number of sessions I have to take as a single mama to cover our cost of living and the cost of doing business. How I price my sessions isn’t just to cover the cost of doing business but also the quality of our lives. The creative energy I get from sessions directly affects my mood (I know weird artist type). I’ve always been this way…to me, photography has been my outlet.

As a child, I experienced extreme physical, emotional and sexual abuse from as young as I can remember until 17. The abuser was my biological father. Because of this abuse, most of my childhood memories are fuzzy. I have some memories but realize when talking to others that memories aren’t always as clear as theirs. I think this is one reason I cherish photography so much.

I’m not telling you this for sympathy. I realized the other day in speaking with a client who just freed herself from domestic abuse that I haven’t shared this part of my journey with my business following. In college, I advocated, marched and screamed what had happened in efforts to help other women. I graduated with a degree in social work and worked in child protection for 4 years to help kids who were experienced what I did. I plan to foster as well. I still advocate, donate and spread awareness on childhood abuse….so why did I disconnect that from my business? I believe it is because I was worried about it affecting the perception of who I am, worried about putting myself out there on a platform that provides for my family. However, this is who I am and I am my brand. The trauma I experienced was complete darkness and years afterward were dark, however, I turned that darkness into light. I helped others, I photograph others to capture happy memories that they will cherish forever, photographs that will help them remember childhood as they do for me, I feed my own soul with these moments caught on camera. They give me hope that there is goodness in the world.

So back to the new brand, when naming Shutter & Bloom there was meaning behind it. Shutter…obviously an important part of the camera function but the shutter is what you adjust to capture movement clearly…to capture those quick little feet and fast smooches….momentary hugs….and loving glances. Bloom is growth…the growing of a family….a child….growing into the person your meant to be. I’ve always loved flowers and my idol was Anne Geddes growing up (google her…the lady who put babies in flowers), so Bloom was the perfect word to embody growth for me.

As an adult, sometimes my imagination runs pretty wild, but a calming space for me to envision is myself alone in a field of flowers, barefoot, feeling the breeze and smelling the flowers..it grounds me and calms me. This brought me to figure out what I wanted my brand colors to feel like….my calm.

Last year I lost my stepdad, someone who I for sure took for granted, likely because he filled the role of someone who was not goodness in my life. I realize now how much he meant to me, especially because he was my oldest child’s hero when he was diagnosed with ALS and I helped my mom care for him. His favorite color was yellow, it’s my grandmas too (someone else I value and realize is getting older) which is why there are some yellow blooms. I’ve never lost someone close to me by death, so when my stepdad passed away last year it really woke me up. It started my journey to self-reflection and not the surface reflection I had done for years which started when my oldest son was born, but real deep, in your face, hurting and healing reflection. It made me want to be closer to the people I love and show them how much I loved them. My mom is one of those people, one of her favorite colors is pink and a color she always tried to force me to wear, so pink is what I see when I think of her… this is why there are pink blooms as well. I’m realizing writing this that color is vastly important to me, I always ask people their favorite color and I always feel like a 5-year-old doing it but I don’t care. I weirdly see color when I think of certain people, so maybe that is why.

So I likely didn’t have to share all of this, I could have just been happy and bubbly (the way most people view me) and say this is my new brand with happiness and the field of flowers inspiration. However, this new journey to finding me has made me realize I need to be raw too. I need to be open and honest even in my business, not just my personal life. I need to show other survivors of abuse that they too can achieve their dreams, they can escape the abuse, they can turn darkness into light.

Peep the new visual branding below..

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Iris the flower child-one year cake smash by JESSICA CONLEY

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Iris the flower child…

one year cake smash session

Iris is a S&B bloom baby, I’ve photographed her since she was a newborn and captured every milestone session to date!!! I’ve loved getting to know her mama and her sister more (I knew her sister when she was one of my trainers when I worked for child protection for the state!). Iris is such a beautiful child with a personality to match. She makes the most hilarious faces and loves to imitate expressions. My own boys have got to play with her and love her to pieces!!! Her mama and I both had a vision for her one year photos..wildflowers!!! Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!!

Elliot turns 1-Smash Session by JESSICA CONLEY

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Elliot turns 1!

1 yr smash session

Elliot is another bloom baby, although I did not capture him as a newborn, we started at 3 months!! He is such a happy little guy and a joy to capture! I love that mama wanted to use lots of color for his one year session, the colorful balloons make me so happy!!!

ISAIAH-SITTER SESSION by JESSICA CONLEY

Another bloom baby, Isaiah was the newborn with a cactus theme! I’ve adored getting to know this sweet family. Mama had some special request for the session, the little teddy bear Isaiah is holding is actually a duplicate of his mama’s teddy bear when she was little. Also, the photos in the wash tub on a chair are just like the photos of her grandfather as a baby, she thought it would be special for Isaiah to have similar photos at the same age! I love when parents have special request like this that incorporate family heirlooms. Can’t wait to capture his 1 one year session!

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Isaiah

sitter session

Hale Family Maternity by JESSICA CONLEY

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Hale Family

Maternity Session

How beautiful is this family of 3 who are growing by 1?! My good friend and fellow photographer Kenna sent this family my way for maternity photos as she was busy having a baby herself!! Kenna was booked to capture their new baby, but I was so honored to capture these special photos for them. I think it is so important to have photos with your first born before baby comes, not only does this show off mama to be’s glowing, beauty but also captures that special bond with your first baby. As all of us mama’s know, things change with a second child, not in a bad way, but it changes the family dynamic…so capturing last photos of big brother/sister before baby comes is so significant to me!

GIANCARLO-SITTER SESSION by JESSICA CONLEY

Mr. Giancarlo, one of my bloom babies!! I captured his big sister grow from 3 months until now, and now I get to capture him too!! You may remember his newborn session with a Cubs Baseball theme. Love his wonderful family who have become such close friends to me. Enjoy his Top Gun themed sitter session.

Kali & Kelly | Engaged! by JESSICA CONLEY

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Kali & Kelly

Engagement Session

Immediately when I met Kali and Kelly for our wedding consult at Starbucks, I knew I wanted to capture their love!! They are so sweet, fun and just the right amount of quirky (which we all know I love!!!)!! When I do consults I often ask lots of questions to get to know the couple, their hobbies, things they do together, things they do alone, what they love about each other and many more personal questions. I do this for a reason, I want their engagement session to reflect THEM, I want the session to showcase their love and life. Kali and Kelly informed me they are “boring”, they often watch movies and chill at home because Kelly is pursuing his degree and Kali works in social work. Movies and chillin are my jam, so we came up with a lifestyle session in Kali’s home. They had popcorn, snuggles and a epic pillow fight where they both got really combative in the best way!! The session was so fun, we laughed pretty much the entire time and i got to witness their major love for each other…I mean just look at how Kelly looks at Kali throughout the session! This is why I love photography, I meet so many amazing people along the way and I get the honor of capturing their lives. Hope you enjoy the images from this fun session!

Baby Wells by JESSICA CONLEY

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Baby Wells

01.23.2019 - 6lbs 7 oz - 19 1/2”

Baby Wells (10 days old at time of session) was such a dream to photograph, he was so sleepy and squishy and let me pose him in almost every pose!! It also helped that he brought along his gorgeous family!!!! Mama gave me complete creative freedom which was pretty incredible. Papa is a police officer for EKU so they brought along some of his gear for Wells to be photographed with and I just love how it turned out. His big sis was also pretty happy about gaining a new bestie. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!!