the best version of us | McGowan Images Blog


the best version of us

As some of you know (well, now ALL of you know), we’re working on a complete rebranding campaign. We’ll be launching the new brand in January, and hopefully have lots of fun little surprises to go along with it. Our work and commitment to our clients will remain the same, but we’ll have a more cohesive online experience, and a visual package that more accurately reflects who we are, what we do, and why we’re different.

Because we are different, in lots of ways. We’re different because Mack and I are, well, a little strange. 😉

We’re different because we approach the business differently.

We’re different because we have been very careful in how we let our business grow.

And, most importantly to you… the pictures look different.

The thing is, that’s the part that’s been really hard for me to be ok with. I guess I just started thinking about where we fit in, compared to our competition, and how our work could be described, and I drew a blank.

See, I’m going to admit right now that I’m a blogstalker. I have a list of about 30 photographers’ blogs that I check RELIGIOUSLY. A handful are from Texas, some are from the East Coast, and the majority are from the West Coast. They inspire me and challenge me… and remind me daily that I have a lot to learn.

I look at these people I admire… the Jasmines, and Justin&Marys, the JMCs, the Boutwells, and I think, “What the heck am I doing? I am not them. My work looks nothing like theirs.”

It’s the absolute truth. My work looks nothing like that of the people I admire. We use color and light differently, and we see moments differently. And I often look at a blog posted by one of my heroes and feel like crying because my work doesn’t look like that.

And then today, I was finishing up a bride&groom session, and I stopped to REALLY look at our work for a minute, and compare it to that of those I admire.

And ya know… I’m still right.

No matter how much we grow and learn, our work looks different.

But instead of thinking, “We’re not as good as so-and-so”, or even “YES! We did it! That shot is better than so-and-so’s!”… I can think, wow… no one’s work looks like ours!

We are not any of those people, and our work will never look like their work, and there are lots of people who will probably never love our work as much as the work from those photographers.

We are not our heroes, and will never be.

But you know what?

They’re never gonna be us, either.

Today, I am challenging myself to be ok with that. To keep learning from the greats, and keep being inspired, and constantly push our product to be better than it was the day before.

But to be completely unique.

Because at the end of the day, I’d rather just be the best possible version of US.

We may not be the greatest wedding photographers in the world, but we ARE the best Mack&Chelsea you’re ever going to find.

Oh, and here’s the shot that was up on my screen when I started thinking about all this, since I figured you’d be curious. 😉

  1. Carman says:


  2. Liesa says:

    I love the challenge you’re setting in front of yourself since the uniqueness that you and Mack already bring to your photography is what makes me stalkerishly obsessed with you guys. I want it to remain that way!

    You two never cease to bring a smile to my face–especially when I find out there is a new blog each morning! The care, the comedy, and the charisma y’all bring to your work is, to me, unparalleled by other blogs I see. It’s almost funny to me that you are challenging yourself to stay true to who you are, because you already seem to do it so well! Keep it up! (Okay, ending my novel now.)

  3. Ambo says:

    I love that you are constantly pushing and inspiring yourself. I love to look at other photographers websites too and when I do I find myself looking at a picture and thinking “I wonder how Chelsea or Mack would see this moment and capture it” and I do that….because you guys ARE my heroes! (In more ways than just photography, as you know)
    Love you guys like crazy! Go Team McG!

  4. Erin Worley says:

    Oh, this post made my eyes watery! Can’t wait to have you guys photograph our wedding!

  5. Amber Burris says:

    Hey you guys rock!! I will tell you that I stalk your blog religiously now and after getting my maternity photos back I was just that more amazed!! Ya’ll are amazing, talented, and just great!! So just remember that b/c everyone does photography different…we’re all different and that’s what makes us so great as human beings!! Great challenge! You should be ok with everything b/c ya’ll are awesome. I wouldn’t have asked ya’ll to come over here and share with Shreveport how amazing you are ;o) We still haven’t gotten our wedding album and I brag about ya’ll all the time lol! Great blog today! Really loved it… Keep up the good work ok!!

  6. Melissa says:

    I love reading your blogs, you share so easily your feelings, emotions and growth. Your journey is documented and am always intrigued by your work. I’ve seen other work as well and thought how sad that they didn’t have Chels to do their pictures. You are an amazing artist with a fan club that awaits your blog everyday.

  7. Katrina says:

    I love your work, or I wouldn’t have hired you!! I looked at tons of photographer websites and listened to a lot of them at bridal shows…..and loved ya’ll the best. Our first interaction at Starbucks, we left and I turned to my sister and said I love her, we have GOT to hire her! Not that price was even an option, because I knew I wanted to hire ya’ll before I even knew the price. So It’s the whole package, your personality, your work and your uniqueness about your work! Every work of art is different, and that’s the beauty!

  8. Jennifer U says:

    Yeah, I am excited for the rebranding game! We shoot in January so does that mean we get to be on the rebranded side? I love the way y’alls pictures are so unique. I have made a few stalkers out of my friends in South Dakota. Can’t wait to meet y’all!

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