Blue Water entrepreneur starts photography and branding biz to help lift fellow small businesses

As a photographer, Cecelia Shuler got her start in front of the camera, not behind it. But as the old adage goes, sometimes when you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

“I started with modeling. But I had specific ideas of the images that I’d want and sometimes end up disappointed with how they’d turn out. So it was time to get on the other side of the camera,” Shuler says.

Shuler launched Downtown Imaging Co. in the fall of 2021. It started as more of a passion project but has quickly developed into another business venture for Shuler, who also owns and operates the Sylvia & Stone boutique in St. Clair. She’s also the co-founder of the Unlabel’d women’s group in Port Huron.

[Read How three Blue Water women are making waves with their new community building group” on The Keel.]

Cecelia Shuler, founder of Downtown Imaging Co.In starting Downtown Imaging Co., Shuler was looking to scratch a creative itch, she says, and get more into photography. She knew that she wanted to avoid the crowded field of portrait photography so she set her sights elsewhere. As an entrepreneur herself and a resident of downtown Port Huron, Shuler turned her lens to the community of neighboring small businesses that inspire her, wanting to feature their work and lift them up for the world to see.

“I wanted to give back. And living downtown, I wanted to show off all the cool things happening here,” she says.

Downtown Imaging Co. can be described as a photography business that specializes in imaging and branding. She shapes and edits her photos to fit the aesthetic of whatever business it is that she’s servicing. And she offers social media consultations, too.

A special she’s offering for the month of January, for instance, provides a social media consultation and a month’s worth of social media content for $100.

“Running a business is hard enough, let alone having to worry about your social media. As a business owner, you can have the best product or the best service but if no one is seeing it, then you don’t have reach,” Shuler says.

She noticed a big change in her own business when she focused more on social media, she says. Now Shuler wants to help other local businesses do the same.

“If I can help do this for other Port Huron businesses, it can only help the city of Port Huron grow.”

While Downtown Imaging Co. is still taking shape, Shuler hopes that it grows to the point of being able to hire additional photographers. She’s already expanding to shoot area golf courses and real estate developments.

As for her other business, the massage therapy and wellness boutique Sylvia & Stone has all new product arrivals coming in for 2022. Pop-up events, like a Galentine’s Party at Ruboo Boutique on Thursday, Feb. 10, are planned.

The women’s meet-up group she co-founded, Unlabel’d, continues to grow, too. They’ve begun alternating their monthly meetings to run mornings and evenings, allowing for even more women to attend. There are some big developments on the way, she says, although they’re not ready for publication just yet.

Growing Downtown Imaging Co. and, in turn, the Blue Water Area itself, remains a priority throughout.

“It’s almost like I have this creative itch to show off the area,” Shuler says. “So many people are online now that if they’re not seeing what’s happening here, they’ll find somewhere else to go.”

Find Downtown Imaging Co. online at Facebook and Instagram.