Chelsea Nicole isn’t a hard girl to miss. If you don’t spy her hot pink hair streaks, her smile and friendly hugs (to old or brand new friends) will grab you in immediately. She is warm, welcoming and open from the get-go. We’ve gotten to know Chelsea over the last few years through networking events, hang outs, brain storming for our head shots and her monthly PUG meetings. Each month, Chelsea hosts a meeting for photographers amateur & professional to meet, learn and connect. More than a few times, Chelsea has let us crash the meeting and we’ve learned a tip or two about photography, lighting, equipment and more. Chelsea Nicole isn’t just a great person, she’s a phenomenal photographer. Her images don’t just capture a wedding day, they capture moments, emotions and stories. Her photo’s have left us not only oohing and ahhing, but caught us wide eyed and open mouthed at some of her exquisiteness. Read and see below to see what we mean!
“I’ve focused solely on photographing couples since 2008. It’s become my favorite form of art. When I first started, I was coming from an art-photography background (long nights in a dark room doing fine-art nudes), so I was a bit disappointed with how lifeless and static traditional wedding photography was. I thought it could and should be better: more lively, more authentic, more real. And it definitely could be a whole lot more inventive and creative! That was part of what drove me into it.”
I had this thought: “If I were getting married, I’d want a photographer who could spark the creativity buried somewhere within us. I’d want an artist with a daring vision who could push me just a little outside my safety zone-of-comfort. I’d want a magician who could somehow capture those quirky little-invisible-magical-things that make us a couple like nobody else! The SUPER-IN-LOVE-COUPLE that we are!” And that’s how I started. That’s how I created my whole brand and philosophy: I wanted to be that ‘artist-magician-photographer’ for my SUPER-IN-LOVE-COUPLES!”
What do you want a bride to know about your business?
I suppose that, if you get a good feeling from my work, we might be a bit alike.
You might be a tad bit sentimental. You might want to preserve some of those little everyday things that become just a tad more magical when done with your honey. Or maybe you think you’re ordinary, but together you’re extraordinary. Maybe you think you two have something a little special and it’s probably worth capturing.
Maybe you’re on the brink of realizing that one of the coolest things in the world would be to take a minute of your relationship and capture it, exaggerate it, make it art – or parade it on Facebook and count the comments. Or maybe you want to blow it up huge and make a statement on your wall like ‘Hell ya, that’s us.’ Or maybe you just want to print it and tack it to your fridge with campy plastic magnets.
In any case, I think all love is worth trying to capture some little part of, and I’d love to make something like that with you!
As a photographer, what advantages do you have when working with a coordinator?
There are so many advantages. Remember, this is your day – it’s one day when you definitely shouldn’t be stressed out about details that can be handled by others.
Coordinators understand the flow of the day. They can help select vendors that are trustworthy. Design-oriented coordinators like Scheme Events can help tie all your disparate ideas together into a cohesive and well-designed whole, in a way that fits the budget.
From my photography point of view, having a team dedicated to ensuring the day goes smoothly allows me to focus on the artistic-magical-photography stuff, and allows you and your guests to simply have a fantastic memorable time. And great times, of course, make great photos.
Describe your process of working with a bride.
I like to keep it super simple and fun. I want to get to know you first. That allows me to make a custom process that’s unique to you and the special event you are creating.
So we’ll usually just talk and chat and really just goof off a bit. From that I can start getting an idea of cool shoots that might fit you both as a couple. Maybe you’re into books and we’ll shoot through book shelves at a bookstore. Maybe you’re into star-gazing and we’ll shoot beneath the stars with old school telescopes and candles. Maybe you’re into nothing at all and we’ll just shoot how you are together as a couple. Maybe he pinches you on the butt. Yeah – I’d capture that! I’ve found there’s always a way to make it personal and make it uniquely ‘you’ – and I think that’s a part of what makes my photos different. It’s a different approach than just making a pretty picture and pasting any random couple into it.
My first gift to you as a couple is an engagement session. Of course I’m being sneaky though, there’s more to it than just a gift: it gives us both the experience of working and playing together. It gets you comfortable in front of my camera and let’s me learn how best to photograph you. That way, when your wedding day finally rolls around and you’re sitting on that chair getting all dolled up, we’re simply good friends and all the photography stuff just flows naturally.
Let’s play Loaded questions with Chelsea!
What did you do last night?
After shooting a destination wedding the day prior, Jayse and I hopped some fences and snuck into an abandoned amusement park in Wichita, Kansas called Joyland. We spent three or four hours there photographing and exploring. It was once a huge theme park like Magic Mountain or Disneyland, but now it’s overgrown, worn down and completely empty. It’s eerie seeing roller coasters, bumper cars and ferris wheels frozen in time, completely deserted. It’s almost like visiting an abandoned city like Chernobyl. When we hear about places like this – we just have to go check them out – even though the signs clearly read ‘Keep Out!’
What are some of your hobbies outside the wedding industry?
Ha, well I love learning and trying new things – so I have quite a few hobbies.
Some of our favorites: Traveling the world (we go someplace new each year), fire dancing (poi), swing dancing and somewhat elaborate costume making. We make some rather insanely detailed custom couples costumes every Halloween. So far these have included: Jack and Sallly (Nightmare Before Christmas), Boba Fett and Slave Leia – a fave of Jayse’s, Poison Ivy and the Riddler, Cheer Bear and Grumpy Bear and Leelo and Korbin Dallas from 5th Element. This year we’re creating extremely accurate Ghostbusters costumes with working lights and all! Mine will be ¾’ scale, of course! So I’m a bit of a geek. Together with Jayse, we become super-geeks.
What headline do you wish you read in the newspaper this morning?
“Nikon announces a new camera that photographs in pitch black and weighs as much as a sheet of paper!” A girl can dream, right? 😉 Though my new Nikon D4 pretty much does see in the dark – it’s still a little heavy.
What is the strangest part of your morning or nighttime routine?
Giving my puppy Bella a back massage in the morning while cooing, “Awwwwllll stretchie-stretchhhh”. She always stretches out with both paws straight in front of her as she does a little ‘tap-tap’ with them while yawning. Yeah, she lives the life!
What food do you think should have its own category on the food guide pyramid?
Red Velvet Ice Cream! The category would be ‘100% Daily Happiness!’
What would you rather be doing today?