“…even the things we might view as ordinary are astoundingly beautiful and so many things transpired to put them in your field of view right now, at this very moment.”
-Chelsea Laine Francis
I met Chelsea a few months ago and she is one of those women that just makes you feel good to be around, I felt a strong creative energy that made me feel very inspired. She was welcoming, and it seemed like I had known her forever, she makes everybody feel as good as she is feeling. Aside from the fact that she is an amazingly talented photographer, she is kind, charismatic, and fun. The images she produces truly make you feel happy, loved, and close to the person that she is. I’ve always said that the best zoom is the one you have in your heart and she truly knows how to use it. I share with you this coffee and beignets date with this beautiful lady. Please take a moment to read on her interview and get to know a bit more about her work, her inspiration, and her background, I promise she will make your heart smile!
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Chelsea Laine Francis and I own a photography + creative direction business!
Where did you grow up and how does that shape what you do today?
I grew up in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina — a really small town that’s known for moonshine, Nascar and bluegrass. I think it gave me high aspirations, honestly. Our little town started so many big, big things that I knew one day I could spread my wings and do something bigger.
What is your dream project?
Shooting a book profiling creative entrepreneurs and small business owners.
What is your ideology as a creative person?
That even the things we might view as ordinary are astoundingly beautiful and so many things transpired to put them in your field of view right now, at this very moment.
How do you overcome your fears?
I try to plow right through them, most of the time. I’m a giant scared cat and the only way to get over my fears is to try and go through them with grace.
Who inspires you today?
Oh my goodness, so many people! My friend Rachel Giberson (@rachelfromaustin) is an incredibly talented art director who is just starting her business, and I can tell she has a beautiful career ahead of her. My friend Stephanie Hinrichs (@steph_hinrichs) manages a coffee shop here in Austin (Caffe Medici) and her life’s goal is to enrich people’s lives and encourage people and she get’s to do that every single day. My friend Nicole Seligman (@writeslikeagirl) runs a body positive blog about fashion and the space that she occupies on the internet is so wonderful. I’m encouraged by her tenacity to stand out, be professional, and be inclusive all at the same time.
How did photography change your life?
It made me feel like I finally figured out where my weird puzzle piece talents fit into the world. I’ve always enjoyed taking photos for fun. I enjoy meeting new people. I enjoy working with different people to accomplish a goal. I enjoy supporting other people with their goals. It’s the perfect meld of all the things I love. Figuring out what I loved really made all the difference.
How did you find your passion?
I found it by getting really honest with myself about what I liked and what I wanted out of this life.
What is your process before a shoot?
I always try to meet with my clients beforehand. I like to get to know people and I like to get to the bottom of what they want to accomplish with our time together. Then I prep my equipment the night before. On the morning of I pack my equipment up, check one more time, and drink some coffee. I always try to get to a shoot 30 minutes early because traffic in Austin is crazy.
Do you remember your first camera?
I do! Well, my first DSLR! I got it for Christmas when I was a freshman in college. It wasn’t a great DSLR, but it got the job done! It was a Sony Alpha!
How do you describe your photography style? Has it changed over the years?
Oh! Tough question! I think I would describe it as classically happy. I keep my shadows warm & my photos bright! I feel like it changes constantly.
What piece of photography advice do you happily ignore?
I actively try to never put my work in a box. There are a lot of schools of thought that you have to be just one thing and I don’t believe that for a second.
Who is your favorite photographer?
I really love Ben Sasso, Miller Mobley, Zack Arias, Lindsey Byrnes, Team Woodnote, Jackie Lee Young and Gloria Goode!
Who do you want to shoot?
Michelle Obama, Aidy Bryant and Jenny Slate.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I want to shoot for nationally circulated magazines while also acting as a resource for creative women.