She struggled to find her way professionally until rediscovering her love for photography: Meet Chelsea of Chelsea Laine Francis
chelsea laine francis is a photographer & Creative director in Austin, Texas
Tell us a little bit about your background
I grew up in North Carolina. I’m the daughter of a logger + a newspaper printer. When I was 7 or 8 I got tired of little kid books and I started reading a stack of National Geographics that my dad probably picked up at a yard sale. That’s where I became acutely aware of all the places photography could take you. I carried my love of photography through High School and then when I was in college I gave up on it for a few years. Everyone there seemed like they were more driven to do it than I was. I majored in advertising + PR in college and about a year out of college I was struggling to find my way professionally. My wonderful husband talked me into buying a professional level camera and I’ve never looked back.
How did you get started as a photographer?
I was working as a community manager at a co-working space and around the same time I’d just gotten my first real camera. I was able to build a portfolio quite quickly because I was surrounded by small business owners.
What was a defining moment in your life?
Honestly, getting married to my husband Tucker is up there. It was my first launch into adulthood. We had our own apartment, paid our own bills, cooked our own food. We were 21, so most of our friends at the time had completely different priorities in life. Another defining moment was moving out of Virginia, where we went to college. We had nothing bringing us to Austin, TX, but we just knew it was a good idea.
What fears or resistance did you face in that process?
It was definitely difficult to pick up and move our whole life to Austin. We had a strong community of people who had our backs in Virginia. That kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight, so when we moved here (to Austin) we both felt incredibly isolated for a while. I’m an extrovert, so meeting people came much more naturally to me than it did to my husband. Eventually he got a job doing something that he loved and we both got through it.
Is there a favorite quote or mantra that gives you inspiration? Or do you have a power song?
So many. Most recently this Rupi Kaur poem from Milk + Honey.
How do you define bravery?
I define bravery as doing the hard things anyway. Standing up in the face of feeling inadequate and doing the tough stuff anyway.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone facing a challenge?
Figure out what you need to give yourself to get yourself through it. Is it a little time to breathe? Is it permission to sneak away and eat an ice cream sandwich? Is it some wiggle room in your budget? Is it the help of a friend? Figure out what you need to push through.