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Check Out Chelsea Whitaker’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Whitaker. 

Hi Chelsea, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started photography as a kid with a little point-and-shoot camera. I always knew I wanted to be a photographer when I grew up. The question was always what would I focus on. Early on, I focused a lot on landscapes and portraits. I even considered weddings, very briefly. But then, the fall after I had graduated from Grand Valley in 2017, I brought my camera to a show at the Pyramid Scheme. It was Fall of Troy, with Lokella opening. I started shooting the show, and suddenly it clicked. It was like that ‘aha’ moment you see in movies. I knew that was what I was supposed to do. 

Shortly after this, I moved to Arizona and started working with a publication, run by a friend of mine. Trial & Error Collective was a huge step for me. I was able to shoot a ton more shows, with a publication backing me. And by the end of 2021, I was able to photograph a band that sat on my bucket list for a long time, A Day to Remember. 

In February of 2022, my husband and I moved back to Michigan. I started working with Local Spins almost immediately. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been struggles along every path I have taken to get where I am today. Aside from coming from a low-income family, I am a woman music photographer. That comes with plenty of struggles. Women in the music industry are not taken seriously. People have passed me over for opportunity after opportunity because I am not a man. I have also struggled with the capitalist society that we live in. If I could, I would be shooting shows, full time. I mean, I’m definitely shooting a lot of shows, but I still have to pay rent and fill my gas tank. For a few years, I took a pause from doing what I love, and I worked at a bank so that I could pay the bills. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a music and editorial photographer. I specialize in live music photography, but my goal is to be kind of an all-in-one photographer for musicians. I want to cover tour, backstage, promo art, album art, etc. I am known for my work with prisms. I shoot most shows with a prism, and I love to see how the glass can manipulate the lights. I consider my work art. Not just another picture. 

I am most proud of my work in 2021, specifically my photos of Asking Alexandria and A Day to Remember. However, now that I am back in Michigan, I am quite proud of my work with Local Spins. I have really immersed myself in the local music scene, and I’m helping Jennifer Hudson-Prenkert put together a festival in Kalamazoo this fall, Sounds of the Zoo. 

I like to jump boundaries and work in many different areas. I have worked as photographer, creative director, and I am now starting to work with booking bands. 

I also work with portraits, especially creative and editorial portraits, and environmental portraits. I love to watch an idea come to life, or what goes on behind the scenes of a job (like a tattoo artist, jewelry maker, or hairstylist). 

I have also been working with social media content and coordination with clients since early 2021. I’ve been doing it with my own business for as long as I can remember. I love creating content that is engaging and fun for the viewers. Because all we want from social media is fun, right? And it’s not as easy as posting a picture to Instagram and that’s it.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Music. Music makes me happy. It has always been the one thing I could rely on. The only thing that is always there for me, for every emotion. And being in a room where a band is playing live, feeling the energy of the band and the concertgoers, the beat of the bass in your chest, the smell of sweat and beer – that is what heaven feels like to me. 

You can go to a pop show, jump up and down and sing all the lyrics, and feel on top of the world. Or you can go to a hardcore show, jump into a mosh pit and fight out all of the anger and aggression. There are so many ways to experience music, and experiencing it live is my favorite way to do it. 

Pricing:

  • Live Music Session starts at $300
  • Mini Session is $275
  • Environmental Session is $650
  • Full Portrait Session is $550

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Danni Bond

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