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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. 


  • 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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