We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Roles and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsea, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Two of my most recent favorite mantras are “Protect your peace.” and “Don’t trade your peace for progress.” I truly believe that balance is so important in life. When I was first starting my business I was taking on every job I could to get my name out there. I was striving to grow my business so much that my family was taking the brunt of the stress and lack of intentional time with them. Over time, I realized that my peace was more important than progress. It was okay to grow my business slower than I had originally anticipated. It is okay to not take on everything if it means protecting your peace. Growth is growth. For me, blocking out time for sessions and editing are so important. I will typically turn down a session if it interferes with the time that I’ve already set aside for my family. However, my family also knows that our calendar has days that are blocked out for photo sessions and editing time. Balancing my calendar has made a world of difference in how I operate and manage my time so that both my family and my clients get the very best of me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a sucker for golden sunsets, small details, and moments that you don’t even realize you don’t want to forget. My photography has changed from capturing all posed family pictures to capturing movement and emotion. I adore following children around and capturing their personalities in the moment. I love snapping pictures of dads as they reach for child’s hand or a tiny foot dangling down from mama’s hip. I also can’t help but chase the light during a session because there is just something so magical about how the light touches the desert at sunset. I’ve always been an observer and a people watcher. I often find myself watching people and reminding myself not to look like the creepy person in the corner staring. I see moments happening all around me. Moments that I often wish I had my camera for so I could snap a picture and hand it to a family just because I think it’s one they would love to save forever. I think this plays a part in how I see memories unfolding during my sessions. I don’t always just take the big picture of the whole group together. Sometimes, its close ups of eyelashes or pouty lips. Sometimes, it’s a husbands hands gently guiding his wife to more solid ground. Sometimes, is a big brother helping a little one over a big rock. To me, it’s the little things that often end up being the biggest memories. Photography wasn’t my first career. I started that later in life. I taught 5th and 1st grade before I began my photography journey. I had 4 of my own kids, and as I started documenting their growth, I decided that maybe I could learn more about taking better pictures. I started taking online classes and watching as many tutorials as I could. I started out by practicing and doing pictures for family and friends. Once I started having people refer their friends to me, I realized that I could turn it into a small business for my family. It gave me a place to document my own family while helping others capture their own family memories. It felt like a no brainer. It definitely wasn’t an easy start and I spent a lot of time over thinking and asking people that I admired a lot of questions. Eventually, it paid off and I’ve been able to spend time capturing memories for some incredible families over the years. I can’t think of a better way to do what I love. The biggest lesson that I’ve taken away from my photography journey is that everything has a season just as life does. Some seasons of my photography are slower than others and that’s okay. Some seasons are more stressful than others and that’s okay. Some seasons bring more growth than others and that’s okay. I often remind myself and others that this is just a season. It too will change and we have to be willing to flexible as change comes our way. That’s part of the beauty of life!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting from out of town for a week I would love to show them the variety of our area. I would for sure make sure they got to see the beautiful sahuaros out at the White Tanks. The library out there is such a hidden treasure. They have such cool trails to explore, but a lot of people don’t know that they have a little nature center inside of the library to check out some of the local wild life. Our plants and animals are so unique here and I think that’s a great place to take someone to give them a small taste of the desert. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I would also go downtown to explore. Mainly because I don’t spend enough time down there and it just looks like a great place to explore and try new things.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh man…my Mother-in-law Sherry gave me my first “big camera” to document her grand babies and I hit the floor running with it. I don’t think I would be where I am today if she hadn’t put that camera in my hands. It meant the world to me that she gifted me such a wonderful gift…the gift of memories.
Other: Email: email@example.com
All images are Chelsea Roles Photography