Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Mazur.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Chelsea. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I first started shooting back in high school, on an old, second-hand 35mm Pentax camera. Film was great, but it wasn’t so easy to do without a darkroom of my own. Then, for my college graduation, my mom bought me my first DSLR and the rest is history!
… just kidding.
For years my photography was just for fun- shooting friends and family. The more I did it, the more people would ask me to shoot their head shots, parties or new babies. Meanwhile I was working in a day job that was painfully boring and utterly unfulfilling. I was so uninspired by my job. I would spend every free minute shooting and studying photography and every free dollar buying gear. Finally, I decided to take the plunge and turn my photography passion into a legitimate business.
Early on, I shot everything- babies, weddings, head shots, parties- you name it. I even shot pets! I said yes to everything, taking every job that came my way. All of the successful photographers I knew shot weddings, so that’s what I thought I needed to do too. I would spend hours and hours pouring over wedding images and trying to advertise myself as a fine art wedding photographer. But in practice weddings didn’t bring me any joy. In fact, they brought me a lot of stress (and exhaustion). When I had a wedding booked, I would feel dread every day leading up to it. Then, when I was finished, I never felt that spark, that rush that comes from doing something you really enjoy. If I’m being honest, ultimately, I think I’m way too much of a control freak to shoot weddings. And I saw how passionate my friends who shot weddings were and knew that I just didn’t have that same enthusiasm for it.
At the same time, I noticed a common thread in my non-wedding clients. Over and over they were women business owners and professionals. And I loved those shoots! From the concept to the styling to the edits- I just loved it. The night before a shoot I would be buzzing around coming up with ideas and imagining the lighting, posing and locations. I had found the thing I had been looking for all along! Finally!
I think the thing that draws me to this type of work is the connection. I love getting to know my clients and hearing their stories- then translating those stories into their images. I truly enjoy the process of editing and curating a collection of images that tell the story of who my clients are and what their business is all about. These days, with social media playing such a huge role not only in our personal lives but our professional lives, everyone wants to put their best foot (or face) forward. So, the need for beautiful, professional imagery is bigger than it ever has been before.
Since I started specializing in branding portraits, I have shot authors, consultants, doctors, life coaches, lawyers, teachers, executives, bloggers, small business owners – you name it. I’ve met so many fascinating and inspiring people, each time reinforcing the fact that this is what I was meant to be doing.
In what is perhaps the most ridiculous and ironic thing about all of this is that I have no professional portrait of me by myself! I’m always the one behind the camera, very rarely in front of it. Must work on that!
Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle has just been finding my niche. When I finally started listening to that little voice inside, telling me what I should be doing, it made all the difference.
In the beginning, it was hard to find a way to stand out from my competitors. The professional photography market is quite saturated and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And it’s easy to second-guess your own worth. There are so many brilliant, amazing photographers out there! It would have been easy to just throw up my hands, in the beginning, and give up.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Chelsea Mazur Photography – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I shoot contemporary branding photography. Simply put, I go beyond the standard (boring) head shot. My clients walk away with a collection of branding images- both portrait and environmental shots- that they can use throughout their business. From their websites to social media, to marketing and print, they receive a catalog of looks and shots. I think that’s what sets me apart from other photographers who shoot head shots. I don’t even use the term “head shot” because what I seek to deliver is so much more than that. It is a full branding package.
My mission is to capture the essence of my client’s business and translate that into beautiful images. I shoot both in-studio and on-location, whatever their vision calls for. I’ve done everything from fully-stylized studio shoots with lighting and backdrops and a beauty team to casual lifestyle looks on the beach or even in my client’s living rooms. Every client is unique and so is every shoot.
I think I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve gotten the opportunity, not only to meet, but to become friends with so many interesting and inspiring people in my work. That’s really the thing that fuels the whole business.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that Chicago is a big city that doesn’t feel intimidating. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and the neighborhoods are full of character. I have lived in several big cities, including New York and Los Angeles, and there’s just something about Chicago that feels easier, friendlier and more approachable somehow.
The thing I like least about Chicago (which is not surprising or unique I’m sure) is the cold weather! I grew up in Louisville, which isn’t that far away in distance, but it’s hugely different in weather. When I was a kid, they would close school if we had 5 inches of snow on the ground. Here, nobody bats an eye at 5 inches of snow. I keep waiting for my body to adjust to the cold, but I fear that if it hasn’t happened in the 10 years I’ve been here, it never will.
- Address: 1829 N Fairfield Avenue, Unit 1S
- Website: www.chelseamazur.com
- Phone: (773) 273-9097
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org