We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Maras and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chelsea, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I always knew I wanted to live a creative life, one that involved my art in some way. I had a background in Fashion, Studio Art and Art History so photography was the best way for me to utilize all my knowledge. I started my company right out of college. At the time, I wasn’t sure what kind of genre I wanted to focus on but I knew women’s stories was always what drew me in most. So I did like any new business owner does and took on every kind of job possible in order to eventually reach my goal of shooting full time and focusing on women and eventually motherhood.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I know people talk about photography as a passion or obsession and there is an element of that but I feel like I sort of fell into this career. I have always been an artist, I have tinkered with every medium and loved them all. I knew I needed a job where I could create and photography felt like the most lucrative medium at the time. So I didn’t follow a dream as much as I chose a medium where I could make a life out of creating, it was a very intentional business decision.

As far as challenges I have definitely had my fair share, starting a company as a college kid is tough. I instantly realized I needed a mentor and so I began to intern with a local wedding photographer. I knew weddings were not where I wanted to end up but I needed the experience. I needed to learn how to think quickly, how to interact with clients, how my camera and all it’s settings performed on the fly and all the backend part of this industry. Having a mentor did that for me, it was hard not getting paid at first and having to work a side job for the first couple years but that practice and in person experience was incredible powerful.

I have learned many lesson and I am still learning. I think the biggest lesson was in patience, building a brand at a very young age takes time. It take experience shooting, editing, and interacting with clients. It takes fumbling and failing to find your footing. There isn’t one class or one preset that is going to make your art perfect, it is constantly evolving and changing just like you.

For me, my focus has always been about bringing women and their stories to the light. How I have done that has shifted as I have gotten older, I used to focus more on boudoir and now I focus more on motherhood but either way it’s important for me that my brand represents a safe space for women to feel comfortable. To find beauty in their stories, their bodies and their most vulnerable moments. My journey to motherhood was a very difficult one and so I feel especially inspired to document those moment for other because I understand how miraculous and fleeting they can feel.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a fun one! Admittedly I am a bit of a homebody but that being said part of the reason I love this job is because I get to spend my time out in nature. So for me any day spent outside exploring is a good one. Having grown up in a beach city, that would obviously be the first stop with any visitor. I love Long Beach, it’s where I went to school. The people and places are all so vibrant and interesting. I would probably say a nice long walk around Naples and dinner on 2nd street would be my go to. A more adventurous day might include a duffy boat cruise around the harbor!

The best part about living in Orange County is it’s so diverse and there is so much to do! You could wake up, head to Disneyland for the day and then end with a sunset bonfire down at the beach. There are just so many possibilities!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There were many people who were instrumental to helping me establish the company that I have today but my mom has definitely been the more supportive. Having a child who wants to live an unconventional artist life from a very early age comes with some challenges. But she always supported my art, both financially helping me get through school and for letting me take over her house with every project imaginable. For as long as I can remember she shared her love of art with me, as well as her love of photography. Taking photos was always a very important part of our life and I feel so lucky to have our life so beautifully documented by her. That’s what inspires me to focus on motherhood and the relationships between women and their children.

Website: https://www.chelseamaras.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chelseamarasphoto/

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