I’m writing this blog post from the window seat of a southwest airplane, forty thousand feet up in the air as I leave Florida for what feels like the millionth time. My hands are shaking, and my heart is beating a little faster than usual, but it’s not due to a fear of flying. Any fear of flying I may have had disappeared somewhere along the 10 thousand miles I’ve trekked over the last six months. Take offs, landings, and waiting in the airport have become an everyday challenge to me lately. No, my heart is racing and my hands are shaking because the obstacles that I have had to overcome this year, the mountains that I never thought I could climb, all of these things are coming to a head, and I have exciting news.
I am no stranger to this roller coaster that is life. This year has proved to be the year that would challenge me in every way, shape, and form. My patience, my faith, my trust in God and His plan for me…Learning how to listen when the whole universe seems to be telling me no, and learning how to forge my own path when the one I’m on seems to be the wrong one. It has been a long, uphill battle, and a lesson in patience by far. I’ve packed my suitcase last-minute a few too many times this year, I’ve given long hugs to my family, said “see you soon” to my sisters, and stumbled through tearful goodbyes with a man I never imagined I could love so much more times than I can count over the last six months.
Nashville has been home for me for a long time now. I’ve seen this city grow, and I have grown in this city. The very foundation upon which I built this business is engrained in the sidewalks, restaurants, and venues that I have frequented over the years. Local coffee shops have played host to many a lunch date with fellow photographers, swapping advice on how to book more weddings, or what products we loved or didn’t love so much. Photos from weddings at venues I only ever dreamed of photographing now pay homage on this very blog. The school where I first decided I would start a business still stands on the corner, and the teacher that made that dream a reality still keeps up with my on social media. I pass by these daily reminders of where I got my start, and I’m still amazed that I get to do this for a living. I started out in this city as a little baby photographer, and I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for this incredible city and every single amazing photographer that I have crossed paths with one the years. From the photographers who allowed me to tag along when I had an interest in seeing the inner workings of photographing a wedding, to the photographers who have believed my work to be strong enough to hire me as their second shooter, to the clients who trusted me to tell their storied over these last six years, I have been blessed and highly favored to be able to do what I love in this city for as long as I have.
If you follow me on my personal social media accounts (@chelseysomo) you know that I’m so much more than a wedding photographer. I am a nursing student, I am an equestrian, I am a girlfriend, I am a best friend, I am a daughter to the most incredible mother, I am a big sister to five wonderful siblings, and I am a Florida girl, through and through. Every single time I fly back to Nashville, I leave behind a family, a best friend, a boyfriend, and a state full of memories. I grew up on the beaches of Tampa Bay, and leaving my home to come to Nashville was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. In the spirit of full transparency, it was probably one of the least thought-out decisions I ever made, as well. I guess hindsight really is twenty-twenty when you’re nineteen and lovestruck, but I can’t knock myself for trying. Leaving Florida and going my own way was by and far the thing that molded me into the woman that I have become today.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few months worrying about what I plan to do with my life after I graduate from nursing school in May. At first, I planned on finding a job in Nashville, focusing a bit more on my wedding photography business, and taking on more weddings than I have in years past. The funny thing about making plans is that God always has something else in store for us. If there is one lesson I have learned in all of the chaos this year, it is this: not our plan, but His. I’ve spent a lot of time praying about this decision, and for once in my life, I feel confident that I am making the right one. Of course, it doesn’t end there, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?
Ready for the big announcement now?
Next summer, I will be relocating to Tampa, Florida, where I will continue to photograph weddings & portraits!
What does this mean for your couples in Nashville?
Well, nothing, really! If you’ve already booked me as your photographer, I will still be there! For the remainder of the 2017 wedding season, I will be traveling back to Nashville to fulfill the weddings that I already have on the books, and I will continue to take on new weddings for as long as couples want to hire me. Travel fees to Nashville will not apply for the 2017 wedding season. You guys didn’t think you could get rid of me that easily, did you?
What about couples in Tampa? When will you start photographing weddings in Tampa?
If you haven’t noticed, I have already started changing some of the wording on my website to better suit couples that are looking to hire a wedding photographer in Tampa next year. SEO is huge, so you’ll notice changes to blog posts and social media over the next few months as I start the transition from Nashville to Tampa. Ideally, I would love to have a few weddings booked in Tampa before the big move in June, so if you know of anybody looking for a wedding photographer in Tampa, send them my way! Travel rates for wedding photography in Tampa will not apply in 2017.
Will you be photographing anything else in Tampa?
The other exciting thing about relocating to Tampa is that I will also be graduating from nursing school, which will allow me to expand my business and focus a bit more on some of the things I haven't been able to devote my time to in the last three years. While I absolutely love photographing weddings and have no plans to stop photographing them anytime soon, I do intend to shift some of my focus to photographing families, seniors, and equestrians!
When will you be in Tampa again? Are you setting up photo shoots while you are there?
I will be spending a month in Tampa beginning December 14th, and I would absolutely love to schedule some sessions while I’m there! In fact, I’m looking for a family or two that might be interested in spending a day on the water and getting some family pictures on a beautiful, secluded island, as well as some equestrians who might be interested in posing with their four-legged friends. If you know of anyone who might like these ideas, please send them my way!
If you’re a Tampa wedding vendor, leave a comment below so that I can find you on social media! I would love nothing more than to connect with some of you before my big move! If you’re a couple in Tampa looking for a wedding photographer, I hope you’ll take a look around my website and blog, and if you like what you see, I look forward to hearing from you!
I’m truly thankful for each and every person who has been by my side through this journey, and I’m so excited and nervous and anxious to begin this next chapter of my life! It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so glad to officially make this announcement public! I can’t wait to see where this beautiful life takes me!