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Goodbye, Nashville

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Goodbye, Nashville

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place...like you'll not only miss the people you love but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again."

I don't think it's quite hit me yet that I said goodbye to Nashville on Sunday. Leaving the place that I came to as a naive teenager and leaving as what I would consider an adult is a weird feeling. I've been looking forward to going home for so long that I didn't really think about that leaving would feel like.

A lot of people used to ask me what brought me to Nashville, and I wish I could say it was something other than my silly little heart, but that was it. I followed it to a city that I had only spent 48 hours in, and I ended up making it home for the last 8 years. I went through heartbreak and loss in this city. I met people who became my family. I lost friends. I gained friends that can't get rid of my even if they tried. I worked at Hard Rock Cafe and got to meet musicians, see shows, and teach people all about the city I had grown to love. I climbed fences. I threw parties. I rode horses. I demolished a house. I survived a flood. I fell in love and maintained a long distance relationship for a year. I lived in a barn. I was a groupie.I worked at a farm. I saw countless friends get married. I partied a bit. I studied a lot.  I started a business. I worked my ass off and not only got into nursing school, but graduated from it. All in all, I have experienced a life that I wouldn't trade for anything in this city, and I can truly say that Nashville will always hold a special place in my heart.

And here I go, following my heart once again, back home to my family, my best friend, and the only place that has ever truly been home to me.

Nashville, thank you for welcoming me with open arms. Thank you for showing me what southern hospitality was all about. Thank you for the friends I've gained for life, and thank you for being so wonderful to me over these last eight years.

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Year in Review | Best of 2016

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Year in Review | Best of 2016

2016 was a year of change. Changes that included where I was going, and what I was doing, and what direction I wanted my business to go. Changes that involved a big move back to my home in Tampa, Florida, and changes within my family. We welcomed a new baby brother into our already huge family (that's right folks, my momma had a baby!) and I found myself head over heels in love with a man that I have known since I was 13. I started my last semester of nursing school (last semester, y'all!!) and I expanded my portfolio to include families, babies, and horses! I lived in a horse barn at one point (it's an interesting story - but don't worry, I had walls and doors and even a bathroom!) and I spent a lot of my time dedicating my life to patients in the hospital. I spent quite a bit of time traveling - mostly to Tampa, but there was a trip to North Carolina, Savannah, and even Miami in there! I'm pretty sure I have racked up nearly 17, 000 miles this year traveling. It's been an interesting year, to say the least.

Despite all of these changes and steps forward, one thing has stayed pretty consistent, and that is the fact that I continue to be blessed enough to share my talent with so many incredible people in this wonderful city. I have documented love stories for so many couples, and I have captured photographs for families that they will cherish forever. I have photographed horse lovers with their favorite four-legged friends, and I even took pictures of my brand new baby brother - and I always swore I wouldn't do newborn photography! What I do is not for a paycheck, and the reason I do it is not for recognition - it is because I understand and appreciate the importance of documenting those little moments. I know what it's like to pull that old album out and reminisce about the moment captured. I do what I do because it matters to me. 

Being able to look back over my entire year and seeing the growth in my style has really been inspiring to me as an artist. I'm also so thankful to Aly Greer of Wild Cotton Photography, Chesley Summar, John Myers, Alex Blackwelder of Alex Bee Photography and Janelle Sutton of Janelle Elise Photography for giving me the opportunity to photograph weddings alongside them throughout the year. Some of the images sprinkled in this post are from weddings I photographed with them! I'd also like to thank my second shooters, Rachel Lombardi and Chelsea Rochelle, for being so wonderful to me and my clients this year, and for talking me off the crazy train a couple of times throughout the hectic wedding season.

So, without further ado, I hope you all enjoy this culmination of what my 2016 looked like! I can't wait to make more memories in 2017!

 

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The Next Chapter: Florida

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The Next Chapter: Florida

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!

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Year in Review | 2013

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Year in Review | 2013

2011 was a year of learning, of growing, of  making mistakes, and taking that knowledge and turning into something good. 2012, it just so happens, was a year of change. Some of it was good change, some of it was scary change, but not a single second of it was bad change. I’ve learned to take every single experience as an opportunity to learn and grow, and applying it to my business was one of the best decisions I made. The outpour of love and support from the community when my father passed away in April was humbling. To the friends, family and clients that stuck by me when my business made the transition from a partnership after that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the love and understanding you all had for me.

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Spring on The Farm

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Spring on The Farm

Living on a farm has it's perks. In the spring, the sun starts shining and the trees start blooming and the grass starts growing and the horses shed their winter coat. It's like having my own super special location all to myself. Except I love to share! The Looks Like Film Tennessee crew had their inaugural meetup here in March (Carlie and Drake rocked it out in case you haven't seen the blog post!)  and just last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a headshot swap with two very insanely talented photographers from Nashville. Carrie Ann Smith of Sealed With a Kiss Photography and Erica Christine of Erica Christine Photography got all dolled up with me and wandered around the property, exploring new spots and finding perfect little patches of light. Eventually, we made our way out to play with the horses, and I'm so glad that we did! I'm a huge horse lover and an avid horseback rider, and I love sharing that piece of my world with others! You'll be seeing images of me (and the horses!) taken by Carrie and Erica featured throughout my website and social media over the next few weeks because I honestly can't get enough of them! I'm truly inspired and thankful to have had the chance to get my photo taken by two very talented ladies!

Is it totally narcissistic to share some of the images that Carrie and Erica took of me?! I was so giddy when I got these! It's such a different experience to be on the other side of the camera, but I find that I actually enjoy it for the most part! I guess it helps that I'm being photographed by some crazy talented girls, but maybe I'm biased. I think the farm was the perfect backdrop and if you know me, you know these photos capture the very essence of who I am!

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2015 | The In-Between

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2015 | The In-Between

I've been making it a point over the last year to document the little moments that happen in my life, because let's be real, what kind of photographers doesn't photograph her own life?! The answer is a staggering amount of us don't. It's hard. When your job involves picking up our cameras, it's easy to let it slide when you aren't working! I suppose this post is better late than never, but I sorted through all my images from 2015 that didn't quite have a home anywhere else. Most of these images are ones that I took of moments that I wanted to remember, like photographing my best friend's engagement, going tailgating at the Tampa Bay Rays game with my family, and my summer vacation in Miami. Some are images that other photographers took of me, like the awesome shots from Rachel Lombardi! A few are just plain old snapshots of little moments that someday, I know I'll look back on. I'm going to try my best to implement this as a routine in my life. So, without further ado, if you're curious about what my life looks like when I'm not weddinging, here it is!

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LooksLikeFilm Feature | Heirloom Print Boxes

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LooksLikeFilm Feature | Heirloom Print Boxes

Guys! How cool is this?! One of my images of my print boxes was featured on one of my favorite blogs recently! I'm so thrilled to share that so many of my fellow photographers enjoyed this photograph enough to vote for it to be included in the LLF Daily Update! 

I'm so excited to offer these beautiful glass print boxes to my wedding couples in Tampa! I'll be sharing more images of this gorgeous heirloom product soon!

To see my image alongside some other crazy talented photographers, follow this link!

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