Having just celebrated her third anniversary of becoming a professional wedding videographer, Chelsea Kowalski is eternally grateful for what she calls those “beginning brides” who believed in her from the start! The chance to build her portfolio with those first magical images was one of the perfectly timed steps towards the current success of Captures by Chelsea, which she officially launched in 2019.
Originally from upstate New York, Chelsea, and her boyfriend (now husband!) Chris Kowalski, relocated to North Carolina, drawn to more sunshine and warmer temperatures. They married in September of 2021, and in 2022, Chelsea made the decision to focus solely on videography. Her marketing degree and MBA had proven beneficial in many ways, but videography had always occupied a space in her mind – and heart. Thankfully, acknowledging her true passion has come full circle!
“After filming my first wedding in 2019, I came home so giddy with happiness,” remembers Chelsea. “I realized I had truly loved every single moment of that job.”
She quickly put together a website showcasing her talents and hasn’t looked back!
While Chelsea began with a goal of only shooting 15 weddings each year, so far this year she has 17 bookings, and admits client requests are such compliments, they are hard to refuse. She still prefers scheduling only two events a month, so she can dedicate her full attention to her brides and grooms, and still remember all the special moments clearly.
“I like to start editing as soon as I’m home from the wedding,” says Chelsea. “And I like to ‘relive’ only one wedding at a time!”
Chelsea also praises the photography/videography community in the Lake Norman and Charlotte area, as the support for fellow professionals is strong! She is lucky to have her husband as her preferred second shooter, but she knows that reaching out to others in the area is always an option. Although she doesn’t typically include an engagement option, Chelsea does offer a mixed session – think of it as a “save-the-date” video – where she might video both the bride and groom spending time together, but well before the big day.
When it comes to wedding day coverage, Chelsea is dedicated to capturing even the tiniest details – such as a personalized welcome sign or lavish dessert table –that she knows the couple may have spent a little extra money on – and would love to see as a captured memory!
“Having recently been a bride, I understand the budget constraints, too,” says Chelsea. “If they made the effort to add the personal touches, I want to capture them.”
She also loves documenting the especially sentimental times when a bride or groom pulls out all the stops for a wedding day surprise for the other. Prime example: One bride who surprised her lucky groom with an appearance at their reception by Sir Purr, mascot for the Carolina Panthers! With her expanded video package and more hours to work with, Chelsea also strives to add moments the couple may not have even seen, such as the parents’ reactions at the ceremony, guests’ reactions to a first glimpse of the reception setting, and any other highlights the couple may have missed seeing for themselves.
A self-proclaimed planner herself, Chelsea’s always eager for an event to run smoothly, but also like every recent bride, knows there can be glitches in even the best timeline. “Go with the plan, but also go with the flow!” is a motto she trusts – while making the finished product as personal as possible for the couple is always the ultimate goal. Sometimes, it’s all about timing.
“Photographers connect with couples over a longer time period – usually starting with the engagement,” says Chelsea. “I may only meet the couple that day or via Zoom or FaceTime, although I prefer at least a short meeting ahead of time to get a feel for how the couple interacts with each other.”
Now enjoying her craft to the fullest, Chelsea is happy to share her best advice for a nervous bride preparing to walk down the aisle: “Keep your eyes on your future husband!”
Reach Chelsea to schedule a consultation, at CapturesbyChelseaC@gmail.com. Visit her website capturesbychelsea.mypixieset.com for work samples and pricing!