A beacon for arts and culture in our community.
Chelsea Mason - Smiths Falls Graduate Now Award Winning Photographer
Chelsea Mason Award Winning photographer and SFDACC Youth Arts Bursary Recipient is a local success story. Receiving our bursary in 2013 Chelsea has gone on to photograph countless occasions that are highlights of people’s lives and loves. She has received the award for Ottawa’s Best Wedding Photographer 6 years in a row. A photographer whose enthusiasm behind the lens shines out in her photos, we’re so pleased and proud to have been there at the beginning with recognition of her emerging talent.
We caught up with Chelsea recently and asked this busy woman a few questions.
SFDACC: What difference did receiving the SFDACC Arts Bursary make for you?
Chelsea: It was certainly a surprise! Receiving the bursary definitely made me feel noticed and gave me a sense of confidence before heading off to collage to study the arts. It also helped financially as there’s a lot of equipment required for the photography programs so I was able to put the bursary earnings towards that.
SFDACC: What were you already discovering and accomplishing with your photography at SFDCI?
Chelsea: I actually landed my FIRST wedding because of SFDCI. A bride had called the school and asked if there was a student in the photography class that would be interested in doing a wedding. The teacher at the time quickly suggested me and it’s been go-go-go since then. You really only need one wedding under your belt to advertise, so that was my one foot in the door to wedding photography!
I knew at a very early age that wedding photography would be my main career. After shooting my first wedding at 16 I got fully into the wedding industry and was shooting a full season of weddings before entering collage.
SFDACC: What plans did you have for your future in photography after you graduated?
After graduating SFDCI I started the photography program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. My goal for the future was to start doing photography full time after college and be able to raise my prices where it could also pay full time. I definitely hit this goal while being enrolled at Algonquin.
SFDACC: How has your photography business grown?
Chelsea: Since shooting my first wedding at the age of 16, I’ve shot 250+ weddings and started a team of my own. I have 6 photographers who work all wedding season, full time, under my company and I am fully booked for weddings myself at least 2 years in advance :) We shoot 70+ weddings a season.
SFDACC: You are an award winning wedding photographer. Can you talk about that and what makes your work outstanding?
Chelsea: I have won the award for Ottawa’s Best Wedding Photographer 6 years in a row :) I certainly take great pride of the amazing clients I’ve been able to work with and will forever be blessed on how far photography has brought me. I think my company stands out because I provide so much more than ‘good photos’. I also include an experience for my couples from the day they inquire with me until after the wedding day. I’m always helping my clients with helpful wedding tips, bridal guides and engagement style guides!
SFDACC: How has the past year affected your business and what are your plans for the coming years?
Chelsea: The last year has been absolutely horrifying for anyone in the wedding industry. We’ve been one of the industries that’s been hit the hardest, as we’re events. Sadly the government is not recognizing our voices either… but I’m hoping things will look different next season with vaccines on the rise! We should’ve had 74 weddings in 2020 and we ended up having fewer than 20.
We wish Chelsea more success in the future where we know there’ll be so much more to celebrate!
All photos courtesy of Chelsea Mason.
You can see more of Chelsea Mason's work at www.chelseamasonphotography.com