Washington Washes Worries Away

Washington was an incredible undertaking. One I could not have done without the support of the client’s who chose to trust my vision.


I must say, God provided the most perfect eight days of weather. Again, without this piece of the puzzel, these sessions would not have been what they are.

I have grown accustomed to what I call it, “travel togging”. This is where I find numerous possible locations to shoot at hundreds, or thousands of miles away from my home studio using the internet and maps. Once I arrive at the destination, I travel to those locations to see if they are what I thought they would be. This means it has the lighting I want, the color scheme which works for the skin tones and provides a safe environment for myself and my clients.

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Washington was a new type of travel togging. I spent eight days, where I had seven sessions. These sessions ranged from indoor boudoir sessions to outdoor beach and mountainous family shoots. When I arrived I had just enough time each day to confirm the locations I had found online, so I knew my research had to be spot on.

Whenever I travel for sessions, some of the clients I have seen through my lens in another state or country. With each #traveltog trip, I always have a few who trust the referral of their friends and for that I am so thankful. I know how hard it can be to hire someone solely based on their reviews, even if it is from a friend.

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The support of those who hired me made these sessions more than anything I could ever dream up. They allowed me to work with them on styling and we had wonderful communication on the hopeful full look of their session, inclusive of which Washington backdrop they preferred.

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Aloha USAF: The Fewell Retirement

I consider each ceremony as a very special moment in history. Those who give their years to this nation and serving the needs of it deserve the upmost respect and thanks.


During ceremonies you learn the impact which that person has had on lives. You learn the role that person played in the greater picture. You also learn the sacrifice which that person’s family has made for the greater good of the missions which went on. For all these reasons and more, each ceremony marks a moment in history which we can all choose to learn from.


MSgt Fewell’s retirement ceremony wasn’t any different. It was really a great moment to capture. The stories which were told and the details of service which were read we beyond humbling. The fact that I was asked to be there is the cherry on top.



Do you have an upcoming event or ceremony? Consider having it professionally photographed. You can sit back, relax and enjoy it without the worry of making sure each detail and facial expression is captured. Let me do the work for you!



Growing Gambones: Friendship & Photography

Joining a running group in Hawaii, I never knew I’d meet such an inspirational and wonderful person like Jess. Certainly, that was not the intention when I began attending. We became fast friends which turned into best friends.

Proof 01

It was a couple of months after we knew each other that she asked me to capture her daughter’s 3rd birthday. A couple of years later, that one session has turned into many more sessions.

Proof 02

This is where my job constantly reminds me how blessed I am. Yes,  it is true, friends are given the opportunity to witness children grow up and even celebrate with them. However, as a photographer who is also a friend, that honor of being the one asked to capture the milestones is something I do not take for granted.

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From shooting a certain once in a lifetime occasion to the annual picture for a family is something I feel great pleasure in doing. It is what I consider my “calling” to be. Being behind the camera I feel at home, I truly feel like I am able to help others step INTO the picture and become a part of that memory.

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We were finally able to have all four of them together for a family session. Before parting ways, due to military orders, we spent a relaxing evening strolling the Windward shores of Oahu.

It is nights like that I thank God for the gift I have been given. It is nights like that I am in awe of the supportive people in my life. It is nights like that I will never forget.

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Mahalo Gambone family!

The art of “Goodbye”…

Just a month ago I was a mental mess. I was tired. I was unsure. I was completely overwhelmed by the loved ones I was leaving and the unknown I was headed into.

This is the military life.

Arizona was our first base as a married couple and it was the most emotional departure I have ever had. The people, the place. It was where I became a wife and graduated college. It is where I became the adult I am today. Mississippi was only our “home” for about 10 months. Just enough to graze the surface of the deep South and left us wanting more. South Carolina we made “home” quickly. We made fast friends and traveled a lot. Each move has had it’s hurdles but Hawaii was its own beast. The obvious beauty, the culture but most of all, Hawaii is where I proved to myself I could do it — be the best mom to my child.

I have spent my entire adult life thus far attempting to perfect this imaginary art of “goodbye”. Everything from the preparation of the move to the hug and then dealing with some emptiness after leaving that area. I have come to the conclusion there is no perfection in such a situation. It is a messy, exhausting and anxious time. However, there is a solution to help you through it all. Choose to focus on the “hello”.

As we packed up and flew to the mainland from Hawaii, the worst part for me was the thought of saying “goodbye” to Lifesong. Lifesong has been more than a job. It has been something I have built with all of my interests and best attributes in mind. It is something which challenges me, forces me to manage my time and gives me a sense of pride. It has been something which proved that my degree in business was not just a degree, but something I could run with. Little did I know I was in that unfortunate mindset — focused on the “goodbye” and not what was on the horizon. I was acting as if it was the end of an era and there was nothing I could do about it. Wrong. That needed to change. There was so much I was able to experience in North Carolina!

Arriving in North Carolina a new feeling of excitement arose, it was time to say “hello”! One week into our time in North Carolina and bookings began, friendships from previous bases flourished and time was spent in a new (and very cold) climate getting to know the area.

Thanks to a good photographer friend, Raymie, I was asked out to a downtown Fayetteville sunrise shoot. Twice a year the sun rises perfectly between the arches in the old Market House. Talk about a time to be excited about the new opportunities and a new area.

I am now able to look back at this short time here and smile with tears. I smile knowing I have so much to explore and learn about this new area. I tear up because (as my daughter has taught me) sometimes you just need to cry and miss something because you have to. No logic, just emotion to cope. Those combined seem to do the trick.

Most people have heard the expression, “When one door closes, another one opens.” This could not be more true IF you are willing to help yourself to the next handle and turn it. With each of the moves I have given myself something to look forward to, but never forgetting the amazing experiences I have had in the past. Often this is in the form of a bucket list. I challenge you to find the “hello” you can hang onto when your next “goodbye” situation presents itself.

Thank you to the hundreds of you who have been my “goodbye” and my “hello”. Each of you have impacted me and changed me for the better. Cheers to new adventures and new opportunities.








(A little behind the scenes from Raymie of Raymie Day Photography, thanks girl!)



Motorcycle Mama


Recently I had the opportunity to photograph a stunning mama and she was in her element! I am working on a few new techniques with lighting and am thrilled to see it come to life! Catherine is a natural in front of the camera, which made this shoot so fun and relaxing. It is obvious that the vintage pin-up is her forte.

Thank you to the Rose family for letting us use your bike for such a unique shoot!

(Click on each image to make them larger.)

I enjoyed this shoot so much, be on the look out for a model call for an upcoming project!



MILES Of Beauty

The landscape of an image sets it’s tone and can bring energy to an image. Without the best landscape, the focus of the image can get lost and the message can become unclear. Fortunately, I am living in one of the most picturesque places on Earth-islands of the Pacific. I have miles of beauty to choose from and a wide array of backdrops to go with.

Stacy is a good friend and already a wonderful mama. I am so incredibly thankful she and her hubby asked me to capture this journey for them.

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Hair and Makeup: Lifesong Photography & Designs

Floral Crown: C Crafts and Cupcakery

Please contact me at Chelsea@LifesongDesigns.com for details and pricing.

The innocence, the beauty…

The children and youth I have been asked to capture have been, without a doubt, the most vibrant of subjects. There is no exception when it comes to Talyn and Haven. Looking at these incredibly innocent, beautiful faces through my lens brings a breath of fresh air. Thank you Amanda for giving me the chance to be a part of their young lives. They are incredible children.




I have had the opportunity to work in the awareness industry. As an employee with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I was honored to meet those who were fighting and had survived their cancer and cancer treatments. In my personal life I have met some incredibly strong people who have survived their cancer and cancer treatments, as well.

Each month, there is an awareness effort for something which is effecting thousands. In the month of October, as I am sure you know, Breast Cancer was at the top of everyone’s minds. I believe that the stories of the survivors and their family members are vital to moving forward with the efforts to raise awareness. Learning from other’s experiences is how we avoid duplicating mistakes previously made and help each other in the struggle. This means that even though we left the month of October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we shouldn’t stop spreading the word or being vigilant on self exams.

Early detection is KEY


Kyla is the daughter to a survivor of Breast Cancer and has had a close call, herself. Her story greatly parallels to this idea of learning from another. Her mother is also a Breast Cancer Survivor and Kyla was diagnosed at the young age of 16 after doing a self-exam. At the age of 20, she had a Bilateral Mastectomy and Reconstructive Surgery. By the time Kyla had the surgery, she had a total of 10 lumps which consumed most of her tissue. During the surgery, the doctor’s found 2 extra lumps they didn’t know were there and those looked precancerous. Since her surgery, she is now on her 3rd reconstruction and has dealt with over a dozen needle biopsies, ultrasounds and mammograms. They have taken all of the breast tissue from her and a total of 13 lumps have been removed throughout these surgeries.

Kyla is an avid runner and this year I was honored to run the Susan G Komen Race For The Cure by her side (although she quickly out – ran me). She runs for her mother and states, “I run for her strength, courage, fight and for all the other men and women who are survivors, still fighting, or those who we have horribly lost to this deadly disease. It was the most challenging time my family has ever been through. Watching a loved one in so much pain every day is something I’d never wish on anyone or anything.”

Wearing pink to be cute, or a bra to direct attention toward yourself is not the type of awareness many survivors and families appreciate. It is the prayers, fundraising and sharing of stories which will save people from experiencing the horror cancer brings. If you talk to any survivors or their family members, there are a few things they will all agree on:

  • Early detection is KEY and the best way to be aware is a yearly mammogram and self-examination.
  • Even after surviving all the pain, the fight never stops.
  • Spreading awareness will help someone.

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Breast Cancer Awareness 5k with the Pearl Harbor Stroller Warriors

Behind the scenes at the Hussey’s….

Have you ever referenced the fantastic view a “fly on the wall” has? I know I have! I often wonder how things look if I just take a moment to step back and think about nothing but what you are seeing. Sometimes we don’t have the time to do this and that is where I so greatly appreciate it when someone makes it possible for me to ponder the situation later!

I am always thrilled when someone else surprises me by snapping some images while I work. After the session, when I get to step back and ponder it, the fact that someone was excited enough to want to share an image of the session brings a smile to my face. The captured workspace also shows me what I could have done differently in my set up. These are two things which make each session extremely valuable; appreciation of photography from someone other than me and the experience I gain.

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A big shout out to Chloe for asking me to be a part of something so special. Eloise is so precious, I hope there are many more behind the scenes chances with this family!


Lifesong Photography and Designs

One Week and Counting!


I have thrown myself into many adventures throughout my life but never before have I seen such an exponentially growing appreciation for my decision to act. Over the past few weeks I have heard only the kindest of words and received an amazing outpouring of support from people all over, some who know me and some whom I have never met. This type of reaction to my business not only builds my self-esteem, but makes me incredibly grateful to have found such amazing clients and friends to start this venture along side.

I have officially been in business for one week and I am excited to be filling my calendar with the Lifesong of many. It looks like through the end of the year, I will be capturing children’s lives which are just beginning and in their infancy all the way through senior’s who are thrilled to be taking the next step to adulthood. Later this month I have the privilege to honor our military families and be present for a special military homecoming. I will also be capturing the Island “Aloha” for a few families who are arriving on island or leaving island. Finally, no year is complete without couple’s portrait sessions and an up-and-coming, business product shoot. From Michigan to Hawaii my lenses will get quite a workout and I could not be happier.

A special thank you to my good friends who have trusted me to snap images of their newborn and their families. To my mentors, I wouldn’t have had the self-confidence that I did. To my new clients for reaching out to me and props to Pro Camera Hawaii, who has helped my startup on island be so easy and comfortable.

I look forward to making many memories with this new business and capturing YOUR Lifesong as we take this journey together.


Chelsea Petroelje

Contact me today at chelsea@lifesongdesigns.com to grab one of the last few slots available for the year!

Lifesong Photography and Designs
Thank you to Jenna Leigh Photography for hosting an event where I was able to snap this stunning sunset image.