Friday Feature – Chelsea Cronkrite

I’m excited to share with you all the lovely Chelsea of Chelsea Cronkrite, Photographer!  Be prepared to fall in love. If you are not following her, you need too! Her work is raw & will leave you coming back for more each and every time! A favorite quote of hers that couldn’t be more true of her own work…

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way-
things I had no words for.” ~Georgia O’keefe

IMG_5940Can you tell us a little about yourself..

Well – my name is Chelsea Cronkrite from Chelsea Cronkrite, Photographer and @birdandbear_photography from Instagram. I live with my family in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Western part of North Carolina – just outside of the Asheville area. I am the mother to 2 forest faeries and the wife to a man who stole my heart almost 10 years ago on the 4th of July. We have a growing farm, full of chickens, ducks, and rabbits along with being puppy parents to the 2 best pitbulls on the planet.

I am a fan of photojournalism and documentary photography as well as quickly finding a passion for lifestyle. I have a never ending craving pit in my stomach for peanut M+M’s, mint chocolate chip ice-cream, baked beans, perrier that comes in a can and overloads of coffee.


Share with us how your photography journey began and where you see yourself in the next few years.

 My journey began just over 4 years ago when I first found Instagram. Since I have had a cellphone that had a camera I was taking pictures when I would then download them and try my hardest to edit them on photoshop. I joined a digital photography class my freshman year of high school and continued to learn some photoshop skills. 2 years ago, I finally purchased my first DSLR and began my professional photography journey trip!


Are you working on any personal projects if so can you tell us a bit about them.

 Personal goals and projects for the year include trying to shoot more family photos, form some sort of mini session before the end of the year with another photographer that’s local to my area, make sure to document the holidays indoors and out, and save up enough money for a new camera body.


What has been your biggest challenge thus far in your journey and how did you work through it?

 I guess the hardest challenge I’ve had to face since the beginning was trying to understand judgement from others as being a good thing and understanding that we all do it and that all artists are people and have insecurities and faults just the same as every other person. It’s a hard and continual challenge that every person faces and when it comes to something you feel passionate about, sometimes it’s the hardest challenge you face. Judgement definitely is it, but in the same sense – I am truly thankful for it, because with out judgement my work would still be well.. stuck in the gutters of 2006.


Tell us about your dream shoot?

+ My dream shoot is with my Nikon [ that isn’t broken, after I get it back in a few weeks.. hopefully.. 😦 ] with my tripod – on top of a mountain at sunset, someplace here where we live with overgrown grass with my family… or just a general goofy group shoot of us and our entire farm life, still on the search for a pair of overalls that fit the girls!


Is there a type or style of photography that you haven’t tried yet but would like to venture into one day?

 I’m trying to do something new things this year, outdoor boudoir is one of them along with documentary sessions for kids. I truly hope this holiday season brings in more takers to the idea of me coming into their homes for the day in order for them to have memories to keep for lifetimes to come.

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What is top of your photography wish list?

 Eeep… to teach people about documentary work and how to do it for themselves and their families.


What’s in your camera bag?!

+ I own 2 small DSLR cameras –
Canon T3 // 10-18mm / 18-55mm / 50mm / 75-350mm
Nikon D5300 // 35mm / 18-55mm / 50mm / 80-200mm

What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow. (Photoshop? Lightroom? Actions, presets?)

 I’ve used Photoshop since I’ve started my editing journey but once I started dabbling into social media and it’s amazing set of groups, I realized there’s a lot of people that use Lightroom – so recently I’ve just tried using LR as well as PS to test out what I want to from now on!


How do you educate yourself to take better pictures and improve your own work?

 I watch a lot of videos and am not afraid to ask questions to anyone! No shame in trying to learn more.


Among your images, do you have a favorite? Why? (Please show us)

I have some other favorite images no doubt, but this is definitely one of the first images that comes to mind whenever I am asked of which is my favorite. This image is of my girls & I  during one of the biggest snow days of the year. Our deck may not show it wel,l but there was a total of 15” at our house left that same night! We are already looking forward to more snow days bundled up together in front of the fire place and outside play in the yard with mugs of hot cocoa.


Whose work has influenced you most? Who do you regularly stalk? (Please link us up!)

 Oh there’s so many! I wish I had a perfect answer for this question that included everyone easily.. I love artists that naturally support others as well as show perfect, genuine support for their families through their beautiful images.

People I regularly stalk would be:

Anita Cline – My Three Sons Images
Angie Manns – 2B Seen Photography
April Burns – April Burns Photography
Billie Leatham – Billie Mae Photography
Carrie Hall – Carrie Hall Photography
Cyndi Greenwalt – My Paper Hearts Photography
Danielle Navratil – Danielle Navratil Photography
Danielle Stevens – Danielle Stevens Photography
Erin Hensley – Erin Hensley, Photographer
Jessica Rasmussen – Jessica Max
Johanna Hood – Thirty7 Photography
Monica Hart – Monica Hart Photography
Twyla Jones – Twyla Jones Photography

and so many more.. it’s crazy!


What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started taking photos that you feel is invaluable now?

 Don’t spend time listening to others and their negative comments – I feel like this is an invaluable lesson because, without comments, negative or positive [ in my opinion ] there would be no remarkable growth. Whether it’s through the drive of wanting perfection and providing the so called amazing images or through wanting to prove to your own self that your boundaries can be broken – either way sometimes, a lot of time criticism is the fuel behind that unruly fire of creativity. And sometimes, I truly love that untamed drive.


Describe your style in 3words..

+ Fun, Colorful and Memorable.


Give us three random facts about yourself..

 Glass is my worst enemy, Lemors are my favorite and I hate Blueberries, well sometimes.. only if they’re perfect – but some how I love Blueberry flavoring… ?


Theme Winner | July 18th

Happy Monday to YOU! We have a winner for last weeks theme “water.”
Congrats to: Erin M Harrison Photography


Admins. Top picks in no particular order..

13641058_10210005257988468_4067393366129251140_oKelly Akers Photography

13724101_1239351749422804_953206925773059250_oBrandi Stafford

Rural Life Photography

Mel Karlberg Photography Workshops and Mentoring

Crystal Freemon Photography

This was an amazing week with some amazing imagery from you ALL! Congrats!
We are so excited to see what you share with us this week for our new theme:
{Room With A View}

Here are some examples from the Admins. to get you inspired..

Tammy Davis Photography

Nicola MacQueen Photography

Mountain Pearl Photography

Rene Hermosillo Photography

Live Life Inspired Photography

Vera Mendizábal Photography

Have fun with {A Room with A View}!

Theme Winners | July 11th

It’s Monday & we have a winner! As always Vicki Winston Photography wow’d us ALL with this captivating image:


Here are the Top 5 from the Admins. in no particular order. I also have to add that we had an incredibly hard time choosing just one for this theme!

Myra Sisco Photography

Sarah Keene Photography

Shannon Winzer Photography

Lisa R. Howeler Photography

Eve Tuft Photography

Amazing imagery from you all! Congrats!

Our new theme for the week is: {WATER}.
Here are some examples from the Admins. to get you going with some inspiration!

13613397_10154288530127008_6555568672538382855_oVera Mendizábal Photography

13566947_306500089694743_5799652942194553089_nNicola MacQueen Photography

13580585_10154372110373410_4264202501117618152_oMountain Pearl Photography

13346163_10208462010700990_2473262303623873032_oRene Hermosillo Photography

13662054_10208706053161899_8721387921652213892_oLive Life Inspired Photography

13613499_10207002277634769_8011890140093255763_oTammy Davis Photography


Have fun with the {WATER} theme and we can’t WAIT to see all the fun images you create!
xo- the team ❤





Theme Winner | June 27

It’s Monday & we have a winner from our theme {up close}!
Congrats to  Precious Moments by Mina Mimbu for such a touching image.


Again, we were absolutely  floored by all the goodness that came through our page last week! Here are the Admins. top picks in no particular order…

Shelby Leigh Photography

Roots and Twigs Photography

Aly Dawn Photography

Bobbie Bell Photography

Sylwia Stefaniak Photography

Congrats to all these were amazing!

Our new theme this week is {Candles}. Here is some inspiration from the Admins. to get you started!

13517376_10206871215918308_2134246981388942370_oTammy Davis Photography

13503020_10208556852991988_677785201760257383_oRene Hermosillo Photography

13439214_10154339962898410_3642941176314673525_nMountain Pearl Photography


13536040_10154368219979073_1731375499_nNicola MacQueen Photography

We are excited to see what YOU create! Be Inspired & have fun ❤

Theme Winner | June 20

It’s Monday & you know what that means..
new week, new theme & we have a winner from our theme last week {Lanscape}!
Congrats to: ‎susan jeske photography with her gorgeous image! Be sure to stop by her page & show her some love as well ❤13415636_878659595572153_1418056196572867814_o

& Admin top picks in no particular order are

LG Photography


Roots and Twigs Photography

Mari Sierra Photography

Honey Lime Photography

13475121_10209451148106230_7883544968288503110_oAlisha King Photography

Wow we had some fantastic shares this round. Nicely done everyone!
Let’s get started on those shares for the new theme {Up Close}

here are the admins examples…

Vera Mendizábal Photography

Mountain Pearl Media

13442574_10208541364924796_7158551065636003596_oRene Hermosillo Photography

Nicola MacQueen Photography

Tammy Davis Photography
13466250_10154342809989073_5200189510099734006_nLive Life Inspired Photography

Be Inspired & go create! Let’s see those { up close } shares!!
be sure to post up to 2 images per person
xo-the team

Theme Winner | June 13

Happy Monday everyone! Last weeks theme was {connection} & we just loved seeing everyone’s take on it! As always you made this week a tough one for us to choose!
With so much cuteness in one image the winner is : Woodsy Wonders Photography!


& Admin top six favorites in no particular order are..

13442542_1084054964966612_1037783325530313738_oCatchnkiss Photography

Hello Olivia Photography

Jennifer Wilhite Photography

13411685_1118957124794429_7736724057715508264_oAinsley Raye Photography

2B Seen Photography
Captured By Carrie Photography & Product Shop


Congrats ladies you all did amazing!
& our new theme for the week is: Landscape

Some admin inspiration for you..

13346163_10208462010700990_2473262303623873032_o (1)Rene Hermosillo Photography

Tammy Davis Photography

Cynthia Berning Photography

13418650_10154292696658410_5269413202966764008_oMountain Pearl Media

13406868_293228457688573_7377286098610041590_nNicola MacQueen Photography

13443241_10154223158907008_8115556218804928378_oVera Mendizábal Photography

Live Life Inspired Photography

Have fun with the theme {Landscape} & we can’t wait to see what YOU create ❤


Inspire YOU, Friday Feature ~ Andreea Burciu-Ballen

Happy Friday!! Today’s featured artist is the lovely Andreea Burciu-Ballen from Andreea B. Ballen Photography. Her work is just as soulful & unique as she! Enjoy her inspirational words!

1. Share with us a little about yourself and your journey into photography.

Like many of the photographers I love to follow, I am a self-taught. The fancy college I attended offered photography courses, but being a financial-aid & loans student, my parents thought it more prudent to pursue more ‘worthwhile’ courses (the classic ‘planting and sowing of the dream, deferred’). Also, like many photographers whom I follow, I did not pursue photography professionally until I became a mom.Which is not to say that I have just stumbled onto a love of photography in the last 8 years (when I became insanely obsessed with capturing every little beautiful moment of my beautiful littles’ life).

No, I have LOVED being behind the camera since one was put in my hands around the age of 16. I passionately love(d) seeing the world captured from my point of view –  which is influenced by the whimsical and by that which is magically-infused. I loved seeing those images developed on film and printed out in the pictures that I can hold and through which I can revisit my memories and those moments captured over and over again.

I also have loved the freedom I felt (and feel) by being behind the camera: the freedom to just ‘be’  and to disappear while still being present. I love the freedom to see and not necessarily be seen; the freedom to fleet and to wander through social functions (that I don’t feel I fit in, or might find uncomfortable) without seeming impolite, but rather to be seen ‘with purpose.’ I guess that’s the extroverted introvert in me.

But, it was only once I had my own children that I really displayed my photos to a wider audience. And that is when the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging to my pursuing this photography thing further. Co-workers who saw my photos asked if they could pay me to photograph events for them. And those events’ photos received positive recognition as well from their friends and family, and my friends and family. And that’s when I started toying with the idea that I could pursue photography professionally.

To bring it all to point, 3 years ago I started following photographers I found inspiring on Facebook, and I started reading what they had to say about how they achieved their images. One thing kept coming back, and that was: learn to take the camera out of automatic and into manual. And so I went and I took one 5 hour class to teach me how to do that so I could further improve my images. That’s it. And I’ve never looked back.

Phoenix in the Spring - New York natural light outdoor child portrait - Andreea B. Ballen photography, Brooklyn NY child & fam

2. What inspires you? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

On the first day of college in my political theory class, the professor posed the quintessential questions that the philosophers we would be studying had sought to answer: ‘What is Truth? What is Beauty? What is Essence?’ Those questions resonated with me deeply then, and I find that they have remained the guiding principles driving me not just in my work, but in my life. Add to those my seeking to find the Magic and the Ethereal around us, and you’ve got my Formula for Inspiration.

With me, it is always the capture of Beauty or of Essence or of Truth (or preferably, all three at once) that I seek and that I love most of all about being behind the camera, what makes me so excited to photograph, and what can take my own breath away when I later look at a photograph.

I am obsessed with the trapping in time of an irretrievable moment that I or others would want not just remembered but re-LIVED – the Essence and overwhelming Passion, Beauty, Truth of that moment; and I feel like I have accomplished my mission when I’ve managed the capture of that one look or expression that reveals to the very core the Beauty and the Essence of a person.

In photographing children, I’m inspired by that moment when you see the magic and wonder of our world through their eyes. In everything else, it’s capturing the love or connection or passion of a couple, of a family, of a field of wildflowers swaying in the breeze, of a sun setting and blazing up the sky.

Adelaide natural light fall child portrait, Brooklyn Bridge Park - Andreea B. Ballen Photography

3. What is it about photography that keeps you going? What brings you out of a photo funk?

Photography is the food, water and air for my soul. It feeds and fulfills my very overwhelming need to both create and to provide pleasure (to me and to those I am photographing, equally). You know when you get an image that gives you goosebumps of pleasure, or a kick in the gut, and you can’t stop looking at it? I live for capturing those images, and I feel accomplished and complete when I do. I have been and I have done MANY things in my life previously. I was a brand media strategist in advertising, among others, in the corporate world. Outside of the corporate world I did other things I thought would be great for me or would be my calling, including some aimed to providing pleasure for others: I was a high end caterer, a health coach, a Douala. But I never really felt FULFILLED.
With photography, I KNOW in my gut, in the very essence of my being, that this is what I’ve been put here on this earth to do.

When I get in a photo funk, I go back to previous sessions. I find images that I adore, and I figure out why I adore them, and let that be my inspiration. Or I go back and I rework images, and make them new again. Then I take my camera, and go shoot!


4. Is there a subject/style/technique that you haven’t tried yet that you would like to?

Free-lensing! I have seen beautiful work done with it and I am excited to try.1-Liam26-001

5. Are there any projects you are are currently working on or have planned coming up that you’d like to share with us?

I have been dying to do a 365 project but always shied away from the commitment. I think it’s time to start!Amelie - Holiday Child Portrait, Brooklyn McGolrick Park - New York natural light winter child portrait - Andreea B. Ballen Photography, New York child & family photographer

6. Can you tell us what is in your camera bag and what is your favorite “Go-to” lens?

I shoot with a very humble Cannon D50, and the 50mm 1.4 lens never leaves its body. But I am looking to replace it with a 35mm…..

Dona O New York/Long Island natural light child portrait - Andreea B. Ballen Photography, NYC child photographer

7. What is at the top of your wishlist?

Owning a Leica camera.

Meeting and doing a project with Rene Arleane Carlstrom, who is one of the most kick-ass women in photography currently, both for her beautiful work and for her supportive and inspiring way of just being her. And getting to one day work alongside others who have inspired in my journey through the years… or at the very least watch them work. There are so, so many, but Skye Hardwick is the first photographer I ever followed, and her magical work with children is an inspiration to me. Then  you have the likes of Candice Zugich ,Gabe McClintockJesh De Rox, whose breathtaking images of Connection leave me in awe. And then there are the likes of Amber Carbo Privizzini, whose fine art images are so (differently) passionate and are extremely inspirational even though they are so very different from my work. I would be over the moon to get to see them all in action!!!
Stella: New York City natural light child styled winter snow outdoor portrait photography McGolrick Park Greenpoint

8. Can you tell us how you find the balance in your daily life & the demands of the photography world?
I am still very much trying to find balance. I sometimes get to work mornings after I leave the kids to school, which is great, but I find that the reality is most often that I do the bulk of my work editing late at night, which isn’t the very best for my health. And photographing children and families means I work mostly weekends, and I feel guilty if I did not go with my own kiddos out and about exploring on a beautiful day.
Stella New York City & Long Island natural light child spring portrait McGolrick Park Brooklyn
9. What is your biggest challenge you have faced in your photography journey? How did you overcome it?

Honestly, my biggest challenge was simply saying, ‘I am a photographer.’ And believing it enough to pursue it professionally.

For the longest time, my husband worked alongside his friend, a very well known photographer in his field here in NYC. And though I’d asked to come along to the shoots, it never happened – and I let it get in the way of my pursuing a professional career. Even though at the time I had been asked (and been paid) to do some gigs (a baby shower, a one year old party celebration), I still felt like I needed a mentor, someone to show me the ropes, especially the business side.

But the reality is, I didn’t need anyone but myself. I just needed to pick up my camera, start photographing and building a portfolio, start learning to polish my images by post-producing them like the pros, and show my work to people who would want to hire me based on my work. In the meantime, all the  workings of owning a photography business I could easily find online via workshops, classes, tutorials, etc.

And that’s what I did. I allowed myself to believe the praise that I had received for my images, personal or for others, and let it be my drive to make my images even better. And I got to studying the business side, and I got to telling the world ‘I am a photographer.’

At the time I was staring out professionally, I was working as a Douala (birth coach), and I took the plunge and offered my photography services to my maternity clients. Though I did not previously have any of these kinds of images, I was able to show images of my own children, or others, and based on the quality of those images I garnered enough trust to get those paid maternity and newborn sessions. They were followed by children’s sessions, family sessions, couple sessions. And all I had needed was the courage and the voice. Now I wish I had had that courage to JUST START years ago. But it’s true what they say – it’s never too late to do and be what you were meant to. Just start!

Theo & Family New York/Long Island natural light child & family portrait, McGolrick Park NY - Andreea B. Ballen Photography

10. What is your most valued piece of advice for a new photographer? What is something you wish someone had told you when you first started your photography journey?

Just do it! Follow your vision, be true to yourself, but also never stop learning (from others always, but also by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone)!Also realize that being a professional photographer is more than just taking pretty pictures. It is also knowing how to retouch your images to fine-tune them into pieces of art. And it is registering your business, getting the legalities straight, and learning how to market, sell, and network to get the word out, to get the clients who value your art.

Adelaide natural light fall child portrait, Brooklyn Bridge Park - Andreea B. Ballen Photography

11. Can you share with us your “most” favorite image and tell us why it is?

Just like I cannot possibly pick my favorite movie, song or book – because my loves are so varied – I cannot pick my favorite (professional photo). Not of my gorgeous kids from whom I feel I’ve captured some of my greatest work, not of my gorgeous clients where I feel like I have captured some really stunning and shining moments. But recently my husband asked me, when did I know I had that ‘IT.’ When was the moment that I knew for sure that I should follow photography more than just a hobby. And this photo came back to me. It is a photo I captured with a regular point and shoot, and one that I took before I started following anyone else’s work. It is before I had my kids, before the positive the feedback for my (then not yet professional) work, etc. This image is from a series that I shot of my husband while we were still dating. It is inspired by the things that I adore: an absolute magic sunset; the light found in the shadows, and the shadows found in that captivating light; and of him, just as he likes to be, artistic yet shy, and kind of dark and mysterious. This picture is un-retouched, unpolished, and I like it that way. It says to me, ‘you’ve got it, kid.’ And that I’ll take.


12. Share with us something we wouldn’t know about you.

Hmmm. I feel like I’ve already shared all the dorky and long-winded parts of me here so far. But, OK. I’m in love with dualities. I’m a good girl to the bone, but I always find myself enamored with the slightly dangerous and dark and mischievous and naughty. I love nature and that’s where I always flee to find my peace and heart, but I can’t seem to be ripped from the big city.  I am a responsible adult, but find that looking at the world through the eyes of a child has so much more to offer the heart, creativity, and to overall life. Traveling renews me, and going to a great concert injects me with vital energy, but I’m also at a point in life where I equally need my sleep (which is I guess my way of saying, I’m getting old even if I don’t like to admit it). But most of all, I’m in love with my children, who are my light and my life and my reason for being greater than I have ever been. Including being a photographer.

Thank you Andreea for sharing with us.. “YOU” <3!
Meeting up with you would be so delightful!