Finch & Laurel
Finch and Laurel is a documentary photography and film-making service based in Jacksonville, Florida, that specializes in capturing real, honest, everyday moments for families of all shapes and sizes.
My documentary approach means that for the majority of the session, I do not pose or direct you; instead, I give you and your family the space to be yourselves, spend time together, go about your routines, and live. My approach to photography is perfect for those families that don't want to dress up, pose, or say "cheese"; you don't even have to leave your house or change out of your pajamas if you don't want to!
There is so much beauty in everyday life, and my goal as an artist is to capture it for you, so that you can be in the moment without having to worry about documenting the moment for you and your children. I do squeeze in time at the end of the session to build in a few photos of the whole family together, but the bulk of the session is unprompted and un-posed.
Does this sound like what you're looking for? If so, let's connect!
Hi, I'm Chelsea!
I'm the owner and artist behind Finch and Laurel. I was born in Minnesota and briefly lived in Rhode Island as a child, but I've been living in Jacksonville, Florida for the last 20+ years.
I have been photographing families since 2015. However, when my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 2017, things changed. While mourning his passing, I pulled out the old bins of 4x6 photos and VHS home videos at my mother's house, and looked at every single one. In doing so, I realized that the photos of my father that I found the most special and meaningful weren't the perfectly-posed photos of us together.
Instead, they were the photos that really showed my father's personality and the mundane routines we did together that meant the most to me-- things like taking the dogs for a walk or feeding the seagulls at the beach. They let me step back in the memory. I found that the home videos gave me that extra layer of connection with my dad that I missed-- hearing his voice and his laugh again, and seeing his mannerisms in motion.
I also noticed another big issue: my mother was hardly in those photos or videos at all, because she was the one behind the camera.
I decided to close down my first photography business and start fresh, under a new name that would be a monument to two things that will always remind me of my father, a Pennsylvania native: goldfinches and mountain laurel. I decided that in this business, I wanted to give you, my client families, the same gift that my mother gave to me: photos and videos that will feel like a warm hug to your kid(s) when you're not around, that will show how hard you work and how much you love them, and that will really paint a picture for them of what their younger years looked like and the environment they grew up in. But improving upon what the gift my mother gave to me, these photos and videos will have you in them, too.
When I'm not taking photos for Finch and Laurel, you can usually find me curled up on the couch with my orange fur baby, Oliver, and my husband, Dylan, while we watch Netflix, play a video game, or do a puzzle. Dylan and I got married in December of 2018, and we've been together since 2009, after we met in our 11th grade high school history class. We're a couple of homebody introverts and we love hanging out with our pets.
I'm a quieter type, patient and thoughtful, and a classic over-thinker. I love the color green, twinkle lights, houseplants, lightning bugs, dark chocolate, and home-improvement projects. I enjoy organizing but I hate cleaning. I love kids and thought about becoming an elementary school teacher, but I don't have any children of my own.
I have a deep love for the outdoors, and I'm at my happiest when I'm travelling. While my favorite landscape is the snow-capped mountains of some of the places we've hiked and visited, like New Zealand's South Island, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, or Jasper, Canada, when I'm home in Jacksonville, I love shark tooth hunting at Mickler's Beach or spending time walking around Hanna Park or my own neighborhood.
My clients are my friends, and I love hearing updates and milestones from their lives on Facebook and Instagram. I hope to get to know you and your family sometime soon!
While Chelsea has been capturing memories for families, I have been working at the University of North Florida as an Assistant Director for student support programs. My favorite things are trying new restaurants, Chelsea, and memorizing pointless trivia, not in that order.
Piper is our Australian Shepherd, and we promise you have never met a dog that loves attention as much as she does. When not sprawled out on her back waiting for a belly rub, Piper enjoys chasing Oliver, playing fetch (but without the part where she's supposed to bring it back...), and chasing Oliver. Her favorite treats are carrots and watermelon. Her worst fear is the vacuum cleaner.
Oliver is our rescue cat, who was found alone in a bush as a kitten in our old neighborhood. He's the best at cuddling, snuggling, and trying to eat your food when you're not looking. Oliver loves sleeping in laundry piles and making grumpy faces. His favorite special-occasion treats are coconut oil, avocado, and tuna.