Shalonda Chaddock of Chubby Cheek Photography, Unraveled | An Interview

Shalonda is the face and camera behind chubby cheek photography. She is a nationally published child and family photographer, based out of Houston Texas, where she is drowning in a combination of glitter and the roller coaster of tween girl hormones. Her shooting style focuses on belly laughs and big movement with some magic sprinkled in. She allows REAL life to inspire her and shape her journey as a photographer, always recognizing that the little moments do mean the most, even when it means tripping over a stinky converse before she has had her coffee.

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Here is Shalonda, Unraveled…

What inspires your art?

The way kids see the world!  I always say that kids see the world in the most magical way because to them sugar is sweeter, colors are brighter and wearing a tiara really doesn't make you a princess...but at some point, we lose that!  At some point we put on this "adult filter" and stop seeing the magic in everyday moments. Reminding myself to see the world in that same magical way that kids so has been the driving force in my work and my photography  journey for the last 13 years.

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens?

Canon 5d mk iv
Canon 5d mkiii
Canon 85L for this type of session

What other ways do you express your creativity?

Photography is the perfect way to express the rainbows and butterflies side of my personality but let's be honest life isn't always rainbows and butterflies!  Plus being creative means you don't just walk through life but that you FEEL life, so when the weight of feeling my way through the world gets to be too much I write.

How do you de-stress at the end of the day?

Hahahahaha, is this a trick question?  "Destress"? I live my life in one big giant ball of stress and worry, but that comes with the territory of being a mother.  Just as my own girls are a catalyst for my constant worry they are also my release! It has always been hard for me to leave my girls for anything so I learned very early on that taking them with me on adventures makes the adventure that much sweeter!  So we do a lot of vacationing and adventuring with our girls in tow and just having them by my side washes away the stress of life.

What kind of music do you listen to while editing?

Would you laugh at me if i said I am an equal opportunity music lover?  There is really not a type of music I don't love! Some days it's good old Texas country and others its old school rap (Tupac anyone?)!  I grew up in the 90's but would argue 80's hairband music is just as good!

What is your favorite book?

Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr Suess or really any and all children's books!  If you have ever heard me speak then you would know that children's books are legit my pick me up when i am feeling down or in a rut!  Seriously though, the underlying messages in children's books will seriously blow your mind!

Name one movie that inspires you.

The Greatest Showman is one of my favs since becoming a photographer.  I love a god chase your dreams and "work hard" storyline and this one takes the cake!  The visual eye candy and explosion of imagination weaved throughout the imagery certainly sends the movie over the top!

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps?

I step away!  I put my camera down and I step away!  I pick up a totally different medium and I try something new.  These two steps have provided very pivotal point in my photography career such as my discovery of my love for underwater photography and my every day project waaaaay back in 2011.

What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey?

Finding balance.  I see potential and I want to make things happen but sometimes the timing just isn't right to reach that potential.  Constantly trying to find the balance between being a stay at home mom and running my own business will always sit on my shoulders but my girls are getting older and now they want to be a part of my business so that has certainly been a blessing.

Who is one of your favorite photographers?

If I'm honest I don't really like to answer this question because I am not one to follow famous photographers or really even know who they are since I never intended to be an actual photographer myself.  Id say my favorite photographer are the ones I have met over the years, they ones I see investing in themselves and chasing their dreams! The ones taking the risk and capturing magic for strangers! I will say my favorite "creative" is Walt Disney!  Goodness gracious he is the original magic maker and dream chaser and I'll always be inspired by his life.

Sarah DriscollComment