Monica & JT

Monica & JT

“Chelsi and I have been best friends since childhood, and when she took photos for my husband's and my five year anniversary, she did an AMAZING job!  

Chelsi and I had talked about us getting in front of her lens for years, but when we'd come for visits we'd get to talking and reminiscing and forget about going out for a photo shoot.  But on this occasion, we finally got around to it and I was THRILLED with the results!

Chelsi is not only a great friend, but an amazing photographer and truly goes the extra mile to make her subjects feel comfortable and natural while taking amazing photos in awesome locations!  I love checking out Chelsi's photos and seeing what she's getting into next, how she's changing people's lives with her amazing work and capturing the special moments of their lives.”


Molly & Stefano

Molly & Stefano

“My husband and I hired Chelsi  to photograph our wedding ceremony in Fort Bragg. She was very accommodating and able to meet with us around our hectic schedule. 

Chelsi was on time, friendly and made me feel at ease about the process which was extremely helpful as I was nervous about the wedding. We received our photograph via an online photo album which we were able to share with friends and family. We are extremely satisfied with how our photos turned out! Thanks so much!”

Crystal & Dominic

Crystal & Dominic

“A huge huge huge shoutout to McFadden Studios these incredible photos. It was our first photo shoot together ever and she made us feel so comfortable, and really wanted to highlight who we were as a couple. She truly went above and beyond for us, following us down long muddy roads and hiking down to this waterfall with full equipment, after a storm, in flats! To give us what we wanted. We are ecstatic about the way these turned out and we are beyond grateful. We can’t wait for her to photograph our wedding!!”

Dear Firefighter Wife

Dear Firefighter Wife,

I see you struggling to get through the worst fire season ever, which by now you know, is every fire season. I hear you comforting your babies and telling them that daddy is safe and will come home soon. I know that you are sleeping alone in that great big bed that you usually share together. That pillow you are cuddling is no replacement for him. You are incredibly strong for knowing the craziness that comes with his career and choosing him anyway. Having been married 11 years to a man, who would do anything to protect life and property from fires, has taught me a few things that I wish I had known from the beginning:

Long hours and sleepless nights are no excuse for a bad attitude, you are both doing a hard job. Do your best to understand each other and lift one another up with support. Even though you are exhausted and some days you wish he would choose a different career, you know that he was born for what he is doing, it makes him happy, and that is good enough for you. 

Your life can’t stop because he is away on duty. Spend time with the people you care about and will be there when you need them. Go alone if you must. Drag the kids along with you. Don’t miss that movie that you want to see in the movie theater. Just because he’s on duty, it doesn’t mean that your life is over.

Things will go sideways, learn to pray, ask for help, and TRUST. HIS. TRAINING!

Find a salty old fire wife to talk to. You have no idea what's in store, and she's going to help you navigate the road ahead. (SPOILER ALERT: I am the salty old fire wife)

It's okay to go to counseling, it doesn't mean your marriage is over. You HAVE to talk to each other, and sometimes a mediator is necessary so that you can be raw and real.

There is no handbook and even if there was I would advise you to burn it. Everything is changing all that time and loving a person means that you have to go with the flow.

Your kids are going to be okay. They will admire him for his bravery and good work he is doing. They will miss him, however the pride that they feel will help them get through the loneliness. 

He wants to know how you feel so that he can be a better person for you. If you push down all your feelings to save his, he can’t help. Let him in. HE LOVES YOU even when he is away. He misses you just as much as you miss him.

And finally, celebrate every year that your marriage transcends the rigors of his job because you are both working hard to keep this marriage alive. 

Yours Truly,

A Salty Old Californian Fire Wife 

a letter to firefighter wives

California firefighter wife

Chelsi has been navigating the rigors of being a firefighter’s wife for over 11 years. She is available for interviews, guest writing and speaking events. If you are interested in booking her for your Fire Service related event or program, please send her a message here.

Chelsi is also a wedding photographer based in Mendocino, California but travels nationwide. She lives for chasing beauty in the world, capturing authentic love, and encouraging people to be their true selves. Her style is authentic, real, and emotional. She believes in dancing as if no one is watching, laughing even at the dumbest jokes, and capturing real life, give me all the feels, emotional photographs of your most precious moments.