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  • Kelsey & Will's Engagement Session | Jacksonville Engagement Photographer

    Jacksonville Engagement Photographer:

    Vilano Beach, St. Augustine, Florida

    I've known Kelsey since elementary school and the Girl Scouts days, so I couldn't wait to photograph her engagement session with her fiance, Will. Will's family has a cottage at Vilano Beach in St. Augustine, Florida, and it made for an incredible home base as we did their photos on and off the beach. Kelsey and Will brought their baby girl, Buttercup, along to their photo session, which made for some seriously ADORABLE portraits. I love when my engaged couples bring their pets along to their photo sessions! It adds such a personal touch. 

    Congratulations, Kelsey and Will! Coming soon on the blog: their wedding photos!

    Are you engaged and thinking about doing an engagement session? I would love to work with you! Please head on over to my Contact page so we can start planning your engagement photography session

  • Harper Quinn's Newborn Session | Jacksonville Newborn Photographer

    Jacksonville Newborn Photographer

    Harper Quinn caused a little stir when she came into the world as an emergency C-section, but she arrived a sweet, healthy newborn, weighing 7 pounds and measuring 19 inches tall. I had already photographed Harper's loving parents for their maternity session at the Beaches Town Center in Atlantic Beach, Florida, and couldn't veil my excitement when I arrived at their Jacksonville home to meet little Harper for the first time. This is what my photography business is all about: I love being there and capturing each and every major life moment! :)

    Harper was a tad fussy and grumpy at the start of her session, but after Mom put her into a milk coma, she was all good for the rest of the photoshoot. 

    We got lucky with some beautiful Florida weather - no rain, and warm enough to take Harper outside for some sweet pictures.

    I love bringing fresh flowers, homey afghans, homemade headbands, and newborn wraps that are hand-dyed by me to my newborn sessions. They make each session extra-special.

    Harper liked to frequently sport newborn grumpy-face during her session, and she had the biggest, squishiest cheeks! 

    Mom and Dad wanted a picture of Harper incorporating their wedding veil and tie. I love bringing emotional elements like this into a newborn photography session; it's such a special way of preserving memories.

    Would you like photos like this of your newborn? I would love to work with you! Please head on over to my Contact page so we can start planning your newborn photography session

  • The Schommer Family | Jacksonville Family Photographer

    Jacksonville Family Photographer

    Meet the Schommer family from North Dakota (now residing in Jacksonville, Florida)!  

    Eric and Kathy Schommer are parents to the cutest twins on the planet: Lucy (longer hair) and June (shorter hair). These two girls were two little balls of sweetness, and their parents were willing to do everything to get them to crack a smile! They win parent of the year awards for carting around stuffed animals, cymbals, quilts from grandma, and even a bubble machine to keep their two girls happy. We headed out to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park in Jacksonville, Florida on a beautiful, blue-skied, sunshiny day to do their family photography session. 

    As you can see, the girls were pretty cautious at first (making for a picture worthy of an indie album cover).

    But they were full of giggles when they were in mom and dad's arms. 

    The girls are huge fans of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so playing the show's theme song got them grooving along to the music with big smiles.

    The girls weren't the biggest fans of their headbands, so they didn't stay on for long!

    Introducing Lucy, the future model:

    And June, the future rapper:

    To me, capturing moments like these is so important. When I'm doing family photography sessions, I'm always cognizant of what the kids/babies in my pictures will think of them when they grow up. I think they'll cherish this one: two sisters, having a deep chat about life by the lake.

    Again, parent of the year award, guys.

    Would you like photos like this of your family? I would love to work with you! Please head on over to my Contact page so we can start planning your family photography session

  • What Should I Keep in Mind When Planning Wedding Photography? | Jacksonville Wedding Photographer

    Jacksonville Wedding Photographer

    You’re in a loving union, and I am so ecstatic for you that you’ve found the person who you want to spend the rest of your life with! I love love, and I look forward to being the one to capture it in its truest form on your wedding day.

    Whether you are in the earliest stages of wedding planning, or you are coming up on a week before your big day, I would like to give you a little help from a photographer’s perspective on things to keep in mind in the lead-up to your wedding day.


    I like your wedding photography, and I’m thinking about having you capture my wedding day. Now what?

    I’m so glad to hear that you are interested in me being your wedding photographer! The first thing we need to do before we can scratch “book a wedding photographer” off of your list of things to do is to set up a date to meet and talk about your wedding. If you’re local to Jacksonville, Florida, I love meeting brides-to-be in person (and it’s extra beneficial if we can meet at your wedding venue!) However, if you live out of town, phone calls, emails, and video chats work just as well-- I’m flexible! 

    During this meeting, I like to get to know you and your significant other. I don’t want to be a stranger following you around at your wedding, so I’ll be looking to learn the story of how you became a couple, what your hopes are for the wedding day, and all of the little things that make you tick. The better I know you, the more I can personalize your photos to you as a couple. This is also a great time for me to answer any questions and concerns you may have about wedding photography; I’m an open book, and I want you to feel comfortable in your choice of wedding photographer. This is not a sales session, and you won’t be signing anything! I give a copy of your wedding contract during the meeting that you can read over and ask questions about, and if you choose to book, I send you an electronic version of that same contract to sign off on. After that, you’ll just need to pay a 30% deposit on the total cost of the wedding package you chose, and then you’ll have your wedding photographer booked and good to go!

    Alright! The contract is signed and my fiance and I have booked you as our wedding photographer. Is that it?

    Almost! There are two other documents that I will be sending your way: one is a questionairre, and the other is a shot list. The questionairre allows me to get any major questions answered that may have popped up since our meeting; a big one is learning the names of VIPs who will be attending your wedding that you will definitely want lots of photos of, such as your parents or grandparents. The shot list serves a similar purpose. It’s a checklist of key shots that you would like me to make sure that I get, where you can add any special requests you may like. Now, I love couples who decide to forego a shot list and ask me to be creative in their wedding coverage, but if you want more control or have special requests for photo coverage, this shot list is a great place to let me know.

    On top of that, I love to attend wedding rehearsals if I’m free! Just let me know the date and time as soon as you can, and I’ll make every effort to be there. I love attending the wedding rehearsal so I can meet and become familiar with your family, and make sure that everyone knows where the photographer will be positioned during the ceremony.

    What kind of timeline should I set aside for wedding photography?

    This is a great question! I know that you don’t want your whole day to be devoted to wedding photography, and I want you to be as in the moment as possible. However, if you want formal, posed portraits, the more time you can give me, the better and more varied your photos will be.

    If you want formal photos of you and your new husband or wife with your wedding party and family, then I recommend that you set aside about an hour for these photos, depending on the number of different groupings you may want. I like to start with the biggest group first, and then work my way down, getting grandparents and young children done first. This way, I’m not having grandma and grandpa stand around waiting for too long! These photos are typically done after the wedding ceremony ends, prior to the start of the reception.  

    If you want formal photos of you individually with family and the wedding party prior to the ceremony, then make sure to factor in about 30 minutes for these, too! For example, if the bride wants photos with her mother, grandmother, siblings, bridesmaids, etc, I will typically cover these over the course of a half hour, while my second shooter does the same for the groom with his family and groomsmen at the same time.    

    Last but not least, for posed photos of you with your new husband or wife, I recommend setting aside another hour. These photos are the ones that will be blown up big and mounted on the walls of your home, so make sure that you set aside some time to make sure we get them right! Now, when you do those photos depends on your answer to the following question:

    Should I do a first look?

    Maybe! This is a topic that you should talk over with your fiance. Some couples want the first time that they see each other to be when walking down the aisle, and others want an intimate moment with their fiance prior to the wedding. I love and can work with both. Either way, just remember the golden rule above: set aside about an hour for portraits of just the two of you! This could be during your first look prior to the wedding ceremony, in between the ceremony and reception, or during the reception by sneaking away from the party for a little bit.

    Is there anything else that I should consider from a wedding photography perspective prior to my wedding day?

    I have some suggestions!

    • If you would like pretty photos of your wedding dress, I recommend that you make sure you get a nice hanger for your dress. I usually keep a wooden hanger for wedding gowns in the trunk of my car, just in case, but personalized hangers are always a nice touch for those gown pictures!

    • For bridesmaid and bride getting ready photos, there’s currently a trend of getting matching robes to get ready in. I love this! It makes your photos of getting ready look so cohesive and pretty, and it makes for a great keepsake for your bridesmaids.

    • For photos of your reception venue, myself or my second wedding photographer will need about 15 minutes in the venue, after it’s been set up but prior to the guests flocking in. This can be tricky, but if you can arrange this with your venue, you’ll be guaranteed pristine photos of your reception venue prior to your guests flocking in and putting their purses and things in front of your picture-perfect centerpieces.

    • Keep an eye on that veil! Veils are beautiful, and they can make for some gorgeous photo opportunities. However, please be aware of how your veil will affect your side profile during the ceremony. I will be there to capture images of your vows and first kiss, but if your face is blocked by your veil from the side, I will be limited in my ability to capture your emotions during these key moments of your ceremony.  

    • Please let me know well in advance about any requirements from your wedding venue! If your venue has limitations on flash during the ceremony, for example, or if they require proof of insurance from your vendors, I will need to know about this so I can plan accordingly.

    • Do your best to ignore me during your wedding day, unless we’re doing formal portraits! I’ll be clicking away as your own personal paparazzo all day, but I want to make sure to capture you in the moment, with genuine expressions. That said, please don’t feel like you need to cheese every time my camera is pointed in your direction. Just enjoy your day!

     

    Do you have any questions about anything in this blog post, or would you like to get in touch to talk more about your upcoming wedding? Please feel free to contact me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com, or by heading on over to my Contact section. I would love to hear from you! 

  • Best Places for a Portrait Photoshoot in Jacksonville, Florida | Jacksonville Photographer

    Jacksonville Portrait Photographer

    Have you decided that you want to book a photo session in Jacksonville, Florida or the surrounding areas, but you have no idea where the best locations are to take those photos? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! Whether you want romantic, dreamy beach photos, rustic photos in a woodsy setting, or anything in between, I am full of suggestions.

    For portrait photography rates, make sure to pay a visit to my Portrait Photography Pricing & Info page!

    • Your Own Home/ Neighborhood/Favorite Spot

    Yes, there are beautiful places in and around Jacksonville, Florida, for photos, but choosing a location that is important and unique to you will make your photos even more valuable in the years to come. If your home or neighborhood is a place that is special to you, why not preserve it in your photographs? Many families worry when I suggest this, because they don’t think that their home is photogenic enough, but every home has spots that are perfect for photos, and remember-- the focus is going to be you, not the dust bunnies under your couch. Engagement photos cooking with or drinking coffee with your significant other in your kitchen, family photos of your kids playing in your living room, maternity photos in your future baby’s nursery, and/or pet photos going on a walk through your neighborhood are so important to help to preserve your memories not just of how you looked at a given time, but how you interacted with the environment where you lived. I also love sessions in a favorite coffee shop, restaurant, bookstore, etc, so if you have a location in mind, just let me know, and I will do my best to work something out with the owner of the location so we can do your pictures there.

     

    • Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park | Mayport, Florida

    Hanna Park is a gorgeous mix of green, grassy fields, wooded areas, a lake, playgrounds, and beaches, so if you’re looking for a versatile outdoor location, this one is for you. This location is dog-friendly (as long as they are leashed), and there is access to bathrooms for changing and breaks. It’s $5 per car for admission, but this small fee is well worth it. For portrait photography sessions on the beach at Hanna Park, I would typically recommend a sunset session, but for any of the other spots here, any time of day is a-okay as far as lighting goes.

     

    • Big Talbot Island State Park | Jacksonville, Florida

    Big Talbot Island is such a unique location in Jacksonville, offering a beach filled with driftwood trees bordering steep sand dunes and a forest. For those who aren’t a fan of creepy crawlies, be aware that the forest paths are pretty similar to the area where the spiders lived in the Forbidden Forest from Harry Potter; there are lots of spider “friends” overhead in the trees. Additionally, bug spray becomes a necessity the closer it gets to sunset on this beach. However wild the location is, it is gorgeous for portrait sessions.

    • Alpine Groves Park | Fruit Cove, Florida

    Alpine Groves Park overlooks the St. John’s River, and is full of photogenic, rustic buildings and oak trees with sweeping strands of Spanish moss. This park is perfect for photos at any time of day, since the trees at this location offer plenty of shade for nice, even light in your portraits. There is an old, white farmhouse with a spacious front porch for portraits, a pretty dock on the river, and miscellaneous other farm buildings on the property that are open for the public to explore. The park is free, allows leashed dogs, and has restrooms, picnic tables, and a children’s play area with slides and swings. The location is wonderful for family, childrens’, maternity or engagement photography sessions, and much more.

     

    • Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens | Jacksonville, Florida

    The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is an unexpected but fantastic location for portraits! This spot may get pricey for large family portraits due to admission costs, but I would recommend it for engagement, children’s, and small family portraits. There is a bamboo forest, a Japanese-style zen garden, and a scenic dock on the river for more intimate pictures away from the crowds, and you have the opportunity for unique photos feeding the giraffes, riding the carousel, holding the lorikeets, hanging out in the butterfly house, etc. At the time of writing this blog, admission to the zoo is $17.95 for adults, and $12.95 for children between the ages of 3 and 12; children under 3 can get in free.

    • San Marco area | Jacksonville, Florida

    The San Marco area, particularly around San Marco square, can be a fun location for urban portraits. The location offers older brick buildings, cafes, and an old, art deco style theatre built in 1938. This location is best for those who are okay with a bit of a walk and a photo adventure. 

    • Treaty Oak Park | Downtown Jacksonville, Florida

    Treaty Oak Park features a massive, stately old oak that has been around for about 250 years, seated in the middle of a large, grassy field.  Sunset photos at this park are truly magical, with the sunlight streaming through the branches of the tree and offering gorgeous lighting for portraits. Parking at this location can be tricky, but the park is close to views of the St. John’s River, and is within walking distance from the Friendship Fountain for additional variety in your portraits.

     

    • St. Augustine Historic District | St. Augustine, Florida

    Gah! St. Augustine’s Historic District is just all-around gorgeous. If you’re in for a wander around the city, every side street offers photogenic locations for portrait sessions. St. George Street’s cobblestones and variety of shops make for a setting that is full of character; Flagler College and the exterior of the historic Memorial Presbyterian Church (built in 1889!) are also beautiful spots to take portraits. On top of that, St. Augustine features the Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish fort along the Matanzas River-- the fort is surrounded by grassy fields and a riverside walking area bordering a street where horses and buggies are often parked. This location, like photos in the San Marco area, is best suited to those who are okay with a bit of a wander around the area to find the perfect spots for photos. It has so much to offer in terms of portrait opportunities.

    • Camp Milton Historic Preserve in the town of Baldwin | Jacksonville, Florida

    Are you looking for photos in fields of tall grass, or on a tree-shaded road? Camp Milton is the perfect spot for these kinds of rustic portraits. The area is more isolated, but is accessible through the Baldwin Rail Trail, an old railroad that was turned into a beautiful, rural bike path. Feel free to bring your bikes along for portraits of you bicyling the trail! There are restrooms along the trail, and Camp Milton has a few historic buildings scattered throughout the property, as well. 

    • Atlantic Beach/Neptune Beach and the Beaches Town Center | Atlantic Beach, Florida

    Jacksonville Beach is often overcrowded, so if you’re looking for a beach portrait photography session, I recommend Atlantic Beach or Neptune Beach, instead. Atlantic Beach allows leashed dogs at all times of day, if you’re planning a session that integrates your best buddy. I love to park along 11th Street in Atlantic Beach, because this patch of beach is close to a small pier that is beautiful for photos, and there are outdoor showers in this area to wash your feet after the shoot. When planning a photo session at the beach, light and tide are the biggest considerations; low tide and sunset are the best conditions for your portrait session, so we will need to plan accordingly. This patch of the beach is also very close to the Beaches Town Center in Atlantic Beach, which makes for a very scenic location for photos that have more of an urban feel.

    • Washington Oaks Gardens State Park | Palm Coast, Florida

    Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a little more of a roadtrip, located about an hour out from Jacksonville, near Marineland. This location boasts 20 acres of formal gardens, and roughly 400 acres of oak trees, spanish moss, and beautiful, rocky beaches. This beach is one of the closest rocky beaches to Jacksonville, making it stand out from the rest. Admission to the park is $5 per vehicle, and dogs are permitted in specified areas of the park.

    • Cumberland Island | Camden County, Georgia

    For those who are feeling more adventurous, Cumberland Island is a whimsical, wild spot for gorgeous portrait photography. Accessible only by ferry at certain times of the day, the island is very isolated and beautiful for engagement photography. The island has a resident wild horse population, beautiful beaches, as well as Dungeness, the ruins of a mansion on the island. (If you’re up for an overnight stay after your shoot, the island does also offer camping.) 

    • Jekyll Island | Golden Isles of Georgia

    Jekyll Island is a sweet little Georgia island with a quaint downtown area, beautiful beaches, and a gorgeous property called the Jekyll Island Club hotel. This is another beautiful location for a portrait session adventure, or we can jump straight to the Jekyll Island Club property, featuring manicured gardens and a beautiful, grassy lawn, and do a full portrait session there. 

    • Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach/Fort Clinch State Park | Nassau County, Florida

    Another island experience, this sleepy beach town is full of character, antique shops, and cafes. Portrait sessions in this location can be a mix of urban, park, and beach photography; all of these locations are within walking distance in the historic district of Fernandina. Fort Clinch State Park is also a gorgeous spot for photos. Located in Fernandina, Fort Clinch offers so many intimate spots for portraits with beautiful light and gorgeous archways, as well as a view of the ocean. The park charges $6 admission per vehicle.   

    • Walt Disney World | Orlando, Florida

    Need I say more? Okay, so this location may not be directly around Jacksonville, Florida, but come on-- a portrait session at Walt Disney World? This photo session would be an extra-special opportunity for documenting your children’s first time visiting Disney, or for engagement or senior portrait photography. I can follow you around and document your day -- your ride to the park on the ferry, your time spent on each ride (the Mad Tea Party ride is particularly fun for portraits), your wanders down Magic Kingdom’s picturesque Main Street, and your joy as you watch the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular and fireworks display at the end of the night. Contact me for rates.

    Do you have any questions about anything in this blog post, or would you like to get in touch to talk more about booking a photo session in any of these locations? Please feel free to contact me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com, or by heading on over to my Contact section. I would love to hear from you! 

  • Why is Professional Photography “So Expensive”? | Jacksonville Photographer

    Jacksonville Photographer

    I get it. We all have bills and expenses, and we live in an age where we spend an enormous amount of time doing things like reading reviews and comparison shopping to make sure that we get our money’s worth. I’m no different. For example, I’ll spend hours on Amazon deliberating over the different vacuum cleaner options available to me before I’ll take the leap and actually purchase one. I need to make sure that what I purchase has value, even if it’s something as mundane as a vacuum cleaner.

    That’s why when I was younger, before I had even picked up a camera, I balked when I saw a professional photographer charging $800 for an on-location photo session. I thought, “but they’re only there taking pictures for an hour!”

    Now I know better. There is so much more that goes into professional photography than the hour that the photographer is at the shoot. However, because so much of this work happens behind the scenes, people still question the prices of professional photography.

    Hopefully, if you have ever found yourself asking this question, this blog will help you to understand the reason that professional photographers charge what they do.


    The Costs of Professional Photography

     

    Taxes

    Let’s start with taxes. This was the biggest surprise to me when I started to run my own business. You know those prices that you see when you look on a photographer’s website? Take about 30% away for taxes.

    For example, if a photographer is charging $2000 for a wedding package, $600 of that goes straight to Uncle Sam. So really, after taxes in this example, the photographer is actually walking away with $1400 to cover your wedding, with additional expenses taken out after that.

    Wages for the Photographer’s Assistants/Second Shooters

    Many photographers will have an assistant to help out during their portrait sessions. This assistant is particularly important when dealing with babies and dogs; they end up being the attention-getter, as well as the person who handles holding and dealing with lighting and camera equipment during the shoot. Consider a wage anywhere in the range of $8 to $20 an hour for this assistant, and that will also be subtracted from the photographer’s earnings.

    In addition, during a wedding, often a photographer will have a second shooter and even a third shooter or assistant present to get other angles and additional coverage of your wedding day. This also comes out of the photographer’s earnings for the day.

    Photography Equipment

    Oh boy, professional photographic equipment is not cheap. This includes cameras (at least two, so the photographer has backups in case something goes wrong with one), lenses, a computer, photo editing software, flashes or strobes, light stands, tripods, memory cards, external hard drives, camera batteries, and the list goes on and on. Considering that a professional camera typically costs at least $1500, and lenses on average also cost at least $1000 per lens, a professional photographer will typically need anywhere from $5000 to $15000 worth of equipment in order to run their business, and will need to update some of this equipment about every three to four years as new technology is released.

    Photography Props

    While not all sessions require props, and not all photographers will use them, they are part of a photographer’s expenses, as well. Newborn photography is particularly prop-heavy. Those baskets, blankets, wraps, headbands, and miscellaneous other props all come at a cost.

    Communication and Pre-Planning Time

    Professional photographers will typically spend about 3-5 hours, total, communicating with their clients and planning out their sessions.

    Shooting Time

    This is the most obvious thing you’re paying for when hiring a professional photographer, but it’s still worth considering. When you’re paying for a photographer’s time spent at a photo session, you’re paying for years of experience and time spent honing the craft. Many jobs outside of the creative field pay for on-the-job training for individuals to build their skills and become good at what they do; photographers will typically pay for this training out of pocket, or will put the time in to learn outside of paid sessions.

    Culling Time

    After your session, a photographer will need to weed through all of the images that they took during your photoshoot, to pull out the best of the best to give to you, their client. For a 1-hour session, a photographer will usually have at least 100 images to weed through, to pick out the photos that capture the absolute best moments and expressions from your session. For a wedding, the number of images that a photographer will be wading through will number in the thousands.

    Editing Time

    Editing time is typically the biggest shock for people when they learn more about what goes into professional photography. Depending on their work flow, a photographer will usually spend around 30 minutes on every single image that will become a final product. This time includes fine-tuning the color and brightness of your images, cleaning up skin, stray hair, and cluttered backgrounds, putting their own stylistic touch on the images, and then saving the images in multiple file formats, backing these files up to multiple data storage spaces, and finally uploading the images to a gallery or to a professional print service to order your prints. For 20 photos, this may be another 10-12 hours spent on your images; for a wedding with 600 images, you can see how the time adds up to days and weeks of editing.

    Add in business insurance and expenses such as maintaining a website and perhaps paying for a studio, coupled with living expenses, and hopefully you can start to see why a professional photographer who makes their living off of their art prices their work the way they do.

    Final Thoughts

    Yes, professional photography is an investment. However, considering that these are your irreplaceable memories that are being recorded permanently for generations to look back on, professional photography is worth that investment. After all, what is the first thing that you would grab in the case of a fire or disaster? Outside of your family and pets, chances are, it would be your photos.

     

    Do you have any questions about anything in this blog post, or would you like to get in touch to book a session? Please feel free to contact me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com, or by heading on over to my contact section. I would love to hear from you!

  • What Should I Expect During My Newborn Photography Session? | Jacksonville Newborn Photographer

    Jacksonville Newborn Photographer

    Congratulations on your soon-to-be bundle of joy! You are about to embark on a beautiful journey of firsts - first sneeze, first smile, first word, first time walking, first day of school.  

    If this is your first time hiring a newborn photographer, you may be curious about how your session will run. The details of how your session will work will depend on whether you choose my lifestyle or posed newborn photography package. (You can check out my lifestyle and posed newborn photography packages by clicking here.) However, for any newborn photography session, make sure to book the session well in advance-- as soon as you know your due date, we can start planning. This ensures that I have you on my calendar well in advance, so I can block out time in the weeks around your due date to make sure I am available when your little one gets here. Then, once baby gets here, you can shoot me a quick message or text to get an absolute date and time nailed down your your upcoming newborn photography session. :)

     

    LIFESTYLE NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY INFO | Jacksonville Newborn Photographer

     

    Lifestyle newborn photography is for those who prefer more organic, candid photo sessions filled with emotion and realism. Highlights of a lifestyle newborn session may be photos of baby in his or her nursery, photos of the happy family hanging out in the bedroom or living room, feeding or bathing baby, and giving baby lots of smooches and smiles. These photos are all about capturing you and your newborn in your home environment, leaving you with memories to treasure of the first few weeks of baby’s life, as well as your time spent in your family home.  

    When preparing for your lifestyle newborn photography session, I have a few pointers to keep things running smoothly:

    • Unlike with my posed newborn photography sessions, lifestyle sessions can happen within the first month or so after baby is born. However, if you want baby to be teeny tiny and “fresh” in pictures, I recommend we do your photos within the first week after baby is born.

    • Don’t worry about the mess! One of the biggest concerns I hear from parents is that their home isn’t fit for a lifestyle photo session. I don’t expect it to be pristine-- you just had a baby, after all! The beauty of hiring a professional photographer is that I come equipped with lenses that allow me to blur out backgrounds and keep the focus on your sweet baby. As long as you have a window, I can make beautiful photos.

    • Speaking of windows, if you can, open all of the blinds and curtains in your house before I get there for your session. This way, as soon as I get there, I can do a quick walk-through to see which rooms have the best light, and which may require that I use additional lighting equipment. If you know that your house gets more window light in the main living areas at a certain time of day, then we can try and book your session in that time frame to allow for the most natural light.

    • Concerned about baby being fussy? Don’t be! Patience is a major job requirement for newborn photographers, and I have heaps of it. Plus, if baby is extra fussy throughout your whole session, we can always reschedule. My number one concern is making sure you are completely happy with your pictures!   

    POSED NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY INFO | Jacksonville Newborn Photographer

     

     

    Posed newborn photography is a great choice if you want artistic, whimsical photos of your baby that incorporate props and posing. When you choose a posed newborn session with me, I get my brainstorming on and gather or create customized props, headbands, wraps, flower arrangements, baskets, blankets, etc. that will make your posed newborn session extra special. If you have a favorite color or theme that you want incorporated, I’m all ears! I’m also glad to incorporate posed family photos of you and baby, or of baby with siblings-- just make sure to give me a heads up when booking your session so I can plan accordingly.

    • For posed newborn sessions, it’s extemely important that we do the session within the first week after birth, if at all possible. Newborn babies are at their sleepiest and most flexible when they’re between 3-7 days old, which will be a big help when getting them into those sweet, cuddly poses we all love so much. There are some poses that I can’t put baby in unless he or she is asleep, so the tinier and sleepier baby is, the better. However, if you’ve missed the golden first week mark, that’s okay! We can still do a posed newborn session; we just may have to nix a few of the trickier poses.

    • Nude, posed newborn sessions are growing in popularity. Let me know your stance on this up front! If you would like your newborn in the buff, just make sure that you keep baby’s diaper and clothes a smidge looser prior to the session, to prevent elastic marks on baby’s body. Also, make sure your baby’s skin is moisturized.

    • For posed newborn sessions, I will typically bring a space heater or heating pad so that your newborn is kept nice and cozy. I also bring along a speaker to play white noise to soothe baby during the session.

    • Another piece of equipment that I bring to my posed newborn sessions is a posing cot with a background stand. This setup takes up about 4 ft x 2 ft of space, and will typically go in a spot in your house with indirect window light. 

    • If your baby’s skin is blotchy or yellowish/reddish in tone, that is a-okay. I will always edit and color correct all finished images, unless you request me to do otherwise.

    • During the session, feel free to take a nap, hang out, and enjoy some time to yourself! I will let you know if baby needs anything, but you’re more than welcome to take a well-earned break while I’m doing the session.

    Newborn sessions are some of my absolute favorites to do; they’re so homey, and I love seeing the joy and wonder that new parents have for these new little people in their lives. Speaking of which, parents, please jump in for a photo or two! I know that being in front of the camera is often the last thing a new mom, in particular, wants to do, but when your little one grows up, they will be blind to your imperfections. In photos, all they will see is your love.

    Do you have any questions about anything in this blog post, or would you like to get in touch with me to book a session? Please feel free to contact me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com, or by heading on over to my Contact section. I would love to hear from you!

  • What Should I Wear to My Photo Session? | Jacksonville Photographer

    Jacksonville Photographer

    Hi guys!

    One of the most frequent questions I receive from clients is:

    What do I wear to my photo session???

    If this is a concern of yours, then keep reading to see some of my top tips for dressing for your upcoming photo session. :)

    • Most importantly, make sure to wear something that you’ll be comfortable in. I know that people say "beauty is pain," but if you're wearing uncomfortable clothing, it will show in your photo session. The more you can move in your outfit, the more fun we can have with your session, running, jumping, spinning, holding little ones, playing with your furry children, and not having to worry about adjusting clothing.
    • If you are doing an engagement or couple's session, I recommend that you consider the length of your dress if you want spinning pictures or pictures being held in your significant other’s arms. For family sessions with kids, make sure to wear pants that stay up and shirts that keep you covered, so we can capture those carefree images of you lifting your kiddo up, bending down to them, and interacting naturally without any wardrobe malfunctions.
    • If you're not going to be going solo in your session, try your best to color coordinate with anyone else who will be in the photos with you. This doesn't necessarily mean being matchy-matchy, but too many contrasting colors or patterns can draw the attention away from your wonderful faces. For example, a whole family wearing plaid might mesh together into ***SUPER-PLAID*** when you're clustered together in a family photo. Below is an adorable example of color coordinating done well:

     

    • If you can, avoid wearing very small, repetitive patterns like small checked shirts or stripes. These can cause a funky effect in-camera camera called a “moire pattern,” which can be very difficult to correct in Photoshop.
    • If you will be bringing furry pals along to your session, try not to wear colors that contrast with your pet's fur. For example, if you'll be bringing a black dog around, wearing white may not be the best choice, and vice versa.
    • If you’re going to be in a natural setting for your photos, I would recommend that you steer clear of wearing light colored bottoms, like white pants. I love asking my clients to sit on the ground or on outdoor benches for some pictures, and while I do carry around a little blanket just for these kinds of moments, wearing darker bottoms to your session can keep things moving more easily.
    • Gravitate towards softer, lighter, more neutral colors in your wardrobe if you want a light and airy feeling in your images. I love bright colors in images, but wearing very bright, fluorescent, highlighter-like colors on top can create a color cast on yours or other people's faces in the session. This is why photographers will typically wear gray, black, or white to their clients' sessions.

    • (For Brides to Be)    Wear colors that will coordinate with your wedding colors, if you're doing an engagement session and want to include the photos in a wedding invitation. This will help you to tie your wedding invitation together, and will keep your pictures looking right at home if you display them in your reception area at your wedding!
    • If you’re self conscious about a certain body part, wear clothes that will accentuate the bits you love about yourself. My job as a photographer is to make you look your absolute best, so I will guide you in posing to make sure the images are flattering. However, if you are self conscious about your upper arms, for example, I recommend that you avoid wearing a spaghetti strap tank top. This will keep you feeling confident, and less worried about how your upper arms are looking.
    • Pretty please, unless they're meant to be showing, keep your bra straps under cover! This will save me hours in Photoshop, editing visible bra straps out of your pictures. I'm glad to be on bra strap watch, because those suckers are slippery little things, but try to be aware of them when you're getting dressed, and then we won't have to worry about it during your session.
    • This is another little tip to keep your photos clean and free from distractions: Be aware of your accessories. For example, do you want a hair tie on your arm in all your pictures? If not, you may want to take it off well before the session, so you don't have red elastic marks on your arm. 
    • (For Expecting Mommies)   Dress to emphasize that bump! This is the one time in your life when having a big belly is something to be celebrated and prized. Embrace it! Wear something that will cling to your midsection, and if you want anyone else in the images with you, think about wearing colors that have a little bit of contrast. For example, if you wear black, and your significant other also wears black, your belly may blend into your partner's shirt in certain poses. 
    • Last but not least, feel free to bring an outfit change and send me photos of outfits ahead of time if you're uncertain it will photograph well. I am here to make sure you walk away absolutely thrilled with your photos, so I am glad to give advice or wait for you to change your clothes if you want more variety in your images. Just make sure to factor outfit change time into your session length!

    Hopefully this gives you a bit of guidance in prepping for what to wear for your photo session. Most importantly of all, MAKE SURE TO WEAR A BIG SMILE! :) You are going to have so much fun during your photo session, I pinky promise.

    Do you have any questions about anything in this blog post, or would you like to get in touch to book a session? Please feel free to contact me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com, or by heading on over to my Contact section. I would love to hear from you!

     

  • Pet Portrait Photography Session by Chelsea Whiteman Photography | Jacksonville, Florida

    Jacksonville Family Photographer

    Goodness, reader, I have some catching-up to do on the blog front! 

    For now, I'll start by sharing one of my favorite sessions with you: Sam and Jay's, plus their dynamic puppy trio, Fiona, Sophia, and Chloe! This session started in Sam and Jay's neighborhood, moved to the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens, and then wrapped up at Atlantic Beach for sunset. 

    Meet Chloe:

    And Fiona:

    And Sophia:

    And their proud parents, Jay (left), and Sam (right):

    Gosh, pet portrait sessions are some of my favorites. Want photos like these of your special fur-children? Head on over to my Contact page on this website, and we can work out the details! :)

  • What Does Your Love Feel Like?: Loren and Marcus | A Couple's Series in Jacksonville, FL

    "Our love feels like the tides.
    It is ever in motion.
    From highs to lows, our lives are sculpted with its waves.
    Despite the change, we are constant."
    Loren (23 yrs) and Marcus (24 yrs): Together 6 years 9 months
    Married 4 years

    Loren and Marcus are high school sweethearts from my graduating class at Sandalwood High School, so it was a very cool throwback when they asked to be involved in my couple's series.

    They've been together just a little longer than Dylan and I, and their comfort, confidence, and trust in each other was clear throughout the photo session. I may have made them look romantic and majestic in some of these photos, but these two were a couple of goofballs just like Dylan and I, and I loved it! (Keep on sifting through the photos in this blog post to see what I mean about their sense of humor-- you'll see it.) 

    The pier at Atlantic Beach was the perfect location; it took a little bit of research on my part to pick a day where it was high tide and sunset at the same time, but we got it, and the weather cooperated beautifully! On top of that, none of us ended up soaked, which was quite the achievement considering that I had this couple doing a balancing act in the waves, and sitting just a little bit too close to the ocean at times. These two were a couple of modeling pros: well done, Marcus and Loren! Photographing the two of them was a blast. :)

    I am incredibly excited about this whole project so far, and I plan to continue to gain a large scope of couples who participate. Love crosses all boundaries, so I hope to photograph couples of all ages, races, sexualities, and so on and so forth. Variety in the participants will show how unique love can be, and yet similar in its beauty across the board. 

    If you would like to get involved in this whole series, please feel free to email me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com for more information!