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  • 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! 

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



    "Our love is like a pillow.
    It's something safe to rest our heads on, and it's very comfortable."

    Jen (24 yrs) and Brandon (25 yrs): Together 1.5 years




    We live in a small world, Reader!

    It turns out, this couple and I are basically neighbors, and we didn't even know it! Our local community center ended up being the perfect location for the shoot, and it was just a short walk down the road from all of us.

    I have to give Jen and Brandon a pat on the back for being so trusting with this session. It's not every day that you have a photographer hanging over you on a stepladder as you lay in the middle of a field on some strange pillows and bedding with traffic wizzing by on Atlantic Boulevard, but I'd say it was well worth it! 

    On top of that, Brandon was ready to admit that he's far from being a morning person, but with our pillowy, fluffy set-up, he was perfectly situated to steal a few Z's between snaps.

    All joking aside, Jen and Brandon are a lovely, smiley, sweet couple, and I was lucky to have the two of them in front of my camera on a Saturday morning. I'm so fortunate to be able to meet all of the wonderful couples that I do as I continue on with this series; I've had had the privilege of diving into my imagination to create whimsical photo sets and ideas in the company of people who are in love with each other and with my photos. Dream job? I'd say so!


    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! 

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

    "Our love is like a tree.
    It started as a small seed, and over time sprouted and grew into something bigger and more beautiful than either of us could have ever imagined.
    Like a tree, our love weathers the storms; it may bend, but it does not break.
    Our love is patient and giving; it takes time for trees to bear the sweetest fruit but they always do so in abundance.
    Our love is persistent and endless.
    The seasons change, but our love for one another always stands tall. Our love is like a tree; forever growing and branching to new heights."

    Alexis (21 yrs) and Caleb (22 yrs): Together 3.5 years


    This photo session has been a long time coming; Caleb and Alexis are busy bees between school and work. Even so, when they were finally able to come out for a shoot, everything else fell into place-- the weather was gorgeous, the sun was out and shining, and we nearly had Treaty Oak Park to ourselves! 

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

    "Our love is like a good cup of coffee.
    It's welcoming. 
    It is sweet and strong. 
    It's smooth and warm.
    It wakes us up in the morning and it helps us get through our days.
    We were both lucky enough to find flavors we don't mind drinking everyday."

    Alison (24 yrs) and JD (27 yrs):Together 4.5 years

    Married 3.5 years



    I'm not a coffee drinker, myself, but Alison and JD have me thinking that maybe I should be. 


    For their couple's photo shoot, we paid a visit to Sippers Coffee House in Jacksonville, Florida.

    The staff was kind enough to welcome us in to their coffee shop and let us play musical chairs as we worked our way to every table, couch, and antique church pew to take our pictures. (For the record, if you haven't been to Sippers, I recommend that you pay it a visit-- it's cute, cozy, and offers hot chocolate and fresh-baked goodies for my fellow non-coffee-drinkers.) 

    Alison and JD were complete naturals in front of the camera; they made my job easy! Plus, while it can be tricky to get some people to crack a smile on demand, all I had to do was look at Alison and she'd start laughing. I was only with these two for about an hour, but it was obvious from the start that they're are very much in love, and very much cut out for each other--right down to a mutual love of Friends, coffee, and each others' company.




















    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! 

  • Fishweir Park Portrait Session by Chelsea Whiteman Photography | Jacksonville, Florida

    This past weekend, a free-spirited, youthful woman with a quirky sense of humor and a great taste in books stepped in front of my camera for a few hours, and we made magic happen.

    This woman is my former boss and current friend, Michele Boyette!

    Michele and I are both of the opinion that a photo shoot should be a fun, enjoyable experience, rather than a torturous hour spent in a stuffy studio with a photographer who says "cheese." So, after some warm-up shots in and around Michele's home and a dig through her rather extensive and fabulous hat collection, we ventured out to Fishweir Park to take some beautiful portraits in some crisp, sunny, early-fall weather.

    I am so fortunate that this job allows me to spend time and catch up with some wonderful friends, in picturesque locations, all while doing what I love most: taking pictures.


    Does a day in the park chatting, making memories, and taking pictures sound appealing to you?

    If yes, then email me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com or go to my "Contact" page and fill out the form to book your photo session!

    Remember, a photo session only takes an hour or two of your time, but the photos that we take will last you a lifetime; they're something that you and your friends, family, and loved ones will be able to look back on and cherish for years to come. 

  • 10 Easy Posing Tips to Look Better in Photos: Women's Edition

    Hey you! 

    Yes, you. 

    What do you do when someone pulls a camera on you? 

    Do you instantly clam up, become filled with self doubt, and begin to ponder how to stand like a normal human being or where on earth you should put your darn hands (I mean, you've had these things for forever, but where the heck should you put them?!)

    If yes, then good news! This post is for you.

    If no, then go on with your bad self, Reader! Or, stick around and laugh at me intentionally giving myself a double chin for "before" poses. It's up to you! 

    Disclaimer: This blog will be an overload of my goofy looking mug, so I apologize in advance for swamping you with it. Here's a photo of my face . . . and another photo of my face . . . and did you get to see my face yet? No? Well, here! Have another photo of my face!

    Tip 1: Shift your weight

    Would you like your legs to look longer and leaner in photos? I have a trick for you that has been put into practice for centuries: shift your weight to the leg that isn't facing the camera. 

    The greats employed this posing technique for things like paintings and sculptures: it's the good ol' contrapposto pose. Ever take a look at Michelangelo's "David"? He's definitely not standing there stiffly with his knees locked. Nope, he has one leg bent at the knee, and the other supporting his weight. 

    We can learn from David and his classical posing. Shifting your weight to your back foot has a magical slimming effect on your legs and torso. If you pop your hip out a little bit on that back leg, then even better; this will add curves to your body that wouldn't be accentuated if you kept your knees locked tight.

    On top of that, when you shift your weight to your back leg, it has the happy side effect of causing the leg facing the camera to bend at the knee. Voila! Now you've added one more curve to your body, making for a much more flattering pose. Bonus points if you point your toes; that will make your leg look even longer. 

    Tip 2: Tuck your hips back

    When we stand naturally, we tend to keep our hips directly in line with our torsos; this makes sense, considering that it keeps us balanced and comfortable. But for those of you out there who are a little self conscious about your tummy areas, this tip can help to make you look leaner.

    Rather than "sucking it in" and holding your breath for the duration of the photoshoot (resulting in some lovely, delicate blue skin tones and puffy cheeks), try shifting your hips backwards a little bit. This will straighten out your abdomen and pull your tummy taughter, while also highlighting your backside a bit more (no butt pads or implants needed). A little of this can go a long way, so no need to break your back in the process; just like in Tip 1, it's all about weight distribution! 

    Tip 3: "Float" your arms 

    This tip may feel a bit unnatural, but when taking photos, try to keep your arms slightly away from your sides, rather than keeping your arms pressed against you.

    The goal is to create a little bit of separation and space between your arms and your waist. When you keep your arms closer to your sides, visually, your body appears wider and bulkier because your arms blend in with your torso. Leaving a slight gap between your torso and arms highlights your waist, making you appear slimmer. Hurray for instant, diet and exercise-free slimming!

    Looking for a more comfortable solution than "floating" your arms that will achieve the same effect? Try slightly bending your elbows and resting your hands lightly on your hips. Better yet, if you're wearing clothes with pockets, tuck your hands in to allow some space between your arms and your body. 

    Tip 4: Loosen up those hands!

    When people are uncomfortable in front of the camera, they tend to show that tension by bringing their shoulders up and balling up or stiffening their hands. Don't let that be you!

    Instead, keep those shoulders low and relax your hands for a much more flattering pose.

    Tip 5: Keep your chin single

    It's the sad truth that our chins are constantly searching for companionship, usually in the form of other chins.

    To avoid creating a double chin that isn't there, or to minimize one and better define your jawline, bring your face (chin included) forward and towards the camera slightly. Or, if you don't want your chin to be lonely anymore, press that chin closer to your neck and watch the extra chins appear out of nowhere!

    Tip 6: Keep your chin down

    If only I had been reminded of this simple tip when I had my senior pictures taken in high school, I wouldn't cringe so much when I see those pictures now: keep that chin lowered!

    Little kids are big culprits of this, but even as an adult, I find my chin floating upward when I get photos taken, creating an ultra-flattering up the nose shot with no jawline in sight. To avoid your nostrils stealing the show, keep your chin lowered and your head pointed ever so slightly downward; this will also draw focus to your eyes and minimize glare if you wear glasses.

    Tip 7: Angle your face

    Most people's standard reaction when someone breaks out a camera (besides the extremely camera shy, who will run in the opposite direction) is to look straight at the camera and smile. Turning your head and, coincidentally, your shoulders, slightly away from the camera at an angle can emphasize your jawline, minimize broad shoulders, and add some more variety to your photos. 

    Clients are always a little confused when I tell them to point their head away from the camera while keeping their eyes on me, but trust me! I'm not crazy (at least, not when it comes to posing); I'm just highlighting the pretty angles of your face.

    Tip 8: Lean in

    This pointer is in the same vein as Tip 5, but it also relies on a basic understanding of how a camera sees. 

    Cameras don't perceive depth the same way that the human eye sees it, which means that (hurray!) cameras can be tricked. The person, place, or thing that is closest to the camera will, unfailingly, appear to be larger than anything that is farther away. We can use this to our advantage to highlight the characteristics that we'd prefer to highlight and minimize the characteristics that we're less fond of.

    When we apply this to posing our faces, all it takes is leaning your head (and, if you want, shoulders) in towards the camera to make your face the star of the photo. The camera won't "see" that you're leaning in; all that it will see is that your face is closest, making your body less of a focal point.  

    Tip 9: Use perspective to your advantage

    Great news! We can apply your newfound understanding of depth and perspective to full and 3/4 length photos, too.

    Your body may be fabulous, but sometimes you don't want it to be the focus of the photo (or maybe you do- that's your prerogative.) Either way, to keep your face the focus, you can always have your photographer, photo-taker, or selfie stick positioned above you. This will automatically make your lower body look slimmer, since it is further from the camera lens than your face. 

    Tip 10: Smile and apply those tips!

    A final tip about posing: smile! It'll help you to avoid the "I'm getting a mugshot taken" look of utter misery in pictures. And if all else fails and you can't remember a single posing tip from this blog post, a genuine smile is always a beautiful thing to capture on camera. 

    Is your mind an utter whirlwind of posing tips that you'll never be able to remember or apply when the time comes? Then contact me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com or fill out the short form on my Contact page! I would love to guide you through the process to help you to look your absolute best in a personal portrait session! 

    Do you have questions, comments, or posing tips and tricks of your own that you'd like to share? Please leave them below!

  • What Does Your Love Feel Like?: Jessica and Brandon | A Couple's Series



    INGREDIENTS FOR A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT:

    Adorable Couple: ✓

    Cozy Family Home: ✓

    Blanket Fort: ✓

    Lots of Love: ✓


    With an ingredients list like that, there's no way that you can possibly go wrong.
    Jessica and Brandon, the latest couple to participate in my series What Does Your Love Feel Like, are living proof of that.




    "Our love feels like home. Not a house, but a home.
    Just like home, our love feels like the one thing where we feel our safest, our most comfortable, and where we can be ourselves.
    It's where we want to be at the end of every day - with each other, in love with each other."
    Jessica (23 yrs) & Brandon (24 yrs): Together 4 years


    This description of love truly resonated with me, as when I first started this project, my personal response to my own question was the same: love feels like home. On top of that, I've recently been seeking to build up my portfolio of lifestyle and in-home photography, so Jessica and Brandon couldn't have been a better fit with the whole project. I came back to them with several options that we could go with to illustrate their love, and much to my excitement, they chose my personal favorite concept: building a blanket fort (home, comfort, safety, and acceptance, all in one perfect, cozy package.)

    As an added benefit, I quickly learned that Jessica is one of the most unbelievably sugar-sweet human beings you'll ever meet-- take gumdrops, sugarplums, and cotton candy, and throw in a dash of smart and pretty, and you'll make a Jessica. A Jessica who will treat you to a bouquet of flowers as soon as you walk in the door on the day of the photo shoot, and make you feel instantly welcome with her upbeat, bouncy personality. 

    Balancing this is Brandon, a stoic individual who is a little hesitant to smile for the camera, but more than willing to smile for Jessica (and to have mercy in a tickle fight).



    After a few warm-up shots, my lovely assistant Dylan and I spent some time getting the lay of the land and staking a claim on the best blanket-fort-building real estate. The dazzling duo was eager to jump right in and help with the building process, and with some innovation, Christmas lights, and balloons, the fort was complete. Not built to code for Brandon's over 6 foot frame, but hey, it was cozy.

    These two brought that pile of blankets to life, and made that fort into a home. That's the beauty of their relationship: they can light up a space and make it their own, just by being together and present. And that, Readers, is what love should feel like.










  • What Does Your Love Feel Like?: Brooke and Dave | A Couple's Series

    Two weeks can really fly by, Reader!

    In the blink of an eye, it was time for me to come back home from Pennsylvania after my semi-annual family vacation. Now that I'm back in the good 'ol swamps of Jacksonville, I've been wading through 2,500+ pictures and looking back on the trip.

    This is the beauty of taking an outrageous amount of pictures: when it's time to come back home, I have the gift of hundreds of photos to help me reflect upon and relive the little details and big highlights from the trip. 

    I'm going to save my vacation pictures for another, much longer blog post; instead, this post is dedicated to the latest addition to my couple's series, What Does Your Love Feel Like?


    And now, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the budding star and starlet, Dave and Brooke! 

    *cue applause, even if I'm not there to hear them*

    "Our love is like a movie. You have the drama scenes: The arguments.
    You have the action scenes: Chasing after a toddler.
    You have the comedy scenes: Him farting in bed.
    And you have the horror scenes: The realization that a world without the other is the scariest of any movie sequence.
    Yet finally, when the credits roll, you can look at the person beside you and know your movie ended right; with an everlasting happy ending."
    Brooke (24 yrs) & Dave (32 yrs): Married 3 years

    Featuring their daughter, Alivia


    When my cousin, Brooke, and her husband, Dave sent me this in response to my question for the series, I admit, I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to cram four movie genres into one, catch-all photograph. Eventually, I settled on creating a staged, behind-the-scenes style photo of Brooke and Dave's personal "movie set," showing them as they prepare to continue to create the motion picture that is their daily lives.

    So far, every photo that I've done for this series has been a blast to shoot, but in terms of what was going on behind the scenes, this had to be one of the most hectic, hilarious, and fittingly theatrical. 

    There were 13 family members, two dogs, and a cat mulling around my grandparents' snug home at the time of the shoot, and many bopped their heads into the frame at one time or another (most, understandably, not fully grasping what kind of strange production was going on in the living room).

    My "makeup artist" and "lint-rolling stylist," my brother and boyfriend, respectively, fully embraced their roles and enjoyed the opportunity to poke Brooke in the eye with a powder brush. Meanwhile, Brooke and Dave's daughter, Alivia, although not thrilled to put on her dress, was perfectly happy to sit on the floor and look adorable while playing with her toys when prompted.

    Ultimately, everyone involved went along with the crazy, and all of that crazy combined into something wonderful. 

    Sounds a little bit like love, doesn't it?


    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! 

    Each couple who participates in the project will receive a 30% discount off of a future photo shoot with me, as well as a free low-resolution copy of the photo that I take for the series that you can post on social media.

    If you would like prints of the photograph that I take for the series, then you can also email me for information about print prices for your photo. The photos that I am taking for this series are each an original work of art that I've put time and effort into creating as an illustration of each couple's love; I would love to have them grace the walls of people's homes.  

     

  • What Does Your Love Feel Like?: Amber & Brandon | A Couple's Series by Chelsea Whiteman Photography

    Hello again, Reader!

    After much preparation and planning, I am happy to finally be able to share the second installment in my series, What Does Your Love Feel Like? 

    Tomorrow, I will be heading off on a two-week vacation to my favorite place, Frenchville, Pennsylvania, to spend time with family and unwind in our family cabin in the middle of nowhere. (Stay tuned for pictures from the trip!)

    In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy this little piece of love, paint, and happiness:

    “Love is like laughter. You can't not smile.
    Laughter is the best feeling; you want it to last forever and when you're with the right person, it happens without warning.
    It doesn't have to have a reason or make sense to anyone but the people involved. Love and laughter make everything better, so it makes sense that they're one and the same.”

    Amber (23 yrs) & Brandon (22 yrs): Together 1 ½ years

    I have known Amber since high school, and her bone dry sense of humor and quick wit have always kept me laughing. I wanted to give her and Brandon an experience that would make them crack genuine smiles -- and what better way to do so than to have them splatter paint at each other?

    To make this shoot happen, Dylan (my boyfriend and unintentional part-time photo assistant, for any newcomers in here) and I concocted homemade paint out of equal parts flour, salt, and water, plus a load of food coloring. One white sheet, a clothesline, and a little accidental trespassing on church property later, we had the ingredients for this beautiful chaos of a photo shoot.

    It takes a special couple to get up early on a Sunday morning and frolick around in a field for a paint fight, and I am lucky to have had such good sports involved. There was plenty of laughter and plenty of mess, and, especially in the brief cease-fires to grab more paint, there were occassional quiet moments where Amber and Brandon's love showed through the most. 





    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! 

    Each couple who participates in the project will receive a 30% discount off of a future photo shoot with me, as well as a free low-resolution copy of the photo that I take for the series that you can post on social media.

    If you would like prints of the photograph that I take for the series, then you can also email me for information about print prices for your photo. The photos that I am taking for this series are each an original work of art that I've put time and effort into creating as an illustration of each couple's love; I would love to have them grace the walls of people's homes.