Christy Whitehead Photography » North Florida photographer and graphic designer

“Winter blues should only refer to the color of the ocean” -author unknown.

Living in a beach city I sometimes take for granted the beauty that is the beach. Don’t get me wrong, I hate swimming in the ocean, it’s just too sticky and murky for me. But family portraits paired with the setting sun on the beach — magic!

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This little dark headed beauty is my daughter Spencer and she is usually my go to to test out new locations, backdrops and outfits. She LOVES these dresses that I keep in my studio for clients to use by Dollcake.

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It may be winter in Florida, but it’s PERFECT beach weather!

Email me at Christy@jaxphotographer.com to set up your own session, we do these at very limited days & times during the week.

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There used to be a time when families had their portraits painted. They bought very formal clothing and sat for the images for hours.

Not many parents do that anymore as it can be very cost prohibitive, not to mention there aren’t that many artists out there any more that specialize in this. Plus, I don’t know about you but my kids would never sit that long!

I have started offering a specialty service with each session. I love the idea of something special and unique. But I also love photographic portraits. I started toying with the idea of making the images look like a painting or sketched in colored pencil, but keeping the skin/people realistic. It’s almost like they are part of a dream or imaginary world.

Here are some examples of the ones we’ve done recently:

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The mermaid image makes me feel like she fell asleep and was dreaming about this imaginary world and she’s slowly becoming a part of it.

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With the sisters, I felt like having their skin “painted” as well lost a lot of the image and the emotion. But I like how it now looks even more timeless.

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I had a hard time deciding how to do the police officer and his wife. I ended up not painting their skin, but leaving their dress painted.

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Wouldn’t this colored pencil image look adorable in this little girl’s room?!

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This was a photograph that was taken at The Keeler Property at a recent wedding. I went really heavy with the painting look but left the couple normal.

I have an image from my wedding that is blown up into 36×48″ on metal in my living room that I did a little bit of an art effect. It’s funny, people are always amazed that it’s a metal print and it takes them a minute to realize it’s from our wedding. I like that it’s a custom art piece.

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If you’re going to do a Harry Potter theme, might as well make it extra dreamy!

These images are best printed on canvas, metals or acrylic in large sizes to truly appreciate.

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I have two children and with both of them I had a baby shower to help get everything I needed for my littles and let my family and friends show their love for them as well. One of my best friend’s Lea recently became approved to be a foster mom and she’s been collecting all these toys and clothes from everyone she knows. And it dawned on me, why can’t she have a baby shower too? Her friends and family love her and want to share in this moment and help her and her husband create as prepared a home as they can.

Foster kids arrive at the foster homes typically in the middle of the night night with no clothes, diapers, toys or anything. So the foster parents must quickly get everything together so these kids can try to function normally.

On Beach Blvd, there’s a non profit called Foster Closet that takes in gently used and new items to help the foster parents since 2009. They are in constant need of items and are a great resource for foster parents. But it’s also helpful for parents to have items on hand. Especially when some live all the way across town and making it to the Beach may not be possible in a timely manner.

 

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Last year there were 1,500 kids in foster care in Northeast Florida and only 300 foster families.

Kids without homes have always held a soft spot in my heart and I have done photoshoots for many of them over the last couple of years in hopes of helping them find new homes.

And right now, to help support Lea as well as Foster Closet, we are doing a drive for donations (clothes can’t have stains) either through items children of all ages need, or gift cards.

Items may be dropped off at:

Christy Whitehead Photography

514 Chaffee Point Blvd #9

Jacksonville, Fl 32221

I’m located right off of I-10, 10 minutes from downtown, in the same parking lot as Cracker Barrel. Please call to make sure I’m in the office before you come by! 904-891-0359.

Or if you live closer to the Beach, give directly to Foster Closet: 8307 Beach Blvd / Jacksonville, FL 32216 / (904) 629-2116

They also need furniture (please bring directly to Foster Closet) like dinettes, for teenage foster kids who are leaving the system and trying to set up homes.

We created a Facebook Event page for our drive. You can find it here.

Information on becoming a foster parent.

Have your church group help!

If you work with foster children, my studio provides free updated photos to foster kids seeking adoption. Please contact me to schedule an appointment. (If you are adopting a foster child, please contact me for special package options.)

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Quick Tips for Photographing Your Kids

How to take great photos of your children.

A parent can never take enough photos of their children but sometimes it can be difficult to get a really great shot. Below are a few quick tips that you can apply the next time you take your camera out to capture a moment with your kids.

  1. Try and stay away from asking your kids to pose. Instead, be around to capture the emotions they display in a moment. If you’re patient enough and simply enjoy the time with your children, you’ll find it much easier to capture the essence of it.
  2. Get down to their level, if you’re photographing very small children try and get down to their level to photograph them. This angle gives you a more interesting background too.
  3. Have a conversation with them. Having a conversation with your child about their favorite superhero or their best friend at school will make for lovely facial expressions. You could even have them sing along to their favorite songs for extra fun photos.
  4. Your smartphone is the perfect tool for capturing candid moments. Your children are probably very used to seeing you with your smartphone so won’t think anything of you keeping it close by. Have it ready when you’re out and about with them. You never know when they might give you the perfect shot.
  5. Use unique locations to your advantage. If you have planned a walk in the woods or a day at the beach, take advantage of your unique surroundings to capture some great pictures.
  6. Avoid midday sunlight. Lighting makes a big difference in photos so aim for early morning or evening light for outdoor shots and open windows and doors for indoor shots.

Sometimes the best camera for photos is the one you have on you! Those moments go by to fast.

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Editing photos is a big topic and “editing” can cover MANY different scenarios. Are my photos edited? Of course! So I figured I’d go over different editing terms, styles and what I do in hopes of clearing it all up!

I shoot in RAW which, to me, is the best way to shoot photo sessions. But, the average person can’t view a RAW file. The RAW file gives me more information to work with when I’m editing your file. And then when I’m done I transfer it to a jpeg file–something you’re used to getting your digital images in!

Raw photos tend to not have much contrast to them. They look muddy to me:

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The left photos is SOOC (straight out of camera). When I pull it into Lightroom I can adjust it and make it brighter, change the white balance (the coloring–like when you shoot inside and the photos look orange, it’s because of the lighting in the room, I can change that in post production), and do other edits.

For this particular photo, I found the trees, poles and the “hole” at the top distracting. I took it into Photoshop and did some additional editing:

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To me the image has a lot less distracting points now.

Here’s another one:

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The coloring was adjusted, her eyes were popped a bit to bring out the color and all the distracting twigs were taken away.

White Balance

Here’s a couple of examples of white balance before and after:

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Her dress shouldn’t be that orange color like above, so shooting in RAW and bringing the image into Lightroom allows me to adjust the coloring the way it should be.

In Studio

In studio, I’m usually editing out scuff marks on the background paper and doing minor edits here and there:

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On the one above, you can see where I added in an ear to the monkey and cleaned up the paper.

For a typical portrait session, I go through all the images and compare them side by side and narrow the images down to about 30-50 of the best. I take many more images than this, but I’m usually overshooting to try and get the best smiles and not end up with all blinking images.

Newborn Photos

Crazy enough, newborn photos probably get edited more heavily than any other session I do.

With the one below, I tilted the photo, changed the coloring a tint and also edited out little scratch marks and peeling that most all babies have.

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For the one below, dad didn’t like the little “tail”so I took it out and rounded out the little bundle:

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The little boy above and most all my newborns also get a skin airbrushing to give them that beautiful soft baby skin that we, as parents see and remember.

For safety, I also do editing on other poses. For example, babies don’t naturally  hold their heads on their hands. I have to shoot several frames and edit those together:

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The shot below is 3 images edited together to remove momma’s hands:

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SPECIAL EDITS

I do a lot of editing and things behind the scenes that people don’t see or realize that happen. For example, the shot below, I knew what I wanted but I needed some help to create it and had to merge the two images in Photoshop to make it happen.

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Sometimes the sky just doesn’t want to cooperate, so I have to make the magic myself:

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I do a lot of specialty edits sometimes to create the vision I see in my head, like below. I typically do not charge extra for this.

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I sometimes get special requests, especially from couples. I’ve been getting a lot of shark requests lately, but here’s a Jurassic Park themed one:

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Matte and OTHER Colorings

I also like my images to POP, I like crisp blacks and clean whites. I feel that no matter what, this will always be acceptable and will never look dated. A lot of photographers these days have their own style, many of them have a golden hue to them or a matte feel or a vintage film effect. Below is an example of many versions of this:

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Most of the above images have a “matte” feel, which makes a less crisp black. Some make the colors too saturated or yucky feeling to me.

Below left is the original image. Middle image has a golden hue and the right is vintage.

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For me, I will edit all my images in the standard color pop that will always be classic and never dated. BUT, I do love an occasional color play and will create a duplicate of the image and do something fun with it. But you have BOTH copies. So ten years down the road you won’t look at your images and think how dated they look or “that was the style”.

WRAP UP

With all sessions, I typically go through and crop or rotate as needed. If there is an obvious zit or scratch (kids always love getting bruised up before a shoot!) I’ll edit those out. I’ll change the white balance if needed. And I’ll usually go through my favorites and change them to a special coloring (as a second copy) and maybe create some magic with it if need be.

People love to say “oh you can just fix it in Photoshop.” Honestly, this drives photographers crazy! LOL. It takes a lot of time to go through and “fix” things. When you get 1,000 wedding images, and you have a zit or a bruise, I will do my best to clean it up when I see it (usually on special portraits), but usually, unless I am printing wall art for you (or something of the like), that’s a lot of EXTRA work to put on your photographer. My suggestion would be to have a makeup artist cover scratches, acne or tattoos you don’t want seen.

So do I edit my photos? YES! That’s one of the reasons you pay a professional photographer to take your portrait! Thus why it takes a couple of days to see your images (or a month or so for a wedding).

I hope this helped you see what I see and understand the process!

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