3+ Tips to Improve your Workspace and Posture While Working at Home

Tips to improve your workspace and posture at home, by Dr Cristina Padilla, Chiropractor, Owner at Thrive Family Chiropractic, a house call chiropractic practice serving the NE Florida region.

Are you one of the thousands of employees or business owners who has been forced to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Chances are, you never thought this would be a long-term practice you needed to adapt and prepare for, right? I certainly wasn’t.

Most of us don’t have a dedicated office in our homes, because we never had to work from home for longer than a few hours here and there or maybe just to meet a deadline or project occasionally. Personally, I have been spending a lot of extra hours on Zoom calls and meetings as well as helping patients virtually. And my back and neck are feeling it. The irony of being  a Chiropractor …? I can’t adjust myself!

The most common complaints I have been getting from practice members these last few weeks have been: increase in headaches, neck and low back pain and stiffness. Why? They are working out of their couch, bed, dining room table, kitchen counter. They don’t have their nice and comfortable desk chairs and their workstations at home are less than ideal. Not only is this physically a problem, but ask your significant other to take a photo of what you look like while “in the zone”, working from home? Chances are you are hunched forward, your chair doesn’t have any back support and you are looking down way more than you should.

Not only is posture affected by these “new workspaces” but these changes in ergonomics can also lead to increase in headaches, trouble focusing and decrease in physical activity, all damaging to your body and health.

So here are a few tips to help improve your workstation and relieve some of the tension in your spine. As always, a visit to the Chiropractor (virtual if you would like) is highly encouraged to provide you with a long term plan to improve posture and overall health.

  1. Couches are for slouchers. Yes. I know. But someone had to tell you! Couches are made for comfort, not with good posture in mind. Most of them are soft and deep and they do nothing good for your spine when you are on episode 4 of Tiger King or at the Monday morning team meeting (wearing sweatpants …isn’t it wonderful!?)


In the absence of a desk chair, the ideal would be an inflatable exercise ball (this is the one I got, with a base and even workout bands! *non paid advertising* https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CTLNYVV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )

Another option is a sturdy chair, like a dining room chair, that has padding for you to sit on. For this, you may want to use a decorative pillow to support your low back or order a lumbar support pillow online. These are pretty inexpensive.

The bed and couch are the worst options because not only do they not provide good support, you have no way of keeping your workstation at eye level (more on this below) unless you have a portable desk that props up to keep your screen and devices at eye level as well as your keyboard and/or mouse as close to your body as possible.

  • Movement is life. Movement is important to increase bloodflow to your arms, legs and to get your heart rate up throughout the day. While there are a number of gyms and personal trainers providing free or inexpensive online workouts (North Jax Crossfit is my go to!), a lot of people may not be as inclined to exercise at home, because they don’t have equipment, they get lazy, they don’t have a partner to workout with … you name it, I’ve done it.

Two things that have worked well for me:

First, set up a simple workout station in an area that I tend to walk by a lot. I recently decided to put a yoga mat in my bedroom and I have been following a challenge in April of doing 50 burpees a day (I’m gonna be super honest…it’s not happening every day. But it’s happening a lot more than before – and it only really takes a few minutes! If you try it, post on social media and tag me @jaxmobilechiropractor )

Secondly, set up a timer for 5 minutes an hour of stretching and movement. Whether it is walking a few laps around the house, doing a few Sun Salutations (great stretch and easy to do!) or to do a few squats and jumping jacks – there is a lot of research supporting these can help boost your energy and give you focus! 

  • Water challenge. While you are up, go get a water refill. I try to use the largest glass or tumbler I have and every time I complete a task, a video call or the end of the hour, I make a point to finish my water and pour some more. Remember, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day – more if you are an avid coffee drinker like me. For every cup of coffee, add one cup of water! Make your water fun – berries, lime, lemons, oranges, cucumbers are refreshing ways to make water fun!!! I am currently obsessed with Arbonne’s Hydration tea (chamomile and other herbs, no caffeine!). Email me if you would like some samples!

I hope these tips are easy for you to implement to your daily routine. I have created a short exercise and stretching program specific to reverse the long hours of sitting at a desk, along with an article from Physitrack that exapands on how to evaluate if your workspace is ideal for you and your posture.

If you would like a digital copy of these or to schedule a complimentary ergonomic evaluation, please email thrivefamilychiro@yahoo.com or contact me via Facebook or Instagram at @jaxmobilechiropractor . Let’s Thrive!

Jax Thrive Mobile Chiropractor Corporate photography

Bored? 20+ Games You Should Buy Right Now!

Being in quarantine we are playing some games, mostly on the phone, BUT we own A LOT of games. We like to camp and go on group vacations with friends. It can be hard to pick out games, I mean, there are TONS, so here are some recommendations from our household to yours.

Let me know on facebook your favorites or any that we missed and should try:

ALL AGES

Spot It— This game, no joke, is great for the youngest in your group to the oldest. I often pack it with me on family trips. We played it last summer with my son who was 4 at the time and my great aunt who is maybe 80.

It sounds crazy, but there are a set of pictures on each card and not every card has the same set of pictures, but they each have ONE image that matches. Your job is to be the first to find the match. I swear, sometimes I feel like there’s no way something matches, but there is! Great game, easy and quick to learn, not much to set up. Highly recommend it.

There are different themes too, like camping or Disney.

This one is good for most ages. The kids seem to really like it. I play it with them sometimes.

Other Card Games

Phase 10 is a go to game in our house. It’s like Rummy, I’m told (I’ve never actually played Rummy!). You have to make sets, etc, and each round is different. My 9yo likes to play this one with us.

I haven’t tried Snappy Dresser, but this 3 pack of games is a good deal and includes Uno!

Apples to Apples Type Game Play

Apples to Apples is a classic game. One person is the judge and they read a card, like “Next best thing since sliced bread” and every person has to give a card with their answer. The judge than picks their favorite answer.

This type of game may sound vaguely familiar to adults. Cards Against Humanity plays off this same idea. If you want a truly vulgar, 18+ politically incorrect game, CAH as it’s commonly known, would be my suggestion. Don’t forget add on packs for even more fun. I like the blank cards so you can add your own!

But, if you want something similar, but the kids want a good laugh too, try this one: Kids Against Maturity.

Domino Style Games

Qwirkle is a popular game in our house. It can be super tricky. you have to match the color or shape and you can’t duplicate in a row.

They have a new travel version and a new Qwirkle Cubes we haven’t tried yet.

We bought this one and we haven’t completely figured it out, but my daughter def. likes it.

Super Silly Games

This one is super popular online. We have one like this and haven’t gotten around to playing it yet!

We’ve only played Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza once. It’s a group memory game. You have to say the right word in the right order if you want to win. It’s harder than you would think.

Face Off. This one currently isn’t available on Amazon, as of my writing this, but this one is GREAT for groups. We have used it at home and with our Girl Scout gatherings. I would say ages 7+ would be best.

Word Games

If you like Scrabble or Words With Friends, I recommend Quiddler. It has rounds, kind of like Phase 10 (see other card games section). You can play a game in 15-30 minutes, depending on how many people are with you. I haven’t played it with my 9yo yet, but I think she could do it with some help.

Solo Play

Kanoodle is like a puzzle. My 9yo likes it. I bought it after seeing teachers request it.

Other Highly Rated Games

It took us a little bit to figure this one out, but once you do, it is a great game for the older crowd especially. If you have adults in your group who love to compete in Monopoly, THIS is the game for them. They even have different versions like a Game of Thrones one!

We bought Ticket To Ride from Target on like a Black Friday deal. We’ve broken it out once but haven’t completely played it yet. One of my friends said her family loves it and it’s like Monopoly but with trains. They do have MANY different options for this one, like individual country ones. There’s also a version for younger kids, called First Journey.

This next one, looks REALLY interesting an is actually cheaper and you can play with Alexa!!

If you like Connect 4, Santorini is like a 3D version. My daughter and I sometimes play this one. It’s a bit more complex than Connect 4 though. So I would say 8+ for this one.

Game Night In a Can. We bought this for a big family get together. We ended up not using it for that, but the girl scouts did and they loved it. I would recommend this for a business that is doing team building and scouts type stuff. Note: The can has changed and I’m not sure if they added new stuff to it, but it might be even better now?!

A Bit Harder

So, I bought this game about a year ago and it may hit too close to home for you right now, but that’s ok! If you have anyone who REALLY likes hard strategy games, this might be the one for them. Honestly, we brought this on vacation with our friends, and the guys were youtubing videos on how to play this and we still had deep discussions on what was the right way to do it. It is a highly rated game though. A bit too much for our house though!

In conclusion

I know that’s a lot of games, but we actually own MANY MORE than what I listed!!!! It’s crazy.

The games we usually bring with us on trips are: Spot it, Phase 10, Catan, and Quirkle.

When Christy Whitehead isn’t writing about all her crazy board games, she owns Christy Whitehead Photography, a studio in Jacksonville, Fl. She specializes in maternity, newborn, families, cake smashes and corporate work.

+Please note these may be affiliate links and we may make a little bit of money when you click on one to buy! Please let us know how you liked the games or if you have any new ones we should try!

Making Masks, Tips, Supplies & Other Useful Stuff

Since the studio is temporarily closed because of quarantine, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing. Mostly masks-for myself, my family, the medical community and anyone who has asked.

I’ve also been getting asked what templates I used, so I figured I’d make a blog post to share everything I’ve found about mask making in one blog.

But before I get into all the mask making info, here are some local groups you can join, donate too, help, buy from, etc:

Give Back

The Coding Sharks School, in Jax, needs donations to make shields for medical workers.

Feed the medical community www.FeedTheFrontLineNEFL.org

We have a group for the 904 area where medical personnel post their needs and also mask makers come to sell or donate masks. You can join it on Facebook here.

Another group you might be interested in is Jax Help for Healthcare.

Fabric:

Cotton fabric–many use the fleece on the mouth side for comfort.

You can pick up fabric at Joann‘s (order online and they’ll deliver it to your car. ALSO, if you go in, they were giving away a free mask making kit, one for each customer. It should make 2-4 masks). Download their app on your phone for coupons.

Fabric.com is another good one, but because of COVID they are limiting the types of things you can purchase, so the cheaper fabric is sometimes not available. Scroll to the bottom of their page and sign up for their newsletter to get 10% off.

Spoonflower is kind of like Etsy but for fabric. You’ll find some fun ones there.

This material is supposed to be better than N95: Haylard H-600 2 ply

You can see a video about it here:

Elastic

The local stores seem to be running quite short on elastic. You can buy flat or round elastic.

Flat elastic holds better for sewing and you don’t have to knot the ends, the down side is, it probably bothers ears more and you want to make sure you lay it correctly while sewing so it lays flat in use.

The round skinny elastic is what I bought and what I use. I figured it would be better for wearing. The only downside I’ve found is I have to tie the ends to help keep it from coming out of the mask. I bought this from Amazon, it’s 109 yards. I’ve made over 100 masks and I don’t think I’ve used even half of this! Def. a great value.

Side note, if you want to make the mask more fitted around the nose, you can buy some pipe cleaners. Standard size, cut in half. I tried to order them off Joanns.com and they didn’t have them, but they did have them in store, and you have to go inside to get them. Or you can order some off Amazon.

General Info About Fabrics and Filter Material

No Sew Mask

Here’s the text info and the video:

And another one.

Rectangle Basic Mask

Pleated with interfacing template

Rectangle Mask with Pocket

Other Face Mask Templates

No pleat template/fitted.

Fitted with pocket for filter template.

Use your Cricut!

How to Clean a Mask

This has a video on how to make one but also goes into how to clean a mask.

If you decide to buy N95s:

On the news, N95 seems to be the best, but when I went to buy them online, I found different codes, if you’re concerned about where you buy them from I found this list of codes as to where each comes from:

N95 (United States NIOSH-42CFR84)

FFP2 (Europe EN 149-2001)

KN95 (China GB2626-2006)

P2 (Australia/New Zealand AS/NZA 1716:2012)

Korea 1st class (Korea KMOEL – 2017-64)

DS (Japan JMHLW-N)

And here is an article about the different types.

In conclusion

I hope you find all these links and videos helpful!

Christy Whitehead Photography

www.Jaxphotographer.com

Follow me on IG and FB: @Jaxphotographer

Three fun, easy, and educational rhythm activities to do with your kids during a quarantine

Three fun, easy, and educational rhythm activities to do with your kids during quarantine

By Alisha Ramcharitar, Owner/Founder, Just Add Rhythm LLC

Developing any kind of schedule during this quarantine can be tough.  Parents have to multi-task like never before – handle the household, home school, work remotely, and somehow safely get groceries.

How can you keep the kids entertained during those long stretches at home?

Here, we give you three simple ideas for your kids to access the fun and benefits of rhythm from home – no instruments required.

BYO Drum

Recently, I hosted a Quarantine Songs Jam Session for families on Facebook Live.  Beforehand, I invited all participants to find items around their house they could use as instruments – Tupperware containers, pencils/pens, pots/pans, salt and pepper shakers…you get the idea.  Invite your kids to get creative, and don’t be afraid to join them! Schedule a family fun evening where everyone BYO’s their most creative idea to the jam session.  Play along to our Facebook Live session:

Quarantine songs jam!

Posted by Just Add Rhythm LLC on Thursday, April 2, 2020

Or you can find your own quarantine playlist.

Secret Song

Next, let’s try a game.  This is a crowd pleaser during our in-person sessions for all ages, and it’s super simple.  One person plays a short excerpt of a song on their “drum,” and everyone else has to guess what it is.  The obvious challenge is that because you’re only hearing the rhythm and not the melody, it’s harder to guess the song correctly. 

Of course, we encourage everyone to pick songs that most people will be familiar with (like nursery rhyme songs, Christmas or holiday songs, patriotic songs, etc.).  The example I usually give when I demonstrate is the Happy Birthday song (aren’t we all sick of singing that while we wash our hands).

Check out this Spotify playlist of songs almost everyone knows the words to (just be sure to check which few songs are explicit if you choose to play the recording) for some pop-inspired ideas.

Part of the fun is trying to figure out how to actually play the song on your instrument.  Once someone guesses it, you can all try to play it together – and have a laugh if you mess up!

Rhythmic Breathing

Finally, being stuck at home and dealing with this quarantine can be stressful.  Your kids might feel anxiety or worry about the health and safety of themselves, their family, their friends.  They might be wondering when it will end, and when they can go back to school, back to their usual activities.  Or, they (and you!) might just need a mental break.

We can help them manage some of that stress or anxiety with a rhythmic breathing exercise called the Stopwatch Technique.  Percussionist Jim Donovan (formerly of the band Rusted Root) leads transformational rhythm programs to empower people to use sound to improve their health.  He developed this simple technique that aligns slow, deep breathing with light rhythmic tapping on your lap.  Follow along with Jim’s video here:

We’re all in this together

Did you find these activities fun and helpful?  Drop a line on Facebook to let us know how the kids enjoyed them, and be sure to follow us.

You can also find us here:

Instagram

YouTube

We’re all in this together.  Please reach out to us if we can offer you any additional resources, exercises, or techniques to try!  Rhythm is fun, and it’s also been proven to help improve our mental, physical, and emotional health.  Let’s get drumming!

Contact us (https://justaddrhythmnow.com/contact-us/)

Alisha Ramcharitar, M.A. is a global bridge between West African culture and corporate and community wellness.  The Founder of Just Add Rhythm, she leads interactive, innovative programs in the Jacksonville area and throughout Florida.  Alisha is a REMO endorsed and HealthRHYTHMS® trained facilitator. She and her husband are the proud parents of an energetic baby boy and an even more rambunctious Goldendoodle.  She’d like to think she’s as good a ukulele player as Zooey Deschanel.

7 Photo Craft Projects Your Kids and Family Will Love Doing Together

Cute ways to incorporate photos into your arts & crafts projects.

Children love to be creative. Whether it’s finger painting on a Saturday morning or a new macaroni portrait of the dog, arts and craft projects are a fantastic way to not only get them to have some fun by exerting those creative juices but it’s also great for keeping them busy for a while.

If you’re always taking photos and are looking for new ways to display them, incorporating your latest shots into your child’s next arts and craft project is the perfect way to do just that.

Below are some fun ideas.

  1. Frame your memories. There are so many fun frames that you can make with your children that can be used to display your favorite photoss. If you’re heading to the seaside for your next holiday, make a point of bringing back a few shells that can be used to create a cute frame.
  2. Create a puzzle. Choose one of your favorite photos, enlarge it and print it. Stick the photo on some sturdy cardboard and coat it with an acrylic spray to protect it. Cut out some puzzle shapes and let your child put the photo back together again.  OR, check out this method for making a Lego puzzle: https://www.icanteachmychild.com/lego-picture-puzzles/
  3. Craft a fridge magnet. Get your child to draw something from their imagination but leave a space for a photo in the picture. Laminate the drawing and attach magnetic sheets or tape to the back for an instant photo frame for your fridge.
  4. Make a mobile. A mobile is a unique way to display your family tree. Checkout sites such as Pinterest for inspiration. There are tons of creative templates to use.
  5. Make a coaster. See those photos year round with a cool tile coaster, or put it on an easel for display. Maybe even put your child’s hand print on the back!
  6. Make an ornament! Use the photo transfer method mentioned below to transfer the image onto a ceramic ornament.
  7. Make a necklace of photo pendants. https://www.handimania.com/diy/photo-pendant.html

Doing a photo transfer is a great way to do many projects: http://www.architectureofamom.com/2014/11/photo-transfer-ceramic-ornament.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+ArchitectureOfAMom+(Architecture+of+a+Mom)&crlt.pid=camp.EpAnoqboi8df

Using family photos in your next arts and crafts session is the perfect way to bond with your child and share some beautiful memories. Have fun!

Christy Whitehead is a professional photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. She specializes in newborn, families and headshots. Don’t feel like making your own art wall? Christy has lots of cool portrait options from prints mounted to wood or even printed on metal.

Check her out online:

https://www.facebook.com/JaxPhotographer/

www.Jaxphotographer.com

How to Pick the Perfect Professional Photographer

How to Pick the Perfect Professional Photographer

Tips for what you need to consider before you pay that photography deposit.

Finding the perfect photographer can be overwhelming. There are a couple of important things to consider before booking.

What style are you looking for?

Photographers have different styles so you need to decide on someone who can help you achieve the end result you are looking for. This applies to everything from wedding and maternity shoots to family and corporate shoots. Ask the photographer for some examples of their latest work to evaluate whether they can cater to your needs.

Quality?

Look at their website and Facebook page. Are the portraits in focus? Are the colors off? Is the posing good?

Photographers typically only post a couple of their best photos from a session, so if the ones posted aren’t that great, it’s not a good sign.

Research and review.

Before you invest in a professional photographer you need to do your homework. Get online to find a few customer reviews, browse around their website to view their latest work and have a look around their social media pages to find out what others are saying about them. These platforms will also give you a good idea of their personality and style.

We have a ton of positive yelp reviews and Facebook reviews.

Some other important points to consider when researching photographers are:

  1. Budget. Do their services fall within your price range? Do they have a payment plan?
  2. Expertise. Are they experienced enough to give you the results you are looking for?
  3. Location. Are they based in your area and are they willing to travel to a specific location if need be? Do they have a studio?
  4. Quality. Is the quality of their photos good enough? Look at aspects such as sharpness, exposure, and saturation.

How about newborn photographers?

You don’t want just anyone handling your sweet new baby. Check to make sure the studio is licensed and insured. How many newborns have they photographed? What safety measures do they take?

Where are they photographing your baby or family? On railroad tracks–that is illegal. In a glass jar–highly dangerous! Hanging in a crocheted blanket from a tree limb–scary!

What about after the session?

Does the photographer provide any retouchups? Head swaps?

Our studio does full retouchups, removing acne, marks, etc. This is included as part of our service.

Who to choose?

Get in touch with the photographers you are considering and ask any questions that you might have. It’s important that you chat with the photographer over the phone if not in person as this is the best way to get to know them and find out whether you’re comfortable with them and feel they can do the job you need them to do.

It’s important that you pick a photographer that you have confidence in. While there is nothing wrong with helping out your hobby photographer friend who has just started out, it’s best to choose an experienced photographer for important events and occasions that you can’t relive.

jacksonville photographer

Our studio does studio and on location portraits and we’d be happy to discuss your session ideas with you.

How to Take Your own Newborn Photos Like a Pro, Tips From a Newborn Photographer

How to Take Newborn Photos like a Pro

By Christy Whitehead, www.JaxPhotographer.com

The first year of your baby’s life they change so much from day to day. While I highly recommend professional portraits, here’s some tips for capturing a few moments on your own as well.

newborn photography jacksonville fl
Newborn photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. Specializing in custom sets like this Toy Story set.

Let’s talk Lighting

Lighting is your friend, but not all lighting is created equal. Have you ever noticed how sometimes photos have a yellowish tint? Yeah, you can thank those indoor lights. So let’s look for some window/natural light.

Position your baby so that their head is closest to the window, and their little booty is parallel to the window (if you want mainly face photo) or farthest away from the window (if you want full body).

In studio, I use a big light that acts very similar to a window light and position it just to my right, and maybe slightly to my back.

Keep in mind, shadows are your friend! Without shadows, you’ll have a flat image and you won’t see all those cute little baby rolls.

Angles

Next thing to think about is the angle you take the photo, you don’t want to shoot so that you don’t see up into the baby’s nostrils, as that’s not flattering and creates a “black hole.”

Don’t forget to step back and get full body, as well as get close and get details.

If you’re doing a naked baby shot, you also have to think about all those little bits. You want everything tucked in so you don’t see their genitals. Push comes to shove, a little blanket can help cover things up.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Shoot straight on, stand up higher and get a shot from above, etc. Even going on the shadowed side and shooting back at the baby can create a nice effect.

Positioning

A large bean bag that is a bit stiff is a good place to start with posing your little one.

Some large throw blankets work great over the bean bag to not only help keep your little one warm, but also give you a nice soft backdrop.

Rolled towels are great for putting under the blankets to help prop them up.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Props or No Props?

Some people prefer very simple and clean. Either baby completely naked or with a little outfit on they want something that represents them and their personalities.

I often try to do both. But it’s something you’ll have to think about when you’re thinking about your own photos, what do you like?

Poses

Some different popular poses with your little one.

Families together.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Siblings with the new baby.

Depending on the older child’s age, you might want to position them laying down next to each other, or have the older child sit on the ground with the new baby in his lap. (I would have a spotter though, just in case!)

With each parent, individually.

Naked, skin on skin with dad is fun, especially if he has tattoos. Or if he’s military or has another uniform, that can be a great way to customize it.

Swaddled.

If you’re having a hard time getting your little one settled, a swaddled baby is typically a happy baby!

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Baby on tummy.

This gets a nice cute shot of their whole little body laying down in that cute little pose, showing off their toes and fingers.

Hands on arms/elbows, front view.

This is more of a straight shot of your little one, but can include a little bit of their whole body. But the focus is more on the face.

Head in hands.

Get dad to hold the new baby in his hands, it shows how little the baby’s head is at this time in his life, compared to daddy’s hands.

Wedding rings on toes or fingers.

This would be especially sentimental if you plan on gifting your child with those rings one day.

Baby on his back.

This can be a very natural pose for little one and if he has gas, the tummy pose may irritate them, but this pose is usually pretty comfortable.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Buckets and baskets.

Using a bucket or basket is popular with newborn photographers

Props.

Special toys can be a great way to make your session extra special. Oversided teddy? Make it look like your little one is sleeping in it’s lap. Grandma make the little one a special little doll, have her hold it.

Special items, like a wedding dress or veil is another nice idea to incorporate.

Use the crib as part of your session. Pose your little one in there on their belly, face towards you and shoot them through the bars or from above.

Types of Newborn Photography

There are two main different types of newborn photographers, lifestyle and studio/posed.

Lifestyle photographers are photographing things as they happen naturally. So if you like this style, you like the photos of the chaos of everyday situations—the house the way it is, the kids doing what they, want, etc. The only problem with doing this type of session yourself, is lifestyle sessions typically include YOU, the parent.

Studio/posed photography is how I typically shoot. While I shoot families with their little ones, it’s in studio, posed for the best possible results. While the family photos would be exceptionally hard to get on your own, since you need to hold the little one AND take the photo, posing your little one for some photos of only them.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Cameras

Cell phones have come a long way, but even as a professional, I still struggle to get great shots from my cell phone, so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone!

I shoot with Canon professional SLR cameras, if you want some info about what I shoot with and what I recommend, check out the For Photographers section on my website for info about education and gear. https://www.jaxphotographer.com/photographers/faq-gear-getting-legal

Safety

Baby rolling, or kicking out. Little ones like to push and kick, always be careful of where they are on a prop, make sure they aren’t too close to an edge or on an unstable prop, like a bucket without help. I have an assistant or parent sit near me, within reach in case they need to grab the little one, as safety is of the utmost importance.

Strap on camera. This may sound crazy, but if you’re photographing above the baby, make sure the strap is on your wrist tight or around your neck. The last thing you would want is to accidentally drop the camera on your little one!

Glass jars, etc. There was a time when people put babies into glass jars with their heads sticking out, etc. This is dangerous. What if the baby kicks out or something happens and the jar falls and cracks? I would only hope that all photos using things like glass jars are being photoshopped and not really done.

Railroad tracks. What most people don’t realize is, shooting on railroad tracks is illegal. Even adults who know what they are doing have been caught by surprise and killed, here in the US, so just avoid the railroad tracks.

Fabric hanging. Sometimes, people request a shot of their little one inside a wrap, lifted off the ground. When we shoot this, we do this on top of a bean bag and there is a spotter right there to help in case the little one were to fall, etc.

Taco Pose.

A lot of people love the shot with the babies legs all the way to the front near the baby’s face. I’m not a huge fan of this shot. Not all babies will do this pose, some just aren’t this limber. Also, if they have gas, tummy issues, or anything else that is bothering them, they may not want to do this pose at all.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Head on hands.

This is a popular request and we do it quite a bit. But what most people don’t realize is, this shot is typically composited. Basically, we set the baby up in the pose, and my assistant holds their hands at the bottom, under the chin, I take a photo, and then she moves her hand to hold the baby’s head and I take another photo. Then I combine these shots in Photoshop, to create what looks like the baby is resting on her hands. Little baby heads are quite heavy and it would not be comfortable for them to rest on their hands, if they can do it at all. So if you’ve tried to do this shot and couldn’t, this is the secret of how I do it!

Help!

Even with all these tips, I don’t know that I could even go over everything I’ve learned over the years on how to create the best newborn portraits while keeping your little one’s safety in mind.

If you’re struggling to take photos of your little baby, or just overwhelmed with the thought of it, give me a call, (904) 891-0359 or shoot me an email Christy@jaxphotographer.com

Christy Whitehead is a pregnancy, newborn and cake smash photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. She has been voted best photographer multiple times and has been featured on Buzzfeed multiple times for her fun and geeky photos.

www.Jaxphotographer.com

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newborn photography jacksonville fl
Some of our geeky newborn sets!

Shark Week: Hunting for Shark’s Teeth–a fun outing in Florida!

I’ve lived in Florida most all of my life and I’ve only ever found ONE shark’s tooth. My husband loves to go to the beach and walk and look, but we just never find them.

I’m one of those people that for gifts I rather give experiences, so for Father’s Day, I found Fossil Florida through a friend and booked Chase for a 4 hour private fossil/shark’s tooth dig for 4 people.

My father in law, Felix, my hubby, Andy and my daughter Spencer woke up early one Friday morning to meet up with Chase in Gainesville.

My haul!

We were hunting for about 3 hours or so and I found about 120 shark’s teeth, plus sting ray teeth, an alligator tooth plus some other stuff, including a broken Megladon tooth.

I posted a photo on Facebook and EVERYONE was asking me how we found so many shark’s teeth, where, etc.

I have been back since, when my brother came to town, but we just went by ourselves, not with Chase. I HIGHLY recommend going with Chase. One of the biggest reasons is his knowledge.

He is super friendly, great with kids and REALLY knowledgeable about everything you find and run across. He loves what he does and you can tell! Plus he goes to different places all over the state to hunt!

My daughter found a huge Megalodon tooth that she is sooo proud of. My father in law found a tooth that Chase absolutely loved, my FIL tried to give it to him, but he refused, but politely offered to turn it into a necklace for my FIL.

Cell phone photo of my daughter, Spencer, and her Megalodon tooth!

Chase said he has found arrowheads while doing the digs also!

We had a great experience and I wanted to share it with everyone and with this week being Shark Week, and Chase just having his first boy (shark theme nursery, of course!) this last month, this seemed like the perfect time!

He provides EVERYTHING you need for your hunt and is a great host that keeps digging and refilling your sifter with sand/fossils! All you need is a bottle of water, swimsuit and maybe some snacks!

Read all the way to the end for my review and a DISCOUNT CODE!!!

Cell phone shot of Chase and his daughter hunting!

From Chase: We are super excited about shark week, my daughters are making shark art and Wednesday I am displaying my shark tooth art at Art Walk in Jacksonville! 

My grandmother was a pro at finding shark teeth at the beach, I would walk next to her and not finding any as she picked them up right and left.

I remember always looking at her piece of art my aunt made for her with their findings from a trip to Fernandina Beach–It has hundreds of shark teeth and even a nice 2” Megalodon!

I always looked for them at the beach, and in the shell cart path ways at the golf course, but it wasn’t until a friend of mine showed me that you could find them by diving in the dark creeks I grew up swimming and fishing in.

The first time I went looking in a creek, over 10 years ago, I found a 2.5” Megalodon tooth and I was hooked! My favorite place to hunt fossils is scuba diving or snorkeling in Florida waters like deep creeks/rivers. The fossils accumulate in the gravel when the water ways wash through the ancient layers. 

The teeth I found–Christy

I have found the fossilized teeth and bones of many of Florida’s extinct and living animals, from alligators and dolphins to horses and bears. Shark teeth being the most common of course.

In the past year, I have picked up approximately 100,000 shark teeth of all different shapes sizes and colors. The majority of them going into my fossil Florida artwork, the largest of which contained almost 10,000 teeth alone!

One of Chase’s pieces on his website. Florida COMPLETELY made with fossils!

A large variety of recognizable shark teeth and other fossils go into our interactive fossil dig kits as well!

One of my favorite finds is a 3.5” perfect ancient dolphin/whale relative known as a delphinodon. They aren’t found too often and it’s the only one like it I have seen!

Anything funny ever happen? I once took a family to a small private creek and ran across a 7’ rat snake, I grabbed it by the tail and tossed it off in the woods. The family was a little surprised, but that’s how Florida is.

How do you see your company in five years? I will continue making art, leading private guides and expanding our jewelry and dig kit lines.

Sharks lose an average of 30,000 teeth in their lifetime, that times millions of sharks, and 400 million years, there are still many to be found!

We will be expanding our private guide areas, and looking to start taking children’s groups in the future!

How can people book you?

DISCOUNT CODE to get a free mini dig kit with any purchase from the website: Sharkblog

fossilauctions@gmail.com

www.fossilforida.com

Details of some of the teeth I found. The bottom right is an alligator tooth.
Cell phone photo of our gang. Chase provided the sifting pans and the bags to put our teeth in.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christy Whitehead is a photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. She often shoots product photography and head shots in her studio and on location.

School is Back in Session: Creative Ways to Photograph the First Day of School

ICongrats parents, you made it! You survived summer break. Here’s some ideas for those back to school portraits.

The first day of school is a milestone for all kids and parents. I always try to catch a photo of my kids on their first day to show how big they were, what they wore, etc. Over the years, it’s fun to look back on those images and to see how much they’ve grown from one year to the next

Below are some really cute ideas that you can use to make your child’s first day of school photos memorable and unique.

  1. Get a shot of the outfit. You’ve spent the time choosing the perfect outfit for this day so why not hang it up somewhere and get a shot of it before they get dressed? Lay the outfit out on your child’s bed and take a shot from above or place it on a cute hanger and hang it against the door. Then, once your little one has it on, let them give you their best model pose with it on!
  2. Use a blackboard. Incorporate a cute blackboard with a frame into the photos. Fill the blackboard with facts such as the date, their age or even what they want to be when they grow up. Easels also work really well for this and will give you more space to be creative.
  3. A drawing. Get your child to draw themselves on their first day of school and include this in your photo. Or have them write their name and incorporate that into the photo to show off how their penmanship has changed as well.
  4. Show their progress. While taking a picture on the first day of school is a must, make a point of taking a photo on the last day of the school year too. It’s always kind of sad to compare the two photos for me. Another sweet idea is to get your kid to pose with their first day of school photo from the previous year to show their progress. Or have them wear the same outfit as the first day of school!

By having fun and making this moment a big deal for your children, you will instill confidence in them and prepare them for the day and year ahead. Good luck parents!

A Sweet Local Company: Bee Friends Farm

A couple of months ago, I was over at Diamond D Horse Ranch for an event and ran into Bee Friends Farm and their honey products. At first, I didn’t think it was local, the logo and packaging just looked very corporate and national. I’m a huge honey fan and am always buying local honey, so I was shocked to find that it was a Jacksonville-based company.

I bought a bunch of items and took a couple of quick product photographs in our studio and I wanted to share some info about them as well as our own personal review!

Product Photography of Bee Friends Farms honey, labels and logo.

They had a product that I had never seen before called Roasted Toasted Salted Pecan Honey. They call it pecan pie in a jar. If you love pecans and honey, this is amazing. I honestly wasn’t sure what I would think of it, but I hid it from my kids so I wouldn’t have to share. I bought pecans and added it to the jar and added honey and it’s not the same, but it is getting me through my withdrawals! LOL.

I bought some for my mother in law as well and she said she thought it was weird but when she tasted it fell in love with it as well!

The company is run by third generation beekeepers. Leach has been a draftsman, engineer and so much more. When the market crashed his successful cabinetry business fell with it and he was looking for something new.

Michael had always learned a lot from oral history and getting into hives so he started selling bee equipment in 2009 and then in 2013 moved over to honey production as Bee Friends Farm.

Brentley Stead is the Marketing Director for Bee Friends Farm, though she says, Bee Friends Farm Wrangler is more accurate. She got her start with the company after college and says that they run the company full time and it’s a lot more time consuming than folks think!

“Between maintaining our retail stores (you can find a map of our local retailers here), bottling honey, taking care of bees, selling honey at events and doing educational events there’s a lot to get done,” she says. “We have about 400 hives right now and we are looking to expand to 700 by the fall!”

They are currently located right off of I10 and Lane Ave but are migratory beekeepers which means they move the bees depending on what blooms are in season.

What has been the hardest part about working with family, as a family run business?

Having a family run business means we can focus on what needs to be done because we all chip in for tasks that must be accomplished for the business to move forward. That might mean test tasting products, late nights moving bees, cleaning toilets, running around making deliveries the possibilities are endless and it isn’t always glamorous. Because we are all in this together, we get it done together. 

Christie, Michael’s wife, and their three children are always pitching in. At markets, with creative projects and more they are always willing to help! Christie is also the mastermind behind why our Creamed Honey is so delicious. She plays a big role in our fundraising programs for schools as well. 

Can people visit the farm?

We wish we could say yes to this request and we are working on it! For now, we have a couple of great opportunities: You can come visit us the first Saturday of every month when we host a bee mentoring workshop with the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association which is a very cool way to get some hands-on education and meet fellow beekeepers.

We also host a Honey Tasting Workshop with Congaree and Penn practically every month. You can find info on both opportunities on our website – and if we start to open up the farm social media would know first! We are also excited to announce our upcoming Honey Bee Festival on August 17th. Fans can find more info on the event here: https://beefriendsfarm.com/pages/honey-bee-festival

FUN STUFF:

What is your favorite thing to do around Jacksonville?

We have some great outdoor opportunities in Jacksonville like the Arboretum, farm visits at Congaree and Penn, taking a book to Memorial Park, hanging beachside, biking trails and more. 

When your family comes to town, what is something you guys always have to do while they are in town?

There are so many great markets around town and pop-up events picking one of those is a great way to spend a day! 

What’s your favorite bee related movie?

We are loving the bee/honey segment in the four-part series Rotton which you can find on Netflix. It’s very accurate – know your beekeeper! 

What’s your current obsession? 

Craft beverages are super fun right and we’ve been experimenting with other local businesses in town! For example, Wicked Barley specializes in meads and they have been using different types of our honey to make some magic happen, or Hive Alive who specializes in Jun Kombucha which uses honey instead of sugar. Cocktails are all the rage too (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and working with Volstead downtown and Wildcrafters in Riverside – an upcoming alcohol-free bar –  is always exciting for us. 

Where do you see Bee Friends in 5 years?

We hope to still be producing the best quality honey in North Florida! We are also currently working towards expanding into beekeeping equipment and selling bees again. There’s up and coming beekeeping community and we want to help make sure they get quality supplies and bees. Maybe get into more backyard beekeeper education – stay tuned! 

My daughter’s favorite lemon creamed honey!

Favorite dessert?

Honey!! In all seriousness, there is a local ice cream maker in Springfield, Thomas Reed Creamery, who makes small batches for his neighbors and he makes some honey-based icecreams that are divine! 

We also specialize in Cream Honey which is a crystallized version of our Jacksonville Wildflower and then we add an infusion of spices or extracts. That crystallization is what gives it that thick, rich texture. There is no added sugar or dairy. My favorite is Mexican Vanilla it is rich and smooth and the vanilla almost mellows out the sweetness.

Favorite restaurant?

Oh, we love so many, but are pretty partial to spots like Bread and Board, Vagabond Coffee, Ugly Cupcake, and Vitality Bowls. 

Education is very important to Bee Friends and they try to do a lot of outreach in schools and troops/kids club (which they do not charge for).

We bring our observation hive and bee suit and the kids can’t get enough! We offer fundraising programs for those schools as well – it makes a nice change of pace from wrapping paper and cheesecakes. 

We also do special events and people can book our Tasting Experience for weddings, corporate events, parties etc. 

What if I want to be a beekeeper or want more info?

For those looking to become beekeepers, interested in beekeeping we recommend coming out to our upcoming event on August 17th the Bee Friends Farm Honey Bee Festival. All of the local Beekeeping Clubs will be in attendance and available to answer your questions! 

The Jacksonville Beekeepers Association is an amazing organization and we work closely with them. Any time anyone is interested in learning more about beekeeping or our fabulous community the Jacksonville Beekeepers Association is a fabulous year around resource. Find more from them at JaxBees.com

FIND THEM:

Instagram: @beefriendsfarm

Facebook: Bee Friends Farm 

Website: www.beefriendsfarm.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/394541568060756/

Christy Whitehead is a corporate and product photographer located in Jacksonville, Florida. She photographs headshots and products for many types of companies. She often features local companies and products on her blog that she thinks other people might find interesting as well!