Looking from a Different Perspective…

It is amazing what turns out when things do not work out like you want. Bordering on the magikal. This past weekend I was experimenting with a bit of a high key, beauty look with two lovely young ladies who are close friends of our family. My influence behind this shoot came from a Lindsey Adler presentation on Creative Live. The premise is to shoot lights into angled V flats to create a wrap around dreamy look.  Had to do a bit of improvising with the materials as I do not have the V flats yet. A bit difficult to transport 4×8 sheets of foamcore in our vehicles right now. I just utilized a couple of reflectors positioned at 45 degrees on either side and had one speedlite pointing into each one. I also played with a light from above through a 12″ softbox.

One of the resulting images:


This set up worked great with this young lady but I could not reproduce this effect with her older sister. I thought this to be quite odd and attributed it to the fact that her hair was darker. I changed exposures and positioning of the lights and reflectors to no avail. We did get some very awesome material out of it though.

After presenting the final images to mom I went back and looked at the ones that did not make the cut. After reviewing them again I was wondering what my deciding factor in not selecting them the first time was. Little things that bothered me perhaps, a few were too hot or uneven. Maybe I was just being stubborn because they did not turn out like I had visioned. And this is where the Magik kicks in…

After some more reviewing and different edits I think I actually came up with images that trump most of the ones that I had initially presented. Got to hate when that happens… Again, good friends, second family, party buddies… makes it all easier to present a second set of shots.

First one of the shots that made the final cut..I think if I had the full V going I would have been able to achieve what I was initially looking for although I really like this image.

EmilyHK_pSp-44And a few of the ones that did not, but after re-edits should have.

Em_PhilShepherdPhotography-5 Em_PhilShepherdPhotography Em_PhilShepherdPhotography-2 Em_PhilShepherdPhotography-3

This style is very different for me, but it is one I am going to be expanding on and get dialed in. My main focus will always be head shots,  but I will be doing some more with the beaty/glamour style of shooting and see how I like it. And as I have been told before, never get rid of the images you do not like, for one day you may look at them in a different way and something magical will happen.

Lots of dancing to come in the next three weeks, recital and then nationals!

Thanks for stopping by, Till next time…     

A Fathers Pride…

It is that time of year once again, school formals and proms. This is our first of many formals to come for our little dancer and this father could not be prouder of what our daughter is becoming, a beautiful young lady. This one does not have the angst for me as I am sure future ones will, but I know that day will soon be upon us. As a child grows so does her parents.

Our daughter has been so looking forward to putting on her new dress and at the same time I was so looking forward to photographing her in her new dress. We had a timeline all set and 50 minutes was slotted for me to do my thing. Well, much like any fine tuned agenda things change in a hurry. 50 minutes turned into 20. 20 minutes of camera time for a daughter who avoids a camera like a pro. A rushed chaos kissed being creative goodbye, but I did my best to capture the beauty she portrayed…..and the teenager she is.


My hopes were to try a few different gels on the background, get some grids going all around and create what any normal teen goes through…drama. I had two very creative people with me but with only twenty minutes I decided to play it safe and stay neutral. Good thing is, we are having a party for her next month and I will get my time fulfilled.

Looking up

I think this may sound selfish and a bit unusual, but I am relieved that she looks her age. Thinking the hairdo let that happen.


Congratulations my young love on your first formal and your upcoming graduation. You done good kid!

A Happy Teen

 Thanks for stopping by! Till the next time…


“They all look the same”. I heard a person at the conference I attended say this to his friend as we were walking by Peter Hurley’s workshop. Slowing down and turning ever so slightly to this gentleman I responded, “Totally different, each picture is totally different from the other”. He turned away, I kept walking and wondered how can someone be so close minded as to not appreciate the subtleties the human face has to offer.

I have been pursuing the art of head shot photography for about six months now which just happens to be half of the twelve months since I began pursuing serious photography. The subtleties are the exact reason I have chosen head shots to be my main point of focus…. The difference between a bad shot and a good shot, even a good shot and a great shot can literally be a matter of millimeters of facial movement. Nailing this expression is a joy to behold. Reviewing the expressions can also be cause for a good laugh as well. It is like one of those books where if you turn the pages fast the story plays out before your eyes.

Using my wife as an example, these shots are taken within a nineteen second time period. I think that having a family member in front of your camera is much more difficult than a client when you are trying to pull out an expression. My wife was much more cooperative than my young teenage daughter though, I really thought it would be the other way around. Still, they seem to put a force field of no emotion up in front of the camera that is exceedingly difficult to crack.

I have no recollection of what I was saying during this time frame, all is I know is that whatever it was some of it worked, and some did not. I was probably making a fool of myself. She despises the camera and both of them are very good at avoiding it. And they keep their mouth forced shut!  But this was an actual request which I was very happy to fulfill.

In position and ready to go, trying for the serious look, ha! Little did she know. Notice mouth curled down, eyes flat. Not happy at all to be doing this. I think I was working her prior to this series, the picture before this was 45 seconds prior. Trying to get rid of this look.

Into position

Whatever I said in the three second period here I will never know. But a step forward, mouth curled up, though still a bit tense, little rise in the cheeks, eyes still flat


Working the eyes, a little too much, mouth still tense, overcompensating from direction. Looks like I did not even develop this one


A little smooth talking and suddenly the eyes taking shape, she’s still holding back on me though


Gotcha! And there she is, Genuine and happy, head forward,chin and jaw visible


Probably should have went with it some more, but praise is good. I think in this case it was congratulations, I knew you could do it. Eyes and mouth slightly dropped, head coming up, back to far.


Head shots are a representation of you. The purist form of representation available. Just you, your eyes, your mouth, your hair, your chin, your head. A tremendous story is told by this simple yet entirely complex form of photography. How you see yourself or how someone might see you, what you are saying to the world.

A job you seek as a performing artist or a business owner seeking new clients may depend upon your look and I am confident and pleased that I know this look and how to pull it out of you.Many people are incorporating head shots in their social media profiles as well. Now if I could just have the patience to get a selfie.

So I will continue to hone my craft and continue to help get people auditions just based on their head shots. I will be partaking in one of Mr. Hurley’s workshops in a few months to really ramp things up. It is a very satisfying feeling to have, to know that you have helped someone work towards their goal. And that is what life is about, recognizing the subtleties, the little changes and how they can have such a huge effect on an outcome.

Naturally my wife does not like how she looks in her pictures, and of course being a good husband I disagree with her and think otherwise….as do all of her friends and family.

To see some of my head shots just go here. I am still building my portfolio so if you reside in Central NJ and have a goal you need to reach just give me a shout!

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…

The On the Road Seminar

I just completed a two day Photography seminar in Atlantic City, NJ entitled On the Road 2013. It was an incredibly educational experience and I can not recommend it enough. Speakers and presenters included some of the top names in the industry and tracks were available for shooting and business. The Seminar was primarily geared towards wedding shooters with day one being a lecture day and day two splitting between lectures and hands on workshops. There was even a special guest appearance by a non wedding photographer.

A cell phone shot while waiting for the constant lighting workshop, these Kinoflos will soon be replaced by the Medusa.

The infamous triangle
The infamous triangle

It was very interesting to listen to and watch the different styles of the photographers present. Each with their own personality and style, each with their own unique opinions of the industry and why they do what they do. Yet they are all friends, each with their own market and clientele.

Three of my favorite lectures:

Douglas Gordon. This dude is a bundle of energy and incredibly passionate about what he does. Kevin Kubota is the suave, laid back west coaster who is super intelligent and a great educator. Jerry Ghionis. He has an Australian accent, how can you not like him? Unassuming, tells it like it is. In all seriousness, the look and feel of the photographs he produces are some of my favorites for this genre. Fashion mixed with romance. Canon Explorer of Light Bob Davis, Speedlite master Ryan Brenizer, and the non wedding guy rounded out my Photo series lectures. There were a few others as well that I did not have the opportunity to  view.

So since I was at a photo seminar you would think I would have lots of pictures, right? I took some cell phone shots to tweet out during the event and the opportunity did present itself during the workshops but they would really not be my photos even if they are in my camera. Staged models with lighting already set up, I choose not to ride coat tails so I did not take any pictures during the workshops. However…

While taking an after dinner stroll, camera present and a 50 attached, I wanted to capture the clouds rolling in on the casinos across the bay:

CloudsAnd of the reflections going on throughout the marina

Reflections R

I was a bit worried I would need a tripod for these but it looks like I managed out OK

Reflections L

This is the second seminar I have been to this year and the quality of knowledge made available has been so beneficial to me; should anyone ever think about attending a photography seminar, do so. You will not be disappointed.

Oh Yeah, that non wedding guy? He stole the show! His lecture was packed, his workshops had the most people in attendance and even the event host was intrigued and managed to get in front of his camera. Mr. Hurley has been a great source of inspiration for me and someone I will continue to be learning from as I pursue my craft. I will be following up this post in a few days with one about a conversation I overheard and briefly joined in on in regards to Mr. Hurley’s forte. A post ultimately made possible by my wife – as I was on my way home I received a text from her requesting some head shots. Timing could not have been better. Love it!

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…