The Beauty of the Face and its Subtleties

My favorite thing about portrait photography is capturing the subtleties of the face. How micro expressions develop out of the smallest of movements and adjustments.

A little twitch, a minor change in posture, the smallest rise of the eyebrow can bring an image from ok to wow in a fraction of a heartbeat. This is beautiful. What landscape photographers possibly wait an hour or more for, those who capture people can attain in seconds. Now, of course in both instances the subjects have to cooperate and both could strike out and gain not a thing but one has control over their subjects and the other is at the mercy of mother nature.

My last session of 2015 was with a dancer that had a look I noticed down at the school while shooting rehearsals last spring. A look that screamed to be captured. This has happened more than once for various reasons, but this instance spoke volumes, moved me quite a bit. And it was all about the look of the face.

Christmas Holidays gave her mom and I the time needed to schedule the session. Fanfreakintastic is was. Still going through all the images but I came across this series of eight successive images that reveals what drives me in creating portraits. Each frame is different, each look unique. Some work, some do not.

The first two images are the concluding run of some keepers, then I lost her for a minute before getting her back. Processing was just some minor tweaks in Lightroom, none of these have been retouched yet. Kylie_PShepherd-23-2Kylie_PShepherd-24-2

I started losing her here a bit as we transitioned into a different feel. This is where the subtle movement comes in. I always capture the transitions, you never know what will come out of them. The fortunate thing about the digital age. Kylie_PShepherd-25-2Kylie_PShepherd-26-2Kylie_PShepherd-27-2

Those times when you wish you remembered what you said to get this reaction. Probably threw out a Hurleyism. Kylie_PShepherd-28-2Kylie_PShepherd-29-2

Transition complete, we have a winner. A completely different look seven images later and some fun in the process. How beautiful is that!  Kylie_PShepherd-30-2

Looking forward to many great things in 2016. I wish all of you a great transition in to the new year as well.

Thanks for Stopping by, drummers will be coming soon! Till next time…


Honing In

The past couple of years has been a whirlwind of learning for me while pressing that little button. I think I am close to developing  a consistent style, but am still searching for that consistent look to my images. The last couple of months I have been narrowing down that look a bit trying to hone in to something concrete. I think I do not shoot enough in the studio yet to really dig into something viable, being only part time, but I have created many images I am proud of.


ErikaBSr_PShepherd-115 BrookeCarleigh_PShepherd-69-Edit

We are mainly talking about people here. People in my studio. My nature images are beautiful, I think, but not my forte. They come from an allure of being smitten by what mother nature presents to us. Soulful and heartfelt. Though now whenever I feel the follicles raise, I make sure and capture something I can use with my portrait work as well. I suck at making selections, but I love blending textures and overlays. This I am sure will lead to composites sooner than later. Growing in to that one slowly but surely. Love Joel Grimes, and I have been following Renee Robyn lately. She is the definition of cool.


I love the music images, but we are so dependent of the venue for usable light, I throw away more than I keep. For the record I think flash in rude in this scenario. Yes, sometimes, when allowed, it is necessary. But then you lose what you see. I have not used flash at a gig in forever, but when I did, or when I will, I utilize a rogue grid to maintain as much ambient feel as possible.  Defined direction of light. And while this is for a different post, the majority of the time, gear does matter!



I love head shots for the purity of the image. There are many definitions about what a head shot is and how it looks and I have seen images that have been called head shots but I call a portrait. It’s all in the application of the image I suppose. I am a disciple of the Peter Hurley style of head shot. Pure, head and shoulders, simple background. All about the expression. And in this age of social imaging, having a good head shot is so important. Yup, I still need one too.



And usually at the end of a session, before we go, things get a little unpredictable


The journey will continue. I will continue to grow, everyday is a learning experience which is embraced and cherished. There are a few people who are on my radar, some visions I need to fulfill and I am expanding into a few different arenas. I think 2016 is going to be a fantastic year.

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for stopping by, till next time!

A Heady Plea

This entry is not about the pictures. It is a heady plea to protect our children and their friends. Schools are out and the weather is warm. Skateboards, bicycles, roller blades, quads, dirt bikes, the list goes on. Many people like to tempt fate and leave their buckets on the shelf when they go out.

My full time job, the one that pays the bills is a Paramedic. I do not ride full time any longer on the truck because of administrative responsibilities but I still see my fare share of neglect.  The following excerpt can be about anyone of us, any of our children, families or friends. It is actually a pretty generic description of incidents that transpire everyday:

Pt found lying on side of road prone, combative, confused. Pt was on his skateboard    going down a large street hill , fell off hitting the back of his head and sliding down    street approx 3-4 feet, Positive Loss of Consciousness. Pt combative ,  vomiting. Large laceration with crepitus to  back of head, Abrasions to Left eye, L shoulder , L elbow, L flank, R + L knees.  Raccoon  eyes noted with pupils equal and reactive to light. Pt repetitive questioning, c/o  headache and feeling cold with no recall of incident.

Do you know what was missing? The Brain Bucket. Too cool. Too Hot, Too Cocky. Too Stupid. Neglect? Perhaps. This is the helmet I wear when I am cycling. Yes it was somewhat expensive. But there are ones much less expensive and crash worthy enough for skate boards and the like. And definitely cooler looking.


This is not recent, probably about 8 years ago, debridement sucks….. a bunch. But I had a helmet on..Did not even think of putting this in until now. …But it works.

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So if you do not have a helmet, if your kids do not have a helmet, if your friends neighbors cousins do not have helmets, urge them on. Save a brain.  Better to lose a little off the top of your helmet…..

BrainBucket_PShepherd-6Than off the top of your head….

All for now, till next time!


A Young Dancer’s Words

I wanted to share something my daughter recently wrote. She has been a recreational dancer for the past 9 years and has participated on our dance schools competition team for the last 4 years. All those things that young teens do to their parents vanish when they are at dance and I am thankful that she has this opportunity and that she is growing because of it.



You can’t just do dance. It’s all about having the passion within, and connecting to the music through the moves. It’s about feeling every single step, and always trying your hardest. It’s about enjoying yourself and having fun. Dance is a story within your soul. I don’t dance because I have to, I dance because it makes me happy.

B.A.S. 4/2014


“Dance is a story within your soul”

Wow, such a strong, passionate and meaningful statement from a young teenager. You go young love, pen us some more prose! Of course as a parent one can not ask one to write more, we just have to wait till it happens again. Encourage delicately….


Hat throw








Keep on Dancing!


My Apologies, I have not been able to stay on top of the blog lately, been a bit distracted

Fear not though, I am still getting to capture some images

I hope to be back in the swing of things soon though, healing takes time and I am sure most of you would agree, family comes first. Underneath my stoic exterior I am still a bit uneasy, this one was scary.

For my wife, the mother of our beautiful daughter, A woman as tough as they come.


Thanks for stopping by, Talk to you soon!