Estienne Sheppard Says People Are Her Favourite Thing To Photograph.. Read Her Q&A About Bribery, Sweets And Photographes!
Estienne Sheppard's beautiful picture of a little girl enjoying Love Bath captured captured the moment for The Bath Parent magazine, and became its cover photo! Now in her third career of photography, Estienne tells us why people are her favourite subject to photograph 'they are God's best creation', why her faith in God motivates her to keeping photographing and why bribery with sweets is good for daddies and kids when it comes to the family portrait.
(PICTURES: ESTIENNE SHEPHERD, ESTIENNE WITH HER DAUGHTER BEAU, AN IMAGE FOR HER HER NEW WEBSITE)
Estienne it says on your website that before becoming a photographer that you had an award winning career in fashion and art, tell us more?
I was born and grew up in South Africa and studied to become a fashion designer
and was awarded 'National Young Designer of the year' many years ago! I had my own company and label 'Estienne.' I then later used my artistic nature to follow my brother's lead and paint contemporary images which eventually replaced my fashion career full time. My Fashion lecturer spoke some powerful words over me that stayed with me ... he said 'Whatever you do in life, you will make a success of it!'
How long did you work in fashion and art - and when did you discover your God given passion and flair for photography?
I was in fashion design for 10 years, art for 15 years and then naturally discovered an ability to photograph in an artistic way from 2002 thanks to the birth of our gorgeous daughter Beau, whom I photographed creatively so as to capture her early years. My friends then said I was talented and asked me to photograph their own children before encouraging me to take it up fully. We prayed and sensed it was right because the art market was slowing down and becoming difficult and sensed that this was God's way of providing for us and extending my creativity.
What inspired you to take your first picture?
It was our new born daughter - Beau.
How would you describe yourself?
As you may have picked up, I'm very artistic, creative but also a lover of people.
As a photographer I have a passion to capture people as they are and for them to see exactly what God has blessed them with - their family. I get into 'the zone' when photographing because my clients are my focus and I want to create visual memories that will last and speak to them for years.
Do you specialise in family portraiture? And capturing special moments? Looking at your work online - you seem to be able to capture the 'id' of a person, capture a moment of freedom/humour - how does the process work when you are photographing someone/a family?
Yes I do. I praise God when my clients marvel at how they have been captured
naturally, expressing joy and in very natural environments. I really try to make it fun and relaxed so that clients aren't tense or freaking out because a strange photographer is pointing at them! If they can be themselves with an added twist of joy, their pictures turn out great.
What is your favourite thing/scenario to capture on film?
I have photographed beautiful products for the likes of 'Heaven's Attic,' but people without doubt. Scenery is beautiful, but God's greatest creation was people.
Does your faith in God inform your photography?
Completely. I believe that I am a new Creation in Jesus and that God wired me as I am. I know whether capturing or editing that He is with me. Prov 16:3 challenges me to commit everything to Him and it will be successful and that's what I try to do. It's written that the Holy Spirit is my helper - and I need Him and that God is my provider, not my clients. I pray and trust Him for the right open doors, the right clients, the right weather conditions and for me to be at my best.
How did it feel to see an image you captured of a little one on the front of Bath Parent magazine recently?
It brought me joy and if it can open doors for my business or for me to get to know people - great!
How did that come about?
I made my images available to Sam the editor as we have had a partnership for a few years now. I also did Sam's profile picture for the magazine which is what I do for quite a few people in business who need a good head shot.
They say don't work with children or animals - but perhaps work with both! What's your secret?
Bribing them with sweets...and that's just the animals!! A sweet for a smile works when needed, but I have invested in squeaky toys and played little games to get
initially unwilling children to 'get in the mood,' and some dad's too! Seriously, I ask God to orchestrate everything and he is so faithful.
Your husband is Grant Sheppard of WSM.. How do your contrasting careers work side by side?
I can't throw a ball and he can't draw a straight line - doesn't God have a sense of humour? We have to constantly communicate plans and agree timings because God comes first in our lives, then one another, family, before our work; we are both very busy with our work and Grant helps me as part of my advisory team and I get to take some photographs for World Sport Ministries at their various outreach projects.
Anything you would like to add? Or appeal for?
Would love people to see my NEW website
and I'm willing to do a special offer where anyone booking a photo shoot before September 30 to do the shoot before November the 30. I will do it for Half Price - £49 if they do so quoting 'Springboard2012.'
Do you want to contact Estienne? Telephone 01225 851599 or email her via her website
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