Be Active!

One of the best parts of being a photographer is being connecting with people and families, and helping them commemorate their special events. Graduations, reunions and weddings are the milestones that matter, and it’s my great pleasure being invited to be a part of old traditions and new celebrations.


Recently, though, I had the opportunity to take part in something very different but equally important – a Big Brothers Big Sisters event. When I was contacted by Canada Dry Motts to cover London’s most recent “Be Active!” day with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the word that popped out of my mouth was a resounding “absolutely!” Not only am I always up for capturing memories and moments for people, but it’s an event that encourages active participation in fitness – something my wife and I have made a priority in our own lives.

As told to me by BBBSOLA Development Coordinator, Anne-Marie:

The event on Saturday was to celebrate a $10,000 donation of sporting equipment by Goodsports and Canada Dry Motts. In order to celebrate, we held a special Be Active! event, which is a program for matches that offers fun opportunities for physical activity. Be Active! runs once per month and can include a number of group activities from soccer baseball in Victoria Park, to learning basketball skills with the London Lightning basketball team.


With the donation of new equipment, we are thrilled to be able to give matches more fun options when it comes to how they get physically active.”

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, or simply get more information, you can contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area at 519-438-7065 x6200 or visit them at


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Giving Thanks

Having just finished up with our annual Turkey-stravaganza (three family gatherings and enough food to feed a small town), I’ve found myself thinking about a very brief but powerfully impactful event that happened over the weekend.

Thanksgiving Day is generally (regardless of what it meant decades or centuries before), a day to gather with your family and break big bread with them. To some, it means football, to others it simply means a long weekend and short work week. However, one very real point of the day is right in the name itself: to give thanks (or, if you prefer, to take a moment and appreciate) for those good things in your life. A buddy of mine reminded me of that with one simple out-of-the-blue text …

“I’m thankful you’re my friend. :)”

It made me realise that I should be mindful, a lot more mindful, of the things I have to be thankful for in my life …

Even though (to anyone who knows me) it goes without saying, I’m thankful for my wife. Having her light, love and laughter in my life makes every day a great day.

Mom's Thanksgiving Day Portrait

My parents … all three of them. We don’t get to see each other often enough due to distance but we do what we can. This weekend, my mother came down for a visit and I took the opportunity to take her portrait before she headed home (seeing as how she’s been a photographer for 20+ years and my introduction to it, I thought it was apropos).

My good friends Dave, Mike, Andi, Brad and Smitty. Always there when I need them.

My health. It may seem trite but I’m rarely sick.

I’m also thankful for my career. Through it, I get to create and play and express myself. I get to meet some pretty cool people each and every week, not to mention travel.

So, there it is – my short list of things I’m thankful for. The full list is much, much longer but the stomach grumbles. Oh, yeah … I’m thankful for holiday leftovers, too.


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More Than Just A Pretty Face | Creative Headshots In London, ON

Headshots of the past were a necessary evil when it came to creating a business image. Often stiff, formulaic and uninspired, they were more like mug shots or marble busts. Now, we have grown enough as a society to break the ‘better business’ rules and create engaging, individualised (and often fun) business portraits.

When Angie, a psychic medium and certified hypnotherapist in London, contacted me for her session, I was intrigued. Looking to update her website with images that portrayed all the facets of her personality and profession, without the cliché “mysticism”, left some room for interpretation. Working together, we came up with just the right direction. Strong, self-aware, true to herself and one with the world around her. Exactly Angie.

Outdoor Business Portrait | Jay Terry Photography

Professional Headshots |London and Area | Jay Terry Photography

To book your own custom headshots or executive business portraits, call me weekdays at 519-619-3237 or email me at

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Mothers and Daughters | Family Portrait Photographers in London, ON

Last fall, I had the opportunity to capture a wonderful pair of ladies for their mother-daughter portraits. Even though it’s high summer of this year, I recently sat down with them and it turned my memory back to their session.

Fun, spontaneous and full of laughter, they really made the session an easy-going one. The experience drove home (to me, at least) just how important it is to make the time to have these kinds of sessions. If there was one thing I could hang on my walls to make my house a home, it would be pictures of my family all together and enjoying life.

Mother and Daughter Portraits in London, ON Fun Family Photography in London and St. Thomas Family Portraits in London and Woodstock
If you or someone you know is interested in having your family portraits done, call me today at 519-619-3237 or email me at for more information.


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The Right Light For The Job

If, as I’m completely guilty of doing, you spend some time each day looking around online, you undoubtedly see dozens, if not hundreds, of images. While most photographers I know see the lighting in an image first, most people see the subject. After all, the subject of a photo is the main attraction, right? So long as the person, building or object in the shot is properly exposed, the light must be right.

Which is exactly what I used to think, too, until I started taking light seriously.

Point and Shoot Vacation Picture

Flipping through some of my wife’s and my vacation pictures the other day, I noticed some things that wouldn’t have dawned on me back then. The image here is a prime example: while I’m reasonably well exposed, my white shirt, the railing and the sky behind me are completely ‘blown out’ with no real detail in them. “Who cares?”, you ask, “the person is the important part”.

In some ways, I’d agree with you. As a portrait photographer, though, I have another perspective. If the background details don’t matter, if blue skies can be lost to pure white and windows are interchangeable with colourless voids, then why wouldn’t I capture my subjects in a studio? After all, a simple roll of seamless paper is much easier to work with than an entire panorama. There are no details in a plain background so there’s little need to worry about anything but the person I’m photographing.

London, ON Executive PortraitsThe reason that capturing the background details faithfully and properly exposed is important, if I’m choosing to photograph a person or persons in a particular environment? Odds are there’s a purpose to it. They may be a CEO in front of their office window that overlooks their company headquarters or a conservationist in the middle of the wetlands that they work so hard to protect. Imagine if the CEO’s window was just a mess of white light – the building outside with the company logo on it lost and the context of the image lost with it. The conservationist would be standing among some reeds below a pure white sky, devoid of detail, the kind of sky that no one has ever seen because it doesn’t actually exist naturally.

This, then, is the reason that recording those background details becomes important. Simply aiming a camera at a subject and hoping to properly expose both them and what’s behind or around them is, for lack of a better term, a fool’s errand. This is especially true when applied to the product that a person being paid to capture an image often creates … unless they’re working with the right light. Of course, they could be choosing to not do so for deliberate artistic effect but, if overdone, quickly sounds more like a justification for not learning the tools of the trade.

Fitness Portraits in London and St. Thomas

Because image sensors have a much more limited range than our eyes do, accurately recreating what we see requires helping the camera to “see more and see properly”. As all we (or our cameras) are ever seeing is the light reflecting off of objects, adding light is a practical solution. In the environment, the background details are typically lit by the light sources on-hand: the sun, street lamps, fire, etc.. Once an exposure has been set for those details, the subject often needs a boost in light to also be recorded with sufficient detail, tone and exposure that is appropriate to the scene.

This isn’t to say that one always needs to drag around a portable studio that would take a team of assistants to manage, nor does it mean blasting the subject with high intensity light like it’s some kind of photonic slapstick pie-in-the-face routine. Subtlety is a wonderful thing and a little goes a long way. As in both of the examples above, a simple speed light, gelled to match the ambient light in the scene (speed lights register cool, or blue, compared to the sun, which is warm), allows the camera to see a much more balanced and faithful depiction of what my own eyes witnessed in person.

Wedding Photography in London ONBalancing the exposures of both subject and background is (even) more important for the wedding photographer. What is it that the bride, THE star of the day, spends so much money, time and attention on? Her dress! All the intricate details, the delicate textures – often lost when trying to expose the bride with only the light at hand (flip through your friends’ wedding images on social media some time – I guarantee you’ll see some examples of this). What a heartbreaking moment when her magnificent gown is immortalised as a wedding-dress-shaped-marshmallow-fluff-blob, when all it would have taken is the right light and the knowledge to use it.

Without light, there’s nothing to see. Without the right light, the results really aren’t worth seeing. It’s all about using the right tools for the job. For photographers, that tool is …



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It’s All About The Memories

Every now and then, you find yourself lucky enough to participate in something that can really make a difference. On July 8, 2014, I’ll have just such an opportunity.

As many of you already know, I’ve been with the Professional Photographers of Canada for a few years now. Because my industry is an unregulated one – literally anyone can simply call themselves a “photographer” – genuine professional organisations like the PPOC (and CAPIC) provide the people who are serious about the craft a means to demonstrate their commitment to continually improving their abilities and knowledge through accreditation and achieving designations (such as the Master of Photographic Arts, which I earned earlier this year).

Ultimately, while clients can find this reassuring, knowing they’re not just getting a hobbyist, it’s really a personal benefit. There is, however, the odd occasion where membership can afford us a chance to do something that benefits others … and not just other photographers.

On August 24, 2013, Shannon Moore and Adam Snook took their vows before friends and family. They hired a professional photographer to capture their memories (always recommended), but then the unthinkable happened: shortly after the big day, their photographer was the victim of a theft and lost all of her equipment … including the hard drives containing Shannon and Adam’s wedding images! All they were left with were some snapshots from their guests.

Shannon and Adam | Guest Photo

Well, when we (and by ‘we’ I mean the Western Ontario Branch executive) heard about this, there was only one course of action: gather as many industry people as we could and do what we could to replace what was lost. The call went out in southwestern Ontario and the response was simply amazing!

The list of volunteers filled up quickly: Kurt Brown of Guelph’s Two Tone Studios handling the photography, London’s Melanie Richards Hair and Makeup Artistry and Mallory Antone of Beauty by Mallory, Luca Ragogna of PicFoundry in Barrie, Mary Faustino from The Cake Engineer, Katherine Seiggel and Sarah Tomlin from A Petal or Two - all also from Guelph, and Reverend Micol Cottrell of Allenford and Park Head United Churches, with our branch executive (Julie, John, Brad, Kim and myself) handling the organisation, catering and educational aspect of the event.

Each person has generously donated their time to recreating Shannon and Adam’s wedding images, specifically the ceremony and formals. The flowers, cake, the music, hair and makeup, even the minister – all put together in a show of support to replace at least a small portion of what our young couple had taken from them. When all is said and done, every newlywed couple has two things at the end of the day: each other and their photographs. We want to make sure that that’s true for them, too.

“But, wait … educational aspect”, you ask? Exactly right. The PPOC is, after all, focused on educating photographers, thus making for a stronger industry. So, we’re also allowing a limited number of photographers to attend, learn and sharpen their skills, all the while seeing how they can help the people in their communities (in addition to providing a superior service to their clients, which should be the goal of any professional … in any industry).

I’ll keep you posted. Here comes the bride!


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What a great thing to wake up to!

Last night, in Winnipeg, MB, the Professional Photographers of Canada held their annual awards banquet, honouring the outstanding achievements of pro photographers coast-to-coast. Some of the most memorable achievements come out of the national image salon – a competition between some of the best photographers in the country.

This morning, the press release was sitting in my inbox: Best in Class in the Figure Study class … with my name on it! Considering the tremendous talent that submitted to the competition this year, there’s an extra little spring in my step today.

Best in Class Award: Figure Study

Special thanks to Jordan for all the hard work he did prior to this shoot (that’s right, those abs are the real deal). It’s not often that I enter commissioned work into competitions but I’m glad I did this time. Very glad.


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Taking It Back To The Beginning

Nicéphore Niépce created the first permanent photograph in 1826, followed in 1833 with  Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre’s “daguerreotype” – the first publicly announced photographic process. From those two revolutionary French inventions came all things ‘photography’.

Paris | Copyright Kevin Pepper

What better way then to celebrate your love of picture making and 188 years of one of the world’s most amazing inventions than to spend a full week learning to take better images in France? This July, you can do just that. Starting in the south and working up to Paris, this will be a phototour to remember:

July 5
Arrive in Marseilles and we will meet at a predetermined time around mid-day and drive together to Camargue.
Check into hotel and photograph flamingos, egrets and herons before dinner at Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue.

July 6
Horses running in the Mediterranean Sea
Arles for the costume festival and bulls
Camargue Lake (if available)
Horses in the ponds near the Mediterranean in late afternoon early evening
Photo editing.

Camargue Horses | Copyright Kevin Pepper

July 7
Gordes for market day
The coloured cliffs below Gordes
Sunset photos over area lavender fields.

July 8
Boxed breakfast
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque
Plateau de Sault
Lavender fields, Olive fields, Vineyards.
Sunset at Pont du Gard near Avignon
Photo editing.

July 9
Depart from south of France from Marseilles train station for Paris in the morning – go through photos, edit, Q&A time
Arrive in Gare du Nord in Paris via high speed train.
Check into hotel
Afternoon walk in Paris along the Seine River with all the café’s and streetscapes
Night shoot at the Louvre

Sunflowers | Copyright Kevin Pepper
July 10
Sunrise shoot in Paris
Breakfast at a cafe
Day shoots along the Seine
Notre Dame, gardens, area water fountains, gold statues
Night shoot at Eiffel tower and at the arc de triumphe

July 11
Sacre Coeur, Musee d’Orsay, Latin Quarter, back streets of Paris
Return for night shoots at area museums, streetscapes

July 12
Depart for home from Paris

Transportation, breakfast, dinners, soft drinks, snacks, water, accommodation, park entrance fees in south of France and your metro fees in Paris are all included in the package price of $4250 USD. There are a few spots remaining but they won’t be for long!

For more details and registration, please contact workshop leader Kevin Pepper at

See  you there!

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Leading By Example

Today, being International Women’s Day, I can’t help but think of the women who have stood up in the community to make a difference. One such woman is Celina Rivas Vasquez, Miss Teen Canada 2013.

I recently had the good fortune of having Celina attend my studio for a sitting. As she was soon to pass her crown to 2014’s Miss Teen Canada, she wanted some professional images to commemorate her time with the title. Getting to know some of what she’s done over the past year, I couldn’t think of a better example for International Women’s Day.


In her own words:

I did everything from volunteering to public speaking to sporting events. I tried to be as involved in the community as possible. Some major events that I did were Canada day. I was co master of ceremonies at Harris Park. I spoke in front of 45 000 people. That was the day I got over my fear of public speaking. I did an event in November that was a fundraiser for the anti-bullying coalition. I was being interview on stage in front of an audience and after I was finished the audience gave me a standing ovation. Then next day we left for Ottawa and I was scheduled to meet the prime minister, but unfortunately he had to go to Toronto urgently. I watched a meeting and then went into the lobby where all the politicians from across Canada where and also the ministers of many things. We were taken on a private tour of the parliament buildings and taken into rooms and hallways where “everyone who is important in the world has been”. Most of the place we went in parliament weren’t allowed for the public to see, so I was very honoured to be invited to have a tour. Then, over Christmas, my family and I travelled to El Salvador, where we went to a school and church in a very poor area. We brought school supplies, toys and candies for the kids. The church holds a lunch for the kids every day because most of the kids families can’t afford to have food for them so this meal is likely the only meal the day they have. When we went we brought pizza, pop, cookies and fruit for them and they really enjoyed making the crafts.”

Last weekend, Celina attended the crowning of the newest Miss Teen Canada, where she passed on the torch to Karyanne Smith-Flanders, and had this to say about the experience:

It was the most amazing year of my life. I did almost everything that I wanted to do in my year and I still have many more things I want to do regardless of being (MTC). Passing on my crown was hard, but I did everything that I could with it. Now it’s with someone who can also do amazing things with it.”

I’d like to give my personal thanks to you Celina, and to all the women out there, who do so much in our local and global communities.


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Family Day Special Offer | Jay Terry Photography | Family Portraits in London Ontario

What are you and your family doing for Family Day?

London Ontario Family Portraits | Family Day 2014 | Jay Terry Photography

Life can get pretty busy with work, sports, school and everything that comes with modern life. Family Day is a great way to ensure that you spend some quality time with your loved ones.

Family Portrait Photography in London Ontario | Jay Terry Photography

To celebrate every family’s story, Jay Terry Photography is offering a special family portrait session for the long weekend. What better way to commemorate your family’s close and unique relationship than with some fun and casual family photos? Grab the kids, put on a smile and do something out of the ordinary this holiday … and have fun doing it together!

Your 30 minute high key portrait session will come with 5 print-ready digital files, this weekend only, for $225.00 (+hst). All gallery canvas and wall collections will also be 25% off from Saturday, February 15 through Monday, February 17. It’s the perfect time to update your family’s portraits for your living room, hallway or office.

Every booking comes with a pre-session phone consult to get you ready for your shoot.

Call 519-619-3237 or email today to book your session.

Also, drop by Facebook and say ‘hi’!


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