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Here at Children of the Tribe, we love hearing beautiful family stories, and working alongside talented creatives. Photographers Shane and Dee Shepherd are raising their tribe – Frankie, 7, Spencer, 4, and Sunny, 11 months, in Northern New South Wales, whilst turning heads with the visual magic they create shooting weddings and families. We spoke to Shane and Dee about their new creative partnership, the family moments they treasure most, and what it is about Byron Bay that pulls at their heartstrings.
Tell us what it’s been like to renovate a 1950’s home in the same year that you welcomed your youngest, Sunny, into the family?
Dee: Shane has gone from you-tube self-taught guy to actual handy man. It's been such a learning curve, totally exhausting, plenty of laughter and a few tears (mainly from me). It feels great to stand back and look at all we have achieved with this beautiful house, but at the same time we feel like we've literally pressed 'fast forward' on our little family. We've barely had time to take in all the milestones (the big ones and the cute ones), and we've come to realise that, if you love 'where' you live and you've got a great community, you can make any space your home.
After a year living a little further away from the coast, what is it about Byron that has drawn you back?
Dee: Shane grew up in the Byron shire, while I grew up in Adelaide. I've travelled through more than 30 countries and honestly Byron is my favourite place to be. It didn't take much convincing from Shane for us to move there. We love the chilled meets crazy buzz; you have most of what a city offers with amazing food, music, festivals, diverse and inspiring humans, yet you can easily go back to basics and connect with nature. Since we've been living a little further away, we have missed it all so much - the little beach adventures after school, diving into the ocean together when we manage to get an hour alone together, jumping on our bikes, the salt air and of course our precious community of friends.
Shane has been working under his own name as a renown wedding photographer but this year sees you embark on a new creative partnership. Tell us about ‘The Shepherds’.
Dee: The Shepherds is a progression of what Shane has been working on with his photography over the last seven years. I have more or less been behind the scenes since the beginning, I've photographed a bunch of weddings and family sessions as a 'second shooter', but the pull to create has been so strong and it was so obvious to Shane it was time for me to step into this next phase alongside him. The Shepherds will be the two of us shooting Weddings & Family sessions in our real + fun shepherds way.
What is one of the most treasured moments you have shared with your kids?
Dee: It would have to be taking Frankie on a 3 hour canoe ride on the Merced River, which runs through Yosemite Valley, California. Just us girls together floating along, taking it all in. Such a special moment I'll never forget.
Shane: After Sunny was born, I picked Spencer and Frankie up from our friends and brought them home to meet Sunny for the first time. That moment when they walked in the room and saw Sunny, the love for their new sister and the intrigue on their little faces, it was a heart melting moment for sure!
What is your favourite thing to do together as a family?
Shane: Swimming at Wategos Beach in Byron, early enough in the morning before the heat of the day kicks in. We're all in the water for a couple of hours. Throw in a fruit salad back at home and the kids are in heaven!
Describe the love of your life in one sentence…
Shane: What. a. woman... talented, total babe, serene, amazing mumma and my personal Aphrodite.
Dee: Shane is insanely funny, creative, detailed and one of a kind human.
Shane, your life has been dedicated to creative pursuits, first music (playing in bands ‘The Frugals’ and 'Thinktank') and then the shift into photography. Do you think any of your children have inherited your creative gene?
Frankie (7) has zero interest in music so far, but loves to dance. My secret dream is to convince her to become a drummer... Spencer (4) sings note for note to Arcade Fire, my favourite band, if he hasn't inherited any musical talent, at least he's got good taste :)
Describe your little tribe in 3 words
Loving, chaotic, joyous
For more information on ‘The Shepherds’ you can visit them here.