Helga Sierra
Helga Sierra

Journal: Stories on Creativity & Adventure

Learn about the artist's process, photo stories, traveling & more. 

Portraits: Jed


This last year I had the huge realization that creating without collaborating is almost like robbing yourself of exponential growth.  (See my previous post on collaboration). 

As I mentioned I learned much from observing what musicians do in order to actually produce high quality songs and then to release them.  Jed works really hard to co-write with really talented people and like most musicians in Nashville is constantly looking for places to play his music.  He takes the bold steps to pursue his dream, I think it’s going to pay off. 


Jed and I became friends this last year and he helped me out with a previous photo shoot, so when he approached me about capturing some headshots he could use for his new music project I was on board.  I got to the location, we set up our space and he proceeded to play a Coldplay playlist (clearly we were supposed to be friends). We were ready.   This is my first project revolving around music, and I loved trying to capture another creative's vision. 


We had natural lighting, tentatively using a smoke machine, and a short window of time. The sun set quicker than what we thought, so we had to adapt at a very quick pace. Our whole goal was to create something simple, yet at the same time conveyed depth. Once we started shooting and 2 hours went by quicker than we thought.    

Final Results


Jed wanted black and white with a little bit of old school film style. I left grain in some of the photos, and I mostly gravitated towards a grayscale approach more than a stark black and white contrast. 

I was excited to just work in black and white but then the color options came out quite nice. The result being edits that had green/blue vibe, and added a little bit of grain to the black and white.  Jed has great eyes, and eye brows (as his aunt tells him often), so those were features I tried to focus on throughout the shoot. 

If you met him he wouldn’t tell you, but he is quite the talented singer and composer.  Of course, in Nashville everyone is trying to make it as a singer-songwriter.  So why would this shoot be different? I tried capturing the range of his voice with the color choices I made for my picture edits.  He naturally gravitates towards deep tones, hence the dark green and the black, but he also can hit those high notes (some that I will never reach, even in my dreams) so using a lamp to get lighter tones worked out.


I loved the way these pictures turned out.  We had a very clear concept before starting but once we started taking pictures, the creative process just started flowing, and we explored new ideas, like using a smoke machine. Anything with fog turns out to be a little more interesting, so I loved how the results turned out. 


Two hours later we proceeded to grab some ice cream at La Michoacana and called it a day.  If you live in Nashville and have not been to this ice cream shop yet, please go.  It is a life changing experience.  It was a great shoot, very natural collaboration and I love the results. While Jed’s done much on the country side of things, he will be releasing music on the pop-side.  Check out these songs he's worked on: 1 , 2  Like his page on Facebook, follow him on Instagram

Thanks for checking out this post.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed taking the pictures. To finish off, the grand finale: sometime after the shoot, on a day I was feeling inspired I made this collage because soft pinks were speaking to me. So here it is. 


Jed: Thanks for letting me take these pictures! Keep JD in line, miss hanging with you, looking forward to hearing all the new music.

Come back soon! I'll be sharing more photos of Europe and new painting projects!