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Turlock photographer creates a picture of hope
Faces of Hope
Professional photographer Heather Marshall shows the Shepherd family some photos of their daughter Marley during a shoot. - photo by Photo Contributed

As a professional photographer Heather Marshall takes a lot of pictures, but there is one special session that is particularly rewarding: Faces of Hope, a series of complementary photo shoots Marshall performs for families with children facing a life-threatening disease.

The idea was born just three years ago when the son of a friend was battling cancer and Marshall conceived of a way to give back to other families facing the same struggle. With her friend serving as a liaison between the children’s hospital and herself, Marshall was able to touch many families by offering her services. Aware that families who are dealing with sickness are unlikely to dress up and pay to have photos taken amidst the emotional and financial struggles that come with serious illnesses, the Faces of Hope sessions allow Marshall to provide a joyful experience to those who need it most.

“You want it to be a fun experience,” said Marshall, emphasizing her style which includes featuring the children in their “natural state.”

“It should be an image that captures their personality,” she added.

While the results of each child’s treatment cannot be anticipated, Marshall is able to provide parents something timeless on which to hold onto: quality, professional photographs which is the precise reason Marshall entered the industry.

“I wanted to capture photographs of my kids that weren’t just on a cell phone,” said Marshall, a mother of three. “I didn’t ever want to lose a memory.”  

Marshall has since built lasting relationships with her Faces of Hope subjects, something that she admits is “challenging emotionally.”

“But you feel so good when the parents get the photos and they are so happy,” she said.

Those who know a family with a child battling a life-threatening illness that could benefit from the photo shoot can reach out to Marshall by emailing her at