Before and After Edits You Have to See to Believe
At the age of 12, Merek Davis’ mother bought him a magic kit and, as he puts it, “opened his eyes.” It was through this magic kit that Merek learned there is a solution to everything, and ignited his drive and passion for learning new things throughout the rest of his life. It is this self-driven passion that lead Merek into music, graphic design and photography. While on tour with his band back in 2007, Merek borrowed his mom’s point-and-shoot camera and documented the experience by capturing photos of their and other musician’s live shows. It was just a year later that his love for photography had grown enough that he invested in a Canon 5D and one Alien Bees strobe. He hasn’t stopped since and continues to push himself to learn new things each and every day.
During a recent shoot with the band Good With Grenades, Merek and his clients came across an old boat at the corner of a storage lot. “I had the guys climb inside the boat but the vinyl seats were really hot on that 115 degree day in Arizona.” Merek continues, “They were there for no longer than 3 minutes as I fired off a couple shots working primarily on getting the angle and type of light I needed. I knew that later in post production I could build in the rest of the shot exactly as I needed.” The results are truly magic.
“When I sit down to edit my photos, I like to first start out by removing most of the contrast in Lightroom to create a very flat image. I do this because it is much easier to recreate directional lighting with a relative blank canvas as my starting point. For, all my composites I use Topaz Remask for simple and quick masking and then add highlights and shadows back in using Photoshop. My new Wacom Cintiq 24HD makes doing it all much easier and quite a bit more fun as well.”
When Merek is not out creating art for bands and musicians, he is fulfilling his need to travel and visit new places typically while wearing with his trademark ‘plaid shirt’ with pride. He also loves to help the photographic community unite and grow. In 2012, Merek started a website with his friend and Canadian photographer Jay Gough. The site is called ShutterCliq and provides the two of them an outlet to share information that helps photographers first start and then grow their business. “We love seeing others succeed. This is our way of pitching in to help and spread information we feel is helpful. We also just finished up our app which we are pretty excited about,” adds Merek.
While postproduction obviously plays a large role in Merek’s work, his main concern while out shooting is lighting the subjects properly with a well-placed key light, and secondly separating them from the background with a kicker. “Boring or misplaced light cannot be fixed, in my opinion,” he says. “Sure, you can cover it up with smoke and mirrors, but everyone knows you did a terrible job lighting your subjects. I use Alien Bees for most of my shoots and the majority will have some type of massive octobox. I’m a sucker for soft light that wraps and love using the sun as a massive backlight, especially if I’m going to be stripping in a more dramatic or moody sky.”
In his free time, Merek enjoys creating artwork solely using his iPhone and sharing those images with his large following of fans on Twitter and Instagram. From magic to music, photography to illustrations, Merek Davis is an artist of many talents and one to definitely keep an eye on.