Before and After Edits You Have to See to Believe

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.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley ( was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

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Awesome work and article!!!

I really appreciate it!  Trevor is quite the writer, eh?

yes he is!!!

INCREDIBLE EDITS!!! Nice work Merek!

Thanks so much Matt. :)

Merek's talent is awe inspiring! He is also a generous and humble person- so rare in today's photography industry!!!! 

You are far too sweet Kristina.  Thank you for your niceness and kind words. 

Great Stuff Merek!!! Always amazed at the ideas you have from the start and to see what you do with them in post production adds that additional wow factor!!

Thanks Omari!

Great article Trevor, and AMAZING work Merek! 

Thanks Melissa. Merek made it easy!

Thank you so much Melissa!!

un-frickin-believable... how do you do it man... Merek, you need to go on tour and spread your magic everywhere and teach!

Great work on the article Trevor. Merek phenomenal work, creativity, and info. Thanks for sharing you guys.

Thanks Douglas.  Glad you enjoyed it.

Merek- you are insanely talented!  You ROCK!

Great Job guys! Merek, your work continues to inspire me! Trevoe, great read!

Proud to know ya Merek, and glad we get to collaborate!


These are reminiscent of Dave Hill's work for me. Which, I should add, is high praise indeed. That said, they are quite unique, and very very good. Nice work Merek.

Really nice. Im really interested in how he does his colors, like on the picture with the guy sitting on the wall. Any suggestions?

A feature about this multilayered artist deserves a witty comment, I thought, but as i read, I was astounded, even removed, to learn that, in contrast to so many others, he actually gives back to the photo community. It's obvious that Merek's got serious skills, talent and drive, but what is their Source? Ry-ghtousness, pure and simple. This guy is awesome.