Shanza (Before and After)

Shanza (Before and After)

A while ago I joined the ”Bay Area Model Photo Shooters” (BAMPS) group … the group hires models and several photographers sign up to split the price of the model. Each gets time with the model and it’s a great way to learn. Unfortunately the guy who organizes it has different opinions on models than I do: usually they’re not very pretty, look like whores (excuse my language, but it’s true!), don’t know how to pose, have awful make-up, or are hired strictly to be naked. Not my kind of thing.

Enter Shanza … when I saw the event to shoot with Shanza as the model it was the first time I thought to myself ”I want to sign up!” It sold out in 5 minutes. Oh well, I missed my chance. I began to follow Shanza on Facebook. She began to follow me back. One evening I got a message from her: ”I love your work. We should collaborate on a shoot sometime!” The first thing that went through my head was ”Shanza! No way she just emailed me! She wants a LANDSCAPE photographer to shoot her?!” Instead I replied ”when?!”

After way too long figuring out a free day we met up on Treasure Island and spent about 2 hours shooting. After playing in front of some old doors, sneaking into a steel structure area, playing in a trolley, and 3 costume changes we came home with a gazillion images.

I’m working on editing all the photos from the shoot — there were just too many good ones! I’ll post them here on the blog soon. But I did want to touch on one subject tonight: how important it is to edit photos, especially from a portrait shoot. Cameras are good at guessing everything you want but they have their limitations. White balance can be off, shadows and highlights need to be tweaked, contrast pulled out, and blemishes removed.

Despite a ton of make-up on, Shanza couldn’t get rid of the spider that decided to eat her face off the night before. Editing these photos was even more important. In the top you can see the final image. Below you can see a comparison of the Original (top) to the Final version (bottom). What do you think — worthwhile edits?

Comparison of Original to Final Edited Photo

Here’s another shot of Shannon that we took in front of the corner of a building. It blocked the harsh light behind her and allowed her to not squint and me not to have to shoot directly into the sun. The light was actually really nice in here. To edit this one I warmed it up, pulled up the highlights a bit, added some contrast, fixed the blemishes, removed the awful purple chromatic aberration, made her a bit skinnier, and did some other minor touch-ups. What do you think?

Shanza (before and after)

Model: Shanza
Photography: Aaron Meyers
Treasure Island, SF, CA

Aaron M Written by:

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast.