Photographer and retoucher, Shyne, takes us through her journey of creating art and living out her imagination.

Please tell us more about yourself and your background?

Growing up, I was always in my own world. I have a big imagination and told many fictional stories. This made me fall in love with video games, specifically its storytelling aspect and character designs. Yet, funny enough, I spent more time outside than behind a screen. I remember that my mom would get upset when I drew faces all over the magazine pages or characters on all our shampoo bottles but, luckily, my parents let me live out my creative side.

When did your artistic journey start?

I was about 16 years old when my mom came home with Photoshop software and this big book that taught you how to use it. She needed to learn it for architectural reasons, but somehow I ended up learning and using everything. And so, by the time I left for university, I was an advanced user of the programme. 

I eventually ended up getting a degree in animation and game design. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as I had planned and I landed a job within the wedding industry as a head retoucher where I gained a lot of industry knowledge. Not only did the quality of my work go up but I learned to work really fast. I started branching out into freelance retouching work and fell in love with photography. The way everyone styled models and built sets made me want to do it myself. It was an opportunity to live out my imagination once again. I got my first camera and started taking photos of all my friends and photoshopping everything I could think of. 

Shyne Forest Queen

Forest Queen

Shyne Angelhound


Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I get my inspiration from everywhere. It could be something I saw in a movie or a picture on Pinterest, a song I heard, something a friend would say, or illustrations and video games. 

What is the process behind creating an art piece?

With Photoshoots having all the essentials I get myself a mood board covering all the basics which leaves a lot of room for the shoot itself. I try not to overplan as this restricts the shoot. Instead, I listen to music on set to build it up. The best photos are always unplanned – just pure luck! 

My process for retouching art is a bit of a weird one: Before I start with the retouching, I need to find a good series to play in the background. This keeps my brain focused and also distracted from Photoshop. If I were to focus only on Photoshop, I would lose interest really quickly and not get the desired look for my photos. Retouching requires a lot of playing around. I would test a bunch of things to see what works, so all the photos you see probably had five different variations. I then top it off with retouching fine-tuning colour grading as I just love to play with colour! It’s such an easy change to make but the effects are often a game-changer.

Shyne Go Fish

Go Fish

Shyne Reach


What gear do you use for taking photos?

I started with Nikon, then Fujifilm and eventually ended up with Sony. I love the brand! The colours just pop like crazy and it’s exactly what I need. I currently shoot on the Sony A7R IIIA. I want to get the most pixels out of it because I’m a heavy Photoshop user and need all the information I can get. 

I only shoot with two lenses, namely the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art and 24mm f/1.4 Art. These are the only two lenses I need to achieve the looks I want. 

You will also always find me with three AD200’s – those lights combined with gel filters will create absolute magic! I mostly shoot with a parabolic softbox and the rest bare bulb.

What do you use to create your art and how long does it take? 

I only use Photoshop to create my art. Basic retouching will take me about 15 minutes per photo, but if I went all out with photo manipulation – it would range anywhere from 1 hour to 5 hours per photo.

On which paper do you print and which frames are your favourite?

I haven’t really printed my work yet, but Art of Print did print a piece recently and I just loved the frameless look and the texture of the plain canvas they used.

Shyne Behind the Lamp

Behind the Lamp

Shyne With the Wind

With the Wind

What is your favourite piece you’ve done and why?

That’s an insane question! I have so many favourites, but I’ll say my most recent favourite is Billie the Nun. This piece was actually inspired by a digital drawing I drew for my NFT (Non-fungible token – A digital artifact that reflects real-world assets such as art, music, in-game goods, and videos) collection. I got the model that fit the profile perfectly: Tique. I got a friend to make me the nun outfit: Simoné Ackerman. The rest was all Photoshop. I honestly love this series, because the colours pop and the storyline is so strong. The series made me so proud because it took me back to my video game roots.

Shyne Billie angel Before

Billie Angel Before

Shyne Billie Angel

Billie Angel

What are three words that best describe your work?

Colours, storytelling and fantasy.

Any advice for aspiring artists?

My advice for artists would be; play with every angle you can, take as many photos as you want to get variety, play with props and/or ideas and don’t focus so much on gear. Gear does not make you a better artist, it just makes it easier. Do a lot of collaborations because you truly learn a lot from this experience and you gain exposure. Never stop learning. Even to this day I will learn new Photoshop techniques and methods. And be kind – this industry can be so cruel sometimes.

What are your plans for the future?

Future plans are doing some retouching workshops or classes. I want to shoot more projects with a huge storytelling element. Also, I want to be happy and win a million dollars.

To see more of Shyne’s work, follow her on Instagram.

You too can learn how to retouch photos professionally. This book by Scott Kelby is an assembly of all the best Photoshop techniques for professionally retouching portraits.