Don’ing photographers of Amador


Shimon Arai & Alyssa Wu

Laurel Wall (‘24) and Shane Soares (‘25) are one of many student aspiring photographers here at Amador.

Shane Soares (‘25) first began his interest in photography at the Alameda Fair when he decided to take out his phone and take pictures of people on the rides. Now his portfolio contains over 160 unique photos shot in several locations around the Bay Area.

“I thought it was really fun. The first picture I took I thought ‘wow, that’s really good,” said Soares.

The Bay Bridge, photographed in black and white. “My style is centering the subject and editing for muted colors and soft textures,” said Soares. “Everyone has their own style and it really finds them. Some trends like editing soft textures have come and gone but your style is really unique to how you take photos.”
(Photo provided by Shane Soares.)

By embracing his surroundings, Soares takes pictures of virtually anything. He photographs a variety of scenes across California and uploads them to his Instagram and online portfolio

“I learned a lot from YouTube when I was just starting out. People like Peter Mckinnon and Jared Polin helped me understand the fundamentals and advanced techniques,” said Soares

Shane’s favorite part of photography is the ability to take back souvenirs from his travels with him.

“Probably anytime I get to go somewhere, [I] take pictures. I really like to travel and take my camera along with me so I can take photos and make videos,” said Soares.

As his passion for photography grows, Soares plans to upgrade his equipment.

“I’m definitely working at a job in order to make some money for me to save up for new lenses, or a new body eventually,” said Soares

Soares hopes to expand by taking commissions to save up and buy new equipment, which would produce different photos with different effects. 

“I think [photography] is definitely an art form because it’s not just pressing the button. There’s a lot of work that goes into making a photograph, you have to adjust your settings, you can adjust them for motion blur, darkness, and lightness. You can change whatever you want to make it your personal style,” said Soares

“Your style kind of has to find you. You don’t really discover it right away. Some trends like editing soft textures have come and gone, but your style is really unique to how you take photos.

— Shane Soares

At Amador, Soares is one of many rising student photographers. Similarly, Laurel Wall (‘24) also began her photography career when she took interest in the activity at an event.  

“This interest came from seeing my parents taking pictures of the shows I went to when I was really young so it inspired me to do the same when I eventually got my first phone and digital camera,” said Wall. “I think I’d be taking my mom’s phone. I’d be like, ‘Mom, can I use your phone?’ Just to take a couple pictures.”

Wall developed her love and passion for taking photos at concerts she attended. From there, her hobby has grown into her aspirations for a future career in concert photography. She started taking photos at her favorite artists’ concerts—Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Elton John, Louis Tomlinson.

“I was originally inspired by Alfredo Flores when I was really into Ariana Grande in 2018/2019 and when I saw her live I got to see Alfredo all over the stage taking pictures of her and it made me realize that’s what I want to do in the future,” said Wall

Since then, Wall has been taking her camera to every concert she attends.

“I like photographing concerts because they are very lively with thousands of fans, bright lights, and big name bands and artists making each show so different and exciting.. And I don’t see a lot of people taking pictures of concerts at my age,” said Wall.

A sample photo from Soares’ portfolio, depicting a cloudy day in San Francisco. (Photo provided by Shane Soares.)

Through sharing their photography with others, Wall and Soares enjoy receiving feedback from others through comment sections.

“I really like to hear other people enjoying looking at [my] art, and I’ve always kind of enjoyed art, too. I thought maybe sharing it with the public would be nice to contribute to that feeling,” said Soares

Wall also enjoys taking pictures of her friends.

“By taking [concert photos] I’m able to share them with my friends and people who are interested along with being able to look back at them in the future,” said Wall.

As Soares and Wall continue photography, both expect to pursue photography as their careers in various fields. Since photography is both a hobby and a profession, it can be combined with another job. For Soares, who has an admiration for aviation and the military, photography in that career is a good option.

“I’ve always had an interest in aviation planes and the military has been an interest for me for quite a while. I thought that combining those things– photography and aviation in the military–would be a pretty cool job for me,” said Soares

As well-established photographers, Soares and Wall have advice for future photographers looking for ways to start.

“Anyone can take good pictures. They just need some sort of camera whether that’s a polaroid or digital camera or an iPhone photography. Photography is for everyone and it should be fun for everyone,” said Wall.

The equipment is only a minor part of photography, personal inspiration and style is the key to photography.

“Your style kind of has to find you. You don’t really discover it right away. Some trends like editing soft textures have come and gone, but your style is really unique to how you take photos,” said Soares


AVBites- All about Shane Soares

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