I can’t imagine what it might have been like to have been a film photographer. When I hear film-turned-digital photographers talk about “the digital darkroom” that they have now, I can’t help but wonder how their craft has morphed. There’s something so thick and rich about really good film photography that I can’t quite put my finger on; probably because I’m stumbling through this whole photography thing on my own. (HINT: if you’re an awesome photographer out there, I could sure use a mentor! I think I’m at the point in my learning and doing curve that I’ve become dangerous. *insert mischievous smile here*)

It seems that there are two very important, very big, parts of photography in the digital world. Of course, the first being the photographer who completely understands light, exposure, and composition. The second, the Photoshop artists: what can be done to enhance, or sometimes completely change, the photograph to achieve your vision. Because I worked in advertising for so long, I saw the latter. A lot. And it was amazing. Like blow your mind amazing. In fact, in all of the time I worked with the artists in production, there was only one campaign in which the photographer took the picture exactly as it would appear in the client’s ads, and that photographer was chosen specifically for how he shot. All of the other campaigns were designed and then put through the production artists’ fingers for fantastic fine tunings, sometimes really significant, but then again sometimes pretty subtle.

There are some pretty great tutorials out there for digital artists and photographers, some of which walk you through how to achieve certain looks. Upon reading tons of reviews on the different “workbooks” or workshops I’ve found over the past several months, one photographer in particular kept popping up. I love her style. Lots of color, lots of depth, lots of connection even though many times her subjects aren’t smiling – so interesting to me. She’s a self-proclaimed introvert, which is very appealing to read about since I seem to fluctuate being that half the time and an extrovert the other half (seriously, every time I take a psychological assessment to determine introvertism and extrovertism, I score exactly 50/50. Oh. That made me sound like a head case. I have a Master’s in Counseling, so I’ve taken A LOT of assessments as part of my work, so it’s ok. Or maybe worse. Ha.) Anyway, back to what I was saying. Even though she is somewhat of an introvert, she still has such a connection with her clients, who are all children. It’s really beautiful. (You can check out her work here: Work of Heart Photography.)

Here’s my attempt at what I’m learning. I started here.

20110411 lunchwithdaddy 46

And ended up here.

Mary Pantier Photography  187 of 1

Here’s a side-by-side.

Before after