If you ask a photo artist for tips on photography I am sure one of the first advice would be — learn how to see. This advice seems silly since the gift of sight does not require a college degree. With photography, however, this would be the most essential advice, the one that summarizes all the steps one needs to take in order to produce the final image.
Digital technology has come a long way. Today we can produce images with our phones that are superior in quality to images from advanced cameras made 10 years ago. Not every image taken with the phone would be a better image though. It all comes down to who holds the camera and with what purpose they photograph. A brilliant master photographer with the inferior camera can produce amazing artwork because she or he envisions the final result. Any camera in the hands of a master is just the tool that helps to make the job easier. Having a vision of the final artwork makes you use those tools in the best possible way. And I would argue that having a vision is an acquired skill. Learning how to see makes it a journey.
An object means nothing unless someone applies a meaning to it. You look at the stone and all you see is the stone. For you it means all you know about the stone: heavy, dark, does not float in water. A sculptor looks at the stone and she sees the statue. Statue that is ready to emerge from the stone with some help of the sculptor. You look at the dry wood and all you see is the dry wood. But a carpenter may see a bench, a table, maybe a picture frame… Seeing as a photographer applies similar principles. Skilled use of light, painting the shadows and the highlights on your subject gives birth to a new creation which is your artwork. This is not a creation of something out of nothing, no! This, however, is the creation born of the artist’s personal vision, experience, and communication with the subject.
Even with all modern advancements the artwork requires the finishing touch. The vision is completed in the post processing. Post processing is that finishing touch where the photographer eliminates the distractions, adds creative elements after which invites you to see the story of an image.
Below are some examples of before and after, illustrating the image as comes straight out of the camera and its finished version ready for print.