When I was learning portrait photography, masters were leading the way with portraiture that not only captured the essence of the subject he or she was trying to portray, but also held detail in highlights and shadows so that the negative was printable. Paper has a far smaller gamut than negatives, or even digital capture.
Today, new photographers are being led by other new photographers who have no history of the process of printing. Today's photography is based primarily on the digital presentation. Facebook and other internet venues provide a way to see images without the need for paper prints.
That isn't good nor bad... just different. We need to adjust for that new presentation method. That said, clients still love prints not only because they offer a more tactile experince, and are always visible (without a device to see them on) but because of their archival nature. A portrait on the wall is enjoyed every single day for the rest of their lives. Images on Facebook... not so much. So it's still important to learn what will print well. An image that looks OK on the internet doesn't necessarily look good printed on photo paper. Blown out highlights on Facebook look like a mistake on paper.
We can argue whether or not it is indeed a "mistake". But I prefer to look at it as a style, and a style can't be a mistake. It's art. It's an interpretation. And it's an interpretation I do like. However, my preference is to try to achieve the same feeling of that style ALONG WITH the ability to print it.
THAT is where the craftsmanship comes in. I've noticed a shift in teaching lately, and many mentors today ARE teaching the craftsmanship of lighting. Previously, all we saw were mentors sharing the freewheeling look of natural light. Now those same mentors are coming around to teaching what I was taught, and what I teach... the basics and nuances of all forms of auxiliary lighting. Mentors are once again stressing the importance of flattering lighting so that not only will their work print well, but with far less fuss in Photoshop.
Today's lesson shows an image that is a popular look today... a girl in a field. I prefer soft, evening light but this was a morning session, and it was sunny. The first image was 'correctly" exposed, meaning that it was metered for neutral 18% reflectance. Obviously, that's NOT the desired look. Many new shooters simply overexpose the image to produce a good exposure on the face as shown in the middle image. But as you can see, that results in totally blown out highlights. Not a problem you say? Well, print it and THEN tell me what you think!
The far right image was created by exposing closer to the highlights, then adding off-camera softbox flash in TTL metering. To me, THAT should be the goal to strive for... produce that springtime feeling, but with an image that is all in the same printable high key.