Let’s hear from Diane!

What’s the number one thing you know now that you wished you’d known when you were first starting out as a photographer.

Gear doesn’t matter. Shooting as often as possible does.

Do you have a nickname? How’d you get it? If not, if your friends had to give you one, what do you think it would be?

Not exactly, but I jokingly say that if my partner (Padraic McGinley) and I ever started a rap duo, we’d be “D. Vill and P. McG” (the G is pronounced as the letter G).

Where’d you grow up? How did the geography of that place inform your creative process?

I’ll answer this question in two ways:

I’m lucky enough to have grown up in a naturally beautiful place (the San Francisco Bay Area). I spent my childhood in the Santa Cruz Mountains, at Tahoe, in Gold Country, and at the beach. I think being around so much beauty inspired me to want to document what I was seeing from an early age.

I’d also say that it’s not so much about where I grew up but how I grew up. As an only child, I was forced to entertain myself a lot of times, which I think really fed my creative process. I was constantly creating something – concocting “potions” out of leaves in my backyard, writing screenplays for Halloweentown 5 & 6 (I have no idea why I was so obsessed), or playing piano. I rarely watched TV and didn’t like sitting idly!

A common experience among creatives is this tension between wanting constructive feedback and recognition for one’s hard work from clients and colleagues and an unhealthy need for approval. Have you struggled with this, too? If so, how do you relate to or manage it?

I’d say I experience this, but it’s more of an internal battle. Sometimes I wake up and think my work is terrible and there’s so much more I could be doing, leaving me really unmotivated. Other times, I’m really happy with how far I’ve come. I think it’s important to recognize that we’re only unhappy because we’re always striving for something better, which is what will drive our work to evolve and improve.

If you had to pick a personal mantra, what would it be?

“Make it happen.”

What can you tell us about how you shoot and edit (technically, emotionally) that ultimately led to how you developed your presets?

On the technical side, I tend to shoot slightly underexposed, typically exposing for the highlights or the midtones. I then lift the overall exposure and shadows in Lightroom. I want my work to have a bright, soft, dreamy feel – often colorful and somewhat low-contrast. Though I have shot darker subjects in the past, my work is definitely moving in a more pastel direction, and that’s what my presets are all about. They create a soft, vintage dream state. It may sound weird to say, but when people look at my work, I want them to experience the same feeling you get when eating your favorite flavor of ice cream, or a really good piece of cake. Euphoric. Youthful. A slice of a daydream.

If you had to pick between these two superpowers – flying or invisibility – which would you choose and why?

Flying! I’ve always wanted to fly. Invisibility could be strategic, and would have been useful in middle school, but flying is just purely fun.

What are you most hoping to see or do in 2018?

Well, my partner and I are going traveling in Europe for 6 months from late February to late August! So I think that entire trip is what I’m looking forward to most – seeing who we connect with and what we create along the way.