Fine art photography is a form of artistic expression that uses the medium of photography to create visually compelling and thought-provoking images. It is a genre that has been around since the invention of photography and has evolved significantly over time. Today, fine art photography is recognized as a legitimate art form and is enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
Most art collectors think of artists like Peter Lik, Ansel Adams, or Alister Benn, to name a few. The purpose of fine art is to convey a feeling, idea, or emotion unlike representational photography, such as photojournalism. We create fine art photography for aesthetics and creativity to tell a story that’s more than what the camera sees. When I started my photography journey, I associated fine art with minimalist, black and white images but soon learned there is much more than I realized.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHOTOGRAPHY AND FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY
Fine art photography is different from other forms of photography in a number of ways. Firstly, it is focused on creating images that are aesthetically pleasing and emotionally engaging. The photographer's primary aim is to create images that evoke a strong emotional response in the viewer. They may use a variety of techniques such as color, lighting, and composition to achieve this.
Another key difference between fine art photography and other forms of photography is that fine art photographers are typically more interested in creating images that are timeless, rather than simply capturing a moment in time. They are more concerned with creating images that will stand the test of time and be relevant for many years to come.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FINE ART PHOTOGRAPH
Fine art photography is characterized by several key elements, including:
Composition: The way the elements of an image are arranged to create a visually pleasing and meaningful whole.
Light: The way that light is used to create mood, depth, and contrast in an image.
Color: The use of color to convey emotion, express ideas, and create visual interest in an image.
Texture: The way that the elements of an image are rendered to create a sense of depth, dimension, and tactile quality.
Concept: The underlying idea or message that an image is intended to convey.
TECHNIQUES USED IN FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY
Fine art photographers may use a variety of techniques to achieve their desired effects. Some of the most common techniques include:
Long exposures: This technique involves using slow shutter speeds to capture motion or create a sense of blur in an image.
High-dynamic range (HDR) imaging: This technique involves combining multiple images taken at different exposures to create a single image with a greater range of tonal detail.
Digital manipulation: This technique involves using digital tools to manipulate and enhance images after they have been taken.
Alternative processes: This technique involves using alternative processing techniques such as hand coloring, printing on alternative surfaces, and other techniques to create unique and visually striking images.
WHAT IS A FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT?
A standard “photographic” print uses the chromogenic printing process. This process uses chemical reactions to create the colors seen on the paper. Chromogenic printing uses lower quality paper but a harder finish that is less prone to scratching. This process is great for bulk printing when quality isn’t much of an issue.
Fine art photographic prints use archival inks and Giclee printing. This process uses pigment based inks and acid-free paper. Fine art printing creates an image that will not fade and withstand the test of time. This is how fine art galleries have their work printed.
Traditional fine art prints were on an archival paper like the Hahnemuhle Baryta, framed behind anti-reflective, museum quality glass, and a high-end wood frame. This traditional look is still popular, but with the cost of framing, new materials may be a better choice.
In today’s market, fine art prints are made with new mediums like acrylic where the image is mounted on plexiglass. Lumachrome face mounted acrylic prints offer superior resolution, clarity, and vibrancy with 3D quality to the image. Acrylic fine art prints are anti-reflective, block 99% of UV light, and will last well over 100 years. These new prints come framed with Italian Roma Moulding or unframed. Both versions are ready to hang from the print shop.
Metal prints are a great choice for a fine art print. The best choice is for the dye-sublimation print on Chromaluxe® metal. Dye-sublimation is the process by which they infuse the ink onto the metal using pressure and heat, bonding the print at the molecular level. Chromaluxe® is a specialty coated metal that allows dye-sublimation printing. This is far superior to printing on a metallic paper, then mounting the paper to a metal substrate.
You can view the fine art prints I offer on my Prints and Framing page.
HOW TO BECOME A FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHER
Practice, practice, practice. Remember, practice make persistent, not perfect. Study other photographers. Why do you like their work? Is it the editing, style, lighting, etc? Learn the techniques of your favorite artists. This will start you on the path to creating your own style of photography. Your first images won't be very good, but as you practice and study more, the better they become. Once you have high quality photos, get some prints made at a well known print shop like Nevadaartprinters.com or Bayphoto.com. They make large paper prints for a great price. Once I started printing, I realized many of my images were not great. I had to re-edit a lot of images to make them print quality. But this is the process to get fine art photographs clients want and will proudly display on the walls of homes around the world.
Now that you have prints and a portfolio with a decent amount of images, make all the images Limited Edition. Limited Edition adds value for art collectors. Most fine art photographers set each image in limited quantities of 50-200. This is up to the artist so set your quantities according to your goals. Art collectors are want assets that increase in value. Open Edition prints don't increase like Limited Edition. As the quantity gets low, the artist will increase the price causing all sold prints of the image to increase to the same amount.
Fine art photography is a fascinating and dynamic genre that has evolved significantly over time. From its early roots as a means of capturing the world around us, it has become a powerful form of artistic expression that allows photographers to communicate their vision and emotions through their images. Whether you are a photographer looking to create your own fine art photographs or a viewer looking to appreciate the work of others, understanding the key elements of fine art photography and the techniques used to create these images is essential.