In this guide, we’ll be discussing fine art photography and providing beautiful examples of fine art photography.
Are you intrigued by the concept of fine art photography but unsure of what it entails? Well, you’re in for a treat! Fine art photography is a captivating genre that blurs the lines between photography and art, resulting in unique and visually stunning images.
In this article, I will provide a comprehensive overview of what fine art photography is.
If you have a passion for photography and appreciate the beauty of artistic imagery, fine art photography offers a world of creative possibilities
We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):
What is Fine Art?
Fine art is defined as a piece of art that was created primarily for aesthetic, beauty, and meaning.
Well, the question begs, aren’t all pieces of art created for these purposes?
Fine art was distinguished from other works of art whose sole purpose was for commission or utilitarian purposes — that’s the difference.
Back in the day, fine art was mostly seen as painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, and music.
Today, fine art can encompass a lot more mediums of art such as photography, film, printmaking, etc.
With all that being said, how can we define fine art photography?
What is Fine Art Photography?
Fine art photography is photography focused on the aesthetic, beauty, and meaning.
While a fine art photographer may choose to sell their works of art later, it isn’t the commission or utilitarian aspect that the photographer focuses on when setting out for a fine art photograph.
Fine art photography often revolves around the photographer/artist themselves.
Exploring how the photographer sees a scene and how they are able to capture a composition based on how they view the world.
Many fine art photographers also implement a certain color grading technique in post-production that mimics the color grading of classical fine art paintings.
What is Fine Art Portrait Photography?
Now knowing the definition of fine art and fine art photography — what is fine art portrait photography?
Fine art portraits are focused on the photographer’s vision for the final image. Fine art portraits focus on both the photographer and the subject. The photographer is the artist, the subject is his canvas, and the camera is his/her paintbrush — so to speak.
Fine art portraits, similar to fine art photography in general, are often intended for aesthetic, beauty purposes — so many turn into decor and wall art.
What are the Elements of Fine Art Photography?
Fine art photography is a genre that transcends traditional photography by infusing artistic elements into the medium. It goes beyond capturing a realistic representation of the subject matter and instead aims to convey the photographer’s unique creative vision and evoke emotions in the viewer.
The elements of fine art photography are crucial components that contribute to the creation of visually compelling and emotionally resonant images. Here are some key elements that define fine art photography:
Fine art photography often starts with a compelling concept or idea that the photographer wants to express.
This concept serves as the foundation for the entire creative process, influencing the choice of subject matter, composition, lighting, and other artistic decisions.
Composition plays a critical role in fine art photography, as it determines how elements within the frame are arranged and organized.
Composition techniques such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing are commonly used to create visually pleasing and harmonious images.
Lighting is a powerful tool in fine art photography, as it can dramatically influence the mood, tone, and atmosphere of an image.
Photographers often use different types of lighting, such as natural light, artificial light, or a combination of both, to create the desired effect and enhance the visual impact of their images.
Fine art photography is inherently artistic, and creativity is a fundamental element that distinguishes it from other genres of photography. Photographers often push the boundaries of traditional photography by experimenting with unconventional techniques, perspectives, or subjects to create unique and thought-provoking images.
Fine art photography aims to evoke emotions in the viewer, whether it’s through capturing a powerful moment, depicting a poignant scene, or conveying a mood or atmosphere. Emotionally resonant images have the power to connect with viewers on a deeper level and leave a lasting impression.
42 Examples of Fine Art Photography
Fine Art Portrait Photography Examples
Fine Art Conceptual Photography Examples
Fine Art Still Life Photography Examples
Fine Art Landscape & Nature Photography Examples
Fine Art Architectural Photography Examples
Fine Art Street Photography Examples
How do You Do Fine Art Photography?
How does one set out to create a fine art photograph?
As mentioned, fine art photographs focus on the photographer as the artist and capture an image that reflects the photographer’s view.
So in order to capture a fine art photograph, have a vision or an idea of what you want to capture, then set out to capture it within your image.
It all begins with an idea, message, or emotion.
It is then transformed into a photograph through composition, a subject, lighting, and post-production.
If you are getting stuck, it’s always good to reference examples of fine art photography to gain inspiration — such as the examples listed above.
Fine Art Photography Tips
1. Get Inspiration
The first tip is to get inspiration from a source.
This could be by looking at fine art photography examples such as the ones above, watching a movie, looking at old paintings, etc.
Every action begins with a source of inspiration, how you choose to get that inspiration depends on your preferences.
The second fine art photography tip is to tap into your creative side.
This will allow you to think outside the box and look at approaching your photoshoot from a different perspective.
Check out our guides on What it Means to be Creative and Reasons Why Creativity is Important for Success.
If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
It’s important that after you get inspiration for a shoot, that you then plan out how you will accomplish capturing the image.
Where will the setting be? Who will be the subject? What camera will you use? What time of day?
All of these questions and more will need to be answered in order to prepare for the photoshoot.
4. Use Shooting Techniques
The fourth tip is to use shooting and composition techniques that can enhance a fine art and creative look.
Such techniques include using motion blur, rule of thirds, bokeh, leading lines, etc.
5. Color Grading
The fifth tip is to use color grading techniques to further enhance the fine art image of your photograph.
Many fine art photographers take inspiration from the color harmonies used in classical fine art paintings.
If you want to take your fine art photography to the next level, it’s important that you are educated on the different color harmonies such as complementary, analogous, triad, etc. and that you learn some basics of color grading.
To further explore fine art photography tips, we also recommend this video by Serge Ramelli:
How Much Money do Fine Art Photographers Make?
The salary of fine art photographers varies widely.
$14K to $383K a year according to recent stats from Comparably.
Since most photographers are sole business owners and entrepreneurs in their own right, the only ceiling they set is for themselves in terms of money potential.
Check out all the ways you can make money as a photographer.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on fine art photography. Good luck and go out and try some of these tips!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between photography and fine art photography?
Photography is a broad term that encompasses various genres and styles, including documentary, commercial, portrait, and more. Fine art photography, on the other hand, goes beyond capturing realistic representations of subjects and aims to convey the photographer’s unique artistic vision, often involving creative concepts, composition, lighting, technique, and emotional resonance in the images. It pushes the boundaries of traditional photography and is often exhibited, printed, and presented as pieces of art.
How to start selling fine art photography?
Starting to sell fine art photography involves several key steps. First, photographers should create a cohesive body of work that reflects their unique artistic style and vision. Next, they can establish an online presence through a website or online gallery, market their work through social media, participate in art fairs or exhibitions, and consider partnering with galleries or art consultants to promote and sell their fine art photography prints. Additionally, photographers should research the market, price their work appropriately, and develop a professional approach to customer service and sales.
Nate Torres is an entrepreneur, growth marketer, and photographer and writes mostly on those topics. Nate runs his own professional photography business and photography blog called Nate Torres Photography. Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. He is also a photography speaker and author on Photofocus.