In 1961, after years of arguing that photography was in fact a fine art, Dr. SD Jouhar founded the Photographic Fine Art Association. The association defined fine art photography as, “Creating images that evoke emotion by a photographic process in which one’s mind and imagination are freely but competently exercised.”
The incredible thing about fine art photography is that it’s brought to life through your own artistic vision as the photographer — eliciting feeling through your interpretation of a subject.
If you’re looking for a few tips on how to bring your abstract creative vision to life, read on.
Convey an Idea
Fine art photography is made poignant and powerful when it conveys a message or an idea — an emotion. As an artist, think about what the point of your photograph is. How do you want people to feel when they view it? What do you want them to take away from it? Perhaps it’s a single word, like happiness or loneliness.
Or, it could be an entire phrase like — to see the world in an optimistic and uplifting way. If you don’t know where to start, grab a blank piece of paper and jot down some ideas. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with.
Notice Life’s Details
You may walk out your front door every morning and pass the same old house — painted teal with its white shutters set among green vines. To you, it might seem ordinary now, routine. But to others, these details once captured through your lens become fine art.
Think of the home as a whole, but also think of its intimate characteristics — the way the veins of the vine’s leaves look set beneath the chipped paint of the white shutters. As you begin to notice these fine details, the art emerges. And you’ll find it in everything.
Though all forms of photography are about technique — fine art photography in particular is about feeling and inspiration in addition to technique. Your photographs don’t need to be a literal representation of a subject (like a stock photo of a bowl of apples or a perfectly orange hued sunset shot snagged at golden hour) but rather — your interpretation of that subject.
Enter: inspiration. What gets your creative juices flowing about that bowl of apples? Is it a rough patch on the side of the skin, a slightly bent and unique-looking stem, a worm that makes it way out of the middle? Find the pieces of your subjects that inspire you and go from there.
Lighting in fine-art photography is crucial in conveying your mood. If you’re going for a dark, deep and moody emotion, you wouldn’t necessarily want your lighting to feel bright and cheerful (although it is fine-art, and those unexpected stylistic choices can also work in your favor, if you so choose).
The point is to think about your lighting beforehand, and make the creative choices that will enhance your photos in your own way.
If you’re looking to capture an artistic shot, you have to be willing and eager to explore composition. As a fun exercise, try taking ten different shots of the same subject. Leave the subject in the same place and as the photographer, make it your job to move around. Get down on the ground. Get up high. Get in close. Take a few steps back. Work to capture different characteristics about the subject. When you’ve snapped those ten shots, move the subject to another location, and try it all over again. Exploring and experimenting will yield fantastic fine-art results.
With fine art photography, the creative world is in your hands. From all of us at Skylum, we look forward to seeing your vision come to life.