This article will discuss what is considered to be fine art photography. The term “fine art” has gotten pretty vague over time, so we’ll define it here. Then, we’ll talk about how to recognize some of the major styles of photography that fit this definition.
When looking at any photograph, you should ask yourself two questions:
- Who are these people really?
- Why are they in this place at this moment?
If you can’t answer those questions for a photo, then it isn’t very meaningful. You may want to consider whether or not it is worth your time to invest more in this craft.
There are many great photographers out there who don’t necessarily fall under the “fine artist” label, but their work is still extremely artistic and creative.
By using interesting compositions, silhouettes, light sources, etc., they achieve an effect that feels artistic and poetic. They satisfy our need to connect with other humans on an emotional level through their pictures.
This article will go into much greater detail about the types of photographs that qualify as fine arts, along with some tips on becoming a better photographer.
Definition of the word photography
The term ‘photography’ is used to describe both still pictures and moving images. When we speak about still photographs, we usually refer to them as photos or picture. A photo can be framed and displayed for people to admire, it does not have to be computer generated either. An example of this would be taking a photograph of someone or something.
When we talk about moving images (or films), we call them movies or documentaries depending on what type of movie they are. For instance, a feature length film with stories and characters is a documentary. A short video like YouTube clips is an online movie that has run its course and was downloaded or streamed via a device such as a smartphone or tablet.
Both types of photographic media contain light emitted from a source onto a medium such as glass or plastic, which is then recorded through a process called exposure. This creates the chance to see the image later, just like a normal person would look at a physical object and read all the information it contains.
It is important to know that great art does not depend only on how well you use Photoshop or whether your camera has in-camera editing features. Being able to take good photographs comes down to knowing basic photography rules such as using correct exposures and understanding lighting.
What does this mean?
So what is fine art photography, really? That’s a good question! Technically speaking, any photograph that contains people, nature or architecture can be considered as fine art, but not every person who calls themselves a photographer considers their work to be artistic.
Only about one percent of all photographers consider themselves artists, so let me make it clear — being a professional artist isn’t easy!
However, just because someone doesn’t identify as an artist doesn’t mean they don’t have the skills to take great pictures. Many successful amateur photographers are very creative with how they approach photo-taking.
They might experiment with different styles and genres, for example by taking many candid photos in various environments or experimenting with underwater/semi-underwater photoshoots.
What isn’t fine art?
Many people consider taking pictures with your smartphone as “fine art.” However, this is definitely not the case. If you want to call yourself a photographer, then you should know what makes it into the category of “fine arts” photography.
It’s not enough to take just any picture or use any kind of equipment; you have to understand how light works, color must be represented properly, and composition is very important.
These concepts are basic to creating beautiful photographs, but most people who consider themselves artists never really study them. By studying the basics of artistic expression, you’ll know whether someone else‘s work looks good to you and why!
There are many ways to achieve great fine art photos so there is no need to feel like you will never get there. You already do! Just by shooting regularly and learning from others’ work, you’re well on your way.
What are your interests?
As we have discussed, being a fine art photographer means having an interest in photography. But what is “photography” anyway?
Most people understand that taking pictures with a camera is considered photo-taking, but there are other ways to take photos. For instance, if you put some glass or plastic between yourself and someone or something (for example, placing a lens over a window) then it is referred to as filming with a handheld device.
Filmmaking is another way to use photography as a medium. Filmmakers often use special lighting, costumes, and/or backdrops to add depth and dimension to their stories.
A lot of people consider painting to be a form of photography because they both use materials to convey a message. Artists organize all the components of their paintings using light, color, shapes, and textures to create images!
Artists also typically apply artistic concepts like perspective, proportion, and balance to make the image interesting. These are called photographic rules or theories.
So why not just call everything photography? Because some things can look very artificial and manufactured when done for aesthetic reasons.
Also, some types of photographs don’t necessarily fit into any of these categories. For example, a self-portrait is usually described as a personal photograph, but some artists include professional headshots among that category.
Conversely, some photographers avoid calling their work “photo” due to its association with ordinary snapshots.
Who are some famous fine art photographers?
Some great artists that have been included in this category are Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, Bruce Gilder, Richard Schmid, Daniel Laughlin, Patrick Honan, Mark Tanter, and many more!
These artists all have one thing in common: they love nature very much, are dedicated to exploring the natural world, and convey this passion through their work.
Many of these artists use unconventional photography techniques or equipment to achieve their artistic goals, which is what makes their work special.
Some even develop new photographic concepts that influence other artists! All of this adds up to make their work stand out from others.
Nature photography is an extremely broad genre that includes landscapes, still life, and animal studies. There are few areas of nature we cannot find photographs of, so there is no limit to how creative you can be with your imagery!
But what sets fine art landscape photos apart from those taken during everyday times is that they go beyond capturing beautiful vistas.
They strive to express something deeper about the place and the surrounding area. This could be portraying a sense of tranquility, wonder, or inspiration. Or it could just show how gorgeous nature is!
Landscape photographer Sean Housley put it best when he said his goal as an artist is “to evoke emotions”.
He continues by saying that most people do not get emotional around beauty, space, and nature, making it hard for them to connect with his work.
Who are some famous street photographers?
Some people consider taking pictures with your phone or even using an app like Instagram to be art, but this is not true art photography.
Artists take time to hone their craft, they invest in good equipment, and they work hard to achieve their artistic goals. They may use unconventional methods to get their photos, too!
Some artists choose to spend hours outside shooting beautiful scenery or still life setups. Others experiment with different formats, shutter speeds, and light sources to create interesting photographs.
These types of photographs are considered fine art because they appeal to the eye and feel authentic. An average person can appreciate these images because they seem real and straightforward.
There’s no flashy photoshopping involved, nor do most contain references to popular culture. Rather, they tell a story that comes from within. Many find inspiration from nature.
Many musicians and writers incorporate street photography into their artwork. Artists such as Pablo Picasso incorporated it into his paintings.
Picassos works include depictions of everyday objects transformed into something else. This gives them new meaning due to the context in which they exist. He also used off-the-wall camera settings and techniques to capture his shots.
Music lyrics often make reference to urban landscapes and architecture, so there’s plenty of content for aspiring photographersto look through for ideas.
Why are some people skeptical of fine art?
Many perceive modern, artistic photography as simply being too conceptual or self-referential. To them, this style seems like it is trying to tell a story with only pictures.
They may also feel that photographers who practice this style lack natural talent and thus produce poor quality work.
These assumptions often come from not knowing what exactly defines an artist in their field. It is very hard to define what makes someone write a book, play a song, take a picture, or do anything really well.
However, there are certain qualities that make someone qualify as an artist.
If you have ever heard of a person before then they probably consider themselves to be artists. For example, anyone can put together a painting of a house by looking at lots of houses online and copying how different colors look.
This isn’t necessarily good artwork but it is definitely an artistic expression! People who say they aren’t artists might just not know what the definition of the word actually means.
Why are some people skeptical of street photography?
Many perceive street art as simply being overly artistic, clichéd or even disturbing. Some feel it is too informal or not professional because it is not taken in studios with professional equipment and professionals trained in capturing beautiful pictures.
These criticisms usually go beyond what defines fine art photography. Others believe that since most street photos are done without much planning or preparation, they seem more like snapshots than images made to look aesthetically pleasing.
However, while all of these things can be considered parts of good street photography, they should not deter you from trying out different styles.
There are many ways to take creative photographs outside, and even within buildings and urban landscapes. Street shooting does not need expensive gear or advanced knowledge about cameras. In fact, having no restrictions can sometimes result in better imagery.
Furthermore, there are many great masters of the genre who do not use elaborate settings or neutral backgrounds. Rather, they add texture, contrast, and other visual features to their shots.