5 Tips for Shooting Fine Art Photography

5 Tips for Shooting Fine Art Photography

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Fine-art photography is a term given to describe ‘photography created according to the vision of the artist as a photographer.’

In this context, photography is utilized as a way of bringing to life an image that only exists in the artist’s mind.

Rickshaw rider, Kathmandu, Nepal © Jeremy Flint

In essence, the goal of fine art is to express an idea, a message or an emotion rather than representational photography as found in photojournalism, documentary or commercial photography. Generally, it is more subjective than objective in nature.

With the concept of fine-art photography in mind, here are 5 tips to help you shoot fine art photography:

1. Check the weather

As simple as it may seem, one thing to do when shooting fine-art photography is to check the weather. You will find having good light can help to transform mundane scenes into remarkable images.

On occasion, you may turn up at a location and get lucky with the weather. However, particularly for fine-art landscape photography, weather forecasts help you to decide when the light is right to shoot on a certain day and when to avoid getting caught in heavy downpours.

2. Be creative

Being creative is one of the best ways to develop fine art photography. Putting your unique vision into your work helps you create fine art photos you can be proud of. For example, trying to show the landscapes you witness with the best impact and emotion is a proven method of developing fine art.

I recommend asking yourself what fine art do I want to capture and what do I want to convey in my images?

This is purely a personal choice where you can create an image that connects with how you are feeling at that moment in time or a unique and interesting way of embracing and documenting your chosen subject and showing this as an art form through your photos.

3. Choose a subject to stimulate the viewer

This brings me on to my next tip, choose a subject to enthuse the viewer. Finding a subject that connects with the audience can lift an image from ordinary to great. This could be anything from abstract details such as those found on rustic doors, textures of flowers or water droplets to interesting patterns.

It could also be something that can be challenging to recognize or is easily identifiable. Whatever you choose, select a topic that interests you.

4. Use colors or moods for fine art

The paintings you often see in exhibitions and galleries are considered to be forms of fine art and often demonstrate different themes and moods. Therefore, my next tip is to shoot photographs with a painterly approach using color or moods.

Color can be utilized to evoke emotion and is an excellent way of putting life into your fine art photography. Using colors such as blues and oranges can help evoke cooler or warmer tones, respectively. Bright and warm colors can add energy and an overall positive feeling, whilst cooler tones can be calming and relaxing.

You can achieve different feelings in fine art photography by capturing something dark and moody or bright and uplifting. Reducing your exposure compensation is a great way of making your images darker and more dramatic. Increasing exposure can evoke vitality. Using contrast is also a good way to create mood as it provides variety in tones.

Namibia

5. Use motion blur

Being experimental with fine-art photography is a wonderful way to achieve great pictures, and one way to do this is through motion blur. You can practice this technique in several different ways; you can photograph moving subjects, or you can move your camera when you release your shutter.

Zebras, Tanzania

Capturing moving subject’s over a period of time can create motion in the image. This technique tends to work well where either the subject or background is still, and the other is moving, giving contrast.

You can also develop continuity in an image by physically moving your camera, either up, down or sideways as you press the shutter. You will find that even by zooming your lens in while you take a photograph can create movement in your images.

Hyena Pan, Tanzania

Conclusion

In conclusion, fine-art photography is a great way to express your own ideas and vision in an interesting and subjective way. It offers the opportunity to be creative and stimulate the viewer using themes, moods and motion blur.

With these tips, go out and take some pictures of what you perceive to be fine art and share your images with us below.

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Jeremy Flint is a UK based award winning travel and landscape photographer, known for documenting images of beautiful destinations, cultures and communities from around the world. He recently won the Association of Photographers Discovery Award 2017 and the Grand Prize in the 2016 National Geographic Traveller and F11 Your Vision competitions. His pictures are represented by 4Corners images and have been featured in National Geographic Traveller, Outdoor Photography, Digital SLR Photography and national newspapers.