10 Fine Art Photography Tips

by Paul Skidmore
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fine art photography

Fine Art photography is an expressive type of photography that is highly individualistic. Two different photographers could have completely contrasting views on what they consider to be fine art. Despite this room for interpretation, there is still a myriad of tips you can utilize to improve your fine art photography.

If you have a work project, a school assignment, or even simply want to improve your portfolio – fine art photography is a fantastic genre to utilize. This type of photography really allows you to use your creativity and imagination. Furthermore, you can experiment with some unusual and less-used photographic techniques.
For those who want to improve their skills, we have created a list of 10 fine art photography tips. We look at things like the creative process, inspiration, color palettes, and processing styles:

1. Stick with your own vision and creative process

As mentioned above, fine art photography concentrates on expression and personal creativity – more so than any other photographic discipline. It is therefore important that you stick with your own ideas and vision, especially during a photo shoot. You can look at common ideas and processes, but ultimately, the photos should represent what you feel is beautiful – what you consider to be fine art.

This type of photography often blurs the lines with other genres. Furthermore, it encourages people to push boundaries and embrace the unusual. Be true to yourself when creating fine art photography and do what makes you happy.

2. Create a consistent set of photos

To develop an effective set of fine art photos, consistency is key. Let’s say that you are creating a set of photos for an exhibition. The viewers should be able to clearly see what the central theme is. Furthermore, they should be able to discern the style and processes used.

Things such as compositional techniques, color palettes, and processing styles should remain the same for sets of photos. We are not saying stick exclusively to one style or process each time you create fine art photography – simply ensure that each set of photos or projects uses the same style, etc.

3. Take inspiration from established fine art photographers

We previously mentioned that fine art photography is highly personal. That is of course true. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look at other photographer’s work for inspiration. There is a huge array of fine art photography to pour-over. You only have to search Google images and you can find hundreds of examples. Furthermore, the following photographers provide fantastic inspiration:

– Josefine Hoestermann
– Luke Sharratt
– Gina Vasquez
– Dragos Ioneanu
– Alivia Moneva

Each one of these artists has a brilliant collection of photos and there are hundreds more to be found. Look at what ideas and techniques they use and draw inspiration from their magnificent work.

4. Experiment with different color palettes

Inexperienced photographers tend to think that fine art photography should be exclusively black and white. Whilst black and white compositions do indeed create fantastic fine art images, this is not the only type of color palette you should use.

Experiment with different palettes and stray away from the simple black and white compositions. The key is to remain consistent with your choice of colors. If you are using a pallet that reflects the golden hour, for example, ensure that all your photos are produced in this color.

sky mug fine art photo

5. Consider writing an artist statement to accompany your work

Hopefully, your photography should speak for itself. Your message should be clear, and viewers should easily be able to see your intentions and themes. Fine art can be open to interpretation, however, which is one of the reasons why it is so popular – two different people could see a photo in two completely different ways.

To provide additional information about your fine art photography, it is often beneficial to write an artistic statement. An artistic statement is a short paragraph that provides the viewer with insight into your work. It may describe the intent or the process you used. Furthermore, it could explain your ideas and inspiration.

6. Consider alternative processing styles

Post-processing is often a key aspect of fine art photography. Programs such as Lightroom, Luminar 4, and ON1 Photo RAW have a myriad of pre-sets and filters that allow you to produce highly artistic fine art photos. When creating fine art photography, you have the unique chance to experiment with unusual processing styles.

In standard photography, you may simply improve the basic quality of the photo – boost the colors, reduce noise, and remove imperfections, for example. With fine art photography, you can go one step further. Apply different techniques like reduced saturation, watercolor, or split-tone, for example.

black and white nude fine art

7. Look beyond the subject and consider the whole photo

Fine art photography should produce images that are unique and interesting. Oftentimes, the photo will concentrate on a single subject. Regardless of this, you should still try to look at the photo as a whole. Consider the meaning you want to convey and how the whole photo shows this. Don’t simply concentrate on one single aspect of the photo, but consider how it works as a complete work of art.

8. Use your imagination and push boundaries

In some forms of photography, there are a series of standardized procedures, rules, and guidelines that we generally conform too. For example, in landscape photography, we usually utilize wind angle shots and look for a balance between the sky and foreground objects.

This is not true for fine art photography. Fine art photography allows you to explore endless possibilities. You can create photos of whatever you want. Furthermore, you can push the boundaries and really test the limits of photography. Create something fresh, something unusual, something unique.


9. Remember the basic principles of composition

Although in the above point we have said that you should be creative and push boundaries, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dismiss standard techniques. Furthermore, you can still utilize basic rules of composition to ensure that your photos are of high quality.

Simple rules such as aligning horizons, using the rule of thirds, and considering balance within compositions still apply to fine art photography. Use your basic photography training and the techniques you have learned with your DSLR camera – the creative aspect is more concerned with the subject, and the style of photography that you take.


10. Consider concentrating on a single subject or location

An effective method of creating fine art photography is to concentrate on a single location or subject. This gives you focus and allows you to fully explore the creative possibilities relating to that central subject. For example, let’s say you are creating some stunning black and white shots in your home town. You could concentrate on a single building or street within that town.

This fine art photography tip is especially beneficial for beginners who are still learning about photography basics and how to use their camera. It allows them to concentrate their efforts in one area without being overwhelmed.

11. Photograph for Inspiration

The number one fine art photography tip we can provide, however, is to photograph what inspires you. Don’t conform to specific compositions or styles. Take time to think about your own preferences and what gets your creativity flowing. The end results you produce will represent your personality and style; furthermore, they should be authentic and original.

Why not bring out your artistic side and experiment with this type of photography today? Fine art photography will greatly develop your skill – not only with a camera, but also your creative thought process, and ability to express your ideas.

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