Get in touch with your creative side and explore the incredible world of fine art photography! This genre of photography can be challenging and rewarding, allowing you to look at photography from the perspective of an artist and to make creative representations of ideas and subjects you are passionate about. Anyone with an iPhone can be a photographer, but it takes creativity, talent, and a lot of experimentation to call your photos art. If you want to make art with your camera, then fine art photography is a great genre for you.
What is fine art photography?
The truth is that there are a lot of definitions for fine art photography, and not even the experts agree about what it is exactly. Like all art, what defines fine art photography is subjective, but here are a few things that all fine art photos have in common.
- Fine art photographs capture more than just what the camera sees.
- The images express a mood, concept, or idea in a way that is unique to the artist.
- The process of creating the photo is a deliberate manifestation of the artist’s vision.
The difference between a snapshot and fine art photography
Taking a quick snapshot doesn’t require any artistic vision or forethought. You see something you think would make a decent photo, you take out your phone, and you tap the shutter. There are times when a snapshot will pleasantly surprise you, and even times when your snapshots will be print or gift-worthy. But that still doesn’t make them art.
A fine art photo is the result of a creative process, which will often be different for each photographer. This involves coming up with a topic, creating a vision for that topic, and executing it in a way that expresses your vision.
Can you shoot fine art photos with an iPhone?
While you can absolutely shoot fine art photography with an iPhone, you may sometimes find that your iPhone camera isn’t capable of expressing the ideas that you have envisioned. The limitations of your iPhone camera include a small sensor, noisy low-light photos, and a resolution that may not be suitable for large-scale print reproductions. If you are aware of the limitations you’ll face when shooting with an iPhone, you can create and execute your vision with those limitations in mind.
How to come up with fine art photography ideas
To create fine art photos, you first have to look deep within yourself and come up with a topic and vision that you want to share as a creative expression. Here are some steps for finding your unique voice and creating fine art photography.
Your vision and message
The first step is to come up with some ideas that you can run with. Sit down for a brainstorming session and write down ideas based on your passions, any messages that you hope to convey to your viewers, subjects that you enjoy photographing, and techniques that you enjoy. Don’t think too hard — just write down a few ideas in a loose, stream-of-consciousness style. As you work through the process, topics and ideas will start to formulate from within.
Once you have a more defined vision and message, you can think about your subject matter. What you photograph should be directly linked to your topic in a way that expresses your vision and message.
Here’s an example. You’ve decided to create fine art photography based on the topic of ballet dancing, with a message that defines the hard work and dedication that goes into being a dancer. Your subject could be a pair of battered ballet shoes shot in different locations, or it could be portraits of ballet dancers. It all depends on your own vision and what will bring your idea to life.
Once you’ve decided on a subject, it’s time to plan out your photo shoot and decide on your technique. Do you want to create an abstract element within your photos? Shoot in black and white? Maybe you want to shoot with a shallow depth of field to emphasize the main subject while the rest of your photo is out of focus.
When considering your technique, keep in mind the limitations of your iPhone and ask yourself whether your phone can realistically handle the task. Adjust your ideas based on what you know your iPhone camera can handle, or consider using a different camera for your project.
You should also consider your post-processing techniques — ideas you can apply after you’ve taken your photo to ensure your vision becomes a reality.
Fine art portrait photography tips
You’ll find that the planning stages of your fine art photography project are the most labor-intensive. Once you have a basic idea of your vision, message, subject, and techniques, the actual implementation should be easy, or at least easier. Here are some tips for turning your photography vision into a reality.
1. Recruit a friend or assistant
Fine art photography requires that you create a vision and a creative plan, then take steps to make that plan a reality. It can be useful to have a friend on hand to help with your set-up, lighting, or other creative processes. An assistant can also stand in as a model, an advisor, or an extra pair of hands. Another benefit? Shooting fine art photography with a friend is more fun!