- 2-3 sentences that provide an overview of the themes from your project
- 2-3 sentences that showcase how you exemplified these themes
- Photo Album Add-Ons That Will Impress Any Client
- Creative Ideas for Improving Your Photography Income
photo by maxdis via iStock
If you’re taking this down time to work on your fine art photography, you aren’t alone. Many photographers have always dreamed of participating in fine art photography, but find themselves getting caught up in the day-to-day operations of their business.
There can be good money in fine art photography. But, if you make any of these fine art photography mistakes (and you will, we all do) it’s going to be much harder to find clients willing to pay for your work.
This list of fine art photography do’s and don’ts were curated specifically by the PhotographyTalk team and our decades of experience.
Do: Be Cohesive
Photo by Eric Park on Unsplash
If you’re hoping to display your fine art photography in any sort of studio or event space, you will need to have a collection of works that build off of one another.
If you’re brand new to fine art photography, this may mean that you are only shooting one specific style for a few months.
Whatever that style might be, each time you pick up your camera to create an image, strive to do something that fits with your style. Doing so will help ensure that your collection is a cohesive experience. And that experience doesn’t have to be based on a single subject matter. Your collection might be connected by color, shape, perspective, or some other specific feature.
Do: Create an Artist Statement
Creating an artist statement can be incredibly daunting if you’ve never done it before. That’s why you can let David M. Kessler Fine Art walk you through it.
If you create your statement before you start the project, it can help bring that cohesion we talked about to your work.
One mistake I frequently see in photographers’ artist statements is that they feel the need to be overly technical. Keep in mind that your artist statement isn’t for other photographers, it’s for anyone who is going to be viewing your piece (which includes potential clients).
Fine art photography artist statements should include the following elements:
Do: Showcase Your Work in a Gorgeous Fine Art Album
Pictured above: The Journal ArtBook, with a leather-wrapped cover and hand-torn, cotton rag paper with deckled edges.
If you follow PhotographyTalk then you know we recently began working with Qt Albums. Qt Albums creates fine art photography albums that are otherworldly.
The ArtBook, specifically, is what I use for my fine art photography because it is a museum-grade album. What I mean by this is that the ArtBook features 100% archival, acid free paper that is rated to last for over a century without any fading or discoloration.
Pictured above: The Cotton Rag ArtBook with a linen hardcover and cotton rag pages with straight edges.
Moreover, every ArtBook lays completely flat when open, so you won’t need to mess with the pages while displaying your work.
There are different options you can choose when it comes to the cover of your ArtBook, from a soft, leather-bound cover to a velvet or linen cover.
Pictured above: Deckled Edge Cotton Rag Paper ArtBook with a hardcover and cotton rag pages with deckled edges.
But, most importantly, your fine art photography album will be exactly what you make it and it will last a lifetime.
I specifically enjoy working with Qt Albums because they strictly work with photographers, which means you get a higher-level of customer service and a faster turnaround time. Plus, you’ll never have to Google, “how to display fine art photography,” ever again!
Don’t: Refuse to Photograph in Color
photo by Fotos von Reisen, schwarz weiß und diverse. via iStock
This is a huge pet peeve of mine when it comes to fine art photography. A ton of fine art photographers will refuse to take photos in color in favor of a strictly black and white portfolio.
I don’t have anything against black and white photographs, but I personally feel pretty strongly that if you’re going to strictly photograph in black and white, there must be a great reason for you to do so.
In essence, if you’re going to be shooting fine art photography in black and white, ask yourself what that choice is bringing to your work. Did you want to highlight the lighting in the photograph over the substance? Did you want to showcase the line work instead of the subject?
Don’t: Make Your Work as Vague as Possible
photo by Alexander Pyatenko via iStock
This is definitely another fine art photography cliche that is sometimes painful to watch. Your portfolio should not be filled with vague images that are vague just to be vague.
It’s confusing for your viewers and probably won’t gain you a ton of clients, considering you must be of a certain echelon of photographers to sell work most people don’t like.
If you truly love vague fine art photography, then I encourage you to pursue it, just make sure you include those vague photographs in a larger body of work that bring meaning and substance to it.
Just like with shooting in black and white, only shoot vague photographs if you’re trying to point out a larger thematic element by doing so.
Don’t: Introduce Noise to Your Photos on Purpose
Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash
If you’ve participated in the fine art photography industry for longer than a few months, chances are you’ve come across a photographer who shoots all of their work with a DSLR but adds noise to their photos in order to make them look like they were taken with a film camera.
To me, this move screams of unprofessionalism. If you love the look of film photographs so much, why not use a film camera?
It’s important for me to note here that I’m not talking about throwing out every shot you’ve taken in low light that naturally had some noise in it. Noise can sometimes add a surreal element to your photos.
Just be careful with it. Again, don’t add noise for the sake of doing it - make sure there is a purpose!
Don’t: Add Strong Vignettes
Photo by Adrien Tutin on Unsplash
Another thing some fine art photographers will do is add a strong vignette to replicate what a film camera might have done.
When I first started in the industry, I also noticed that a lot of photographers would use a strong vignette to cover a badly composed shot.
While vignettes have a time and a place, they shouldn’t be used to try to hide a poor composition. Fine art photography is about those finely-tuned details - the image should beautifully composed and executed, not thrown together with a hope and a prayer!
Becoming a great fine art photographer takes time, practice, and patience, just like everything else in photography. With these tips, you can be on the road to success!