- A 360-Degree Tour of Ansel Adams, the Photographer That Broke All the Rules
- A Step-by-Step Process for Making Your Photography Stand Out
- Get the Specs and Pricing on HD Metal Prints
- Understanding the Differences Between Metal and Acrylic Prints
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that most of you reading this understand the difference between a snapshot and a fine art photograph.
In fact, I'm willing to bet that most of you understand that difference, even if you can't articulate exactly what makes a photograph something that constitutes fine art.
It's almost a feeling - something you recognize in a split-second - that allows you to classify that photo your friend posted on Instagram of their dinner and the Ansel Adams print you saw in a museum as being on different spectrums of photographic quality.
The question, of course, is this: How do you create fine art photographs?
It's not exactly an easy question to answer. But it also isn't as complicated as you might think...
Make It Personal
Where a snapshot might be more of a documentarian approach to photography, that is, simply taking a photo of a person, place or thing, a fine art approach is quite different.
Instead of simply documenting the thing in front of the lens, in fine art photography, you use your camera, lens, and photography know-how as tools for expressing your unique artistic vision.
In doing so, you change how the image looks and feels to the viewer. Instead of it being just a photo, it becomes a personal statement about your unique view of the subject.
In other words, instead of relying on subject matter that is inherently dramatic, thought-provoking, or beautiful, you use the process of creating an image to convey your interpretation of the subject matter in front of your lens.
Think about it like this...
Rather than hopping out of the car at a scenic overlook and merely raising your camera to your eye to take a snapshot, you can use the process of photography to create something truly breathtaking.
That means planning your photo shoots, determining the subject you want to portray, when you might find the best lighting conditions, and the methods you will use to create your artistic vision.
That might include manipulating things like aperture to play with depth of field or shutter speed to freeze or blur action.
It might also involve creating black and white images, macro images, or even impressionist images.
The point is that when you create a snapshot, you rely on the subject and your gear to create a nice looking shot. But when you create fine art, it's you that makes the difference.
Consider What It is You Want to Say
Ansel Adams [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Another crucial aspect of creating fine art photography is considering what it is you're trying to say with your photos.
Because photography is an art, and art is an incredibly personal activity in which we all have our own unique voice, this step in the process will depend wholly on who you are as a photographer.
Think about it like this...
Ansel Adams is revered as one of the most skilled photographers of the 20th Century, not just because he could take pretty photos, but because of the stories that his images told.
Even if you didn't know that he studied the teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and was a key figure in the development of the Sierra Club, when you look at his landscapes, you get a sense that he revered the scenery he captured with his camera.
His love for the mountains, streams, valleys, and deserts that he photographed is undeniable because it comes through so strongly in the images he created.
By Dorothea Lange, Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information / Office of Emergency Management / Resettlement Administration [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Another classic example is Dorothea Lange, whose work during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl shed light on the struggles of the homeless and the unemployed.
Again, her work, like Migrant Mother shown above, tells a very palpable story, one of struggle and sacrifice, love and determination, all at the same time.
If you want to create more fine art photos, your work needs to have a voice that echoes the teachings of these iconic photographers. Make the people that view your images not just experience the subject matter, but also make them feel something with the stories that your images tell.
Add a Wow Factor
Creating fine art isn't a process that ends when you press the shutter button.
In fact, at that point, you're not even halfway there.
Though some purists dislike the idea of post-processing to create images that are more dramatic and visually impactful, that's a key component of creating fine art for many photographers.
But still, the process of making a fine art photograph doesn't end even with post-processing because how you present the image to the viewing public matters as well.
That means you need to give your images the best possible printing treatment.
Anyone can order up a ton of paper prints from any number of online retailers, but if you want a wow factor, why not go with something like an HD Metal Print from Artbeat Studios?
I've had several of my prints done on HD Metal, and I have to say, it's a spectacular substrate.
The images I had printed are bold, bright, and contrasty with superb coloration.
That's due in large part to the fact that Artbeat Studios heat infuses the photo into a ChromaluxeTM aluminum sheet. The result is a drop-dead gorgeous image that's water-resistant, UV-resistant, and scratch-resistant as well.
And since you get a variety of customization options - including the size, the mounting style and the type of mount (shown above), the surface, and the finish - you can truly create your artistic vision for a print that's unique to you and your story.
You can see more about these incredible prints in the video below by Artbeat Studios:
When it comes down to it, anyone can take a snapshot. But if you want to elevate your images to another level, these steps will help you do that.
It will take a lot of practice, time, and patience, but focusing on making your images personal, having your photos tell a story, and presenting them in a way that knocks people's socks off, you'll be well on your way to creating fine art.
And the best part? Unlike creating fine art with other printing companies, with Artbeat Studios, you get gorgeous prints that are actually affordable!