The rise of fidelity in digital photography has paved the way for the establishment of the medium as a means to create fine art. The improvements in sensor and lens quality, as well as advanced fine-tuning of settings, allows photographers to capture breathtaking images with their digital cameras.
The term “fine-art photography” isn’t new, of course. The Photographic Fine Art Association, founded in 1961, sought to distinguish photography as an art rather than as a craft, as it was seen at the time. The term applies when the photographs taken evoke both mental and emotional stimulation, provoking the viewer’s imagination.
While it could be argued that any photograph that results in any kind of response is itself art, fine art photography follows certain specific tenets, some of which we’ll go over in this article.
Tips and Tricks for Digital Fine Art Photography
1. Find inspiration.
Art is often stagnant if inspiration does not strike (or so artists would have you believe). However, looking for inspiration does not mean sitting around and waiting for your muse to strike. It means activelyseeking ways to light that creative fire within you. Figure out ways to make the ordinary extraordinary, from a simple coffee table setup, the trees in your backyard, or even your kitchen.
Go for walks around your town, and see if you can find any interesting structures. Talk to people you meet, and observe their mannerisms. Not only will you have a potential person to make a portrait of, but you’ll cultivate working and personal relationships as well.
Develop an eye for detail, and continually look at your surroundings. You never know which everyday item can become a fascinating subject for photography.
2. Know your equipment.
None of our tips will have any merit if you don’t know your equipment well. Understand what your particular telephoto lens is good for, and know when exactly to use your diffuser.
Can that window be better shot by attaching a monopod to your camera? And while using a tripod is generally recommended to establish a more stable shot, there are times when not using one will result in a more artistic shot.
Experiment with different pieces of equipment—the beauty of digital photography is that you can take as many photos as you want, and see the effects of manipulating different variables.
You should also be familiar with your camera itself—know what settings affect your photos, such as aperture, shutter speed, and focus. Tweak them to create the best-looking photographs. Reading up on these effects is one thing, but actually using them yourselves is another.
Try each of the settings out individually so you know what they do, and make artistic adjustments accordingly. It’s good practice to try to get the shot right from the onset, instead of having to rely on an image editor afterward.
3. Introduce sufficient lighting.
Lighting is one of the most evocative elements in any photograph. A well-lit image generally brings out feelings of lightheartedness and happiness, whereas darker images generally cause melancholyand gloom. Otherwise, identical photographs with only the lighting modified can result in completely opposite reactions in viewers.
Use open windows to bring in natural light. Or you can shoot at night or introduce shutters for darkness. Try to avoid using flash as much as possible, as that may result in harsh lighting—unless that’s the effect you’re going for.
4. Employ affective angles.
The angle at which a photograph is shot is important as well, because that assumes the perspective of the viewer. Lower angles make the subject much more dominant, causing them to tower over the viewpoint. Meanwhile, if you wish to de-emphasize the subject, use higher angles. Direct shots seem more technical, and are reminiscent of architectural elevations. They can be seen as too clinical and sterile for artistic photography.
5. When all else fails, edit.
In a previous item, we talked about getting the picture right at the click of the shutter, but there are benefits to post-processing as well.
Like it or not, there are elements outside our control, like people suddenly barging into the frame, or the sun and clouds refusing to cooperate. You’ll also be able to adjust the white balance of the images for greater consistency, enhance certain colors, and prepare the image for publishing or printing by converting into a more optimized format.
Here are some creative digital fine art photos:
Following these tips will facilitate your transformation froma competent technical photographer to one who knows how to capture the emotion in a subject and impart it to a viewer. How wouldyou use these guidelines in your fine art photography? Are there others that have helped you develop as an artist? Let us know in the comments below!
About The Author
Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer and content manager for Camerahouse.com.au, a company that sells the best compact and digital cameras online.