What is Fine Art in photography and why is it so successful? (with advice and inspiration)

There are many photographic techniques, and editing techniques as well, some go unnoticed and others become popular in an impressive way. The Photography fine art belongs to the second category. It is a very popular technique because the results are spectacular. Now, popular doesn’t mean it’s easy photography.

The photograph fine art it requires a very thoughtful photographic process in which everything that appears in it is perfectly worked. Let’s see what exactly is photography fine art and how to achieve spectacular photographs with this technique.

What is fine art photography?

The photograph fine art It is a photographic style that contemplates photography as a work of art. These types of photographs have a very pronounced pictorial style in which aesthetics take precedence over reality.

Fine art photography, therefore, does not seek to faithfully represent reality, but instead puts the aesthetic result before the faithful representation of the scene.

Characteristics of fine art photography in portrait

The photograph fine art applied to portraiture is characterized by a high aesthetic sense in which the search perfection of each aspect of the image. The model is rendered extremely sharp, the clothes have been carefully chosen, and the background is a natural background where everything is perfect.

  • Background with natural elements such as forests, paths, flower fields, etc.
  • Very shallow depth of field to highlight the model.
  • The face is extremely sharp and flawless.
  • Contrasting colors not always faithful to reality.
  • Soft and diffuse lighting.
  • Many times the sky at sunrise or sunset is represented in a real or fictitious way (in edition).
  • Clothes and makeup are chosen in detail.
  • Natural accessories such as flower crowns, etc., are often added as part of the model’s wardrobe.

Recommended lenses for fine art photography

The best lenses for photography fine art they are those that allow us to open the diaphragm a lot and that at the same time give us great sharpness. In this sense, I recommend:

  • a wide angle very bright fixed type 24mm f/1.4 or similar (I have this one and it is magnificent). The wide-angle optics will allow you to cover a good portion of the scene and the f / 1.4 aperture will allow you to blur the background.
  • A 50mm f/.14. It is the one that Mario baptized as the king of the Objectives and one of the best off-road fixed optics that you can buy. It is very bright and has impressive sharpness. In terms of value for money it is difficult to find better.
  • A short telephoto type 105mm f/2, both for aperture and focal length can be a good option to get very sharp images with a beautiful out of focus background.

NOTE: remember the relationship between depth of field and blur when choosing a target. In this sense, for example, a Wide Angle, if it is not very bright, is not recommended if what you are looking for is out-of-focus backgrounds, since they are lenses that offer a great depth of field.

That said, I wouldn’t want the subject of the lens to limit you, just try to choose the brightest one you have because it will be decisive in the subject of background blur.

Here I leave you with some more ideas of portrait lenses that will surely help you if you are looking for one.

Requirements for fine art photography

The photograph fine art requires great planning. That is, the image process begins long before you press the shutter button.

  • Browse the nets in search of inspiration, soak up ideas, write down the ones you like the most and take those images to your field, your style and your way of understanding this type of creative photography.
  • Locate a place for your session that meets the requirements: forests, fields, paths…
    • You can also try nature-inspired fabrics for a fine art-style backdrop.
  • Pick a good time of day when you have a soft and diffused light. Sunsets are great times to do it. However, you can help yourself with light modifiers to achieve your goal.
  • The clothes is another of the indisputable protagonists of this type of photography. Vaporous garments of intense colors and that contrast with the background usually work very well.
  • The makeup of the model is key and should help you to hide any type of “imperfection” in the face, since we seek perfection.
  • The photograph fine art is used a lot in child portrait photography. In this type of photography, nature and children create a very natural bond.
    • Many times they are accompanied by images of animals such as ducks, cats, dogs, horses… to further emphasize that link with nature.
    • It is very important to connect with the children so that the session flows in a pleasant way and thus you can get better images.
    • If you are interested in specialized children’s photography, I leave you with our mega guide on the subject.
  • Unleash your creativity, photography fine art it is pure art.

Recommended settings for fine art photography

Following the logic of what a photograph is fine artof how we want the final result to be, these are the necessary adjustments to start with a good image before going through the editing process:

  • Use a diaphragm opening as wide as possible (f/low value).
  • Prioritize focus.
  • Use an ISO as low as possible, you will gain sharpness avoiding noise in the photo.
  • Use a minimum speed high enough so that the image does not get blurred (remember that it depends on the focal length of the lens; the more the focal length, the more speed you need to freeze the image well).
  • The ideal is that you photograph in manual mode, although if you are not clear, choose the aperture priority.
  • Focus your model’s eyes well:
    • Make sure by enlarging the image on-sitethere is nothing worse than getting home and seeing, after all the work, that you had not focused well on the face.
  • Never underexpose when taking the image. The quality loss when trying to recover an underexposed image is noticeable. The best is to right the histogram slightly.
  • It is essential to work in RAW format.

Fine art photography and photo editing

Although starting from a good image is essential, the need for editing that this type of photography requires is no less essential. We could say that 50% of the image would correspond to the execution and the other 50% to the edition. In this case, one cannot be understood without the other.

Editing a photograph fine art should focus on:

  • The light must be a warm and soft light that helps to increase the sensation of dream image, oneiric.
  • Blurred backgrounds: You can add some blur to the background with the selective brushes.
  • Perfectly focused model with a “perfect” face (erases skin impurities such as blemishes or pimples). Give power to the eyes by brightening them, adding focus, etc.
  • Contrasted and saturated colors: we are not looking for an image that is true to reality, so the colors do not have to be true to it. Look for the contrast and saturation that accompany you to continue giving that dreamy touch to your image.
  • It is very important that you find your own style in editing.

Here’s an example (which doesn’t have to be your style 😉 ).

Fine art photography editing programs

I don’t think I will reveal any mystery about editing programs in this article ;). The ones I recommend the most are the Adobe classics and Capture One:

Ideally, you can either work in layers, or work selectively within the image, since you don’t want to apply all the adjustments to the image in general, but rather by zones. It is also essential that they handle RAW files.

Here are some alternatives to the “classics” that you may also be interested in, such as Photopea.

Fine art photographers to inspire you

As I already pointed out in the “requirements” section, everything starts by being inspired by great photographers that you can find on Social Networks such as Instagram. among other.

In this case I recommend four photographers of different styles so you can see the extensive possibilities of this type of photography:

Olga Fleur

Specialized in children’s photography in a classic style fine art. His images are warm and full of magic and love for nature. You can follow her on Instagram for more inspiration, ( @olga_fler_).

Mila Wells

Another fine art style photographer specializing in family photography that you can be inspired by. As you can see, his photos are based on a natural environment, warm lights, blurred backgrounds and saturated colors.

Paulina Duczmann

This photographer is based on a photograph fine art studio portrait. In it you can see the extent to which the search for perfection goes in the faces of the models, in the skin, in the eyes, how they are sought to stand out from the background, etc. Visit his Instagram account for more inspiration 😉

Ana Lora

This style of photography fine art it is less “classic” but equally captivating. Ana Lora’s portraits are highly artistic, she constantly plays with color, with natural elements and light, but she focuses more on the model and not so much on the environment. You can follow her for more inspiration on her Instagram account (@ analora.art).

And so far this article on photography Fine Art. Did you know this style? What did I look like to you? The truth is that the result of this technique does not go unnoticed, not in vain it is one of the most popular styles among photographers specialized in family and children’s sessions.

I hope you liked it and, above all, that it encourages you to explore other styles, and to find inspiration if you think you’ve stagnated 🙂 . Oh, and if you liked it, help us share it so that it reaches the greatest number of interested people. Thank you very much and see you in the next article.