When we’re taking landscape photography, we get inspired by light, land or a fleeting moment. But what makes fine art landscape photography unique isn’t found in the scenery. Artistic photography is found within.
To me, fine art landscape photography is the quintessential way of showing who you are as a photographer.
Teaching you what fine art landscape photography is and how you can take better pictures with that knowledge is important to me. I simply love to see new and interesting photography with a personal flair.
In this article, I invite you to embrace photography as a form of art. Instead of specific instructions on how to achieve a certain look, these 10 tips will show you how to be a better artist through fine art photography.
What Is Fine Art Photography?
Guy Tal summarises fine art brilliantly by saying that your photos should be aboutthings, not of things.
Fine art landscape photography is the way you document the land. It’s about the connection between you as a photographer and the landscape you’re in.
Therefore, your vision as an artist is fundamental to creating original photos. It is important to note that creating art is a cognitive process.
Galen Rowell was one of the proponents of pre-visualising an image before pressing the shutter. Apart from a vague, reverse image on the ground glass, this is the only way to know how your image will look with film photography.
In the digital age, pre-visualisation is very under-appreciated. We tend to look at our images after we shoot them and adjust accordingly. The goal of fine art landscape photography is to have an idea of what your images will look like in the end.
Ask yourself questions like: “What do I want to show in this image” and “How does this composition make me feel?” Then, dial in the camera settings that will add to your answers.
If you feel gloomy or sad, you could help the image by making it a bit darker. Add some negative exposure compensation in your camera’s Aperture Priority mode or shorten the shutter speed in Manual mode.
Creating darker images makes the viewer tap into darker emotions as well.
Colour and Processing
Another great tool for putting emotion in your fine art landscape photography is colour. Control the overall colour of the image with the white balance setting of your camera, and don’t be afraid of a bit of colour cast. Photos don’t always have to be neutral. Bright and warm colours can really add energy and an overall positive feeling.
Keep in mind that pictures that warm colours demand attention, whereas cooler tones are easier on the brain.
Also keep post-processing in mind before you even press the shutter. Look through the viewfinder and think out loud about what you want to do to an image.
Do you want to darken the sky or lift the shadows? Are there distracting elements you would rather not have, but cannot omit by slightly altering the composition?