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What is Fine Art Photography?


These days everyone who owns a camera is considered a photographer and the term fine art is thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? What is the difference between a regular photo and a fine art photograph? What is the difference between a person with a fancy camera and a photographer who consistently creates high quality images? I’m going to try and answer some of these questions.

According to Wikipedia, the following definitions are found in many reference books in relation to the terms "art photography", "artistic photography", and "fine art photography".

  • "Art photography": "Photography that is done as a fine art -- that is, done to express the artist's perceptions and emotions and to share them with others".
  • "Fine art photography": "A picture that is produced for sale or display rather than one that is produced in response to a commercial commission".
  • "Artistic photography": "A frequently used but somewhat vague term. The idea underlying it is that the producer of a given picture has aimed at something more than a merely realistic rendering of the subject, and has attempted to convey a personal impression".

For me, a fine art photograph is created by the photographer as an artist and not just by the camera. The camera is simply a tool, but the vision of the artist is the driving force. Intentional use of composition, pose, lighting and expression will have great impact on the final image, as well as the technical choices made. Experience and meticulous attention to detail is what sets a fine art photographer apart from the masses of those who own expensive gear.

For example, a portrait of a child can be a simple record of the child’s age or it can convey an emotion. A family portrait can be document its members or it can represent the close relationships between parents and children evoking feelings of happiness, love and togetherness.

While some fine art photography is based solely on the vision of the photographer, I think fine art is also a collaboration between the client and the photographer that will create an image that portrays the true nature of the subject of the portrait.



Frans Lanting

Meant to last for generations, the fine art photograph is created to be enjoyed for its beauty and elegance. It is intended for the wall.

My fine art photographs are printed in house with the highest quality papers and archival pigment inks available today. The acid content in the paper is what causes the image to degrade over time resulting in cracks, color shifts and fading. At NorthLight Photography I use only 100% cotton acid free papers so you can be sure your printed images will be as beautiful 100 years from now as they are the day you display them in your home.

I enjoy printing my work as it allows me to tweak every image to my standards. I can control the highlights and shadows, the color, the composition, every detail and that makes me very happy. Nothing is delivered until I am satisfied with the image. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my work and that translates into clients who love the images of their babies, children and families that we create together.

NorthLight Photography by Janet Boschker ~ 704-641-4810 ~@jbnlight ~ Charlotte, Shallotte & Brunswick County Beaches