Fine art photography is gaining a lot of traction in recent years.
Often considered to be more art than photography, fine art photography is an incredible confluence of both worlds. There are a lot of elements in play, and it gives you a great deal of creative freedom.
This article will talk all about fine art portrait photography, and how you can build your portfolio in this genre!
What is Fine Art Portrait Photography
Fine art photography, in its essence, is about creating aesthetic and intellectual value rather than for practical purposes. As the name suggests, fine art photography is more about art than it is about photography. Fine art photographers, in more senses than one, are artists. A lot of skill and effort goes into creating these portrait photographs. More so than other genres of photography, this is all about creativity and vision, rather than photography techniques and rules.
When the subjects of fine art photography are shots of individuals, it becomes fine art portrait photography. So, just capturing a memory or an event without any artistic motivation is not fine art portrait photography. It is more than just recording a subject or individual. The main goal is to make an artistic statement. Such a photo depends more on the photographer or artist themselves, and not the camera or the equipment used.
Capturing and depicting emotions in a vibrant and distinctive style is what the photographer aims for. Photographers may use lighting, props, compositions, expressions, or locations to achieve elegant results.
Typically, such type of photography is used for photo exhibitions, social projects, or advertisements. you would not find it in a family album.
Poses for Fine Art Portrait Photography
Posing is a powerful element in fine art portraits. Poses are what separate a good photograph from from a fantastic one.
If you are unable to direct the poses in the right manner, your equipment and technique don’t matter. Here are some basic poses that are suited for fine art photography.
- Tilting the head back: This allows the model to elongate their neck and exposes the jawline. It leaves the viewer wondering what the subject is looking at.
- Twisting the torso: This helps prevent the body from appearing block-like and unattractive. It additionally gives a sense of motion.
- Dropping the shoulders: Relaxed shoulders allow for the neck to be elongated. The pose looks incredibly elegant and is great for posture.
- Arching the back: This pose creates a negative space and helps add some tension to the photo, while also implying motion.
- Create separation: Moving the arms and legs allow for triangles, lines, and negative spaces appearing everywhere. This helps move the viewer’s eye across the entire frame.
- Push chin away from neck: This pose helps push the neck out and creates a straighter line on the neck. The subject looks more purposeful and alert.
- Tucking arms inside: By moving and placing the arms behind, the waist feels cinched. It makes the subject appear like they are in a fairytale.
- Create motion: Have the model actually perform a motion to make it believable. Reaching out for something is an excellent pose that creates motion.
- Use the hands: Hands are great to tell and portray stories. Hands can depict the feelings of confidence, vulnerability, or even innocence, depending on the way you place them.
Include Props and Costumes
Incorporating costumes and props forms the crux of fine art photography. Some photographers use extravagant costumes and numerous props, while others are more minimal.
Fine Art Portrait Photography Costumes
You can visit a thrift or costume store to find appropriate outfits for your models. You can be conventional and go for royalty looking costumes, which works incredibly well for portraiture. These are often the best places to find interesting and eye-catching outfits for a fine art photography session. You don’t need to just limit your self to dresses and outfits. You can add in hats, scarves, coats, and other interesting accessories.
Fine Art Portrait Photography Props
Adding inanimate objects is something that has been done since the times of world-renowned painting masters. Items such as musical instruments, books, bowls, flowers, and other similar objects have featured in renowned works of art. Explore paintings from some remarkable artists for inspiration along these lines.
These props can either serve a a decoration that catches your eye, or help narrate a story about your subjects. you can use items with natural textures, such as instruments, books and flowers in your fine art portrait photography. They give it a sense of authenticity. Ideally, try to incorporate an item that has some strong meaning and connection to your models.
Keep in mind that you should look for pleasant textures, neutral colors, eye-catching shapes and some intriguing details.
You Have to Edit Your Fine Art Photos
As with any type of photography, post-processing and editing are a must. They add a lot more characters and depth to your portraits.
Every photographer and artist has a unique style of photography and editing. Typically, they spend a few years exploring the various styles, and then finally figuring out what works for them. It is always a work in progress and is something they hone all the time. Using the various tools and software, it is possible to give the signature look to a photograph. Following the guiding principles of photography, although important, isn’t something you must always follow. You need to think out of the box to create something that is different from the rest.
You can use different textures, color correcting tools, and modules, and other resources to add your unique touch to every photograph. Learning to build your own style is what will separate you from the rest. Understand the difference between rules and styling, and you should be golden!
Related: Fashion Photography Tips
This guide of fine art portrait photography includes some of the most important tips for beginners. As you keep building your portfolio, you will understand a great deal more about the type of costumes, settings and props that you enjoy framing and capturing. With consistency and a clear vision, you can soon grow into an excellent fine art photographer!
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.