Fine art photographers are those who approach photography as an art, much like painting. While many other types of photography, such as photojournalism and portrait photography, serves the purpose of documenting events, fine art photography is about creating an image that will stir up an emotional response in the viewers. It’s about presenting images in a way that is new, stimulating, and evokes different feelings than a mere documentation would.
While there are different paths to becoming a fine art photographer, many aspiring photographers choose to study the art in a post secondary institution. Photography programs are available in many different lengths and intensities – certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, graduate studies – aspiring photographers can choose from a number of different paths to their career.
Studying the art in a university setting gives aspiring fine art photographers a chance to experiment with their craft, playing around with different tools, effects, settings, and themes, all of which are an important part of creating a piece of photographic art. They will also have the chance to study with professionals who have experience and clout as fine art photographers. There is nothing like watching an expert practice their craft to learn it yourself.
Some photographers choose to forgo post secondary training altogether and go for a more applied or hands-on approach to their training. Some apprentice other experienced photographers, so that they can get a feel for how to use equipment, set up a shot, adjust lighting, and manifest an idea or inspiration. Though apprentice work might at first deal with only the technical aspects of bringing another photographer’s vision to life, this practice is an important part of learning how to bring your own artistic visions to life. One must first understand the skills and tricks of their craft before they can understand how to take an artistic or creative idea and make it happen.
Some fine art photographers work independently right from the beginning. The advantage to this is that they have unlimited time to focus on their own ideas. The downside is that because they don’t have an expert to teach them their craft, there will likely be a little bit more trial and error involved in bringing an idea to life.
However fine art photographers choose to educate and train themselves, there are certain things that can’t be learned. Artistic vision and creativity have to occur naturally. These are qualities that can’t be taught or transferred from one person to another. They’re also the qualities that separate fine art photography from other genres of photography. Creativity and vision are what lie at the art of a good piece of fine art photography, so it is important that the aspiring fine art photographer have these qualities before they pursue their career.