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With the advent of smart phones and advanced digital cameras, the opportunities for anyone to take a great picture are boundless. But, what exactly connotes that specialized niche described as fine art photography? Is there a group of shutterbugs traipsing around the countryside with glasses of wine clasped in their hands just shooting in style and without reservation? More than the poser disposition, the eye of the shooter is the secret in bringing out the artistry in a particular photograph.

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Defining art remains challenging because it skirts with rebelliousness and unconformity so it refuses to be placed into a box or even be thought of as outside the box. When different people appreciate an artistic piece, each and every one of them will have a personal take on how that impressive image spoke. How then can someone who seems interested in exploring the intriguing world of fine art photography find a way to get going?

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Like any skill that requires training, we all take our cue from the masters. If we want an idea on just how it’s done, best to check out to peruse some great examples. A sea wave frozen in time as its’ peak breaks, or the black and white portrait of an old man whose eyes show wisdom beyond his actual age, or a serene scene of a shack blending into the desert landscape provide us with some templates. The compositions presented give us that direction of sorts to pursue our craft. We can copy or imitate at first these very worthwhile works, but sooner or later we need to express our own voice. 

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Yes, our own cameras now need to do the talking. Go out there and shoot until all our fingers go numb. The only way we can experience art is by fully participating in it through the mediums provided, which is our discerning eye and the decisive click of a button to document the shot. After hearing from experienced photographers who’ve been courageous enough to share their vision, it’s our turn to contribute our unique song to the universe. We won’t have any idea if what we’re shooting is any good, if we don’t show it to others for their honest evaluation. Maybe for us, that amazing shot of a daffodil brings tears to our eyes, but perhaps for a couple of critics, it’s just another flower. But, at least we have made that brave first step in truly expressing what we feel.

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This brings us to another means of discovering fine art in our shots. Because just like the unseen force that moves about us, we must trust our feelings. That fisherman’s boat calmly waiting at the seashore, that lonely accordion player sharing his live music on a park bench, that inanimate cup projecting a certain quirky look, and so many other themes that have the potential to really be fine art pictures stir something within our souls. Once we find that voice, we need to freeze that moment and give to the world just what we were feeling at that exact moment. Sadness, gladness, anger, or fear, the important thing is that these feelings become realized in a beautiful fine art print.

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Of course, the basics of photography plausibly should be covered. We better know how to look through the viewfinder or a screen, adjust the lens, and keep the subject in focus. But, even with this foundation, it’s also courageous and daring to ditch the memorized lessons and go for the unconventional undiscovered realms. Again, we are embraced in the conundrum of art that can’t be pinned down to a specific definition. We try to let our creativity run free, unbound from the shackles of logic so that something magical happens.

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By finding our inspiration from the artistic photographers that have come ahead of us, and by boldly taking the initiative to develop our own eyes for that fine art shot, perhaps we can relax more by really trusting what we’re feeling. There are so many angles to consider especially when composing a variety of elements to fit into a frame. But, once we feel that we’ve reached that right moment in expressionism and wonder, that’s probably how a great fine art photo happens. When it’s also the right time, it would also be a blessing to consider a professional printer who can concretely reproduce these fabulous images. Let our vision be displayed for everyone to appreciate and intrinsically emphasize the tremendous impact fine art photography has on all of our lives. ■

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