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What Is Fine Art Portrait Photography?

5 thoughts on What Is Fine Art Portrait Photography?

  1. I worked doing sales (and sometimes photography) for fine art portrait photography studios for over a decade.

    I often had to explain to clients why their portraits with us were going to cost them more than their wedding photography. How I always explained it is that fine art portraits are each meant to be singular pieces of wall art. Your wedding photos tell a beautiful and personal story but the majority of them are not created with the intent of being blown up to 30X40 and exhibited in your home.

    I’m not disparaging any other type of photography (my personal work is in much more commercial areas and I consider plenty of that work fine art) and I think this article gets it wrong in many ways. But there is a reason behind the cost (and some of the elite attitude) being what it is.

    I would tell clients that we weren’t really the place you come for the yearly photo you send to grandma that she’s going to put in the same frame over last year’s. They are meant to be pieces of art created from your family.

    Our clients had multiple phone consultations before their sessions, they spent 2-3 hours with the photographer day of, and another 1/2 hour or so going over options so they came into their viewing session with a better idea of final products. We edited down our images so that clients were only seeing selects that we thought were wall worthy. We didn’t let anything out the door that hadn’t been retouched as if it was going to be blown up and displayed on your wall. We didn’t give files except tiny ones of what you’d ordered (and had consequently had retouched) to show friends on social media/email or just have on your phone.

    I met with each of our clients for an average of 2-4 hours to review their images with them, projecting them real size over photos of the rooms they wanted to display them in, and helping them design their wall arrangements. A lot of fine art portrait photographers meet with clients beforehand at their homes to get a feel for what type of images would work best for them.

    I know that some photographers who wouldn’t call themselves “fine art portrait photographers” do some or all of those things as well but the cost has to jump when the time invested is that high or you’re not going to be able to make a living. It’s not just someone giving themselves a label and charging 5 times more. Not with good fine art portrait photographers at least.

  2. Photography is the art and science of creating with light. If you use your understanding of light to create your vision what you have is an art piece. It doesn’t have to be photography though to be art. You could capture an image with no understanding of light then get creative in post, this is art, but not photography. For photo fine art you have to be deliberate in your approach, and masterfully capture what you intend. The writer of this post is correct, but I think people are misunderstanding what the article intends to say.

  3. While I choose not to rip on the overall content of this piece. There is one fact that is clearly misstated. The writer claims now photography is considered to be an art form along with painting, sculpture, music and so on. This statement shows little respect of our great history and those who pushed hard for photography to be considered as an art. This isn’t something that happened recently. This dates back to Alfred Stieglitz in the earlier parts of last century. Followed by the f64 Group challenging Stieglitz’s opinion of what photographic art was. This is an long time established fact that photography or portraiture photography is an art form plain and simple. It is always best to know where we came from to better chart where it is we are going.

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