You may be familiar with portrait photography, but have you ever had the pleasure of experiencing the fine art form? If you haven’t, it’s time you did. Fine art portrait photography has exploded in the luxury portraiture photography market in recent years. The results are superbly evocative and make simply stunning wall art.
Fine art portrait photographers are, in fact, artists. There is a high level of perception and skill that goes into creating fine art portrait images in the digital world. It takes a highly skilled and specialist photographer to do this well. It’s all about creative vision.
To get a feel for what fine art portrait photography involves, we’ve explored the subject a little and put together some posing tips. Let’s start with what we think fine art is.
What is Fine Art?
Fine art is visual art considered to be something created for aesthetic or intellectual value rather than practical purpose. According to the Oxford dictionary, fine art is:
- Creative art, especially visual art whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content
- An activity requiring great skill or accomplishment
Fine art is essentially an art form practiced for its beauty. It’s all about why it was created and comes from a concept or idea derived from the artist. There is a difference between commercial and fine art. The purpose of fine art is to simply exist. Historically, fine art encompassed painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and poetry, but now includes photography, too.
What Is a Portrait Photograph?
A portrait photograph is an image of a person or a group of people, with the face (or faces), facial features, and expression as the main focus of attention. Traditional poses can be just head and shoulders, half body length, or full body. Importantly, portrait photography attempts to capture the character and unique attributes of the subject. The art is in capturing the personality of the subject.
Portrait photography is all about a technically perfect composition. It’s a skill that requires patience and practice. Bringing out a person’s character in front of the camera, without them reverting to a "photo face," is the essence of good portrait photography. A portrait photograph isn’t a candid shot. It’s carefully planned and rehearsed. The outfit, the props, the location, the angle of the shot, and the pose are all prepared before the shoot.
What Is Fine Art Portrait Photography?
Let’s start with what fine art photography isn’t. It’s not a photograph capturing an event or a memory without artistic motivation. It’s not photojournalism.
In fine art photography, the photographer is the artist, and the recording of the subject is not the main purpose. Making an artistic statement is. A fine art portrait image is created by the photographer as an artist and not just by the camera. The photographer’s vision is central to the resulting shot.
A fine art portrait photograph is intended for wall art. It can sometimes be described as "décor photography" or "photo décor." This style of photography stands in contrast to documentary-style photojournalism in which subjects and events are captured to represent reality.
Fine art portrait photography delivers maximum impact and depicts emotion in a vivid and distinctive style. These portraits are timeless and capture the essence of the subject’s character in a vision created by the photographer. The photographer may use location, props, or surreal lighting to manipulate the image to the one he or she is trying to achieve.
Ultimately, fine art portrait photographs are the family heirlooms of the future. This is art for art’s sake. The finest specimens are in which the subject seems amazingly real when the photograph is positioned just in front of you.
Best Posing Techniques for Fine Art Portraits
Posing is a strong element in fine art portrait photography. It’s what separates the great from the good. No matter how expensive of a kit photographers have, if they can’t direct your pose, they won’t capture the great photograph you are hoping for. Basic posing techniques for great fine art portraits include:
- Creating separation between the arms and the body
- Tucking the arms in, moving them back far enough to hide the upper arm
- Forcing the chin away from the neck
- Arching the back
- Dropping the shoulders
- Tilting the head back
- Twisting the body
- Making motion believable
- Creating shape
(Basic Posing Techniques Source: http://blog.creativelive.com/10-basic-posing-techniques-fine-art-portraits/)
If you like the idea of your image hanging in your descendant’s hallway, then a fine art portrait photograph is a must. To find the photographer that is right for you, be sure to check out image portfolios. Go with the one that evokes the most emotion in you.