So you love taking pictures, but are you ready to take the jump from amateur to Artist ?
Many say that there is always a fine line between an Amateur and a Professional production, now a days, especially thanks to the accesibility of new technology, even neophytes can take incredible artistic photographs.
A knowledge of the art of Photography, it's history, will go a long way to helping you take photographs worthy of the greats!
So, are you ready to take this journey which will see you going from a debutant photographer to a true artist of the Craft? Let's go!
What Exactly Makes a Photograph Art
The arrival of Digital cameras has completely changed the craft of photography, so much so that today anyone can take a wonderful Picture even if they are absolutely ignorant of the history of this incredible medium.
Very few can claim that they are part of the elite of true photography!
In order to be considered Art Photography it won't suffice to just take a few snapshots of random landscapes, friends, or random portraits. Like all forms of Art, the Photograph must communicate a deeper meaning, a deeper understanding even. The subtext of the situation. The beauty of it!
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Here are some general guidelines that should serve as a barometer when thinking about the difference between Casual and Artistic Photography :
- The Image speaks about the Artistic vision of the Photographer
- The Photograph expresses an Idea - a particular vision of the world or the subject
- The Photograph shows or even better hides the craft that was used to take it
- The work can be displayed in a gallery, again, it has purpose
- The Image is telling a story, provoking conversation, taking a stance.
So now we are better equipped to understand the difference between the amateur and professional photographer, it is no surprise then that the first is a casual onlooker while the second is invested and careful resulting in the sale and exposition of his work.
Art and Photography go absolutely hand in hand : instead of a simple hobby, your passion for photography if followed and learnt can become a way into the world of professional photography, a very rich and rewarding profession both financially and of course artistically.
So, why don't we start communicating with our pictures?
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Exercises to Train the Artistic Photographer Within
Taking quality photographs requires perseverance and dedication from the student!
To create a fine art paper or a professional studio photo in order to get into the art market, the future artist must first and foremost practice photography, on a regular basis. As a general rule, there are no "good times" to take a picture: Inspiration remains the first guide of the photographer artist! As Picasso said : "Inspiration always finds me with a brush in my hand" so take that camera with you everywhere you go!
A good idea is to organize a brainstorming session so that you can organize your ideas :
- What are the most interesting Photographic techniques?
- What type of Photography do I like? Fashion, Portrait, Landscape... The list goes on!
- What message do I need to get across? What can I say with my Photography?
- What interests me the most ? What can I capture with my camera?
Do you want to start a gallery, a museum, a journal, maybe even a blog, or are you interested in becoming a Visual artist? All of the very interesting questions should lead you into thinking about what type of Photography you might favor, is it Blavck and White, Contemporary, Retro, Digital, Film? Once you have defined and explored your initial ideas your art and your photos will have your imprint on them!
A historical knowledge of the principle art movements will give you an incredible advantage when coming to your art. Abstract Painting, Cubism, Post-Modernism just to name a few, will be invaluable tools in your Artistic tool kit and the research you do will bring both a maturity to your work and go long ways into opening a Cultural capital line of credit!
As you search and discover what you like amidst the ocean of Artistic currents don't forget that one day you too, with a little bit of work, might be included amongst Photographies elites!
Studying the Work of Great Photographers
Do you dream of your first big exposition? In order to one day arrive at a place where many will be able to interact and take from your work, you must first begin with familiarizing yourself with the History of Photography!
Focus, ISO, F-Stop, Tripod, Chiaro-Scuro! The technology and techniques of photography should not be a secret to you! The great Artists of Photography know their cameras and their terminology by heart as they are well versed in both the artistic and technical history of Photography.
A great way to make leaps in your learning and to get on the right track to becoming a great Photographer is to study the work of the Masters. Once you have gained an insight of their work, studied their famous shots and angles, you will quickly grow as an Artist and you're pictures will reflect this before you even realize!
Here is a small list of some of the World's most respected and important photographers :
- Robert Doisneau,
- Ansel Adams,
- Henri Cartier Bresson,
- Robert Capa,
- Edward Weston,
- Arnold Newman,
- James Baes,
- David Talley,
- Laura Zalenga,
- Oleg Oprisco,
- Raymond Depardon.
Studying the work and the lives of great photographers is a prerequisite to one day shooting like them! This is the first step towards one day becoming a pro.
Taking a global tour of the landscape of Photography, seeing the centuries and times marked by them, how they provoked, captured or wrote the History of a moment will do wonders for your work, it will be a stepping stone towards defining and capturing your vision!
Learn how to frame, compose, and light from the greats !
Indispensable Books on the Craft of Photography
Whether you prefer Wedding, Landscape, Portrait or Fashion Photography, don't worry, there is a book out there tailored to your needs!
All the great Artists regularly publish their work in illustrated volumes, coffee books for the more established, or Journals. Not to worry, if you want to buy a more technical manual there is a plethora of Photographic literature out there penned by professionals and/or Art School professors!
White Balance, Natural lighting techniques, Three point shooting, Exposure times : Don't worry, books for beginning photographers also cover the Artistic a-to-z of Photography in very practical and approachable rhetoric for the non initiated!
Here are some examples of very helpful Books which should be on everyone's shelf :
- Fundamentals of Photography - Tom Ange
- The Art of Black and White - Michael Freeman,
- Composition and color in Photography - Harald Mante,
- Basic Photography - John Langford
- The Secrets of Photography - Johann Trompat,
- One Light Flash - John Denton,
- Master Photography expositions- Jérôme Geoffroy,
- The Great Book of Photography - Scott Kelby.
A final tip : Many photo editors have a personal photo blog on the internetr, regularly posting artistic shots, ideas and suggestions, so you can study a photo online , or even get in touch with an art photographer!
Basically all you need to know to organize a shoot!
Art Photography: The Best Schools
What about taking a Photography classs or even attendting a full time program ?
As the need for good Photography and Photographers rises, so do the number of institutions, schools and specialized ateliers. A Photography program can run anywhere from a week-end or day long master class all the way to a four-year BA or 2-year Master!
These courses and schools are not for the un-skilled. The comptetion is fierce and one must at least be initiated in the Art of Photography in order to pass a mandatory entrace exam. Thus a student wanting to perfect his skills in Photography at an institution must first take steps on his own to ensure his competence both creative and technical is at least in the Intermidiary range!
Hiring a Private Tutor who Specializes in Artistic Photography
You may be asking yourself : What is the absolute best way to develop my personal vision and skill set in the least amount of time and without stratospheric costs... Hire a Tutor! A professional Artistic Photographer who specialises also in teaching will go lengths towards providing you with the tailor made schooling that's just right for you!
Retouching photos in Post production, printing, setting up your own dark room: A tutor can help answer the questions you want when you need them! Tutoring is especially recommended for students who wish to devise a serious working plan with the desire to be taught by working and trained professionals.
There are many ways for you to get in touch with the right Tutor for you!
- On-line classes with a personal tutor
- Advertisements in photo or art magazines
- Advertisements inside Art Schools
- A "Virtual" Professor
- Ads in on-line websites dealing with Art and especially photography
- Advertisements on the street indicating a tutor in the area
With Superprof, finding a Tutor in Art photography is Easy! The Student just needs to read and evaluate the profiles of the many Tutors available and from the list draw from and contact the relevant Teacher (Fashion, Portrait, Landscape Photography... Just go on Superprof to find the many options!)
Why not start with a free introductory lesson- with over 92% of our Professors offering the first hour of tutoring free, you'll be on your way to shooting like a pro in no time!
With Superprof you also have the option of taking your Photography class online. As we have seen in this article Artistic Photography is a personal calling and a passion, let our professors help you when and where you need it most whether it's retouching a photo or brushing up on some of the concepts you are most fascinated and interested in!
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