What Makes An Artistic Photo?

A photograph to most people is a record of an event or moment. A photo is able to capture more than just an event, but also the joy, laughter, and emotion felt, at the point in time. Amazing right? As amazing as it is, it’s not fine art photography.

People often ask me what exactly are artistic photos? And I have come to realize that most people don’t understand and are unable to discern the difference between a regular photo and an artistic one. An artistic photo goes beyond merely capturing what’s in front of you, it entails so much more. And as such, not just anyone can take an artistic photo. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at what makes a photo an artwork, and how it’s different from a regular photo.

What is an Artistic Photo?

An artistic photo is a photographic artwork created by an artist in line with his vision. Photography here is just a medium to create art. Photography evolves into an art when certain controls are implemented. Hence, an artistic photo must go beyond the literal representation of scenes and objects.

An artistic photo is more about the artist than the object or scene, it doesn’t show us what was there but what was seen by the artist. His vision, expression, and feelings are all embedded in that single photograph. Capturing exactly what appears in front of the camera is not an art, it is called photojournalism. As Ansel Adams rightly said, Art implies controlling reality, for reality itself has no sense of aesthetic.

Art photography can be described as the creation of things yet to be seen, from things we can currently see. It is the end product of a feeling, concept, or idea that exists solely in the mind of the artist. The camera and control measures added are the necessary tools to materialize the idea into an artistic photo.

What makes a photograph artistic?

1. Expression

When your photograph holds a deeper meaning or essence and this essence can be felt by a viewer, then that photo can be called an artwork. Artists express their thoughts or feelings through art, hence, it needs no words to convey the message. Once you gaze upon the art, you feel the emotions contained in them. It may be joy, confusion, or sometimes sadness or emptiness. But the fact is, you’ll feel the emotions behind the art.

2. Vision

The major difference between a regular photo and an artistic one is in what the artist sees. Where a photographer sees rainfall, the artist sees a concept. Where the ordinary photographer sees a wasteland or disaster, the artist sees pain. Where the photographer sees plants, the artist sees life. The vision of an artist makes the photo an artwork.

3. Idea/Creativity

An artistic photo is more of an idea than a reality. It shows you what could be and not necessarily what is. To make an artistic photo, you need to have an idea or creativity that goes beyond normal photography.

4. Technique

This is the most important part of an artistic photo. You may have seen numerous fine art photographs, but the question is can you recreate them? It’s very difficult and sometimes close to impossible to recreate an artwork even if it’s made through photography. The techniques employed in creating a particular artistic photo are always unique, and innovative. Most times it could be just a feeling of the artist trying out something new. Whenever I see how most artistic photographs are taken I’m always amazed.