Taking a high-quality landscape photo requires a lot of time, patience, and effort.
But creating a landscape image that’s considered fine art, well, that must be tough…
Of course, like everything in life and photography, if there’s a will, there’s a way.
And there just happen to be quite a few ways that you can help yourself create more meaningful photos that stand head and shoulders above all the millions of snapshots taken each day.
If you want to increase your chances of making your landscapes into fine art, follow these steps.
Light is Paramount
No matter what the concept of your image is, no matter if your final print is in black and white or color, and no matter how large or small that image is displayed, it will always need impeccable lighting to have the greatest effect.
Now, this doesn’t mean that to be considered fine art that your landscapes have to be of the Northern Lights or some other spectacular light show.
But what it does mean is that you need to hunt for the types of lighting that add depth and contrast, tonal range, and feeling to a landscape.
That usually means shooting in the early morning or late evening hours to capture the soft, golden light of sunrise or sunset.
That also usually means taking advantage of sidelighting, which adds long shadows to the shot that gives it gorgeous dimension.
The point is that you cannot merely hop out of the car, point your camera at a pretty scene, and take a photo if you want it to be fine art.
Instead, you’ll need to put in the time and effort to hunt for the best lighting conditions, making your way to the best vantage points to show off that light, and finding ways to enhance that light through composition, framing, and post-processing, among other things.
Patience is Second Only to Light
As I mentioned earlier, a central component of making a successful landscape image is effort and patience.
That means that landscape photographers that create fine art often have to be supremely stubborn, willing to work in uncomfortable conditions, carry heavy gear for a long time for a long way, and endure physical and emotional ups and downs.
Believe me, when you’ve spent hours hiking through the dark to get to the ideal spot for a sunrise shot, and then find that the atmospheric conditions degrade the lighting to the point that your images are flat and lifeless, that’s a pretty big bummer to deal with.
However, persistence is the key to success, so no matter how bad your previous landscape photography outing might have been, you have to be able to brush it off and head back out the next time.
That might even mean early mornings, late evenings, long treks in the cold, or enduring stifling heat to get back to the very same spot that proved fruitless the day before.
And yes, going back to the same spot over and over again is one of the secrets to landscape photography success.
After all, if it doesn’t work out the first time, you need to try again. What’s more, frequenting the same location at different times of day and times of year opens you up to new opportunities to photograph a changing landscape, too.
Be Purposeful in Your Editing
I hear some photographers railing against post-processing, and I can’t help but think that they’re trapped in a bygone era.
Though I find it admirable to try to get a perfect shot in-camera, it’s just impossible to do.
In fact, even with post-processing, I’d argue that there’s no such thing as a perfect photo.
Having said that, there is certainly such a thing as a photo that’s overexposed, poor contrast, dark shadows, and so forth.
So, yes, the saga of creating fine art landscape photos doesn’t end when you press the shutter button.
When you get home, you need to take a critical look at the images you took and determine the best course of action for bringing them to life.
That might be something as simple as cropping the image, making adjustments to the curves or levels, or adding a touch of saturation.
In other instances, it might require a little more developing to turn your image into the fine art masterpiece you envision.
Either way, understanding the fundamentals of image processing will go a long way in helping you create something magical.
How You Present the Image is Crucial
As I noted above, the saga of creating fine art doesn’t end when you press the shutter. It doesn’t end with post-processing, either.
That’s because the manner in which you present your image will determine, in part, how good it looks.
Think about it like this – I can print a fine art photo on my inkjet printer and hang it on my wall, but it certainly won’t have the same visual appeal and impact as a large format metal or acrylic print, will it?
So, if you want to create something that’s truly fine art, I’d consider going big and getting them printed on a substrate that’s worthy of a fine art image.
An HD Metal Print from Artbeat Studios is a great choice for printing fine art because if you choose the right finish, it’ll make the colors pop.
A white metal surface, for example, gives colors a bright, vivid appearance that makes for a jaw-dropping visual experience. This is an ideal choice for color landscape photos.
A silver surface, on the other hand, turns any whites in the image to silver, making it a prime choice for black and white landscape images that have gorgeous contrast.
The finish of the metal print impacts the visual experience as well.
Choose glossy to give the image improved depth with a sheen that gives the image a bit of extra drama.
A matte finish creates a clean, simple, glare free look that’s suitable for any landscape photo, especially if it will be displayed in a bright area.
You can even customize the type of mount the print has, as seen in the image above.
Another option for printing your landscape images is an HD Acrylic 360 Print.
Artbeat Studios has revolutionized acrylic printing because they offer prints with a 1/4-inch acrylic sheet on the front of the image, giving it a gorgeously clear and vibrant look.
Helping increase the impact of the image is the fact that it’s printed on Epson Metallic Photo Paper with Epson Archival inks. That print is then face-mounted onto the acrylic, which means that the vibrancy and saturation of the colors are on full display.
But fine art isn’t just about colors and vibrancy. It’s about the little touches that make your images stand out.
Artbeat Studios’ HD Acrylic 360 Prints have a diamond polished edge that gives your print that extra bit of detail that really elevates it to another level entirely.
So, creating a fine art landscape photo is a long process, from planning your shoot all the way through to having high-quality prints made.
But if you can be patient, persevere, and make informed choices about composition, framing, post-processing, and printing, you’ll be well on your way to creating fine art of your own.