Artful Photography: What Makes a Truly Artful Photo?

Since the moment that the camera was invented, people have clamored to immortalize their likeness and memories on film. Eventually, cameras were used to capture sights and pretty important events in our history. Eventually, it came to pass that photography and the images that it produces were considered to be art.

The term is actually fine art photography. This is completely different from the sort of photography that is used in journalism and even on special occasions like weddings and birthdays. Fine art photography is often subjective in the sense that it is up to the photographer to determine the message that they want to convey. Many people argue the fact that any person with a smartphone can now capture photographs, what separates someone’s Instagram shot to actual fine art photography.

This is something that gave me pause a few years back when IG first came out. If you can now take shots, put filters on it, and just instantly share it, what makes it so different? To be honest, not much! Fine art photography is all about:


The subject of the photo is what usually what will strike the audience first. A lot of fine art photographers like to focus on people, objects, and buildings. The subject is normally the focal point and what will give the photographer the idea of how to compose the image.

Think of it in terms of taking a Snap or an IG photo. You determine the subject. It can be your feet, the food you are about to eat, or the people you are with. That is the subject.


The composition of the photograph will refer to the lighting, the angle, and the treatment of the photo. You can choose to have it in color, in black and white, or even under a filter. The composition adds drama to the photo and can either emphasize or detract from the subject.

In terms of Snaps or IG photos, the composition is how you decide to portray the subject. You can try shooting it from an angle or straight or even flat-lay. You determine the mood and color and even the filter before uploading it. if you have done any of this, congratulations. You have successfully composed a photo.

Good photographers will know how to angle the shot and to formulate the overall composition so that it delivers the message that they want to convey. Or it should at least illicit a response in the viewer. A well taken fine art photograph will make you feel something despite yourself.

To Conclude

Fine art photography like most visual art is fluid in its message. It can try to express one thing but end up being understood as something else entirely. This is what makes art so exciting. It is all about the person viewing the art piece that will determine its worth and its final message. Do not limit yourself with the understanding of an art critic or someone that has something to say about the message of an art piece.

View the art yourself and consider building your own opinion.