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Make Sure to Avoid These 10 Fine Art Photography Mistakes

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Fine art photography is a combination of deep emotions and beautiful compositions. It stands out from other types of photography.
Like any other genre, fine art photography can be approached in many ways. To avoid taking unflattering photos that don’t even come close to being called fine art, avoid these 10 mistakes.

10. Investing in a Lot of Equipment Immediately

A fine art photo of a man walking down the street past a red wall
You might be tempted to invest in a lot of equipment before you familiarise yourself with fine art photography. Professional equipment is immensely helpful. But it won’t teach you how to find your own style.
Before you run to the camera store, challenge yourself by using a limited amount of equipment. Just use your camera, one lens, and a simple background.
These creative obstacles will strengthen your imagination and encourage you to find potential everywhere.
When you finally get your hands on advanced equipment, you’ll be able to make the most of it. Your creative eye will see potential everywhere.

9. Not Experimenting With Self-Portraits

Atmospheric self portrait of a female model posing against a black background - fine art photography mistakes
Window light and a simple black background were all I needed to take this self-portrait.

Even if you’re not a selfie enthusiast, you can take beautiful fine art portraits of yourself. Good self-portrait photography skills will make your photography portfolio stand out.
To have a successful self-portrait shoot, you need to be in control of every part of the shooting process. This includes lighting, posing, and setting up your tripod.
To feel more comfortable in front of the camera, practice in front of the mirror or intentionally take silly photos of yourself.
This will make self-portrait photography seem less like an intimidating genre and more like a fun way to express yourself.

8. Centering Your Subjects All the Time

Atmospheric self portrait of a female model posing outdoors surrounded by trees - fine art photography mistakes
You don’t need to move your subject to the corner of your composition. Even slight changes in perspective can take your photos to another level.

One of the most common photography mistakes involves simple compositions. If you constantly place your subject in the middle of your photo, your photos will look boring.
During your next photoshoot, move your camera slightly to the side or experiment with unusual angles. This will help you focus on different parts of your subject and improve the way you look at compositions.
Another way to get better at creating compositions is to photograph non-moving objects. Challenge yourself by photographing the same object from different points of view.

7. Always Focusing on Your Camera Settings

Atmospheric photo of a pink flower against a black background - fine art photography mistakes
Camera equipment isn’t the only thing that can help you define your style. Knowing what kind of atmospheres, emotions, and colours you want to create is just as important as being familiar with every button on your camera.
This is especially important in fine art photography.

6. Taking Photos Mindlessly

Conceptual fine art portrait of a female model covered in material, shot in black and white
One of the best things you can do as a photographer is create emotion in your images. Without them, your photos will look cold. They won’t resonate with anyone who looks at them.
To make your photos more emotional, experiment with different types of lighting and compositions.
If you take photos of people, ask your models to play around with facial expressions and poses. You can also convert your photos to black and white to make them look more dramatic.

5. Shooting in Auto Mode

Atmospheric portrait of a silhouette of a person in a shadowy interior - fine art photography mistakes
Auto mode might not have been able to take a photo like this. Perfect lighting like this is usually achievable only through full camera control.

Auto mode can teach you a lot of things about your camera and help you quickly take appealing photos at the same time. However, it’s not always the ideal choice for fine art photography.
If you can’t control certain parts of your photos, you won’t be able to create fine art photographs that accurately reflect your vision.
Manual mode will allow you to control the amount of light that enters your lens, the sharpness of your images, and much more.
Don’t confuse auto mode with autofocus. Autofocus can make your photoshoot significantly easier, especially when it comes to self-portraits.
Avoid using it when your composition is filled with distracting objects, though.

4. Shooting Horizontally All the Time

Atmospheric portrait of a wooden bridge disappearing into mist - fine art photography mistakes
You can use vertical photos to emphasise negative space. Any part of an image that isn’t filled with a subject is called negative space. Fine art photography often features negative space to create specific atmospheres and lead the viewer’s eyes to the subject.

Horizontal photos tend to have more “space” for atmospheres and surroundings. Like centred photos, they can get boring.
If you want to improve the way you take photos, experiment with different formats. Take vertical photos or use a specific cropping technique.
Many photographers use the square format to limit themselves. It’s within these limits that they find an abundance of creative freedom.

3. Sticking to One Photography Genre

Stunning wildlife portrait of a heron in a lake at sunset - fine art photography mistakes
Fine art photography is a diverse genre that’s made up of landscape photography, portrait photography, underwater photography, etc.
If you’re already familiar with your favourite genres, make sure you don’t focus on them all the time.
Even though it’s important to become a master of your preferred photography genre, make sure you experiment with other types of photography as well.
If you’re an enthusiastic landscape photographer, try to take self-portraits. If you focus on people all the time, zoom in and capture details out in nature for a few hours.
These activities will strengthen your general photography knowledge. They’ll make you more appreciative of all the genres you’re not familiar with.

2. Never Using Motion Blur

Blurry portrait of a street performer playing violin - fine art photography mistakes
You might not want to experiment with motion blur. It’s usually associated with a lack of photography skills.
There are many photography genres, like long exposure photography and fine art photography, that stand out because of the blurring technique.
Don’t be afraid to use panning and motion blur techniques. It’ll give your fine art photos a dreamy and surreal look.

1. Expecting Every Photo to Be Perfect

Surreal underwater portrait of two female models shot in monotone - fine art photography mistakes
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a beginner was to assume that my photos would always look as good as I wanted them to.
This led to a lot of unnecessary frustration and discouragement.
Some of the best fine art photographers take advantage of their mistakes. If your photos end up looking blurry, use them in a fine art double exposure.
Avoid deleting your work immediately if you’re unhappy with it. If all else fails, treat this experience like the road to your next successful shoot.
Most importantly, remember that fine art photos don’t have to be technically perfect to be considered beautiful.


Fine art mistakes are inevitable, but you don’t have to experience all of them to become a better photographer.
By learning from other photographers’ mistakes, you’ll be able to progress quickly and fail uniquely.
The lessons you learn will put a spotlight on both your strengths and your weaknesses. These will help you become an experienced fine art photographer who can make the most of out anything.

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