Fine art, still life, and even food photography is often discredited by others in the industry. They tend to believe it’s easy, and that these photographs don’t require a lot of time, planning or attention. Well, I tend to disagree.
Take this cherry photo, how much time did I spend on it?
I may not have travelled around the globe for it or waited until the planets aligned to get it. I didn’t spend weeks sending emails back and forth and an evening selling my services. But it took time.
I went to the grocery store and saw the beautiful, ripe, plump cherries, inspiration hit. Now what?
I start by doing some research. Yes. I checked what I had already done with cherries in the past, don’t want to repeat the same compositions over and over again don’t we? Then, I check what others have done, it serves as much as inspiration as to validate your ideas. And you want to make sure you don’t end up with the same compositions. Cherries in a teacup? Everyone did it. I did it too. But what can I do so mine’s different? Tricky. And time consuming.
Now that I have my ideas (many ideas), might as well make the most of these cherries and shoot lots of different images.
Okay, time to grab my props. If you’re a thrift shop addict like me, you may have a large selection on hand. If not? Find some, empty your cupboards, go shopping. Time’s a wastin’…
Haven’t used these props in a while, they need to be dusted and washed before using. Tick, tock…
Got everything? If you shoot in natural light most of the time like me, find your best light. Mine’s outside, in the shadow by the vegetable patch. If you need to set up lighting gear, it’s time. Test your light, adjust…
Set up what you need, backdrops, linens, props, etc.
Now shoot away! Click, click!
Done? Took you more than three seconds to build a decent, nicely composed, properly exposed series didn’t it ? One you will be proud to show.
Think you’re done already? You’re wrong! You need to put everything back. Your shot involved food? Props need to be cleaned yet again.
And there’s the editing, of course. So how much time did it took? A whole morning. Sure, I have many images now (and they’re not all edited yet), but it did take time. And it is a process, a more complex process than it looks like.
Fine art photography isn’t a snapshot dump. It’s art. It’s creative. It requires time, knowledge, skill and passion. It’s beautiful and worth pursuing. It’s photography, just as any other type of photography.