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Fine Art Photographer

From Ansel Adams to Edward Steichen, fine art photographers have long invited the public to explore the world through the camera's lens. Those who pair a keen eye for aesthetic detail with a focused artistic vision can discover their calling as a fine art photographer.

What is a fine art photographer?

Fine art photographers produce high quality, original photographs that convey moods, emotions, ideas and themes that distinguish them as works of fine art. They make bold statements with color and lighting.

Work is set in a fast-paced, social environment where an intuitive sense of timing and perception is revealed in the quality of the photographer's work. The finest photographs are displayed in art galleries and earn commissions when buyers find pieces they cannot live without.

Nature of the work

As a highly creative and fast-paced career, fine art photography allows for flexible hours as some photographers are self-employed. Others work for portrait studios or art galleries.

A fine art photographer interacts with a wide range of individuals on a daily basis. They collaborate with other artists and designers to create and exhibit their work. Negotiations are made with gallery owners to secure opportunities to display work. Maintaining a highly developed portfolio is vital to speeding career progress and snagging opportunities in this highly competitive field.


A successful fine art photographer must master photography fundamentals such as lighting, composition, exposure and more. These abilities are often gained in pursuing an accredited photography school degree.

In addition to developing practical expertise, a fine art photographer creates a definitive style that sets them apart. Knowledge of the latest photography editing technology will aid in producing fine art prints.

Excellent business and marketing skills are also important since photographers must promote themselves effectively to succeed amongst fellow artists. As art collectors shift their attention towards photography prints sold on the internet, skills in web design and online marketing can prove beneficial.

Fine art photographers realize that pictures convey more than words can express. Capture more than a fleeting moment and share your vision with the world as you embark on this exciting career path!

Start Toward Your Future as a Fine Art Photographer

Academy of Art University's School of Photography guides students to rewarding careers in fine art photography. With opportunities to exhibit in the Academy’s three non-profit galleries, students can develop their abilities, create their personal style and gain valuable knowledge about the business of art photography. Classes are available online or in San Francisco.

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