I once read a short and striking definition of Fine Art photography: an idealized, painting-like work characterized by a strong emotional impact. I think I was able to agree with every single word of it. Essential elements of Fine Art include dramatic lighting, mostly a triangle, already known from the Baroque paintings and Rembrandt, or even more dramatic split lighting. The painting-likeness itself is shown in the more intense-than-average retouche, the strong dark-light contrasts, and the frequent use of dark tones.
Beyond all that, what makes Fine Art photos even more unique? You’ve probably noticed that people don’t smile in these photos. This is not because they are sad. Smiling in photographs dates back to the end of 19th century when photography became commercialized. But usually this smile is not sincere, as people do not smile continuously in their everyday lives. A captivating, deep look can show much better what we’re looking for in painting-like Fine Art photos: the real character that lives behind the eyes of the person.