What Is Landscape Photography?
Landscape photography is a broad genre of art usually describing wide-angled nature and man-made scenes. While landscapes can sometimes include people in the scene, the art form is generally characterized by its absence of people. Fine art landscape photography prints are commonly found in hospitals, hotels and luxury homes. In this article I will discuss the different types of landscape photography, types of print substrates and where to buy artwork.
Types of Landscape Photography
- Iconic Landscapes: the most common type of landscape photography found in most photographers’ portfolios. This genre is generally made on popular roadside pullouts though not always. These landscapes are the most well-known scenes by the general public and heavily commercialized. The style is characterized by its use of wide angle lenses and highly-saturated colors. Some photographers such as Peter Lik have made a career out of selling prints like this.
- Scenic Nature Landscapes: Similar to iconic landscapes but the key difference is that these are not necessarily from well-known locations. This genre actively tries to avoid including manmade elements within the scene. This is the type of landscape photography that I’m personally most passionate about.
- Intimate Landscape: The opposite of grand scenic landscapes, intimate landscapes generally focuses on “scenes within a scenes” such as forest scenes, rocks, colors and water patterns. Trees are favorite subject of mine as I find them conducive to telling a visual story or metaphor.
- Abstract Landscape Photography: This is arguably the most difficult sub-genre to visualize as most nature landscapes are a “found subject” as opposed to “created subject”. I find this type of artwork to be very rewarding creatively and satisfying to make. Abstract landscapes can be truly defined as fine art.
- Aerial & Drone Photography: This type of photography is made from airplanes, helicopters and drones. Given the height at which many of these photos are made, some can also be classified as abstract landscapes. I personally detest drones due to the disturbance factor and have never flown one. I have done some aerial photos while on commercial airline flights however when the conditions are conducive to photographing landscapes.
- Urban Landscapes: While most of the other sub-genres I’ve described above pertain to nature scenes, urban landscapes can run the gamut from city skylines to architecture and street-level scenes.
Types of Fine Art Prints
- Giclee aka. Inkjet: Giclee is a French art term to describe inkjet printing. While most consumers probably equate inkjet printing to the average home office printer, fine art inkjet prints are actually a high-quality type of printmaking technique that is accepted in galleries and museums.
- Lightjet: continuous tone prints from a laser, these prints on Fuji Crystal Archive paper are ultra smooth due to the use of lasers contrary to inkjet printing which sprays millions of small dots onto the paper.
- Museum-Grade Cotton Rag: arguably the most archival type of fine art paper, museum-grade cotton rag are generally thicker than most fine art photography papers.
- Canvas Prints: Printed on museum-grade canvas, these prints are heavily-textured which can obscure fine details. This is fine for wide landscapes that do not feature fine details but not suitable for intimate landscape photography.
- Metal Dye-Sublimation: Dye-sublimation metal prints are created on thin sheets of aluminum that have had a print “baked into the metal” through a high-pressure thermal transfer process. This is the most durable type of substrate and print finish which makes metal prints suitable for high-traffic areas such as hotel lobbies and medical offices. This is the most common type of print substrate available today.
- Acrylic Face Mount: Numerous print labs have proprietary processes for creating a fine art print then dry mounting it flush against plexiglass acrylic or museum-quality “glass” such as TruView acrylic. This is a luxury fine art printmaking technique that is ideal for colorful fine art landscape photos. I’ve seen acrylic face mounted prints at various galleries and personally feel that Lumachrome HD acrylic prints are the most eye-catching. Fujiflex prints are another common type of acrylic face mounted print.
Where To Buy Fine Art Landscape Photography Prints
- Art Fairs: Many cities have annual or semi-annual arts and crafts fairs where artists including photographers set up a booth to sell their art. I’ve been to many and to be honest, the quality of landscape photography is almost always mediocre and cliched at best. Try going to one that has multiple photographers and you’re likely to see very similar landscape scenics from all of them.
- Photography Galleries: More expensive than most art fair artwork, galleries usually have a higher-quality presentation with framing and lighting. The drawbacks are the landscape photography is not necessarily much different from what you would see at an art fair and the price is much higher due to the overhead costs of maintaining a physically gallery space.
- Mass-Produced Online eCommerce Sites: The cheapest sources to buy landscape photography, there are numerous sites like Fine Art America, Art.com and Wayfair that sell mass-produced artwork for cheap prices. Quality is often sacrificed to meet profit margin targets and artwork can be produced without having been seen by a single person during the process. If you want cheap decor then by all means shop at these websites. Photographers have little say in how the work is produced as these companies are large corporate entities.
Buy Direct From The Artist
Art buyers and collectors seeking personal service and high-quality production value are best served by contacting photographic artists directly via their personal website. Not all photographers are created equal but you can easily determine which photographers are serious about you with providing quality service just by spending a few minutes on their website. I have been a landscape and travel photographer for 20 years and have been providing services for art buyers for much of this time. My objective is to learn about your art needs and help you to fulfill those needs. Sometimes your needs call for ready to hang, large-format limited edition fine art landscape photography prints while other times you might simply need a loose print sent directly to your framer for a hospital art collection. Regardless of what the specific need is, I can help guide you in the right direction. Sometimes that might mean referring you to another fellow artist while in other situations I might have the ideal artwork for you. Contact me and we will figure that out together.