What Is Nature Photography?
Nature photography is a broad genre of art usually focused on natural history landscapes and wildlife subjects. The genre is generally characterized by its absence of people. Fine art nature photography prints are commonly found in hospitals, hotels and luxury homes. In this article I will discuss the different types of nature photography, types of substrates and where to buy artwork.
Types of Nature Photography
- Iconic Nature Scenics: the most common type of nature photography found in most photographers’ portfolios. This type of photography is generally made on popular roadside pullouts though not always. These iconic scenes 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.
- Intimate Nature Photography: The opposite of grand landscape scenes, intimate nature photography generally focuses on “scenes within a scenes” such as forest scenes, rocks, colors and water patterns. Trees are a favorite subject of mine as I find them conducive to telling a visual story or metaphor.
- Abstract Nature Photography: This is arguably the most difficult type of nature photography art to visualize as most nature landscapes are a “found subject” as opposed to “created subject”. I find this type of photography to be very rewarding creatively and satisfying to make. Abstract nature photography is arguably the most artistic of the sub-genres.
- Flower Photography: Ranging from macro and close-up flower photos to wide swaths of wildflower fields, flower photography is a universally-appealing subject that is ideal for medical office art and home interior design.
- Wildlife Photography: This type of nature photography is focused on wildlife found out in the wild. Captive animals are generally not considered to be "zoo photography" and not "wildlife photography". Stylistically, most wildlife photographers tend to prefer long telephoto lenses for safety reasons and to not disturb wildlife.
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 fine art photography 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 nature photography art print available today.
- Acrylic Face Mount: Numerous fine art photography 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 nature 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 mount.
Where To Buy Nature Photography Art 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 nature 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 nature scenics from all of them.
- Photography Galleries: More expensive than most art fair artwork, photography galleries usually have a higher-quality presentation with framing and lighting. The drawbacks are that the artwork 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 nature photography art, 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 nature and travel photographer for nearly 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 a large, exquisitely produced fine art nature photography print 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.