Learn How to Use Your Mind’s Eye: Creating Fine Art Photography Review

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You may have heard the term fine art photography before, but what is it that makes this genre stand out? Fine art photography allows us as photographers to create a series of images with artistic impressions. The end goal is to express an idea, emotions, or to convey a message. It doesn’t sound too difficult. However, Sharon Tenenbaum’s $39 ‘How To Create Award-Winning Fine Art Photography‘ video series shows that this photography genre is as much a mental process as it is a creative one. I have to say that taking a deep dive into Sharon’s mind and how it works was eye-opening. If you’re interested in fine art photography, read on.

Fine art photography is something that has interested me for a while. While I understood what fine art photography is and what purpose it serves, I’ve never embarked on my own journey with it. Now, after watching the two hours of video in Sharon Tenenbaum’s course, I might give it a go.

Sharon’s course is a fairly easy one to follow. There are just four videos. Each of them runs for roughly thirty minutes. However, the video quality is not great. This video series is seven years old now, and it looks like a bad method of compression was used on the files. It’s watchable, and details still stand out. Still, don’t expect to be treated to videos filled with eye candy. Once you get past the jarring resolution of the videos, you’ll find that the messages contained within them are great.

The Steps of Creating Fine Art Photography

You’ll find that coming up with an idea, letting it grow, and gaining more insight into your idea can take months, even years before everything comes to fruition. Creating fine art photography is not the same as just running out with a camera and capturing images. During this tutorial from Sharon Tenenbaum, you’ll discover that this is a journey that will have great meaning to you. It’s a journey that will help you express yourself, and will implore you to get in touch with your creative side.

The first video is where you’ll learn the most about Sharon’s mental journey, or ‘mind flow’ as Sharon calls it, with fine art photography. The six steps which Sharon describes are:

  • Preparation
  • Problem
  • Incubation
  • Insight
  • Evaluation
  • Elaboration

Follow the Process

fine art photography

Sharon does a good job explaining what each of these steps means. In regards to preparation, she talks about how this means knowing your gear and preparing your equipment. Sharon also talks about how to prepare yourself for your vision by taking relevant courses. Sharon wanted to capture and tell a story about the Sundial Bridge in California, so she took courses on photographing architecture and so on. The problem stage is about overcoming any obstacles that might be in your way. Identify them, come up with solutions for them, and move on.

The incubation phase is an interesting one. Usually, when we have an idea, we run out and execute it, but Sharon took a different approach. She explains why she lets her ideas sit. She lets them grow naturally. In fact, she waited for a few years before doing the Sundial Bridge shoot. The insight stage covers the actual shoot. How and when do you want to shoot? Do you want to use a tripod and be locked down or shoot freestyle? It’s about the ‘aha’ moments. We all know how important those moments can be.

Sharon Tenenbaum’s How to Create Award Winning Fine Art Photography

The evaluation stage is perhaps one that we can all learn from. Sometimes we are too blind to see that our images perhaps aren’t very good. This stage teaches you how to detach yourself from the images and look at them objectively. I know I struggle with this at times, and this segment drove it home. For me, the first video contains the real meat and potatoes of this course. In 30 minutes, I understood and got a grip on another photographer’s work and mind flow. I know that will help me immensely. It will help you too.

The Final Product

Sharon Tenenbaum’s How to Create Award Winning Fine Art Photography

The three other videos in this course show you how Sharon elaborates on and edits her images in photoshop. There is one video for each of the three images she used in her Sundial Bridge series. For me, these videos were not as interesting simply because we all have our own editing styles. However, I did gain some insight into some of the tools she uses during her edits. Sharon also does a good job of explaining why she is editing the way that she is.

These three videos are again all roughly 30 minutes long. You will gain some insight from these videos for sure. Still, unless you copy her style completely in your own images (don’t do that, come up with your own style), there’s not much here. However, you can definitely take some cues and can learn about tools in Photoshop. Still, your images will be radically different from hers, so most of what’s contained in these three videos will be lost.

Creating Fine Art Photography – Conclusion

fine art photography
Sharon Tenenbaum’s How to Create Award Winning Fine Art Photography

So, is the How To Create Award-Winning Fine Art Photography course from Sharon Tenenbaum worth your time? I always think it’s worthwhile to take a deep dive into the mind of other photographers. Learning about their thoughts, processes, and visions can help you grow as a photographer. I know there are a few things from this course that I will definitely try out for myself. Is the course worth $39? Many of you out there will likely enjoy the editing videos, so you may feel that you get your money’s worth. However, the quality of the video should be much better. Still, the insight you’ll gain from the first video will likely prove invaluable if you plan on embarking on a journey into the world of fine art photography.

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Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.