In an art market that stretches back for centuries, paintings and sculptures always tend to be at front of mind when it comes to art as an investment; with photographs being a relatively new addition to the art investment world at the cutting edge of contemporary art.
In fact, photographs weren’t even considered to be a collectable art form until the late 1970s, their primary purpose before that was for photojournalism and fashion, never for collection and display.
This prompts the question, is it worth investing in fine art photography?
Over the past few decades, many photographers have become recognised as artists and are holding that title in the same way as painters and sculptors have for centuries, consistently submitting valuable contributions to the art world.
Despite being a young medium, the popularity of fine art photography amongst collectors is growing fast, and there are some extremely creative emerging artists that are fast gaining status and renown.
The difficulty lies within the fact that the world as we know it is oversaturated with photography, so in order to make the best choices, you need to know exactly what fine art photography is, and how to determine its value.
What Is Fine Art Photography?
It’s a logical question to ask when considering if it’s worth investing in fine art photography.
Fine art photography is an art style used in line with the vision of the artist, with photography being the medium used for creative expression as a means to communicate an idea, message, or emotion.
It’s worth noting that not every photographer is an artist, and by the same token, not every photograph is art.
As well as having the skills that make up a competent photographer, such as understanding the hardware they’re using, composition, lighting, timing, surroundings, etc; they need an eye for creative design and the ability to interpret and optimise their subject matter in a unique manner, expressing their vision and communicating their ideas.
Some of the creative expression happens behind the lens when capturing their scenes, and some of it happens in the post-production phase when developing the ‘moments’ the artists have captured.
Whether done traditionally or digitally, there’s art in developing the photograph and the resulting post-production artwork is evidence of the artist’s handiwork and the creative decisions they’ve made throughout the process.
Determining The Value Of Fine Art Photography
In order to determine the value of fine art photography, there are a number of factors worth taking into consideration including:
- Who is the artist and where are they in their career?
- How was the artwork produced?
- Is the artwork part of a numbered limited edition?
- Is the artwork authentic?
- What’s the quality of the print like?
- Does the artwork resonate with you?
Asking these questions can be an effective way to determine the value of a fine art photograph and help you in making the decision of whether or not to invest in a particular piece or collection.
7 Reasons For Investing In Fine Art Photography
Photography is probably the most accessible form of fine art to gain entry into the investment side of the art market, so if you’re thinking about starting a collection, or perhaps adding to an existing one, here are 7 good reasons you should:
It’s investment-worthy art that holds its value
Expert art investment advisors have declared that fine art photography is indeed a rising form of investment and one that holds its own in an art collection. There have been a number of articles on the subject from high authority platforms including Sotheby’s that shed light on the growing trend of photographic artworks being snapped up at high prices by collectors.
Limited-edition prints are definitely the wiser option when it comes to making an investment in fine art photography, making it possible to own a valuable artwork that’s not openly available to everyone.
By limiting the number of prints of a particular artwork, the artist is helping to maintain the value of the piece by keeping it rare. Once an edition has sold out, it will never be reprinted, helping the artwork hold its value or rise over time with demand.
You’ll be supporting the work of real artists
The artworks created by fine art photographers are exactly that, works of art.
Every photograph captures more than just an image, it also captures the artistic vision and creative expression of the artist behind it, communicating an idea or message as well as evoking the emotions of the viewer.
By investing in the work of such an artist, you’re supporting them in their career as well as making their work that little bit harder to obtain which ultimately, raises their profile and the value of your investment.
If you love the work of a particular artist, by supporting them you’re helping them to continue creating and expressing their vision.
It adds prestige and luxury to your space
Any interior designer worth their salt will tell you that a curated collection of artwork can be the highlight feature that makes a space, and that rooms designed around a piece or collection of art will have an anchored feeling and project a powerful sensation of luxury.
Glancing through an interior design magazine will show you just how the rooms and spaces featured within are purposefully decorated with evocative, fine art pieces.
True fine art photography adds a certain prestige to a space that cannot be replicated with a mass-market framed print from your local homeware store. These artworks also make for captivating conversation pieces with your guests or clients.
Another positive aspect of investing in this art form is the lower-priced entry points to owning fine art. One piece of sterling investment advice would be to purchase the pricier pieces that you love, and then build your collection around those with some budget-friendly options from promising up and coming artists.
Your collection will stand out as unique
Hingeing on the past few points for this one, framed pieces of mass-market produced images aren’t going to have the same uniqueness as artistic photographs from limited print editions. When it comes to investing and collecting, It’s important to know the difference between limited edition prints and reproductions.
By searching out more limited artworks, you can learn more about art in general, as well as interior design and art investment, and by building a collection of limited edition prints you’re also creating an investment portfolio that has the potential to provide future profits.
This also gives you the opportunity to purchase pieces of art that showcase who you are as a person, your likes and dislikes, your individuality and in a sense, your own creative expression which is expressed through the pieces you choose to collect.
A mass-market printed image won’t just melt into the background of your space, it will also never rise in value or become an asset.
The beauty of limited-edition prints is that although they’re not giving you access to one-of-a-kind artworks as such, they are rare enough for your collection to stand out as uniquely curated and valuable, as well as being personal to you and your space.
It timelessly evolves with your décor style
Interior spaces and décor styles tend to change over time and as your personal tastes and modern sensibilities of décor style evolve, you’ll want your space to adapt in line with them. Knowing how to decorate your space with art is just the first step.
The beauty of fine art photography is that it can grow and adapt alongside your décor style and fit in with your interior design, setting the mood that you wish to achieve within any given space. A new space or décor style also means a new life for your investment as it consistently stands out as an elegant focal point.
For an investment to be an asset that holds its value and has potential for future profitability and be a timeless addition to a display, fine art photography is a shrewd addition to any portfolio.
It provides a sense of adventure and escape
Fine art photography has an underlying sense of magic. It can transport the viewer to faraway lands, put them into a story, provide a sense of adventure and escape.
Evocative subject matter can trigger fond memories of past travels, it can also stimulate the imagination with fantasies and wanderlust. Whether you’ve actually looked out across the Tegalalang rice terraces of Bali or not, displaying the artistic photograph of a photographer who has can take you there.
Through such pieces of fine art, you can travel the world learning the stories of different people and places and get caught up in the details of lives that are very different from your own. This is as true with the abstract or figurative as much as the landscape.
Regardless of the subject matter, fine art photography provides an addictive sense of escape that you’ll be craving to consume at every opportunity, and so will your guests.
It’s something that you love
One of the main criteria for investing in art of any kind is to purchase that which brings you personal joy. Art that resonates with you on a personal level, art that you love.
After all, art is an investment that benefits the collector not only by rising in value but by being displayed and being the central focal point of a space, a talking point that has the power to set the mood of a room.
Of course, you’ll want artworks that have the best chances of future profitability, and any expert fine art broker worth their salt will be able to advise you on the best pieces that fall into that category, as well as appeal to your personal tastes and preferences.
If you start a collection that resonates with you and makes you proud to display it, then every single penny you part with is a worthwhile investment.
So, Is It Worth Investing In Fine Art Photography?
Fine art photography is a recognised artistic medium and is fast growing in popularity amongst collectors and investors.
Despite the oversaturation of photography in the general sense, the ability to define what makes it ‘fine art’ and determine its value is key to unlocking the investment potential of this modern art form.
Knowing that you’re not just buying a photograph, but acquiring a valuable work of art that captures the vision of the artist and expresses their creativity, makes each piece an investment that will at the very least, hold its value.
You can take great pride in the fact that you’re supporting the working lives of real artists whilst simultaneously adding prestige and luxury to your interior space, with art that remains timeless and grows with your décor.
Your unique collection will provide an escape for you and any other viewer, opening up conversation and transporting you to distant worlds, all because you invested in something that you love and that resonated with you.
So in summary, it’s definitely worth investing in fine art photography!
How To Start Your Art Investment Journey
Now that you have the knowledge that it is worth investing in fine art photography, a logical next step would be to learn more about that process, and get a sense of the artworks that resonate with you and offer great potential for future profitability.
At S&P Gallery we specialise in providing the highest level of confidence in the art market and art investment.
If you’d like to take the first step in your art investment journey, or even if you’re looking to expand or diversify your portfolio, feel free to contact our expert art brokers for the finest professional art investment guidance.
To learn more about the benefits of investing in art and investing with S&P Gallery, as well as our market performance some of the returns realised from our clients, you could also download our free art investment guide, which is packed with valuable information and insights.