Easy Fine Art Photography: No Camera Necessary

Updated on October 1, 2018
JohnPLyons profile image

John is a fine artist & photographer. He's taught on TV, is a qualified business mentor & has helped many artists start to earn money.

Fine Art Photography: "Green & Black"

"Pears as Fine Art"
"Pears as Fine Art" | Source

Creating Fine Art Photography Requires:

  • Subject matter
  • Background matter
  • A capture device
  • Light
  • An idea of the finished product & where you want to show it
  • A sense of fun to create something "different" from the rest

Creating Fine Art Photography - The Power Of Curiosity

Where a photograph is displayed, or who it is shown to, defines whether a picture is a piece of fine-art or not. Nothing else really matters.

In the past, pictures were defined by who had taken them or how they were printed, what type of paper was used, or how they were framed but since the times of instant pictures and "Polaroid", these features of "Fine Art" don't seem to have been as important. Nowadays it's more a matter of how the artist thinks about their creation, how they value it and who they want to show it to...rather than how it is physically constructed.

By this means there has been an explosion of modern art and an easy acceptance of unusual methods by which "art" is created. In fact the unusual methodology and the "difference from the norm" can have a positive impact on how the art is viewed and reviewed when shown after creation. Thus painters don't "just" have to apply paint and photographers don't always have to use a camera.

For this project, I wanted to create a "statement piece" of art that if hanging on a white wall in a contemporary city art gallery, with lots of light streaming in through big windows, would have significant impact on the casual viewers looking in through the windows. I want those people to see the art and be drawn to enter the gallery to see more and to read more about me, the artist.

Thus I had "where I wanted to display?" and "why I wanted to display?"

I know that green stands out with dynamic appeal against a tonality of strong black, thus I knew these colours together would make a good piece of art to catch the eye. Also a more square format, with some aspect of symmetry contained within would be a great way to capture viewer attention. With just a little thinking I had planned out "what" I wanted to create.

The fact that I wanted to experiment and use a photocopier (or flat-bed scanner), rather than a camera, is the unusual methodology here that gets people reading about me...just as you have now. I could have got the same visual result using my professional camera but to be a successful photographer or artist and have work that people want to buy, you have to act in a manner that makes people "curious" about you or your art.

Pears on flat-bed scanner.
Pears on flat-bed scanner. | Source

The Photocopier Method

  • Switch on the photocopier, let it warm up with the plate open to stop static build up
  • Clean the plate. Bits of dust are not much of a problem when scanning a document but can be a real headache afterwards when you're creating art
  • Put your object to be captured on the plate
  • Do a low resolution scan, just to see what it looks like and what additional problems you may have to fix...position, artistic merit of the positioning, is the background of the room affecting the picture quality?
  • If the background is not black, cover the subject with a piece of black, opaque cloth.
  • Repeat low resolution scan - review results.
  • If the background still isn't a good black, this is because light from the room is getting through the cloth. Either turn off the room light or put more opaque material on top of the scanner (this material doesn't have to be black, so long as the material against the scanner plate in coloured black...I used my coat!).
  • Repeat - Review - Repeat - Review until your happy with the output. Tweak the setup, positioning etc as you need to until you're happy.
  • Do the slowest and highest resolution scan your scanner can do. Review (you may still need to do fine adjustments and re-scan again).
  • Save the image file, with the little or no file-compression (quality 10 if saving as a .jpeg)

This image from the scanner may be sufficient as your piece of art. In my case I took the scan image into another piece of simple photo-editing software to increase the contrast and thus make the green a little bit greener and the black and stronger black.

Cover the fruit with black cloth and ensure this is light opaque by putting more clothes on top as necessary to block light.
Cover the fruit with black cloth and ensure this is light opaque by putting more clothes on top as necessary to block light. | Source

Will You?

Are you going to give this a go?

See results

Photocopier Fine Art Photography - A Summary

  • Have a sense of fun and experiment with your kit, light, fruit or small items around the house or office
  • Practice with quick, low resolution scans on your photocopier/flat-bed scanner first
  • Then do a slow, high resolution scan. Consider increasing contrast afterwards.
  • Get people curious about your art, get people curious about you.
  • Plan your creation on who will see it, where, when and how.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 John Lyons


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      • JohnPLyons profile imageAUTHOR

        John Lyons 

        20 months ago from UK & USA

        Well "have you tried it?"

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        3 years ago from Norfolk, England

        That's interesting. And I love how the pears have turned out from the scanner. I'll definitely be trying that!

      • JohnPLyons profile imageAUTHOR

        John Lyons 

        3 years ago from UK & USA

        Thanks for your kind comments Linda. I'm "trying" to write every day mid-week, so hopefully there'll be lots more for you to read! Kind Regards, John

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 

        3 years ago from Washington State, USA

        John, this was very informative--and a fun read. I like your style of writing and look forward to more hubs from you.

      • JohnPLyons profile imageAUTHOR

        John Lyons 

        3 years ago from UK & USA

        Audrey, are you going to give it a go? Got a scanner/copier at home? The effects can be quite stunning and it's a lot cheaper than buying a high end camera ! Enjoy!

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        3 years ago from California

        Well this was interesting!!

      • JohnPLyons profile imageAUTHOR

        John Lyons 

        3 years ago from UK & USA

        Thanks Rhiannon...it's quite good fun to play with alternative "cameras" from time to time! Give it a go!

      • ZoLu Photography profile image


        3 years ago from Blue Ridge, GA

        Who would have known you could use a scanner to create art?!


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