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Fine Art Photography

Lesson 1 of 38

Class Introduction


Fine Art Photography

Lesson 1 of 38

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

so I want to tell you kind of a roundabout story before I get started about being here right now and how I got to be here because I actually just talking to one of the students josh about this I actually really didn't want to do creative live when I before I ever came on I was really scared of it I thought this probably isn't for me I don't know how I'm going to teach for three days straight and I was really really afraid and so recently I had this experience that really amazingly summed up exactly what I love about life I was in st louis missouri and I went to this museum it's called the city museum and it's basically just like a huge gigantic playground for adults so in this city museum they have a slide and it's this ten story slide and so I climbed up ten stories of stairs and when I got to the top I realized that I'm terrified to go down with slide so I went down the first time holding on to the rails and I went one rail by one rail and slid down the whole entire ten stories and t...

hen decided that that was really ridiculous that I did that because I didn't actually face my fear so as I'm going down the slide I hear this voice at one point you'll just do it who said that it was just a cz mysterious echoing voice so I said okay you know what he's right I'm going to do it so I went back up to the top and I sat down at the slide and then that man was there and he was running slide and he said you know you can't just go down like you do you can't just start sliding slowly slowly slowly going down you have to just do it and then you're going toe realize how incredibly amazing and inspirational that is and so I started talking to him and I said well what are your passions what are what are you inspired by he said I really want to make a wig webisodes like funny videos for the internet and I said why don't you do it and he said I don't know I'm scared that nobody will like it and I said oh so you're scared of putting stuff on the internet but I'm scared of going down the slide so if you produce a webisode by monday then I will go down the slide at full speed so he said ok deal and so we exchanged your emails we said okay and then I slid down the slide at full speed and it was so much fun and I felt like I just completely discovered my inner child and it was the most amazing thing and that's how I feel about being here today is it causes fear in I think everybody here right now and the best thing about it though is that we get to face it together and we get to do something that's going to inspire us and that's how I want to live my whole life is just thinking what can I do that makes me afraid what can I do that's going to inspire me down the road and I think that if we're not being constantly inspired then what's the point of living really I mean what's the point if we're not going out in challenging ourselves ls and doing things that make us say whoa I can't believe that I just did that but it was an incredible learning experience so that's where I want to start talking about today now to reiterate I am a fine art photographer my class is called master your craft so how can I teach everybody in the world how to master their craft if I don't do everything in the world well this is kind of simple in my opinion because maybe I'm going to teach some surreal strange maybe creepy pictures while I'm here during this class but that doesn't mean that there isn't more to be learned from that so anything that I talk about whether it's inspiration whether it's posing shooting editing all of that could be translated into something much bigger than what I'm saying much bigger than just the pictures that I happen to be showing you during this class so I'm going to tell you a little bit about what we're going to be talking about over the next three days one of those things is inspiration and I hope that that's something that comes through during everything that I say I never want to stop talking about inspiration because that's that's my passion that's my life a force that's what drives me through and gets me excited about everything and then motivation because I really feel like you can have as much inspiration as you want in the world but if you don't have the motivation to actually do something with that inspiration and there's no point in having it in the first place is so how to be inspired how to be motivated how to turn that into something that you know you can really pick up in move your life forward with it we're going to talk about goal setting risk taking things that I feel push you forward in life that is so important to me of huge on goal setting time really really big on writing lists and then crossing things off that list and rewarding myself with cookies and stuff like that so we're talking about that maybe we can even get some cookies too right board us later on posing we're going to do a lot of that because posing is so incredibly important obviously that's moving away from the inspirational side of things but I think that if you pose somebody in a really inspired way that's going to take your photo a whole new level self portraiture we're going to a little bit of that I truly believe that if you know how to do self portraiture then you khun do everything so much better so if I know how to pose myself and I know how to pose a model and that's what I'm looking for we're gonna be doing critique but I'm not going to be critiquing you I have no interest in telling you how good or bad you are because I don't have a real opinion about that I think that everybody is amazing because they're trying so I'm not the best person to ask for a critique from however I critique myself all the time so we're going to be talking about that how to critique your own photos how to remove yourself from that process in a very emotional way and look at it objectively we're going to be doing storytelling so everything that I do is based around a story every little thing we talk about that in this first segment and story telling to me is is the heart of an image not every single image necessarily lee but if you understand why you took a picture then you understand how that translates to an audience editing that's the next thing that I want to talk about I'm going to be showing my editing process start to finish a couple of different times so we have got so many different photo shoots to do today we're going to be doing I think eight different photo shoot throughout this class on dh I'll be editing a lot of those pictures live and then hopefully finishing the rest for you guys to see later so definitely a lot of editing business which is one of my favorite things in the whole entire world business always makes me feel a little bit weird because it's like I don't do it for the business you know you don't make art for business but at the same time business itself is an art and so I love talking about that on dh then lastly all the shoot is that we're doing I'm going to be shooting indoors and going to be shooting outdoors we're going to be going through everything from how to design a set toe howto at a sky in the background and stuff like that s so it should be really really fun and exciting I hope so let's get into this how does one simply master their craft this is a question that I ask myself a lot how can I do everything in my power to create images that are meaningful to me images that I feel reflect who I really am and images that can actually compete in the market today and not really comes from being original and further than that it comes from being confident so if I do something that comes from within it's something that I feel is truly who I am as a person then I can naturally be confident about that because I know that it's something that I created from within so if that happens and I put that out there it doesn't matter what people say about it because that's me that I'm putting out there and I'm confident in what I'm doing so we're going to talk a lot about that so sometimes people take a lot of pictures sometimes that's how you master your craft you get your first camera you take ten thousand pictures as they say maybe you'll get a good one after that but I don't believe that that has to be the case I believe that if you search within and you understand why you're creating then you're going to create images that you love so that's my core philosophy that if we can understand from day one why we create why were motivated to pick up our camera in the first place then I feel like we're going to create images that are so much more impactful not only for us but for other people who are viewing those pictures so you have to first understand your craft in order to master it so who believes truly that you understand every aspect of why you create you've really thought about exactly what the reasons are who you are why you are that way what you love doing do you think about that I think about that constantly and that's why I feel perhaps not like I have totally mastered my craft but I feel very confident in what I do and I'm not afraid to say that because I love what I do when I do what I love so it could be hard for an artist to understand the reason behind creating and it can be difficult because we create for a lot of different reasons ah lot of us might have clients who are saying create this create that you have to do it by this deadline therefore we produce what we need to produce to make money to provide for our families and I understand that and so that means that you might not be creating exactly what you loved to create but that doesn't mean that you can't create what you love to create so the more that you can make time for those things that you love the more you're going to understand exactly why you do what you d'oh

Class Description


  • Brainstorm and plan a fine art photograph
  • Design a story with props and posing
  • Shoot an image that only exists in your imagination
  • Complete the vision in Adobe Photoshop
  • Self-critique your own work
  • Build a business from fine art photography
  • Approach galleries with confidence
  • Grow your own unique style and brand


Sometimes, creative vision is bigger than a camera can capture. In this class, learn how to turn imaginative ideas into physical fine art prints. From planning the shoot to assembling composites in post, work to turn the images in your dreams into a concrete photographic image. Go from a dreamer to a professional photographer with the help of artist Brooke Shaden.

Start with defining your style and building your creative vision in this three-day class. Then, learn tips and tricks for bringing that vision to life using posing and props. Go behind the scenes in nine live shoots ranging from self-portraiture to creating your own fairytale. Use posing, props, motion, and composition to tell a story.

While fine art photography isn't usually the first business model that comes to mind when considering a career in photography, Brooke shares how it's possible to earn a full-time living from your art. From building a brand to approaching fine art galleries, learn what you need to turn a passion for fine art photography into a career. As Brooke says, you can't stop because your best work is just ahead.


  • Intermediate photographers ready to take fine art to the next level
  • Professional photographers looking to expand their storytelling and compositing skills
  • Fine art photographers at any skill level


Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom


Brooke Shaden is a storyteller. The American fine art photographer is well-known in the art world for her dream-like, fairytale images. Her work often uses dark tones, heavy emotions, self-portraits, and juxtapositions. Working as a fine art photographer for more than a decade, she started her art journey after studying film in college and now teaches and speaks along with continuing her work. Brooke's work has been featured in dozens of gallery exhibitions, along with magazine and book covers and limited edition fine art prints. After growing up near an Amish community in the United States in Pennsylvania, she now lives in California.


  1. Class Introduction

    Meet Brooke Shaden in the first lesson, and learn where the fine art photographer finds her inspiration. Then, gain an overview of the three-day class.

  2. My Evolving Style

    No one starts out creating their best work, Brooke says, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get started. See how Brooke grew in her craft, where she started, where she is now, and how she's always motivated to continue to create beautiful images.

  3. Visual Examination

    How you describe yourself as a person will influence your art. In this lesson, embark on the process of visual examination. Learn to visualize yourself, your style, and the story you want to tell -- and how that translates into photography.

  4. Storytelling and Character

    Brooke is more motivated by storytelling than photography -- and you can tell by looking at her work. Learn how to train your mind to find your inspiration, to then start telling that story. Work on building a story by starting with an object or person from your inspiration, and asking yourself questions about that item. Build a story with elements like theme, setting, character, time, and conflict.

  5. Storytelling Q&A

    Build on the concept of storytelling with questions from students like you.

  6. Critique Yourself Part 1

    Critique is an important aspect of any type of fine art -- but photographers shouldn't consider critiques from others as fact. In fact, Brooke encourages photographers to learn how to critique their own work. Follow Brooke's process for self-critique in this lesson.

  7. Critique Yourself Part 2

    Everyone will have a different favorite image. After sharing her favorite and least favorite images, Brooke shares what some of the students in the class pick as their most and least favorite images. The insight helps build the skills to critique a photograph.

  8. Identify the Problems

    Learning to identify problems in your own work helps you focus on areas to improve your art form. Watch Brooke work through some problems in her images. Learn to correct the problems that you see in your images.

  9. Posing Overview and Q&A

    Posing for a portrait and posing to create a fine art photograph are often very different. Dive into creating a story through body language, emotion, and character after a brief Q&A on questions from the previous lessons.

  10. Ten Basic Poses

    Learn how to create a better pose using ten basics. Work with poses to create lines and shape while telling a story. From basics like creating separation to advanced topics like creating believable action, pick up essentials to building a pose in fine art imagery.

  11. Posing a Man

    Posing looks different for men and women. In this lesson, Brooke shares her tips on posing a man in an emotive manner, while keeping the "manliness" intact. See different examples of fine art poses for men.

  12. Shoot: Posing Demo

    Should the model look at the camera? Brooke shares the pros and cons of eye contact and why it's often avoided in fine art photography. Run through a checklist to perfect your pose. Then, jump into a live posing demonstration to see those tips in action. Watch Brooke direct a model to portray a specific emotion, then watch how she fine-tunes the pose to create the desired look.

  13. The Art of Self-Portraiture

    Even if you don't actually want to be the subject matter in your own images, learning how to photograph yourself helps you learn how to direct a model to create fine art images, along with building the ability to express yourself and create something from your imagination. Build a foundation for self-portraiture in this lesson.

  14. Posing Yourself

    Walk through the process of posing yourself for a self-portrait. Learn how to focus and trigger the shot when you're not behind the camera, while still having enough time to get into the pose. In this lesson, Brooke shares tips for the process of posing and shooting yourself for fine art.

  15. Shoot: Self-Portraiture Demo

    Go behind the scenes for one of Brooke's self-portraits. See the process in action, starting with the test shot. As she talks through the process, watch Brooke create a pose, critique herself, then improve the pose. Using student suggestions, Brooke goes through several different poses portraying different emotions to use in a self-portrait.

  1. Shoot: Indoor Scene Part 1

    Starting with a blank canvas, learn to build a scene for an indoor shoot. Begin with a vision and an empty room, and watch how Brooke begins to bring her creative vision to life. See the inspiration and the blank scene, then watch Brooke build the scene.

  2. Shoot: Indoor Scene Part 2

    With the model and set in place, watch how Brooke captures the shot. Go behind the scenes on decisions like composition, angle, lighting, exposure, and focal point. Learn to evaluate the scene to get the details of the story in the camera.

  3. Shoot: Butterfly Daydream

    Work within the same space to create a different fine art image. With something as simple as an empty wall and a few still life props, go from creative vision to art print about a daydream. Refine ideas about posing, props, composition and more in this lesson.

  4. Image Compositing

    Sometimes, those fine art ideas aren't something concrete that could actually exist in real life. Other times, shooting in exotic locations isn't feasible financially or practically. Brooke suggests shooting as a landscape photographer to capture backgrounds for composite work whenever the opportunity presents itself. Learn how to shoot with a composite in mind, considering factors like matching the lighting and the perspective. Then, gather some basics on editing composites.

  5. Shoot: Using Props

    Start shooting a composite image using some backdrops and a kiddie pool. With a composite in mind, watch Brooke work the scene and plan ahead to mix multiple images together. Work with multiple poses and props. Then, move into a second scene and watch Brooke work with props in a self-portrait.

  6. Editing Indoor Shoot Part 1

    Move into editing for fine-art photography. Go through the complete editing process from the first live shoot with the vines. Work with aspect ratio, merging multiple images, layer masks, curves, cloning, and more.

  7. Editing Indoor Shoot Part 2

    Continue working with the image from the previous lesson, making overall adjustments to the image. Here, Brooke shares how to edit lighting, replace color, adjust overall color, add make-up, and more.

  8. Editing Butterfly Shoot

    Work with the butterfly shoot in Adobe Photoshop. Analyze how to improve the image, then work with several different editing techniques, including composting, adjusting brightness, making local adjustments, working with color, and more.

  9. Editing Pool Shoot

    Start working with the indoor-outdoor composite mix from the pool shoot. Learn how to paste a subject against a different background with realistic results. Work with trimming out the background, blending edges and more as you learn to create realistic composites.

  10. Shoot: Outside with Open Sky

    Move away from the computer and jump into more complex fine art composites. Working with multiple images and objects pasted together, start with the shooting process. Work with matching lighting, capturing the right angle, creating a strong composition, and telling a story in fine art photography.

  1. Shoot: Fairytale Scene Part 1

    Head behind the scenes as Brooke re-imagine a scene from The Princess and the Pea. Work with turning a well-known, traditional fairytale into something unique, beginning with the brainstorming and props.

  2. Shoot: Fairytale Scene Part 2

    Gain insight into the process of creating a fairy-tale inspired fine art photograph. Integrate motion into the image and work with motion blur, multiple exposures and more. Work with multiple poses with a model, then move into a self-portrait.

  3. Shoot: Snow Scene

    Move into the final live shoot of the course as Brooke brings the outdoors in. In this start-to-finish shoot, work on the story and vision for the scene, then learn how to create (and photograph) a snowstorm indoors.

  4. Editing Outdoor Scene

    Finish the vision from the live shoots in Photoshop, starting with the outdoor shoot. Work with complex composting techniques, like replacing the sky. Throughout the process, pick up editing tips, like choosing a brush and keyboard shortcuts.

  5. Editing Fairytale Scene

    Fine-tune the Princess and the Pea shot inside Photoshop. Extend the canvas, work with the warp tool, clone out a doorway, and more as Brooke turns her vision into a high-quality fine art photograph. Then, learn how to add textures to your image using photographs of textures that you can create yourself using desaturated black and white images.

  6. Editing Snow Scene

    See the progression from the test shots to the final shots from the indoor snowstorm image. Because the shot used a tripod, the editing options for adding snow becomes simpler. Besides working with the snow and adjusting color, learn how to add a fake light to an unlit lantern.

  7. The Business of Fine Art

    Fine art may seem trickier to turn into a business than something like portraits or weddings -- but it is possible. In this lesson, learn how to build a business as a fine-art photographer. Work with building a brand, finding a place for your work, sharing your talent, and selling your work as a product.

  8. Eight Business Practices for Fine Art

    Build your own fine art business with eight actionable steps. Here, Brooke shares a list of eight actions fine art photographers should do while building a business, from building a portfolio to contacting galleries.

  9. Beginning Your Artist Statement

    An artists statement should describe your photography thematically, visually, and technically. Writing an artist statement feels daunting -- in this lesson, Brooke simplifies it by sharing the process she used to write her own artist statement.

  10. Making Prints with Q&A

    Turn your fine art digital photography into art prints, wall art, and photography books. Decipher the difference between various types of printers, papers, and print sizes. Learn how to find a reputable printer. In your portfolio, learn why details like the order of the print matters. Then, find out how to prepare for a gallery meeting and what to expect during the meeting.

  11. Becoming You

    Becoming an artist, becoming yourself, is a process just as important as the business side. In this lesson, Brooke shares how to grow as an artist. Learn how to move forward, how to challenge yourself, and how to grow as an artist.

  12. Taking Risks

    Taking risks moves you forward on your fine art career path. Taking a risk that has nothing to do with money, Brooke says, helps you move forward, expand your reach, and grow your confidence. With that confidence, learn how to build opportunities like book publishing and more through risk-taking.

  13. Bonus Video: Expand Your Space

    In the bonus video, go behind the scenes as Brooke shares how to work in small, tight spaces by composting. This technique is good for both small spaces and shooting with a shallower depth of field.



Brooke says she wants to be inspirational - she has achieved this and so much more during this course. I am so inspired to follow my dream of becoming a fine art photographer and step out of a life as an academic and stop finding excuses. Watching other photographers shoot and edit is always a great way to learn, everyone does things slightly differently and I enjoy Brooke's no fuss techniques. Seeing so many of Brooke's beautiful images through the course has been great and seeing shots from the shoot through to editing really makes them come alive. If you are looking for inspiration or you want to learn techniques or new skills then this course provides all of these things with a big dose of positive thinking thrown in.


Brooke is amazing! I love this course. Brooke is easy to listen to. She has a beautiful insight into creative fine art . Love it! I have learned so much. I especially love that she is so candid about everything.

renee Wilson

I love Brooke and the wonderful way that she teaches. She is a gift to us all. Jane, her model, was lovely - a beautiful girl, a wonderful attitude and a real professional.. I could not do what Jane did to help Brooke convey her story.

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