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Fine Art Photography

Lesson 21 of 38

Editing Indoor Shoot Part 1

Brooke Shaden

Fine Art Photography

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

21. 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.

Lesson Info

Editing Indoor Shoot Part 1

okay so let's get started with some editing now I was debating which picture we should start with and I think we'll just go in order and in the order that we shot so we'll start with the leaves in the vines and we're going to start putting this together start to finish I'm not going to go through perhaps every single motion for every single picture but I'm going to put the put them together at the very least do the compositing and then show you some basic changes that I would make tio each one to enhance them and make them really interesting so we're going to start with this picture right here this is r r first image the shot that I want to use the shock that I'm going to start putting together because this one I thought was really fascinating with her posed the way that the white was hitting her face so if I zoom in here I'm so glad she's in focus there she is and so you can actually see that catch light in her eye can you guys see that okay yeah and so that's why I had her hair moved...

a little bit and when I saw her turned her eyes towards the window I saw that catch light that's what I was really excited about and of course she's so wonderful for eating a stick for us so that was really nice a really good touch that I thought really made this image really special so I want to go ahead and zoom out here and analyze the situation literally what has to happen to turn this into the image that I had envisioned to start with so for me I want to make it a square I turn everything into a square and that's just my personal preference so if you don't want to start there if you like this as it is go for it but I'm going to show you how to expand the frame so I want to show you how to expand to the right expand to the left so when we're doing that there are a couple of ways that you can do this the easy way and the hard way so doing it the hard way first which will literally show you what is happening here I'm going to go to image and I'm going into canvas size not image size but canvas size so when I click into canvas size in photo shop what I want to do is look at this in default two inches with twelve point four eight inches now inches is not universal so I always change it out of inches and I really like to work in pixels so I'm clicking into pixels and we can see that our with this three thousand seven hundred forty for height five thousand six hundred sixteen so I want to take my wit and make sure that it matches five thousand six hundred sixteen pixels aiken do that through canvas size by clicking this right arrow in this little box of all these arrows the right middle arrow if I click that then to the left we have three blank boxes whichever boxes are blank on the left hand side that is the area that will be expanded when we change our pixel size so our wit is three thousand seven hundred and forty four pixels that means that if I were to add one thousand pixels to my with that would make it four thousand seven hundred and forty four pixels that means that if I type four thousand seven hundred forty four into that with box one thousand pixels will be added to the left hand side of my frame so I'll say okay and there we go we have one thousand pixels added to that side of the frame let me zoom out here so we can see exactly what's happening now let's say that you wanted to do this the really easy way who doesn't so in that case you'll just want to go to your crop tool and automatically in this version of photo shop you have your crop to already selected all around the image and now you can just click and drag it and expand your frame that way so if that's how you prefer to do things you can expand it in any direction you want up down crop expand and then hid that check mark to say ok or hit enter and now you've expanded your frame by doing it that way you can get a perfect square by holding shift with the crop tool clicking and dragging and then you can go beyond so once you've got your square there that you've just cropped you just keep holding shit click on one of the corners and you can continue with a square if you have a very specific shape that you would like to crop into in this case we don't because I like to start with a much bigger frame that I actually need so I'm going to start with this not quite square frame we have a little bit too much on either side but I'd rather have a little bit too much than not enough and once I've put my extra images in I can then crop that down so I've got my extra space mai canvas is expanded and now I want to go find those extra images that I'm going to be adding in so I've got a lot of tabs open here and I think this is our image where we want to fill in the left hand side of the frame so in order to move this image you could select the whole thing and copy and paste it what I do though is I hit the move tool over here on the left hand tool bards that solid arrow so once you click that move tool I click anywhere within my image drag it over to the tab that we're working on and once that flips as it just did I just keep dragging my mouse down and I'd drop it right on top and there we go so I've got an image on top of the other and now because I'm still on that move tool I could drag this anywhere I want all around the frame now let's say that I don't know where this is supposed to go maybe I've liked got it up here and I'm like does it go there I don't know well then I just want to go to my layer make sure I'm clicked on this layer one I want to take the opacity down on that layer and now I can see through it and so now I can place it in the frame I'm placing it by matching something so in this case we have her face that's the easiest thing to match up so I'm just going to drag her face on top of her other face and then when I get pretty close I start using the arrows on my keyboard and I just nudge it down into place I might look at the side over here where we have this corner maybe on matching that up sticks won't exactly match it's going to be very difficult to get every single bit of scenery exactly matched up things were moving as we were shooting this and that's ok so I'm going to take my opacity backup you can see it kind of snapping into place there and now I want to create my layer mask so I'm going to go ahead with this little circle within a square button right down at the bottom and on liar one which is the layer that I need to a race I'm going to click my add layer mask now when I am clicked on my layer mask I'm going to use a brush tool the regular paintbrush tool on black your color swatches were automatically defaults of black and white when you're editing on a layer mask you want to be on black you want to make sure that your opacity for your brush is pulled all the way up and another big thing if you want to check your size and hardness you can go right over here to this little tiny drop down minus defaulting to one forty right now from my size of my brush and if I click that arrow I can see the size slider and I can also see hardness so what is hardness this is a really important thing to talk about right now because hardness of the brush is going to make a he huge difference when you're compositing if your hardness is not exactly where you need it to be then you might see a lot of errors in your compositing for example in this case I want to do a really soft fuzzy brush so this brush right there that I've just clicked on this really soft fuzzy brush that is zero percent hardness that means that my brush is going to fade very very much off um from the centre often to the edges of the brush so if I'm clicked on zero percent hardness everything that I started racing will do so in a very light fuzzy way I'm going to take my size up that looks pretty good seven hundred thirty some pixels and now because I have my hardness down to my brush size up I can very generally start to a race wherever I don't want this picture that's overlapping so on black clicking on my layer maskin just dragging and drawing I'm just very very simply erasing now obviously I don't want tohave her face on top of her other face I already have one face I don't need to so if I zoom in here we can see the details of what we're doing and that's very important in an image like this where there are so many little tiny details of leaves and vines and sticks and all of that so I need to start erasing to make sure that I don't have overlap here I want to make sure that things are blending so you can see right through here this stick right there where my circle is does doesn't match up it's never going to match up so I want to make my brush size a little bit smaller and you can also do that by right clicking and you have your size slider you can take that size down or you can use your right and left square bracket on your keyboard so if I click my right square bracket it makes my brush bigger the left will make it smaller and now the next thing that I want to do is I've erased too much time on my layer mask I've erased too much so I want to flip toe white down here in my color palette by using those little arrows you can also choose x on your keyboard and that will flip back and forth from black to white and now when I paint white I'm bringing that back so if I bring that back just up until there maybe I am just looking to make sure that everything blends I don't care if I'm putting the wrong two branches together as long as it looks like it's blending so down here maybe foot back to black erase some of this so there aren't double leaves and sticks and things like that and just erase all along this edge to make sure you see we had two feet in here that would be very very bad tohave erasing erasing erasing and just going down the whole side of this picture to make sure that we have everything erased okay so that looks pretty good to me I think that we've got that side and pretty well there's a little bit right there but I'm just noticing okay now if I zoom out here we couldn't see that things are looking pretty good we've got the left side of the image in the model is untouched but like I said in the last segment whenever I am compositing as I'm going I like to toggle the eyeball on the layers palette so I'll click that eyeball on and off on and off so you can see where exactly that image is sitting okay so we've got the left hand side and I can actually see if you focus right down here that I have a little bit of that bramble that I didn't erase that perhaps I should so now I can stay clicked on my layer mask on black I can go in there and just erase that little part that I see is just not quite erased so I've erased that keep cooking we can see what is being duplicated what's being erased all of that all of that fun stuff that we have to consider and I think that looks really good so I'm going to move on from there to this image so now we have the right hand side of the frame which we're going to add in so I'm going to do the same process now of choosing my move tool or v on your keyboard is going to choose your move tool for you click anywhere within that image drag it over to the tab that we're working on and then just let it drop right on top okay so we've got the image in I'm going to start placing it same as I did before by lowering that opacity on that layer and then using my arrow keys to try to nudge it into place looked looked really good I'm also looking up a floorboard and things like that to make sure that everything is going to line up so I think that looks pretty good for now we can always nudge it later so I am going teo I have my opacity back up I'm going to click on my brush tool because we're working on a layer mask and automatically on black I still have a very fuzzy brush but I need to make the brush size bigger again so I'm going to go ahead with my rights square bracket make that bigger and now I'm going to start to a race I'm just erasing starting from the left because that's a side that we don't need erasing all the way over now this is why a layer mask is good because I've gone in and erase too much that's absolutely okay because I'm just going to zoom in here I am going to make my breast size smaller and now I'm going to go in and bring that back by hitting x on the keyboard that switches to white now I can just click and I can start painting that back in now something that you might notice when creating images like this is that the color tone changes or you will have the lighting change in this case it's the lighting and on lee very very slight but it's still the lighting that we're having a problem with I'm gonna go ahead and nudge this image down so I'm on my move tour v brings up the move tool and I'm going to use the arrow keys to just nudge this down and all I'm doing is matching up this baseboard just making sure that that baseboard is lining up with itself so when I zoom out here what you can see is that this image right here that we've just added in is a slightly different color and has a different light on it then the wall right next to it and they need to blend perfectly so I'm gonna zoom in going to come up to our little problem area go back to my layer mask and I am goingto hit white and my brush beat on my keyboard I'm just going to fill that little area and then I hadn't filled in before now this area's a little bit brighter it's a little bit redder it's very difficult to see because it is so slight but it is a change that needs to be made so I'm going to click on the actual layer and now we want to start making changes with my light and with my color and this is how you composite this is how you start blending is maybe you do it all in camera maybe you take your main shot you've got that picture of the subject the model and then you move your camera over to take your next shot but if you do that it's very very likely that things were going to change the color temperature will change the lighting will change based on exposure and you could change that in camera you could say okay I'm looking at the back of my screen I can see that this one is slightly redder than that one I'll change my uh my exposure or my color temperature but that seems like a lot of work to me and I like to do it in photo shop and it's pretty simple so let me show you how I would go about matching this wall up in photo shop I'll go into image adjustments curves command m r control em and it defaults to channel rgb so if you're defaulted on channel rgb that's exactly where you want to be to start rgb that's telling you that you are going to change your brightness your darkness your contrast things like that nothing to do with color everything to do with white so that way that it works is just like this you have these two black points that meat right at the bottom of your graph over here on the left hand side those black points indicate your shadows if you move to the opposite side of the graph you have your highlights and so everything works in opposites when you're in curves you have the shadows down here the highlights up here in that same vein this bottom triangle that's also your shadow this is your highlight so if we want to make this wall a little bit darker what do we want to dio we need to pull down on the curve so I want to take this curve I want to pull down just a little bit and that way we are better matching up the wall here now it's still a little bit to read so if I need to make the color adjustment I'll simply click into channel rgb click that drop down and here it says red so if I need to change the color red I'm going to click on red the opposite of red is science so the way that curves works is that if I pull up up on this graph into this top triangle I will be adding red I don't want to add red I want to take away red so I need to pull down to take away the red which means that I'll be adding some science slight little bit there and say ok so now if I zoom out things are looking a little bit better there's still this lightly dark streak in here so I'm going to change that so much of compositing is doing one little change pulling back and saying ok now what needs to happen and that's how I work very much like a painter where a painter puts paint on a canvas and then he takes a step back and says ok I've done this step now what do I need to do to layer on top of that and so I'm looking at this canvas as a whole I see this little problem area here where there's just a little bit too much shadow so I'm going to zoom in on that again and this time I'm going to use my lasso tool so the lasso tools right over here on the left hand side of your toolbar and if I click that lasso tool I'm just going to go ahead and select this dark area where I don't think it should be dark anymore so I'm selecting the area that I want to make a brighter I've selected it with the regular lasso tool which means that you can click dragon draw to make a selection if you were not editing on a tablet let's say and you have a track pad or a mouse and you don't have that great of control over your hand that's where I suggest clicking down on that lasso tool and choosing you're pulling in a lasso tool that allows you to click to define points meaning that you don't have to continuously draw a line to make a selection so I have my last so I have it all selected around that shaded area now I need to feather this so if I did not feather this what would happen is you would have very hard edges of your selection so if I tried to make this brighter you would have a very hard edge selection that would become brighter so I'm going to right click inside that selection and you have a feather and refined edge so feathering is what I typically do because if you click on feather you have this very simple feather radius and ask you for amount of pixels if you know feathering really well this works just fine because you understand how many pixels to type in when you are feathering if you are not used to feathering I don't recommend doing this to start so I'm gonna cancel that and I'm going to show you exactly what feathering does by right click again I'll choose refine edge so I just write clicked inside my selection refine edge it's going to bring up this box and it shows you what your selection looks like so I've got my selection you can see that it's a very hard edge going all around that shaded area and this also has a feather slider so this does the same thing as clicking feather when you right click inside your selection but if you don't know how many fixes to choose then refine edge is better so feather slider I just want to take that up and you'll see what it's doing I now have a very fuzzy selection so it's choosing right now one hundred thirty eight pixels starting at the radius moving outward inside and outside of that selection to fade so it is fading your selection but keeping its strongest from the center point so I'm going to take that feather down a little bit maybe tio oh I don't know fifty sixty pixels or so um I'll type in sixty five I think that looks pretty good and I will say okay the good thing about that slider is that if you don't understand feathering then you can always just check to see how many pixels you're using when you're moving that feather slider and then you really get a sense of how much you need to feather things so I am clicked on the actual air still not my layer mask and what I want to do is go back into curves image adjustments curves now I want to make this just a little bit brighter so whereas before we pull down on the graph to make that wall a little bit darker I want to make this slightly brighter so I'm going to click on a midpoint and just pull up just a little bit and say okay right click d select and now that blends a lot better than it used to so now I will zoom out and now I want to take a fresh look at this so we have the image it's completely put together now in terms of compositing and so I want to go ahead and crop because like I said before we expanded the frame but I did not crop it into a square yet so I'm going to go to my crop tool I'm going to hold shift going to click and drag and now I have a square so I could move this anywhere I want but I think remember I said before that I kind of wanted her off to the side in this I could change my mind and I could push her over because I had taken those extra shots if I hadn't done that her composition would have been set in stone so what do you guys think center or off to the side okay there we go so she's off to the side and I accidentally moved that up there we go so I'm going to keep her just like that and I'm going to hit either enter return to say ok or hit the check mark up here to say okay to that crop so even though we've cropped we had already expanded so much that my frame is so much bigger than if I had left it in the standard photographic ratio now what I need to do is clone just this top port parson up here portion partial known what I was saying portion of here and so that's going to be super simple because it's just the wall that we have to clone so I'm going to go ahead and click on this layer that I'm already clicked on on the right hand side what we just added in there I'm going to click on my clone stamp tool and if I just zoom in here then you can see that right up in this corner we just need to get some of this shadow that we have and clone it back in there so cloning is going to allow us with a brush to define a source point wherever we think that we would like to move those pixels it's going to allow us to move those pixels to another part of the frame so I'm going to make my brush bigger again and all brushes are the same so you can always go up to this little left hand drop down menu with the size and hardness you or you can just use your left and right square brackets to make something a little bit bigger or a little bit smaller now I want to choose alter or option and then click for my source point so I'm going to chew something still on this layer which I know I'm confined to this little area right here I don't want to choose this part down there so if I defined a point right there then tried to move that up here that doesn't look good because the shading is not the same so I'm just going to undo that command z and I want to instead too fine a point right below where we have that missing piece by doing that it's going to be dark and so when I paint that in there it's going to have the same look to it as what everything else does all around it if I move over right over here then what we have is this other little missing area from the other side so I'm going to click on that left hand piece that we entered in there I'm going to do the same exact thing just right below ault clicking and then painting it in now you can still see here that we have some unfinished business because we have separate layers where there are harsh lines intersecting so at this point if I feel confident if I zoom out and I feel is though okay I'm clicking I'm happy with what we've done for example right here I can see that I missed a spot so I'm going to go back on that layer mask brush tool flip to black I can erase that then from that layer mask just making sure that everything looks good oops I was on the wrong way around that shows how much I can see what I raced it ok and so that looks a lot better and so now I would like to combine my layers now this is the point where some people would say oh my gosh are you going to do that don't combine your layers you're never gonna be able to go back oh my gosh but is okay I promise so I'm going tio not flatten my layers going to duplicate my layers and then merge my layers so this is called stamp visible there's a shortcut though so you could select all of your layers duplicate all of your layers and then merge those duplicated layers that's the long way of doing it or you can click on your top layer and then choose command option shift e and that will do the same exact thing so you can see it in your history here it says stamp visible now that's because that's what the command is called stamp visible command option shift e that's what you're going to look for if you're on a p c it's control all shift ae and then you will have that same effect but do make sure that you are clicked on your top layer and that will make sure that everything below that layer including that layer will become combined and duplicated in that final top layer so layer three is now what we're working on and I'm just going to take a step back here and look at this image overall what needs to happen I need to fix some of the cloning still so I'll do that very quickly before we move on choosing my clone stamp tour option clicking and just filling in some parts that I felt needed to be corrected just a little bit maybe over here a bigger brush clicking in that shaded area dragging that over I think that looks a lot nicer now okay so I'm going to zoom out and this is where I start to have a lot of fun because compositing can actually be very very simple if you just have a few things to add in there is not like you have to have fifty layers of all these different things that you're adding in so then you can get to the fun part a lot faster while still having a much larger image to print with

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.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Brookes Posing Guide

Self Portraiture

The Art of Self Critique

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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 Akana

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.