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Fine Art Photography

Lesson 24 of 38

Editing Pool Shoot

Brooke Shaden

Fine Art Photography

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

24. 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.

Lesson Info

Editing Pool Shoot

so then got our girl we've got our background which I was clearly working on before so I'm going to erase that right now pretend like you didn't see it okay there we go so we've got our little ocean shot here I've got this piece of the image that I would liketo work with I now want to place her into this image so I'm going to go back and find her in the pool doesn't she look so beautiful I loved her in there so I'm going to select her out of there I don't want her in this background so this process will be slightly different from the last process that we went through instead of moving the entire image we don't need that whole entire image we just want to select with our lasso tool anywhere around her just like this selecting all around and then copying commander control see going over to the shot that we're working on command or control v we're pasting her in now she's a lot bigger than this background shot is I shot her really close but this ocean was shot kind of far away so we need ...

to change the size of her to be able to fit into this shot which is something that you'll come across a lot when you're using different backgrounds with different subjects being pasted in so I want to go to edit free transform and it has these little dots come up all around these little squares on the edges of this image and so I want to hold shift and click and drag to make her smaller and I'm holding shift because if I don't I'll lose the aspect ratio of my model and we don't want to squish her or elongate her do something strange so I'm going to hold shift click and drag that makes her a lot smaller in the frame so I like her like that I think maybe we'll leave her just like this and say ok so now that we've got her in there I'm going to zoom in see what we've got to work with and I need to start getting rid of the black now I'm going to do a step that might not make sense to start but it will make sense later so I'm going to duplicate this layer duplicate layer to the reason why I am doing this is because I know that I'm going to start erasing the black around her but I also know that given the method that I am about to use to erase it I'm going to a race too much and I need a safety layer to be able to bring parts of her back I don't want to have to re copy and paste her in because then she won't be sitting in the same spot anymore so in this case she is sitting exactly where I need her to the duplicated layer is right above I'm actually going to hide that layer with the eyeball right now click on my laywer too and now I'm going to use the magic wand tool which I would almost never ever ever ever use anytime I live in this so I'm going to use my magic wand on tolerance thirty two right now going to click and it is selecting this color all around her now this is exactly why I use this red wig because if her hair was the same color is that backdrop we would have a really big problem here with the magic one just cutting right into all these bits of her hair which isn't the biggest problem because we are going to fix some of that as it is but right now I want to avoid that as much as possible so I'm on layer to I'm hitting delete and now we have all of that deleted so we've got actually a fairly decent cut out around her head but we're going to make it a little bit better as time goes on I want to come down here and do the same thing with that magic wand all around her arms hit delete so because of how we lit her because she's lit from the front her skin was lit really well we had a black backdrop sunk into the water so that means that her arms her head everything is standing out very very much against the background so we're able to use this magic wand tool which usually is the devil tool and doesn't do anything that I wanted to do but in this case it does so I'm going to go ahead and make a layer mask on this layer click my brush tool ex flipped a black make sure that I'm not one hundred percent opacity and I could go ahead and just start to erase all of this that I don't want now she's in a choppy ocean so we shouldn't be able to see the reflection of her under there because it's so for me so I'm going to erase a lot of this away now you can see here that I almost just erased too much of her hand there so I'm gonna flip back and just get that back and go in with a smaller brush to try to get in just erase this little bit that just doesn't quite look right to me if there's a harsh edge on anything I want to run my brush along it to make it a soft edge and with over here we don't really want that in there so I'm just trying to see what needs to stay in what needs to go now she's a little bit bright for this scene so that water could actually blend a little bit better if we made her a little bit darker so I'm going to click on that layer and maybe I'll go into my curves just make her a little bit darker in there just a little now what I want to dio the reason why I have this layer to copy there is because we have this jagged line going into her head where maybe it was a little bit too dark so if we need to fix that if we need to bring some of her hair back I can click this layer back on create a layer mask and then invert that layer mask so I'm going to command I what we've done is we basically just gotten rude just erased her from the layer mask she's not there anymore clicked on my layer mask and now if I flip toe white I can actually start bringing her back anywhere that I want to bring her back so like in here where she had her hair was missing a little bit for example that's where I'll go in and bring it back now I can go in with a more refined brush and erase what I don't want again on that same layer mask so I'll make the brush a little bit smaller maybe all right click and change the hardness take that up so the hardness of the brush if you want to do one hundred percent hardness brush it's this one right next to the soft brush so you can talk go back and forth and you can see what the edge of that brush looks like so why would I want a harder brush the reason is because her hair was in focus so whatever I am a racing against that is what I'm trying to match the hardness of the brush to she is not one hundred percent in focus so I'm gonna take this down into the ninety eighty percent range something like that and then I'm going to start erasing so I can erase right up along some of her strands of hair there I can erase along her arm whatever I need to do just to get in there and get rid of that darkness that I see happening over here is well maybe I want a bigger brush maybe a little bit of a less hard brush just to get in there along the back edge of her hair like that I brought a little bit too much backup there here we go oops they're add that back in so that is why I have that copy that's why I have that layer up there that I think needs to be there to have that safety net I can always go back to l a or two on that layer mask I can erase a little bit more like I think I need teo in here it seems a little bit dark if there's actually a notion behind her so one trick that you can do is go in with an opacity of your brush brought down quite a lot and then you could just erase it slightly from there that way you do see some of that ocean in the background so now we've got some of that ocean showing through which is good because it makes it a lot more believable that she's actually there and we can start to make our overall adjustments one adjustment that I might want to make for example is making sure that she has the right shading so if I'm looking at this shadow I want to get rid of that just a little bit so I'm going in again with that thirty percent opacity and just erasing some of that shadow out of there because it's a little bit too harsh and now I want to make sure that she fits so she's a little bit bright still in my opinion but not on her hair I think that if her hair goes any darker that won't be good so I want to get her arms a little bit darker so I'm clicking on the actual layer going to choose my life so tool I'm just going to select her arms her skin wherever I think it should be a little bit darker maybe even her face right click feather forty pixel sounds good now I'm going to go into curves and just bring that down a little bit so then she really fits in that scene now if I pulled from the mid tones I'm noticing that it's making the shadows a little bit too dark so I want to drag that point off and I'm going to go from the highlights to doll her skin down a little bit and you see how now by dulling down those highlights it looks like an overcast day a little bit more than it did before so her skin is a little bit dollars that you could see that the highlights on the ocean or dollars well and just like I talked about when we were shooting the ocean is a little bit more blue than she is so I have to decide do I want the ocean to become more yellow or her skin to become more blue you can see look at her poor lips oh my god she was so gold but she was fine okay okay so let's go ahead and change her let's make her match the ocean so I'm going into curves making sure that she's blending well choose blue and take that up a little bit on her we'll take the scion add some sigh in there and now she fits into the ocean at least in terms of her skin tone and say ok now we can make some more adjustments to this to make her fit for example she's still a little bit too dark here and I mean two right here in my opinion so I'm going to select that area feather it um let's do fifty pixels and then back into curves just take that brightness down a little bit okay right click d select so we've got our subjects stuck in the water now and now we can make our overall adjustments so the way that I would work with this let's say that you were going to use a blending mode instead of using the last so tour the magic wand like we did if that was going to be your method of combining these shots together just like I showed you with the girl in the room how we use lighten as the blending mode and then normal toe add that back in just like we did then in that case you can do the same exact thing that we've just been doing except you'll be playing with the blending modes right here where it says normal that's where you'll just go through every option that you have to see which one blends her the best I typically use lytton or light or color those work really well for me in terms of blending but it just depends on what color your background is and what your subject looks like on that background so I'm going to go ahead and make some adjustments I think that we could use some light pulling in on the ocean here where she is and good thing is their own separate layers so if I want to go ahead and add light right here just where she is I can feather that two hundred fifty pixels click on layer one and then make that adjustment so I could make that a little bit brighter maybe add some contrast to it where she is since she's a little bit more contrast e than the ocean is and I think that that looks really nice the way that she is sort of matching the ocean now a little bit better I think that the background is just fine because it's dark the foreground is a little bit whiter so I'm going to make my adjustments now get in there with her hair and make her hair more vibrant because that's apparently one of my favorite pastimes here I think that adding some color somewhere in the image can be very effective and so that's why I want to go ahead and just see what I can do to make that hair stand out and I'm going to go in and get rid of all these little segments where I have too much selected for example this I don't really need that selected its okay if some little strands are left out that is perfectly fine let's see we don't need any of this handed here was a little bit too much down here maybe was too much in here I don't want at all um and I'm just making this easier on myself leader so that I don't have to go in and de saturate all of those little white areas there we go okay we don't want her forehead turning colors either okay right click feather now let's try thirty pixels that might have been too much let's go back not thirty pixels other fifteen pixels that's better image oops let's click on the girl the girl her name is jane image adjustments perms red curve add some red preview and now we have another layer of her so this is where you might want to use an adjustment layer I'm going back into curves red brightening up the rest of her head d select this is a method that I used on dresses a lot so if I have for example this picture over here that we have sort of at the window here that image is one where we have a dress that's very neutral it's the same exact dress that jane warren the poor and I went and I selected that whole entire dress and then I made adjustments in curves so I selected the dress I added red I added yellow and that gave it sort of a vintage hand painted or tinted photographic feel to it and so that's what I'm trying to do with this is to give it a her hair of very specific color that still has a vintage vibe to it so let's go ahead and edit with some adjustment layers now and let's choose the adjustment layer for curves and see overall what should happen here to make everything blend so maybe I want to skew my blacks to be a little bit grey maybe I'll keep my highlights perhaps high enough and let's add some contrast that was too much maybe two there I think the adding a little bit of contrast to this scene looks really nice so we'll take that away I still would like to keep adding some light to the ocean here where she is because I think that she just stands out a little bit too much so feather that again two hundred fifty pixels I get used to doing two hundred fifty pixels because on older versions of photo shop that was all you could feather so I got used to two hundred fifty for everything and then back into curves on our ocean shot making that a little bit brighter and adding that contrast now if I want to make overall adjustments again instead of me going back into this curves adjustment layer I just don't think like that my brain doesn't work like that so I need to create a whole new layer from my brain to be like yeah I get it I understand what we're doing and so I'm going to go into a new curves adjustment layer and choose my colors always I liketo add that yellow to the highlights so it's a first thing that I have a tendency to dio I also then typically go into my red and add some red to see what's going on see how it looks I will often go into my green curve and add some magenta to the shadows just to practice just to see what it looks like sometimes I'll go back I'll change my mind completely odd blue maybe I'll add more yellow overall maybe all had more red overall it just totally depends on what we're going for so I don't know I'm a little bit undecided on this one actually what do you guys think red not red not read okay so let's do another curves adjustment layer in fact this would be a really good candidate for de saturating the image I talked about that also a little bit before very often I will like to de saturate an image and then add color back in overall because we have the red of the hair the yellow of the skin the blue of the ocean they're sort of competing colors happening here so we could use an adjustment layer to go into human saturation and then take that saturation down and everything starts to blend together a little bit better because we've decided aerated now if I go back into curves I have the opportunity to add color more evenly overall to the image so you can see that that blue is hitting everything much more evenly than it was before the science will also do the same anytime I add blue in science I have a tendency to add magenta because I like to warm it up just slightly I don't like a super cool image so I would warm that up a little bit to get to this point so that does look a lot better at least she's looking pretty good in there I think I like the color I like how her arm perfectly blends in with the water line of the ocean that's what I'm going for here that's why she's in the water I mean otherwise I would just shoot her on land and then it wouldn't matter but this water line is very difficult to fake that water line right there and you can see that I have placed her in a spot where it's in focus in the ocean also a very important thing to note about dropping her in here it wasn't just a random I'm just going to drop her and hope it looks okay it was a little bit more than that in choosing a spot where she actually fits in the frame maybe I will add some light up here this would be a good candidate actually for that streaky light that we mentioned before so we'll do let's say three hundred fifty pixels their big nice big feather into our adjustment layers for curves and now I'm going to want to add that hazy light you see how it comes in there real hazy as though there's a sun over there somewhere we can also add contrast there so we don't have to leave it like that just like this and because this is an adjustment layer I can erase it right off of the subject perhaps we will make that a little bit warmer just that sun flare coming from over there there we go just add some red to it and now if we go in on that layer mask with our brush tool I can erase it off of the subject I would do so probably at about fifty percent opacity because I want her to still be affected I don't want it to look like she's been cut out of the image in any way okay there it is on her face getting that contrast back yeah I don't know that's ok everything is ok yeah ok I see sort of un enthusiastic nods so maybe we will undo that later hence the use of an adjustment layer okay how we doing on time we're getting close but go ahead and finish your perfect thank you so they're a couple of other things that I want to do this image to finish it off now of course I would spend more time on the coloring I am not fully happy with this coloring but if I wanted to do a little bit more here let me just finish it off with colors by going into curves playing a little bit more maybe even just taking the saturation up I like to do things a bit extreme in photo shop which is probably obvious so I might go in and just add more blue to the shadows more yellow to the highlights perhaps a little bit more science overall and then a little bit more magenta just in the shadows just to give this a little bit more interest to it pull back now perhaps some some contrast maybe just around this mid section so let's go ahead with one more curves I like it a little bit darker actually there's a little bit more contrast but I do like it a little bit darker so I'll leave it about there when I think that that looks really nice I would probably out of texture to this but we're actually going to go over that in the next editing segment tomorrow so I'm not going to go too deep into that however a couple of things that I would dio remember how oh yes question that's very beautiful think question I have is now after you did all the color editing and so forth would you ever go like oh now with the color change she looks too big or too small could you now go back down and good that would require you tow undo something if you have combined your layers however I haven't so at this point absolutely I could select both of those layers and then at the very same time if I select both of them right now by holding shift I can go into edit free transform hold shift again and make her bigger or smaller that's totally okay because I haven't combined my layers otherwise if I was making color changes all in one no I would have to go back thank you another question over here oh and you know it doesn't matter which way or or do you go in okay okay um so we planned I mean you put so much planning and to all of your chutes that outfit you know the how the why we talked in depth about that yesterday but it seems that you're just kind of winging that like I mean do you think about what you want you're in picture toe look like or color always off like that are yeah or do you always come in and just kind of changed it like you're doing right now like it depends for example for this picture I knew that she would be sitting in that spot in this ocean just like she is I knew how I would cut her out et cetera I did not know how it colored this picture that I want to leave up to you guys but typically I do have a very specific color palette in mind now I actually edited this shot with a different model that I just posted today on my facebook actually and that I had a very specific color palette for so you'll see in that one that's what I had intended for this shot and I'm recreating that so then you could see the one that was already done versus this one that we're recreating so this one I want to take your opinion but I would say about seventy five percent of the time I know my color palette and I know how I'm going to change the light but you know there's still that twenty five percent of the time where I just let myself do whatever I need to dio and have fun with it you know because very often overall color changes it can affect the mood of a picture but it probably won't affect the concept as much and so as long as the concept is still preserved I have a little bit of fun with it the black and whites I don't do black and whites very often so I think I have ten black and white pictures and my whole five hundred picture portfolio s o I don't really even consider it very often I'm very much a colored girl I tend to reserve nudes for black and white most often because I love how light reflects off of skin in black and white so it's not really something that crosses my mind very often the last thing that I wanted to say here for this image was that earlier on today I talked about how I might flip the picture horizontally and I would do that to be able to see it in a different way to see the flaws that I might have in it to see the light in a different way to see the composition differently so in this case I would like to do that I would like to go to image image rotation flip canvas horizontal that is the exact path that I am taking the other way that you might be thinking you could do this is to goto edit oh I'm gonna layer that's not on at it transform flip horizontal but that's for a specific layer not for the entire canvas so you want to go to image image rotation flip canvas horizontal and then you can see the image in an entirely new way so now we see the light coming in from a different side we see her body from a different angle now we read images from left to right left to right largely we d'oh most of us so if we're reading it looking in from the left going over to the right I like to see the light as the first thing that I see so I tend to like my light whichever side of the images brighter to be on the left hand side but this case is very interesting because we have her face on this side so it's kind of nice to run into her face first thing instead of the light I can decide I would probably struggle with this go back and forth and back and forth and I would go over to my history and do this and this and this and this and just keep staring I didn't till I get dizzy but I really won't do that so we can just take a poll do you like it better this way oh no ok we have a strong opinion on that good okay cool so we'll keep her like that then

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.