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Creating a Fine Art Series

Lesson 63 of 70

Pricing For Commissions

Brooke Shaden

Creating a Fine Art Series

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

63. Pricing For Commissions


Class Trailer
1 Class Introduction 07:25 2 Overview of Brooke’s Journey 20:13 3 Your Timeline is Nonlinear 05:37 4 Using Curiosity and Intention to Build Your Career 03:26 5 What Factors Dictate Growth 08:24 6 Organic Growth vs. Forced Growth 05:18 7 Niche Branding 04:57 8 Brooke’s Artistic Evolution and Timeline 24:27
9 How Can You Get Ahead if You Feel Behind? 10:02 10 Ideation and Conceptualization to Identify Meaning in Your Art 05:54 11 Idea Fluency 10:33 12 How to Represent an Idea 07:01 13 How to Innovate an Idea 07:07 14 Creating a Dialogue With Your Art 05:48 15 Conceptualization For a Series vs. a Single Image 03:43 16 Transforming a Single Image Into a Series 03:12 17 How to Tell a Story in a Series 03:28 18 How to Create Costumes From Fabric 07:20 19 Brooke’s Most Useful Costumes 02:19 20 Using Paint and Clay as Texture in an Image 02:56 21 Create Physical Elements in an Image 10:22 22 Shooting for a Fine Art Series 05:45 23 Conceptualization: Flowery Fish Bowl in the Desert 04:08 24 Wardrobe and Texture 04:54 25 Posing for the Story 05:32 26 Choosing an Image 01:23 27 Conceptualization: Rainy Plexiglass 11:34 28 Posing for the Story 04:17 29 Creating Backlight 02:37 30 Photo Shoot #1 - Creating a Simple Composite 17:51 31 Photo Shoot #2 - Creating a Dynamic Composite 06:31 32 Photo Shoot #3 - Creating a Storytelling Composite 07:40 33 Shooting the Background Images 06:14 34 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Working With Backgrounds 24:35 35 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Retouching the Subject 04:20 36 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Color Grading 02:45 37 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Floor Replacement Texture 15:24 38 Editing Samsara Shoot #1 - Final Adjustments 03:21 39 Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Cropping and Editing Backgrounds 05:25 40 Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Selective Adjustments 03:55 41 Editing Samsara Shoot #2 - Adding Texture + Fine Tuning 03:21 42 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Compositing Models 06:58 43 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Expanding Rooms 02:17 44 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Selective Color 02:47 45 Editing Composite Shoot #1 - Selective Exposure 04:04 46 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Masking Into Backgrounds 10:45 47 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Creating Rooms in Photoshop 06:11 48 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Compositing Hair 05:07 49 Editing Composite Shoot #2- Global Adjustments 04:49 50 Editing Composite Shoot #3- Blending Composite Elements 05:00 51 Editing Composite Shoot #3- Advanced Compositing 08:46 52 Editing Composite Shoot #3- Cleanup 03:34 53 Materials for Alternative Processes 06:20 54 Oil Painting on Prints 05:41 55 Encaustic Wax on Prints 03:09 56 Failure vs. Sell Out 05:14 57 Create Art You Love and Bring an Audience To You 03:35 58 Branding Yourself Into a Story 05:40 59 The Artistic Narrative 05:26 60 Get People to Care About Your Story 03:36 61 Get People to Buy Your Story 11:36 62 Getting Galleries and Publishers to Take Notice 03:41 63 Pricing For Commissions 06:43 64 Original Prints vs. Limited Edition Prints vs. Open Edition Prints 02:11 65 Class Outro 01:00 66 Live Premiere 16:14 67 Live Premiere: Layers of Depth 1 04:41 68 Live Premiere: Layers of Depth 2 07:12 69 Live Premiere: Q&A 16:10 70 Live Premiere: Photo Critique 47:33

Lesson Info

Pricing For Commissions

I want to talk for just a minute about pricing and the ways that I make money from my art. So one of them is commissions. I do commissions for bands and for authors, for publishing companies. Things like that, Ah, few times a year. I don't do it a lot because it's not really, you know, the passion of my wheelhouse. But I do. It's, um, sometimes. And when I price for commissions, I think about one. How much do I want to do this thing? Is it really important to me that I do it? Or is it going to be a headache? Because, like I said, I don't really like working with people. It's not my jam, so I would rather not, and it has to be really good. A great collaboration toe want to do it? So I priced myself at a starting point of $3000 and a good base price for a commission could be anything for you. So across the board when it comes, Thio commissions licensing prince things like that, I kind of like to say like $500 U. S. Dollars is a good starting point, So if you're just starting out. That mi...

ght be a good place to begin. I have done commissions for $100 and for many, many thousands. More than that, depending on the client and my starting point and where I am now, so I can never tell you a price that you should start at. I could never do that because this is up to you. What you need to make, how much work goes into it, how valuable you think it is based on where you are in your career. But I charged minimum and I don't get fancy. Okay, all these portrait photographers, I don't understand you guys. There's this whole, like there's the fee for the thing and then the other fee for the other thing you can tell. I really know the business of Portrait, and I just do one price, so I just do. The price is $3000 and that's what it takes for me to shoot it and give you an edited photo, one edited photo. That's how I do my commissions. And if you want more images, I charge a separate fee per image, and that price might go up depending on, you know the scope of the project. So commissions a really simple for me. I don't do like tears, pricing structures, stuff like that because it's just confusing to me. So I choose my base price based on the project, how much work it is. And then I say, this is what it costs. Take it or leave it. And sometimes I'll explain what goes into that you can see in this pricing sheet here that I go into just a little bit of what you know what they get out of it and to make sure that they understand where this price comes from. And then we go on to licensing. So when I license images, it's different from a commission because it's the sale of a digital file. It is not, You know, I'm going to show up and do a photo shoot and provide new images. It's I already have an image that you want to use for your purposes, so licensing is very different, and licensing is very difficult to price because it depends on the exclusivity of what you are doing. So if you're gonna provide a book cover, great, fine, You're providing a book cover. But what does that mean? So the book cover maybe a very small book that is going to be only published online, Let's say, And it's by an author that has never, you know, put anything out in a very tiny company. Well, then you would wanna pick your base price. So your your base price is going to be a nonexclusive contract, meaning you can license that image again and again and again to other people. And that's your base price. So you could even put on your website. Licensing begins at $200 something like that, and that gives people a baseline of what they can expect. And then it might go up from there. And it might go up based on all these different licensing factors, like how much exclusivity there is. So is it going to be exclusive to that book or that album or whatever it is for one year, two years? Three years? Is it going to be exclusive per location in the United States? In Portugal, In Germany, you know, where is it going to be reduced to, or is it worldwide? And if somebody says to you, I'm gonna license an image and I want exclusive rights to that image. That's gonna be your high point. So for me, I started $500 as my low price for being able to license toe anybody anytime. And then I go all the way up to $5000. Plus if they want exclusivity. So that's kind of my range. And again, I can't tell you exactly what you should do for yours. I started out at $100 as my low price, and it went up from there just to give you a little example of what I dio. And then finally, Prince, how do I Price Prince? Well, there are a couple ways that you can go about. This one is that they say you should get the price of a print, multiply it by 10 and start there. It's a problematic way of doing things, but if it makes you feel better, toe have, like, some multiplication to dio go for it. Okay, so my 10 inch prints cost $10. If I multiply that by 10 that's $ and that's a fine base price. But the bigger the print, the more it's going to be, and it might get a little bit pricey, so I think that's a fine place to start with your small size print. Just think about that. But when it comes to pricing, lower can often be better when you're starting out because you can't take a price down once it's already been up. So starting Loken be good, and then you just incrementally move it up as you go. Uh, if you don't feel comfortable doing that for whatever reason, um, you know, start higher. That's OK. You set your price. I would say. Don't go below 100 to $200 when your pricing limited edition prints. That means that there is a limited number of prints that you are going to sell, so I wouldn't start below 102 $100 because that gets into the realm of Open Edition. Pricing under $100 is pretty typical for open editions, meaning that you could sell as many as you want anybody who wants them. So think about that in terms of do you want to be able to sell to a lot of people at a low price or a fewer number of people at a higher price, and they're very different career paths. So really think about what's best for you. If you want to sell limited editions, you go through galleries. That's the way that you make sales typically. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of websites online that will allow you to sell just yourself through those platforms, or you might just have something on your website. I personally go through galleries, and I have been more successful with galleries since creating bodies of work rather than random images that don't really go together. So think about that.

Class Description


  • Beat “creator's block” by practicing exercises to help you overcome it
  • Conceptualize a series that nails story, emotion, and connection
  • Execute a low-budget, high-impact photoshoot for your series
  • Edit your images for series cohesion and seamless compositing
  • Brand yourself and your art into a story that others can connect with


Creating a fine art body of work can be daunting when you consider that a great series has innovative ideas, cohesive editing, and an undeniable connection to an audience. During this class, Brooke will walk through the entire process of creating a fine art series, from conceptualization, shooting, and editing to branding and pricing. The success of a body of work comes from the artist’s ability to go beyond the connection to an audience; it must land in the heart of the viewer and then instill a call to action within them. Brooke will lead you through not only how to make your work relatable, but how to take that extra step to become unforgettable, and ultimately, sellable.


  • Intermediate creators who want to focus on personal work and find a deeper level of creating.
  • Creators who not only want to tighten the cohesion of their work but ensure that the full depth of meaning is communicated.
  • Artists who want to learn simple yet effective ways of creating a body of personal work.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (v21.2.4) and Adobe Bridge CC 2020 (v10.1.1)


Brooke explores the darkness and light in people, and her work looks at that juxtaposition. As a self-portrait artist, she photographs herself and becomes the characters of dreams inspired by a childhood of intense imagination and fear. Being the creator and the actor, Brooke controls her darkness and confronts those fears.

After studying films for years in college, she realized her love of storytelling was universal. She started photography then in 2008, excited to create in solitude and take on character roles herself. Brooke works from a place of theme, often gravitating toward death and rebirth or beauty and decay.

Ultimately, her process is more discovery than creation. She follows her curiosity into the unknown to see who her characters might become. Brooke believes the greatest gift an artist has is the ability to channel fears, hopes, and experience into a representation of one's potential.

While her images come from a personal place of exploration, the goal in creating is not only to satisfy herself; her greatest wish is to show others a part of themselves. Art is a mirror for the creator and the observer.

Brooke's passion is storytelling, and her life is engulfed in it. From creating self-portraits and writing to international adventures and motivational speeches, she wants to live a thousand lives in one. She keeps her curiosity burning to live a truly interesting story.

*This course contains artistic nudity.


a Creativelive Student

Brooke never fails to deliver. I found this course superb from start to finish. From exercising your creative 'muscle', demystifying taking self portraits, and showing that they don't have to be perfect before you begin editing, to walking you through her editing process and how to price your work. Brooke's enthusiastic personality and excitement about the work shines through it all. Definitely recommended!

Søren Nielsen

Thank for fantastic motivating an very inspiring. The story telling and selling module was very helpful - thanks from Denmark

Rebecca Potter

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Brooke for this amazing class. Inspired and so full of practical knowledge, this is the best class I've ever watched. You have given me the confidence to pursue what I've always been afraid to do. Watch this space!