Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress

We're gonna open up these Photoshop files and just peel back the layers, take a look at exactly how they were created and why they were created in the ways that they were. I should mention that I'm in Bridge right now, and that's how I prefer to look at my images. I know that a lot of people will prefer Lightroom or Capture One or something like that, and I don't have a great reason for not doing that except that I just don't need to. So I work in Bridge because all I'm doing is choosing maybe from a few different images that I've captured and just pulling them straight into Photoshop without doing any extra work to them. So I'm almost never taking a single image and editing that one image from start to finish because I'm compositing, so I just don't need to. So I'm in Bridge, and that's how I choose my images; and I've got these Photoshop files, and each of them has a slightly different way of being put together. So we're going to open them into Photoshop, just take a look one by one,...

and see exactly what had to happen here. So I've got a few different elements open here in Photoshop. I've got my navigator which is just, for me, a really great way of being able to see the image that I'm working on but much smaller, really quickly; and that's important to me because I think we spend a lot of time, like, really, really zoomed in to something, and then it's nice to just be able to see the whole picture there on the side. So I always have my navigator open. I always have history open; and I keep my layers open, of course, since we're working on many, many different layers. So I'm just gonna zoom back out, and we're gonna take a look at how this picture was created. So if I go and scroll through, the first thing that I'm looking for is did I not end up using any of the layers, but this looks pretty good; and I'm just going to, I'm not usually on a Mac, so sometimes I'm a little clunky. Option or Alt click on our bottom layer to reveal how this was put together. Now, I do tend to be a little bit lazy when I shoot; and, yes, I could have done a better job with this backdrop in smoothing it out and making it look really nice. But when it's just you and you know that you'll be able to get what you need from that one image, then sometimes you might tend to be a little bit lazier about things. So that's what I did here, and I started this image out with as much as I could get in one photo, which is important to mention because if you're a one-person show, it's often really difficult to get everything set up by yourself, especially if you are the subject. So in this instance, I knew that I wanted the veil to cover my face. I knew that I wanted there to be many, many layers of veil and dress in this image. But aside from that, I knew that I only was one person. I had to be able to, sort of, get my main shot here that I could build everything off of; so I had the veil covering my face. And I used this image as my main shot, and then everything else got built on top of that. So let's go ahead and just take a look. First, I sort of put this white layer over everything, just a soft curve layer to sort of soften everything; and then my very favorite step in every single image I create is just painting a certain color all around it, which is just making my own backdrop. So yes I could've simply put white in the background and made this much easier on myself, but instead I painted it; and I did so by sampling a color within this white that was in the background. So I didn't just choose white or gray, but I found a color that was already there. Then you can see I'm just adding little bits of fabric on. So this little bit of fabric doesn't match. You can see that it sort of connects right through here where the lace was, but you can also see in the background that it's really dark in comparison; and that's because I'm layering even more images on. So sometimes you'll see a little piece that doesn't look like it fits, but then something else pops in and suddenly it fits a little bit better. And so what you're seeing here is my playtime, my compositing playtime, which is to take all of the images that I shot outside of this main picture; and I'm seeing what fits where, what shape is appealing to me. I don't subscribe to a lot of different, you know, photo must-do things like creating certain shapes for your eye to move around; but in this case, I do love triangles, so I was trying to create that triangular shape here in multiple ways. And then I'm just changing light. So we're gonna talk about how to do each of these things in more depth once we get into editing our fresh images; but for now, all I want you to know is that I'm playing with where fabric goes. I have no formula for this. How can you, you're just playing; but aside from playing with where the fabric goes, I'm simply blending as I go. So I'm making sure that since I put these images in, you can see here that these little changes are just blending with the light and the contrast and things like that. And then we have this layer five, which is this very different looking image, which is smoke that I've added in as a separate layer that I photographed separately; and I'll show you those images later that I have from my stock. And you can see when I click on layer five that this little dropdown box says overlay, and that is a blending mode that I have changed. So if I were to go in and put that layer on normal, it would just be a normal picture of smoke; but instead I went through all of my options. I probably clicked in just like this and tried to see what each one would do and eventually ended on; what overlay was it? Okay, good; lest I forget. And so we just have a few more images just blending in that background so that everything looks super smooth. And I could go through every little detail of how exactly I made those changes. We'll do that later, but the overall gist is important here. I decided I didn't wanna be married for this photo, so I got rid of my wedding ring; and then I'm adding even more fabric. And a lot of this image was about playtime, just figuring out what goes where and how it can work. And this was another smoke layer, just making that even more apparent that she is coming out of smoke. So you might say, well, why didn't you just photograph that smoke there? I mean, why add it later? Then the answer is you could've done it then, and you could've tried to get the smoke and your subject all in the right position, but I find that with self-portraits I have a hard enough time just getting my face to look normal; I don't wanna deal with smoke as well. So I like to do it in separate pieces, and it tests my editing skills as well, which is fun. Here's a little bit of changing the light so you can see the light on the subject there. And then these are just some finishing touches with texture and one more pop of contrast. So that was this image; and if you guys have any questions as we're going, feel free to, yeah, please. So from start to finish, about how long did this take you to do once you started in post? This was probably, maybe two hours or so. I would say that my average edit is about two to four hours; and if it's on the lower end, then it's usually a very quick composite, so usually the images will come together really fast and then I can spend, you know, an hour-and-a-half just playing with colors and light and things like that. But if the compositing is really heavy, then it takes a lot longer; but I try to spend at least an hour, at least, just doing colors and lighting changes because that's really where my style comes in and that's where I feel I need to spend most of my time. But for other people, you know, maybe compositing takes a lot longer; and I'm not a perfectionist, I should mention. So I tend to just get in there, get it done. Maybe it's a little bit dirty and gritty; but, you know, I try. And I should say that I definitely make sure that the end product looks seamless, but there are certain things that you sort of catch on to that you know will be able cover up a little bit later as the editing process goes on.

Class Description

Creating a great photo for a client is one thing - but turning your passion and ideas into a series that is shared, shown, and sold is a whole different business. If you do it right, you’ll be shooting what you love all the time. Learn how to choose which ideas to create, how to turn your concept into a production, and steps to getting your work seen and even sold in Fine Art Photography: A Complete Guide with Award-Winning Photographer, Brooke Shaden.

This is an all-inclusive workshop that provides the tools you need to run a successful and creative business as a fine art photographer. You’ll learn creative exercises to find and develop your ideas, how to create an original narrative, how to produce your own photo series, post production techniques and skills for compositing and retouching, how to write about your work, ways to pitch to galleries and agents, and how to print your pieces so they look like art.

This workshop will take you on location with Brooke as she creates a photo series from scratch. She’ll walk through every step for her photo shoots including set design and location scouting, she’ll cover techniques in the field for capturing your artistic vision, post-production and compositing techniques, as well as printing and framing essentials.

She’ll round out this experience by discussing all of the details that will help make your career a success like licensing, commissions, artists statements, social media plans, gallery prep, and pricing your work.

This comprehensive course is a powerful look into the world of fine art photography led by one of the world’s most talented photographers, Brooke Shaden. Included with purchase is exclusive access to bonus material that gives exercises and downloads for all of the lessons.


1Class Introduction 2Storytelling & Ideas 3Universal Symbols in Stories 4Create Interactive Characters 5The Story is in The Details 6Giving Your Audience Feelings 7Guided Daydream Exercise 8Elements of Imagery 9The Death Scenario 10Associations with Objects 11Three Writing Exercises 12Connection Through Art 13Break Through Imposter Syndrome 14Layering Inspiration 15Creating an Original Narrative 16Analyze an Image 17Translate Emotion into Images 18Finding Parts in Images 19Finding Your Target Audience 20Where Do You Want Your Images to Live? 21Create a Series That Targets Your Audience 22Formatting Your Work 23Additional Materials to Attract Clients 24Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful? 25How to Make Money from Your Target Audience 26Circle of Focus 27The Pillars of Branding 28Planning Your Photoshoot 29Choose Every Element for The Series 30Write a Descriptive Paragraph 31Sketch Your Ideas 32Choose Your Gear 33How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations 34What Tells a Story in a Series? 35Set Design Overview 36Color Theory 37Lighting for the Scene 38Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design 39Locations 40Subject Within the Scene 41Set Design Arrangement 42Fine Art Compositing 43Plan The Composite Before Shooting 44Checklist for Composite Shooting 45Analyze Composite Mistakes 46Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing 47Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing 48Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories 49Shoot: Miniature Scene 50Editing Workflow Overview 51Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress 52Edit Details of Images 53Add Smoke & Texture 54Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite 55Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario 56Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot 57Self Portrait Test Shoots 58Shoot for Edit 59Shoot Extra Stock Images 60Practice the Shoot 61Introduction to Shooting Photo Series 62Shoot: Vine Image 63Shoot: Sand Image 64Shoot: End Table Image 65Shoot: Bed Image 66Shoot: Wall Paper Image 67Shoot: Chair Image 68Shoot: Mirror Image 69Shoot: Moss Image 70Shoot: Tree Image 71Shoot: Fish Tank Image 72Shoot: Feather Image 73View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing 74Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion 75Edit Images with Advanced Compositing 76Decide How to Start the Composite 77Organize Final Images 78Choosing Images for Your Portfolio 79Order the Images in Your Portfolio 80Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others? 81Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order 82Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing 83Determine Sizes for Prints 84How to Choose Paper 85How to Choose Editions 86Pricing Strategies 87How to Present Your Images 88Example Pricing Exercise 89Print Examples 90Licensing, Commissions & Contracts 91How to Keep Licensing Organized 92How to Prepare Files for Licensing 93Pricing Your Licensed Images 94Contract Terms for Licensing 95Where to Sell Images 96Commission Pricing Structure 97Contract for Commissions 98Questions for a Commission Shoot 99Working with Galleries 100Benefits of Galleries 101Contracts for Galleries 102How to Find Galleries 103Choose Images to Show 104Hanging the Images 105Importance of Proofing Prints 106Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery 107Press Package Overview 108Artist Statement for Your Series 109Write Your 'About Me' Page 110Importance of Your Headshot 111Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch 112Writing For Fine Art 113Define Your Writing Style 114Find Your Genre 115What Sets You Apart? 116Write to Different Audiences 117Write for Blogging 118Speak About Your Work 119Branding for Video 120Clearly Define Video Talking Points 121Types of Video Content 122Interview Practice 123Diversifying Social Media Content 124Create an Intentional Social Media Persona 125Monetize Your Social Media Presence 126Social Media Posting Plan 127Choose Networks to Use & Invest 128Presentation of Final Images 129Printing Your Series 130How to Work With a Print Lab 131Proofing Your Prints 132Bad Vs. Good Prints 133Find Confidence to Print 134Why Critique? 135Critiquing Your Own Portfolio 136Critique of Brooke's Series 137Critique of Student Series 138Yours is a Story Worth Telling


April S.

I tuned in for most of Brooke's lessons in this course and watched some of them more than once as they were rebroadcast. First I want to say that Brooke is a very good instructor. Her easy-going, friendly, down-to-earth, somewhat quirky manner cannot be mistaken for unprofessional. She is very prepared, she speaks well (not a bunch of hemming and hawing), she is thoughtful, she is thorough, she is very relatable and at ease, and she is definitely professional in her presentation. I really thought when I first tuned in that it would mostly be background noise while I was at work, sound to keep me company. Not because I didn't like Brooke but I really didn't think I was into fine art photography nor did I think I cared about the business side of things much. Not now anyhow. I was really wrong. Brooke sparked a deep interest in me to delve into fine art photography, to consider creating images for myself, from my imagination. In fact, I realized that this was something I'd been thinking about for a couple of years though I hadn't put a name to it (the idea of creating pre-conceived images based on my own creative goals). I gleaned many little treasures from her about image sizes, working with printers, different types of paper, selling, interacting with galleries, and so much more. I may not need all of what she taught right now because I'm definitely headed in another direction at the moment, but she planted ideas and information in my head that I know will be useful at some point. Things I may not have thought of on my own, but that seed is in my head now so when the time comes, I'll know. I'd really like to buy her course but at the moment, with the holidays right around the corner, it's not in my personal budget. I'm grateful to have caught the live and rebroadcast lessons though, and her course is on my list to own. I think it's a great reference to be consulted over and over again, not watched once and forgotten. Kudos Brooke for really putting together an excellent course.

Ron Landis

I'm retired now, but spent decades in the people and training business. Brooke is extraordinary! Even though this course is extremely well organized and she's left nothing unattended, she moves through it with friendly conversational manners and without a sense of it being stilted. It's as though we are all her friends, not students, as she shares her heart and passion with us. What a joy it is to listen to her. And what a clear, unambiguous command of her subject. Wow! She explains it with such ease using explanations and techniques that won't overwhelm artists just starting their portfolio or the Photoshop-squeamish among us; but despite its simplicity her resulting art is breathtaking and beyond original. I wish more of my professors at school were as engaging. This was by far my best buy at Creative Live yet.

a Creativelive Student

What an amazing 20 days this is going to be! Brooke is so enthusiastic and has such a lovely manner. What a bargain for all of the information Brooke will be sharing with us. So excited. Thanks Brooke and Creative Live. :)