Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


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
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