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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 51 of 138

Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 51 of 138

Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress


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.


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

Angel Ricci

When the title says comprehensive, it means comprehensive! I loved every part of this course. It's inspirational, motivating, and insightful towards creating art work. Even if you are not necessarily considering a fine art specialty, the concepts discussed in this course are applicable to many areas! I find this super useful as a videographer and photographer and look to apply all of these exercises and concepts for my personal and business work moving forward. It is lengthy, but you will not regret a single minute. Brooke Shaden is an amazing artist and educator. I recommend keeping up with her work, presentations, and any future courses that may come in the future.