Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Add Smoke & Texture

This image was pretty fun because, and I'm just throwing away layers that I didn't end up using, so that's what I'm doing right now. This image was really fun to do because I was able to go on location but it didn't quite look right when I went on location, so this was just field that I found and you can see houses in the background and things like that, it's a little bit busy, I don't really stand out in this field, especially with these bushes and stuff like that. So, my challenge here was to figure out how to draw attention to my subject in a space that was already really busy to work around. So I've gotten rid of my remote, you can see that hand just popping on there, and I'm expanding my frame out, which I did not remember to do when I was there shooting, so I just mirrored this side of the frame over to the other side, and then I simply stretched my image down because I thought I looked really short in this picture. I was like, you know, I'm just going to give myself a little bit...

of height and just stretch that down, and so you'll see a couple of changes, which these changes don't quite make sense yet, but they will when the smoke comes in. So this seems really simple, right? Like, I could just stand here and say, oh I just painted in the background, it was really simple. But of course it wasn't simple 'cause I had fingers to get around, and fabric and pieces of hair, and things like that, that required me to edit around when I put this piece in, and hopefully this is something we'll get to talk about later, is methods for that type of cutting and pasting, and things like that. Okay, so here's the smoke, which is totally normal white smoke that I photographed on a black backdrop, that I inverted the colors of, so that the smoke was black, the background was white, and then I didn't have to cut the smoke out, I simply blended the edges of it into the background there, which is much easier. This is another layer of smoke except this one is red, I just added a little bit of a tint to it and then I lightened it up so that you could really see the detail through that area, adding some smoke going around my body, which was quite the debate for me. I wasn't sure if I should do it and I'm still not sure if I should of done it, but it's done, and then I'm, that's it. I'm not going to think about it anymore. And so, let's see what else went into this. I'm just fixing up the top, making overall color adjustments, adding more smoke all around, so that it's believable, because you can't have one single plume of smoke with absolutely nothing else with texture filling in the background. And then changing the direction of light, changing how we see our subject in this space, which I think is really important to put the focus where you want it. If you're not using lighting or depth of field, or things like that, do it later. It's going to be worth it to just make sure that what the viewer is seeing is going to be seen, especially given how quickly people are going to look at an image online and move right past it, if they don't what they want to see. So that was how this one ended. Any questions on that image? Yeah? How did you, with the smoke on the white background, how did you match the gray that was in the image from the gray on the background? That's a great question. So if we go back to, mm, easier to do it this way. So we've got this layer, right? And if you can imagine it was just white back there, and if I were to use this layer mask to bring it back it wouldn't even show because what I did is I had this smoke that was now black, that used to be white and a background that was black, that is now white, and I went in to Replace Color. So, if I go to Replace Color, which I will do in more depth later, so don't worry if this is like, you're like, where are you going, don't worry yet. I went in to Replace Color and I selected just the white on the outside edges of the smoke, like this, and then I was able to change the lightness of that area. So it was like this, when I started, and I simply took it down to be as dark as the background. So that's one way that you could do it. Another way, for example, would be to go in to Curves, or Exposure, or Levels, and simply work from the highlight portion to take that down or up, or whatever you might need to do. That's one way that you could do it. But, in general I like to use Replace Color when I can, it's much faster, yeah. Any other questions before I close this one? Okay, now we're going to open the very last one here, and I wanted to open this because we actually have an image that we're going to be creating where there's going to be a very similar scenario for my series, for this class. And I thought it would be really go to take a look at how I've worked with this concept in the past and how it came together. So, we're going to take a look at the start of this image, which, was not under a tree but I did have a tree. And this was a lucky find, there's a tree, and there are roots coming underground in this sort of little alcove. So then you might be thinking why didn't you just photograph yourself under that tree? I should have, but I was embarrassed 'cause there were lots of hikers and I was in a nude leotard and I decided not to do it there. So I did it somewhere else in more privacy. And you're going to see weird things happen here too, as you will in most situations. I didn't like that tree enough. It was leaning kind of an odd direction, so you'll see a new one pop in. Oh, there it is. And then we've got some extra pieces of ground and that's a lot of what you're going to see here, is the ground transforming to cradle the subject in the end. Uh, I can't get away from it. I'm painting colors in ever single picture. So I'm just creating darkness because I don't know if you feel the same way, but I have trouble editing if this is all distracting for me. I really like to have as clean as slate as possible, and that's why you see this coming in so quickly. Here I'm taking extra shots that I had from the same little forest area that I found, just photographing the roots, and photographing little walls of dirt and things like that. Here are more, so I decided I didn't like part of that, and I put more in, oh, there I am. Okay, so then we've got our subject and I'm just darkening her down, and this is a shadow that you will see make sense, hopefully very soon. There we go. So there is my root and there's the shadow for it. And you can see the difference that it makes, one looks pasted and the other one, hopefully, looks less pasted. I won't say that it looks totally realistic, 'cause we're not finished yet and then we have more. I love the shape of this, just to mimic the shape of my body. Okay, more branches. I kept feeling like the tree was a little bit bare and I had to keep giving it little branches to feel better. There we've got even more, creating that circular shape again, and a lot of Photoshop, you know what? We can talk about compositing all day and we can talk about how things blends together, but at the end of the day, if you're not choosing the right images to go into a picture then it doesn't matter, you know? I needed this spiral shape to be able to create more believability here. So we'll just zoom through these. If I go up, there's my, another image from the same smoke shots that I had showed you before. I got so many good stock images and I use them all the time, and I've got some for you guys too, to download, with the class, so you will also have smoke images if you don't have smoke emitters where you are. And so here we go through this color process, it was very fun, and this is probably the weirdest layer that I have here. This is my rainbow layer, where I went through my normal process of just painting over the picture, but I did so at a very low opacity. You can see that that layer is set to 16% and if I take that percentage up, you can see what's happening here. Part of me regrets not just totally going for it with this picture and creating those vibrant colors, so there are things that I would choose to do differently. So this is 100% opacity of just painting over the image with different colors. And what I did was I thought, okay, I want there to be separation between the cool unground and the warm above ground and so I simply gave it that color by painting on a new layer and then blending it in to the image. So, we'll take that back down to 16 begrudgingly. It is something that I wish that I had done differently. Texture and we'll see how that comes together just by changing the light and bring our focus in. Okay, any questions on that last one? Okay, when you were out in the forest taking all your shots, did you know exactly what you needed, were you just wandering around, Yeah finding different things. A little bit of both. I mean, I was hoping that I would get lucky and I went specifically to a spot where the trees were, a lot of them were disconnected from the ground because I knew that I would need roots on their own, separate roots, so I was looking for a couple of things. One, walls of dirt, like where you could look at a wall, and there would be maybe some roots, and maybe some dirt spilling down, and just flat spaces, so that there would be a good background to my subject in this picture. Another thing that I was looking for were roots on their own, so like a tree that had one weird root just like out totally isolated, so that I could cut those out later and as in this root here, that went overtop of my subject. Just making sure that I had roots isolated that could go in that space. Aside from that, just lots of bramble, lots of little sticks to fill in the spaces that looked awkward, where there's just flat dirt, you know, 'cause that's not really believable. So those were the three things that I mostly looked for and I took tons of images that I never used here. Like, images of random sticks that I was holding up, hoping that they would look like roots and stuff like that, and textures that I might use, and specifically pockets of dirt, you know, where maybe it could look like somebody was inside of it, where there was natural shadow, but I didn't end up using those in this final one.

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