Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 53/138 - Add Smoke & Texture


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 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. :)