Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Analyze Composite Mistakes

So let's just quickly, before we talk about our props and get to shooting, let's go through a couple of images of mine here, that I have, that I think perhaps had some compositing, not errors, 'cause I think I worked through them, but potential pitfalls in these images. We looked at this image already, if you guys remember, it was like that tree stump-looking thing, and then you guys made fun of me, because there was a car in the background. I remember, I don't forget these things, and it was a pretty sad image. So we already liked at this one, so this is a good one to start with in terms of what could have gone wrong in this picture? And that's what I'm asking you. What could have gonna wrong? So if I said to you, right now, pretend you've never seen this picture at all, and I was like, guys, look at this picture. Okay, just take a look at the details. Take a look at the angles. Now go recreate this picture. You have a day. What would you be thinking about? What are the different chec...

klist items that you would need to go through in your head to be able to recreate this picture? So if you wanted to shout them out, or repeat them, and what first runs through your mind if I were to say, break, you have one hour. I just took it from a day to an hour, you know, gotta make you feel really nervous. Okay, you have one hour. What are you gonna do? I love doin' this to people. What are you gonna do? I'm so mean. I would really wanna find a tree. Did it have a lot behind it? Oh yeah, sorry, could you use a mic? That would be awesome. I would really find a tree that didn't have a lot behind it. Yeah, that would be good If it's possible. Yeah, so find a tree that already looks good in its environment. Yeah, yeah, smart thing that I will do next time for sure. (laughs) Yeah. I would photograph my model where I could control the lights so that it would be on her as opposed to behind her. Good, yeah. So controlled lighting in this situation. And it's interesting to note also controlled lighting, because one thing that I showed you when we went through how this image was created, was that obviously there was a tree here and I didn't show you where she was. Oop, I'm touching my print, where she was in relation to the tree. I didn't show you the original image of myself running through the forest, but I photographed myself against this tree. You would think, oh yeah, that makes sense. Of course, you photographed yourself against the tree and it was great for lighting, but what it wasn't good for is the fact that I had to add this black hole behind me. It was not there before. There was just a normal tree there, which was much lighter. I ended up darkening the tree down, but the tree was kind of beige in color, against my beige hair. I'm so beige in this picture, right. I turned my hair a little bit red, but it was beige. So you had a lot of beige going on, and that was my mistake. I remember getting home with this image and thinking, why didn't I just photograph myself against a black backdrop. It would have been so simple, right. Instead of having to cut all along my dress and along the little flowers and everything, it would have been so much easier. So controlled lighting, controlled backdrop, so what else? You guys, you're down to 55 minutes. Yeah, that's how long you have. You don't have much time. Okay, so I've got controlled subject, a cleaner background. What else do you have to consider? For example, do you think it's likely that you're gonna go out and find a tree that looks this cool, with all of these? No, I mean maybe you will, right, like, you know, I go to India every year and every year I feel like I just miraculously do not have my camera where I need to be when I find trees that look just like this. So I don't have very easy access to the roots. So another thing that I'm considering is not just where can I find these things but what angle am I going go photograph them at? Do I need to get down low with them? What angle do I shoot my subject at? What is the main angle that you're getting, first and foremost? So, for example, you might photograph your subject first. That's the first thing that you do. Well that's going to be your standard angle that you're gonna wanna photograph things at, 'cause that's your first shot that you're taking to go in this image. I photographed the tree first. That was my first angle so I photographed myself at that some angle. Then what about the tree roots? And there's always some latitude that you have in Photoshop with perspective shifts, because there is a tool called perspective and you can change the perspective. And that's really great. But the more you change the perspective, or skew or distort your images, the more your pixels are literally stretching in weird directions, so when you go to print an image like this, suddenly you're going to see that, oh, that little tree root that I tried to warp into place has a weird look to it, where all the pixels are sort of stretching in one direction and that is terrible. You can get away with it on the internet generally, where your images are really tiny, and you can't see the details, but not in a print like this. So that's another thing that I'm thinking about. And I would say those are the main things for this image. So if we look at a new picture here, we've go a much simpler image. (blows air) I hate when little things are on my prints. Oh, okay, I got it. Okay! So we've got this image here and I say that it's simpler, although it was an editing challenge as all things are when you having done something before. So if told you, okay now you have 30 minutes, because you guys aren't sweating enough about this. You have 30 minutes and you have to go make this happen. You have to make it look like stuffing is coming out of somebody. I know that this image freaks some people out, but you have to do it, okay. It could be coming out of your arm. It could be coming out of your throat if you're really creepy and distorted, who knows. I think Samantha is, so, yeah. You can do the throat image. So what would you do? What would you go grab? Yeah. Some sort of a pillow that you could put, skin tone around it-- Awesome. Easier to cut out. Exactly, and that was my thought process as well, when I did this image. So I went and found a pillow and I took a knife. I don't know, I just love knives, like just (roars), and anyway, so I opened up this pillow and it had this perfect stuffing in it, and I seemed to match pillows really well with my skin tone, and I opened it up, and it fit perfectly. So, okay, you've all have a pillow, you found the pillow of your dreams, that has just the perfect stuffing in it, and it matches your skin tone, so then how do you photograph it? 'Cause let's say I have a pillowcase, and I've got my pillow and I've got me, and they're two separate images, how are you working with that? Make sure that it's the same angle that you shoot you're model at, essentially. Exactly. So we've got the same angle, which is easy in this situation, because I'm shooting this on my bed, so it's not like, you know, I'm in two separate places or anything like that. The lighting is the same, yep. Oh, I took it from you. I took it from you, I'm sorry. So the lighting is the same, and there's one other thing that I didn't think about when I photographed this, and that is the background, because this whole area here of the image, wherever you see that cut, was the pillowcase, blended into my skin, and I photographed that, just against my wall in the background. My wall is beige. I have a lot of beige going on in my life. This needs to change, just mental note, but the wall was beige and I darkened it later, manually in Photoshop, so this was an almost white wall behind me. And I photograph this pillow on that wall, but then the top of the stuffing had to intersect with my head, which was much darker. I'd wet my hair for this image so that I would have darker hair. So that was a little bit of nightmare because I had all of these little pieces of stuffing sticking out and it was against a white backdrop. So I had to go in, and this is the same thing as the fabric, I just made it up wherever I thought I should cut around the edges 'cause you don't know, right. Like you're not lookin' at that, like, oh clearly you just edited that however, you wanted, no. And I made it fit into this space, and these are the things that need to be thought about ahead of time with compositing, is not just what is the lighting, what is the angle, you know, that kind of thing, but how is this gonna go together? Like I've got a pillowcase, I've got a person. How do they blend? What are the points in which the pillowcase meets my back. What is the point at which the pillowcase will intersect with the wall and my head? All those things I totally forgot to think about that, because it's not there in front of you. Lighting is there in front of you. Perspective, you have to make a choice about that right. You just have to, or you don't and then things don't look very good. But it's still a choice that you're making right there in the moment when you're shooting, but how this intersects with my head is not a choice that you're making in the moment. So it's just something to think about, and then if we just look at this last image, which we've already talked about some. Okay, so now, you have five minutes to make this picture, 'cause we're just upping the ante, right. Okay, so we've already talked about perspective, right, and things like that, and in fact, I often, do you guys have someone that you always show your images to or frequently show your images to when you create? I do that with my husband and it's a bad idea, generally, you know, because there's always gonna be something wrong that I'm too lazy to fix, or whatever the situation is, but I finished this image and he actually had one major problem with this picture, and I wanna know if you guys have the same problem with this picture. If you looked at it and you were like, something is off here. And you know what, you might say something totally different and I'm like, oh shoot, that's also wrong. That's okay too, but does anything pop into your mind as being wrong? And it's okay, you won't offend me. I mean no one's perfect. Yeah. Well one thing, maybe the hair would probably blow much higher in the wind-- like the dress. That's true. I have thought about this many times since then. But that wasn't the thing. But I still agree with you. Lighting on the field as opposed to the very dark skies. Okay, let me give you a hint. It's this area that he's upset about. And I'll tell you, it wasn't what I thought he was gonna say. 'Cause, you know like once you get to know someone, you approach them and you're like, I know, I know what you're gonna say! You don't even have to say it 'cause I get it, but he actually had a problem with the perspective of these clouds on this fabric. Think feeling like it wasn't quite the right perspective. It wasn't shot from the right angle, based on how we're looking at this picture, and that it wasn't quite mapped correctly over the wrinkles of this sheet, and you know, we have our differences, and I'll just move on and I'll be like, look it's already printed, it's done, oh well. And that's just the difference between some people, but still I would argue is an issue in this situation. Well five minutes is up. I hope you guys have made your picture, and I hope that you did not make that mistake that I just made.

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