Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Benefits of Galleries

All right, here are the benefits of the gallery in my opinion. They're marketing to the right people. It is extremely difficult to put your work online and know that the right people are going to see it, to buy your work. If you were to say right now, "I'm gonna put my work online "and I'm going to put it on the website "where art buyers go." What website is that? Yeah, I don't know either. I haven't found one yet. Let's make it together,, something like that, it'd be great. I don't know where to go just to get your work in front of the right art buyers, because anyone can be an art buyer. You don't have to just sell to collectors, it could be literally anyone in the world who thinks it's worth investing in. But the benefit of a gallery is, that they already, first of all, have a list of people that collect from their gallery. There's this whole weird society of galleries and art buyers, and art buyers really tend to create relationships with certain galleries and they'll...

come back again, and again, and again to that gallery to see what's new with their artists. It's really good to know that the gallery is marketing to the right people, to people who first of all, pay that price range for the art. That they're gonna walk in and expect a certain price so that there's no sticker shock because that is perhaps one of the most challenging things to me is, that I let my galleries make most of my sales, but when I tend to make sales, it's almost always if I start to engage people online, it's almost always people thinking that the prints are gonna be really, really low prices, like $50 for example, versus the $1, that it might actually cost. I find that there's a really big discrepancy between people who go direct to the artist to buy the work versus people who go straight to the gallery. I'm tending to make bigger sales through galleries 'cause they're marketing to the right people. Then, they cultivate relationships with our buyers, as I mentioned, so these art buyers are not just loyal to the artist that they collect, but they're loyal to the galleries themselves and they have relationships. For each of my galleries, every time there's an exhibition, they send out an email to their email list of art buyers saying, "I know that you're interested in this artist. "She's having a new exhibition. "Come and take a look." That's really good for me, 'cause then I don't have to do that. I hate doing stuff like that. They know how to sell things and I really wanna emphasize this because I don't know how to sell things. If you do, if you're really good at sales tactics, good. Be good at it. Do it yourself. I think that's great. But, I'm not good at selling my own work and it's not because I don't think that it's valuable, I'm just bad at it. I don't know what to say. I get all choked up. I stumble like this and that's what happens. They don't. They know sales tactics. In fact, I would even argue that one of their sales tactics is simply owning a gallery, because people going into a gallery expect to pay certain prices, versus someone going straight to the artist might expect to pay a lot less. One sales tactic is simply having a gallery space and bringing people into that space. They give credibility to your art. I think that this is quite a debatable topic because and I tried to use the word credibility so that it wasn't value or anything like that, but I say credibility in terms of the fine art world and building a reputation for yourself and sort of climbing a ladder of getting into better and better galleries. The reason why I say credibility is because they're building your resume for you. They're giving you exhibitions. They are allowing your work to be displayed. The moment you pass that little hurdle of having your work displayed in a gallery, that's going to signal to other galleries that somebody took the chance on you. Maybe you're worth it, maybe you're easy to work with, whatever. At least it gives some credibility. And then they're your representative. What I mean by this is, think of it as an advertising agency. If somebody out there, like their job is to photograph cars and they're a car photographer. I'm sure that's a thing, I've never heard of it, but I'm sure it is. If their job is to photograph cars, you would probably assume that they have an agent because they're doing commercial work. The same is true in fine art. The gallery is your representation. They're representing your work. Not every gallery will represent you and I think that's an important distinction because some galleries will do one-off shows with you. They'll invite you in. You'll have an exhibition and then, that's it, you leave with your work and you don't stay with that gallery. But, other galleries will be looking to represent their artists, instead of just having one-off exhibitions, really the next step is finding somebody to house you and your work, and take you into their little family. That looks something like the art fairs, the ads that they will place in magazines. That's when you'll start to really get the benefits of a gallery, when they're investing in you long-term. The other good thing about them investing in you is that they keep your work all year round, so you don't just have an exhibition, then you take that work away, but you have an exhibition, you give them your work, and when the exhibition ends, they keep that work in the back room all year round. We'll talk a little bit about the back room scenario later on. It's my favorite thing about galleries, but for now, just know that they represent you, and they give your work a home. I went through my stash of prints from over the years that I've printed and not sold, or printed and been given back by galleries. I had over 100 prints in my house. That hurts me. I don't want them in my closet, I want them on gallery walls. The more galleries that represent you, the more homes you have for your work to live and breathe, and maybe be sold to people instead of just being in my closet really sad, and dirty, and yucky. They also prevent against scammers. I've been finding this is an issue more, and more, and more in the last couple of years. I never noticed it outside of that. But, I'll get an email from somebody and that email will say, "I would love to buy a print." And then I start the process and then I realize, this person doesn't seem quite right. I had this happen recently where all of sudden, this guy was saying, "I wanna buy a print but I can't send you the money "right away because we're moving "and my wife is." And I'm like, I don't know about this. The whole time, he's saying, "Just send me the print now, "and I'll pay you next week." I'm like, come on. There was all sorts of other weird details with it and the thing is, immediately after I started realizing something was weird, I forwarded that email to my gallery. She wrote back, she said, "That's a scam, I've seen this guy before." She knew him immediately, that that was, and I wasted two weeks corresponding with this guy about the print that never was to be. Scammers are awful and they're out there and they're trying to get prints, or money, or whatever the case may be for them.

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.


Class Introduction
Storytelling & Ideas
Universal Symbols in Stories
Create Interactive Characters
The Story is in The Details
Giving Your Audience Feelings
Guided Daydream Exercise
Elements of Imagery
The Death Scenario
Associations with Objects
Three Writing Exercises
Connection Through Art
Break Through Imposter Syndrome
Layering Inspiration
Creating an Original Narrative
Analyze an Image
Translate Emotion into Images
Finding Parts in Images
Finding Your Target Audience
Where Do You Want Your Images to Live?
Create a Series That Targets Your Audience
Formatting Your Work
Additional Materials to Attract Clients
Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful?
How to Make Money from Your Target Audience
Circle of Focus
The Pillars of Branding
Planning Your Photoshoot
Choose Every Element for The Series
Write a Descriptive Paragraph
Sketch Your Ideas
Choose Your Gear
How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations
What Tells a Story in a Series?
Set Design Overview
Color Theory
Lighting for the Scene
Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design
Subject Within the Scene
Set Design Arrangement
Fine Art Compositing
Plan The Composite Before Shooting
Checklist for Composite Shooting
Analyze Composite Mistakes
Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing
Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing
Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories
Shoot: Miniature Scene
Editing Workflow Overview
Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress
Edit Details of Images
Add Smoke & Texture
Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite
Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario
Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot
Self Portrait Test Shoots
Shoot for Edit
Shoot Extra Stock Images
Practice the Shoot
Introduction to Shooting Photo Series
Shoot: Vine Image
Shoot: Sand Image
Shoot: End Table Image
Shoot: Bed Image
Shoot: Wall Paper Image
Shoot: Chair Image
Shoot: Mirror Image
Shoot: Moss Image
Shoot: Tree Image
Shoot: Fish Tank Image
Shoot: Feather Image
View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing
Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion
Edit Images with Advanced Compositing
Decide How to Start the Composite
Organize Final Images
Choosing Images for Your Portfolio
Order the Images in Your Portfolio
Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others?
Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order
Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing
Determine Sizes for Prints
How to Choose Paper
How to Choose Editions
Pricing Strategies
How to Present Your Images
Example Pricing Exercise
Print Examples
Licensing, Commissions & Contracts
How to Keep Licensing Organized
How to Prepare Files for Licensing
Pricing Your Licensed Images
Contract Terms for Licensing
Where to Sell Images
Commission Pricing Structure
Contract for Commissions
Questions for a Commission Shoot
Working with Galleries
Benefits of Galleries
Contracts for Galleries
How to Find Galleries
Choose Images to Show
Hanging the Images
Importance of Proofing Prints
Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery
Press Package Overview
Artist Statement for Your Series
Write Your 'About Me' Page
Importance of Your Headshot
Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch
Writing For Fine Art
Define Your Writing Style
Find Your Genre
What Sets You Apart?
Write to Different Audiences
Write for Blogging
Speak About Your Work
Branding for Video
Clearly Define Video Talking Points
Types of Video Content
Interview Practice
Diversifying Social Media Content
Create an Intentional Social Media Persona
Monetize Your Social Media Presence
Social Media Posting Plan
Choose Networks to Use & Invest
Presentation of Final Images
Printing Your Series
How to Work With a Print Lab
Proofing Your Prints
Bad Vs. Good Prints
Find Confidence to Print
Why Critique?
Critiquing Your Own Portfolio
Critique of Brooke's Series
Critique of Student Series
Yours is a Story Worth Telling


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. :)