Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Break Through Imposter Syndrome

Now this next thing is one that I guarantee almost every single person will identify with, that either if you have not felt imposter syndrome yet, you might one day, and it's something that I have often struggled with. The reason why I bring it up here is twofold. One, because this class is taking us from idea to concept to creation to selling our work, and if we feel inundated with imposter syndrome, we're never gonna get to that place where we sell our work properly. We're just not. Because we're going to undervalue ourselves, we're not going to know our worth, and Kenna and I were just talking about this earlier, this idea of, at what point are you undervaluing yourself because you think you're not worthy of something. Now imposter syndrome is feeling like an imposter. Feeling like, oh gosh, right now, for example, I could very easily be feeling this, and in fact have, at many points, in creating this class, why am I the one to teach this class? Why am I the one to impart this knowl...

edge? Everyone thinks that I can do this, but really, I can't. And, really, I'm just tricking everybody, with any success I may have had in this field. And so I could be standing here, tremendously nervous to talk to you all, because I feel unworthy of sharing this information. Now the same goes for art. Art is extremely personal, and if somebody tells you that you did a bad job at it, we immediately believe it, because we think they must be right, because they think it's bad, so it's bad. It's really easy to get into that mindset, because we don't always expect to be good at things. Some people do, and I really, really wish that I had more of that, where you're just like, I expect to be really good at this thing all the time. But others, and I would say most of us, don't expect to be good at things, especially right away, and so we develop this idea that if somebody does think that what we do is good, they must be wrong, and I'm just tricking them into seeing what I want them to see. How do we get over that? There is no short answer to this. I mean, I wish that I could say obviously, blah blah blah, you'll be fixed, it's fine. And I still deal with this, and that's why I say there's no short answer, because I really feel like I would have found one by now if there was one. But my advice is to recognize one, you might not be at your best yet. But that's okay. It's okay to not be producing the type of work that you wish you were yet. It's okay for someone to think that you need to get better at what you do, because what you do should be evolving, okay? It's like if you look at this picture of mine, and you're like, not very good, I'd be like, alright, I tried my best, I really like it, one day, maybe it'll get better. You just have to recognize that this right here, right now, is not the end all, be all, and you're not an imposter. You're just not. If someone likes what you do, that's equally as valid as if someone doesn't like what you do. No good words for that one, sorry. Alright, now this was a really interesting conversation that I had yesterday, and I felt the need to bring this up. There are so many people who will just not keep going. Who will not continue to create art. Who will be given a challenge, and they won't complete it. And I'm not, in any way, saying, shame on you for doing that. I am not at all saying that. What I am saying, is that if you commit yourself to this practice, and you keep making work, even when, and especially when, other people stop, that is what will catapult you into a whole other realm of creating, and a whole other realm of business. It's when we take what we do, and we don't listen to that imposter syndrome, and we don't listen to all those people saying your work isn't very good, this could be better, and we simply grow from that, and we keep making art, that suddenly, we'll still be there when everyone else fell off the bandwagon. And I would say that 90% of any success that I've had is just this. I just keep coming back. You can't get rid of me, like a rash, I just keep coming. It's a great example, you guys, okay? Lots of faces like, what, I don't know about that. Okay, well find a better metaphor for me, so that I don't have to be a rash, please. But it's true. I just keep coming back. I just keep making things. And I keep getting negative feedback. One day I'm just going to compile a book of all the mean emails I've ever gotten, and publish that, and be like, this is my homage to keeping going, and that would be great. But it's true. The fact is that if you want this badly enough, and you keep trying, and you meet those goals that you have, a lot of other people won't. But you will have done that. And that is worth everything to me. Your instincts will lead you to a true and honest place. The same thing as curiosity. Our instinct, our curiosity, they go hand in hand. And in the end, we're trying to get to a true and honest place. Truth and and honesty in art is one of the most compelling things that I've ever witnessed. When you see a piece of work that feels like it had to come out of that artist, is there anything better than that? Than witnessing somebody creating what they were meant to create? It's rare that we'll get there in our lives. It's rare that we'll create that thing that just spilled like blood from us and had to be created. But when we do, if we're striving for that, that's the pinnacle of fine art, is that thing that had to come out of us. This is one of my final points about this topic, which is that your narrative will constantly change. And that's why it's called a story, because it's meant to change. So if you're worried about being original, if you're worried about not living up to your potential, you might as well stop, because you will continuously, like a cycle, not live up to your potential, and then meet your potential, and then not live up to your potential, and then meet your potential. And you're meant to do that. We're all meant to do that. I like to say that I would rather live and die a thousand times than just live one boring life. I would rather live and try and fail, and then let that fall away and be reborn into a new artist, doing something new, doing something crazy and unexpected. And in the course of that cycle, I will feel like an imposter, I will feel like my work isn't good enough, and then one day, I won't anymore. And then, that's when I know it's time to start that cycle over again. It's a story, it's cyclical, every single story that's ever been told has a circular pattern, where somebody goes on a journey, this is the classic hero's journey that Joseph Campbell laid out where you go on a journey, and you're meant to go on that journey. And you learn things, and you battle your demons, and then you come back home, and you teach other people what you've learned, and then you go again on that journey, over and over, and that's one of the most inspiring metaphors that I've ever heard. That idea that we're meant to be on this cycle.

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. :)