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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 13 of 138

Break Through Imposter Syndrome


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 13 of 138

Break Through Imposter Syndrome


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.

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.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Storytelling & Ideas
  3. Universal Symbols in Stories
  4. Create Interactive Characters
  5. The Story is in The Details
  6. Giving Your Audience Feelings
  7. Guided Daydream Exercise
  8. Elements of Imagery
  9. The Death Scenario
  10. Associations with Objects
  11. Three Writing Exercises
  12. Connection Through Art
  13. Break Through Imposter Syndrome
  14. Layering Inspiration
  15. Creating an Original Narrative
  16. Analyze an Image
  17. Translate Emotion into Images
  18. Finding Parts in Images
  19. Finding Your Target Audience
  20. Where Do You Want Your Images to Live?
  21. Create a Series That Targets Your Audience
  22. Formatting Your Work
  23. Additional Materials to Attract Clients
  24. Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful?
  25. How to Make Money from Your Target Audience
  26. Circle of Focus
  27. The Pillars of Branding
  28. Planning Your Photoshoot
  29. Choose Every Element for The Series
  30. Write a Descriptive Paragraph
  31. Sketch Your Ideas
  32. Choose Your Gear
  33. How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations
  34. What Tells a Story in a Series?
  35. Set Design Overview
  36. Color Theory
  37. Lighting for the Scene
  38. Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design
  39. Locations
  40. Subject Within the Scene
  41. Set Design Arrangement
  42. Fine Art Compositing
  43. Plan The Composite Before Shooting
  44. Checklist for Composite Shooting
  45. Analyze Composite Mistakes
  46. Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing
  47. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing
  48. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories
  49. Shoot: Miniature Scene
  50. Editing Workflow Overview
  51. Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress
  52. Edit Details of Images
  53. Add Smoke & Texture
  54. Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite
  55. Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario
  56. Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot
  57. Self Portrait Test Shoots
  58. Shoot for Edit
  59. Shoot Extra Stock Images
  60. Practice the Shoot
  61. Introduction to Shooting Photo Series
  62. Shoot: Vine Image
  63. Shoot: Sand Image
  64. Shoot: End Table Image
  65. Shoot: Bed Image
  66. Shoot: Wall Paper Image
  67. Shoot: Chair Image
  68. Shoot: Mirror Image
  69. Shoot: Moss Image
  70. Shoot: Tree Image
  71. Shoot: Fish Tank Image
  72. Shoot: Feather Image
  73. View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing
  74. Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion
  75. Edit Images with Advanced Compositing
  76. Decide How to Start the Composite
  77. Organize Final Images
  78. Choosing Images for Your Portfolio
  79. Order the Images in Your Portfolio
  80. Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others?
  81. Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order
  82. Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing
  83. Determine Sizes for Prints
  84. How to Choose Paper
  85. How to Choose Editions
  86. Pricing Strategies
  87. How to Present Your Images
  88. Example Pricing Exercise
  89. Print Examples
  90. Licensing, Commissions & Contracts
  91. How to Keep Licensing Organized
  92. How to Prepare Files for Licensing
  93. Pricing Your Licensed Images
  94. Contract Terms for Licensing
  95. Where to Sell Images
  96. Commission Pricing Structure
  97. Contract for Commissions
  98. Questions for a Commission Shoot
  99. Working with Galleries
  100. Benefits of Galleries
  101. Contracts for Galleries
  102. How to Find Galleries
  103. Choose Images to Show
  104. Hanging the Images
  105. Importance of Proofing Prints
  106. Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery
  107. Press Package Overview
  108. Artist Statement for Your Series
  109. Write Your 'About Me' Page
  110. Importance of Your Headshot
  111. Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch
  112. Writing For Fine Art
  113. Define Your Writing Style
  114. Find Your Genre
  115. What Sets You Apart?
  116. Write to Different Audiences
  117. Write for Blogging
  118. Speak About Your Work
  119. Branding for Video
  120. Clearly Define Video Talking Points
  121. Types of Video Content
  122. Interview Practice
  123. Diversifying Social Media Content
  124. Create an Intentional Social Media Persona
  125. Monetize Your Social Media Presence
  126. Social Media Posting Plan
  127. Choose Networks to Use & Invest
  128. Presentation of Final Images
  129. Printing Your Series
  130. How to Work With a Print Lab
  131. Proofing Your Prints
  132. Bad Vs. Good Prints
  133. Find Confidence to Print
  134. Why Critique?
  135. Critiquing Your Own Portfolio
  136. Critique of Brooke's Series
  137. Critique of Student Series
  138. Yours 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.

Angel Ricci

When the title says comprehensive, it means comprehensive! I loved every part of this course. It's inspirational, motivating, and insightful towards creating art work. Even if you are not necessarily considering a fine art specialty, the concepts discussed in this course are applicable to many areas! I find this super useful as a videographer and photographer and look to apply all of these exercises and concepts for my personal and business work moving forward. It is lengthy, but you will not regret a single minute. Brooke Shaden is an amazing artist and educator. I recommend keeping up with her work, presentations, and any future courses that may come in the future.