Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 29/138 - Choose Every Element for The Series


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Choose Every Element for The Series

I think if we start breaking down images, then we can plan them so much better. If we really consider every single element of what goes into a picture, first of all, you'll probably have more confidence to sell your work, at better prices. Because if you really think about every decision that goes into an image, there's a lot of decision making involved. And in fact, I have a friend who's pretty indecisive, and she, one day, was like, I'm gonna make a self portrait. I'm just gonna do this. I've seen you do it so many times. I'm just gonna do this. And she sends me these pictures; she's texting me these pictures of her like, laying in her apartment wrapped in a bed sheet, and with the text, this is so hard. And I was like, yes! What a great feeling for a photographer to have somebody that you know be like, wow, what you do is really hard. It's very satisfying because they're thinking about every single decision that we make really easily oftentimes. What camera angle am I going to use? ...

How do I choose my settings? What wardrobe am I gonna use? All those things. There are so many decisions. So let's talk about them. All of the decisions. First of all there's lighting. And I'm just gonna make a comprehensive list of everything I could think of. And if you think of something that's not here, just let me know, and we will add it to the list at some point. But we've got lighting, okay? That's like, first and foremost. You're a photographer, you definitely have to know something about light. Composition. So, I want you to put yourself in the mindset of somebody who has never taken a picture before, and how daunting this list will be to think about. Composition, props, any objects you wanna put in the frame. We've got the set, the location, where are you going to do this when you have literally every option in the world. You could do it anywhere with anything. What are you going to wear for this particular image that you're trying to create, or will your model wear, if that's applicable? Hair and makeup, you know? Are my pig tails appropriate for this photo I'm going to do? Or are they not? Most likely not. But one can dream. Camera lens. I mean, literally, what are you going to use? So, are you going to change your lens, do you want it to be wide, do you want it to be tight? Posing. How am I going to sit or stand, or jump in this picture? What am I going to be doing? That's the hardest one for people who have never taken a picture before, I find. They're like, oh, there's a model. Do something, model. Have you ever heard people say that? Just do something. Oh no. We have to tell them. The time; time of day, time period. Could be either one, but we have to think about those things. The emotion or feeling that you're trying to communicate in the image. The mood and atmosphere. How do you want it to feel, how do you want it to look? The colors that you're choosing; super important. The editing of the image; if you're going to edit it, or not. What will this turn into later? Your physical shooting process. How is it going to go? Do you wanna have five assistants who are all doing the work for you? Do you wanna do it all by yourself? What is your process? Is there a certain genre that you're trying to work in? Do you have an idea of a fairy tale princess photos shoot that you wanna do, and if so, how do you make all of these things fit that genre? Will you print the image later on? Do you ever want this to be in print? Are you paying attention to the resolution? Are you paying attention to the file sizes? Things like that. I couldn't think of a better word for this, but does it have any ephemeral qualities? Is it a piece of art that will go away one day, that has a short shelf life, or is it something that will live on and on, and on? How are you going to work within that? And then theme. Is there a theme that you're working with? So, this is a lot, oh, one more. (laughs) Interactivity, yes. So is this an art piece that is interactive for people? Do you want people to engage in any certain way later on, or is this something that you're gonna keep just for yourself? That's a lot of things to think about. I mean, and this is just what I came up with off the top of my head when I was trying to make a list. And you might think of something else. And if you have anything else, let me know. Still very long list though. But if you do have something, do say. Okay? Okay. That's a lot of things though, and so, when my friend sent me that picture, and she said, this is hard, I didn't just think, ha-ha, she knows how hard it is. I really thought, it is hard. It should be hard, and too often it's not hard for us, 'cause we don't think about these things every single time we take a picture. Let's just be honest. I know that I don't. For sure. I mean, there are so many times when I go create, and I'm like, I love the look of that tree, I'm just gonna make something with it, 'cause it looks cool. And then I start. And, I always get to the end of that process feeling a little bit, one, guilty that I didn't really think it through, and two, I don't really like it that much. It could have been better if I had just thought about every single one of these things, which is daunting. Nobody wants to go out on location, and like, you've got your camera, and you've got this model doing something really cool, and you're like, one moment, while I go through my checklist. Nobody wants to do that. But what if we did? That's my point. What if we did. What if we went through every single one of these things for every single picture we took? I feel like, inherently they would have to be better, or at least more meaningful, 'cause better is a bad word, but more meaningful. In my opinion. So that's what I try to do with my images. And this is actually an image that, I did not love how it turned out. And there were many reasons why I didn't love it. And it was okay, I mean, I'm not saying like, oh, look at this horrible picture that I did, but there were some things lacking. But nonetheless, we can still talk about all of these things, all of these crazy things that went into it. So I thought about, where am I going to take this picture? It was 4am when I got up to take this picture, and part of me was like, you know, I'll just do this against my wall here at home later after I sleep in til seven o'clock. That was part of me that said, I could do this by compositing. I could just put myself in this location later, and who really cares? But then the other part of me said, no, I like to create with experiences. I want to be there. I want to have this experience. So I went there at 4:30 in the morning, and I took this picture. I brought my hula hoop, my trusty hula hoop, that I love so much. It's purple and glittery, and I always have to fight that, but, there it is. I brought a stool. So, so far, what you know is this: I went on location, I brought the props with me that I needed to do everything there without having to composite too much, except for the actual hula hoops that I photographed on location for lighting consistency and angle consistency. And then, I've got this dress, so I'm making conscious decisions about location and wardrobe. I've chosen a location that's pretty nondescript, I've chosen a wardrobe that is certainly nondescript, very simple, all blue, no real time period associated with it. I'm not showing a face, so there's no character consideration here. It's not about the person, it's about the form. And then if we go back, we can probably choose something for every single one of these things that was a consideration, and I would even argue that maybe was not a consideration; that I just forgot to think about. And that's probably why it fell short for me with this particular image.

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. :)