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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 103 of 138

Choose Images to Show


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 103 of 138

Choose Images to Show


Lesson Info

Choose Images to Show

I've got this little mashup of images here. And what I started to do was to go through my work, and start to create exhibitions, creating my own work. I didn't actually print them, I didn't hang them. I didn't have an actual exhibition, but I went through my whole portfolio and I started to say to myself, "Okay, I've got a lot of random pictures in my portfolio. They don't necessarily go together. They're not connected, but if I were an art curator, if I owned a gallery and I were looking at my portfolio, which ones could I pull together to create an exhibition out of?" We talked earlier about the importance of a series, and presenting a series to a gallery because the gallery is more likely to sell multiple images if they relate to one another visually, thematically, or both. So I went through my work, and I said, "You know what, I need to pull together some exhibitions, what looks good thematically, visually, or both." And this was a little series that I pulled together of all these ...

tree themed images, foresty, natury images. I did not create any one of these thinking about any of the others. They were totally random out of my imagination, and I just happen to have a very one-track mind, so this was what came of that. And these are realistically part of a series, aren't they? At least you could imagine so. If I went to a gallery and I said, "These are all part of a series," you would probably believe me, 'cause who are you to say that it's not, right? That's for the artist to say, but it has to relate visually, and these all related visually. Same with these. Again, not created as part of a series, except for these three in the middle down here. Aside from that, not related at all. But, you can see how the combination of birds, butterflies, fog, smoke, all go together. Same color palette across the board. Really, really easy to exhibit together. And as we talked about with these three images, you could pair any of these together and argue that they could be sold together because of how visually similar they are. And then we have this weird, creepy series that I decided to just throw in there, because why not? 'Cause these are my favorites. I love the weird, creepy ones more than anything. And particularly with all of these ones at the bottom, and then the one with the flowers growing out of my back here, those are very similar. Same composition, very similar location, all having to do with my back. I don't know what the obsession is, but there it is. And then the rest related 'cause they were all indoors, they all had this creepy minimalist vibe to them, and I felt like you could pair those together and have a pretty solid little series, but they were not created in a series. And I wanna drive this point home, because how many of you guys create in series when you work? Sort of, but no, generally. Same with me, and I don't want that to discourage you, because my experience with galleries has been a lot of advice along the lines of, "You have to have a series to show with us. You just have to have a series." And that discouraged me at first, because I didn't have anything, and I knew it would take a long time to get something, and I wanted to get started with my career. I wanted to put things out there and have a gallery take it, and so I take the idea of a series somewhat loosely at times. I love working in a series, it's really fulfilling, but you know what, if I don't have a perfect series to show a gallery, why not do this? Why not gather your images that relate to one another and put it together? I've had galleries do exhibitions called fairy tales, and stuff like that where I take all of my fairy tale pictures and put them together. And it's not for anybody else to say if it's a series or if it's not a series. It's just whatever works and whatever looks good on the wall. So this was created as a series, and it's more related, I guess, than some others, but I actually don't see that much of a difference between this and this. I think it's believable if I said, "These were all created for a series." I guarantee you you would believe me, right? You would believe me. And then these are all in very similar locations dealing with some of the same things. But, you could argue, well the outfits are different, but there are different props in each of them. So, it's really up to the artist to make that definition and say what works and what doesn't work. And then this series that we've been talking about, which is my newer work, my fourth wall series, is quite obviously a series, I would say. I don't have anything else shot from this perspective into a room in my whole portfolio. It's much more muted. Much more physical with what's in the space. So, there are a lot of different ways that you can present an exhibition to a gallery. In this case, it was a really easy sell because there were a lot of layers to talk to people walking into the gallery about, and that's something that galleries, in my experience, have really enjoyed, is being able to not just say, "Oh, this is such and such model in the picture," or, you know, "This is about x story," or whatever it is, but to be able to say, "Well, this image is a self-portrait," which is an interesting note for buyers. And then to say, "Well, she actually built a room in a swimming pool for this." And then to say, "Oh, and if you zoom in, if you really look at this book, you can see that this book is titled Epidemic of Fear." And then you see all these little details in the images, and I believe that that's why galleries stress a series, because you're much more likely to create in a much more meaningful way if you're putting your effort into lots of images that fit really well together. And that won't always be true, but it is often true in my experience. Here I have just another little series, and this was created as six images originally, but I think these were the three strongest from the little series that I did. And, this was not something that I spent copious amounts of time doing. This was a quick, fun project where I made that center image and then just really enjoyed doing it, really liked the color palette, so I decided to make a few more of them, and then it turned into this little, tiny series that I didn't mean to make. But I'm showing you this because look at how sellable these images are as a grouping. Not necessarily that you like them or anything, but they fit together so well. So if this fits your color palette at home, then you can have three prints on the wall that all match each other. That could be really good. I've had funny conversations about these three images, and, you know, like the other day someone said, "But the middle picture's blue, and the other ones are more cyan." And I'm like, "Nitpicker, I don't care." So those things are important to some people though. So, if you're creating with the thought in the back of your head, and I mean really far back in your head, 'cause I don't want you to create, you know, thinking about who you're going to sell to, but if you're creating knowing that you might sell something, maybe you do think about those little, nitpicky things. Like, "Oh, is that color blue too far off from the others that they won't go together in a series." Something that might inform the decisions that you make. And then these three images were created to go together. And there are lots of little details that I think will sell them as a package rather than individually. Now, the middle image here is the most popular image from this little mini-series that I created. So, when I do sell this image, it often sells alone, but, I have sold all three images together before in multiple occasions, and there are a couple of reasons. One, is the perspective, how it's showing something a little bit closer and something further away. So, you have a little bit of detail, and a little bit more pulled back storytelling. The other thing is that you have butterflies in different configurations, which I think helps, so they don't look too similar. The color palette is right across the board, but my favorite thing about these images is, like, such a small thing that maybe nobody would ever care about, but my favorite thing is the way that the, the background, it goes in steps with the field, and then up a little higher, and then up even higher. And it's just little details like that that for me, would sell an image. If I were going to buy this, that's what I would look at and think, "That's a neat detail, maybe I'll want to display this in my home." And maybe not. Maybe you hate it, and that's okay too. I don't mind.

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.