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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 78 of 138

Choosing Images for Your Portfolio


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 78 of 138

Choosing Images for Your Portfolio


Lesson Info

Choosing Images for Your Portfolio

Here we have a bunch of prints, and these are from my printed portfolio that I would bring along to different portfolio reviews, or galleries, or things like that. Some of them are outdated now, some of them I wouldn't use. But these in general, are images that I would bring along to a portfolio review and they're completely out of order. And I thought that it would be nice just to take a fresh look at these images, and put them in order, and figure out if any should not be in there at all. Or if some stand out as being a little bit weird and how we can deal with that in this portfolio situation. So, I've got a whole bunch of portfolios here, I mean prints, and some of them I think I can immediately identify as being a little bit out of the ordinary in this set. So, if you guys had to say, which one of these feels off, which one would you say? Yup. The third one. The purple, okay. So we've got purple, and this image is definitely one of the weirder ones, I think. The reason is, fir...

st of all, that it's a color palette that you're not seeing anywhere else, but also it's a man. And this is my only man, and he is the only man that I like to photograph in my pictures. He is not my husband, I get asked all the time. But, he's really fantastic to photograph and he is my good friend and I think that he fits in my portfolio in some place. But it's really easy to see how he doesn't work in this situation, because all of these other colors are a bit, well at least surrounding him, are a bit muted. They're a little bit feminine (giggles) as he is as well in this image with all the purple vines. But, yes, you could definitely say that this is one image that doesn't quite work within this set. Did anyone have a different reaction? Any other image that maybe... The root hair. The root hair, what's your reason for that? It's a dramatically different pose than the rest. It is, yeah. I agree with you completely on that one. Anyone else have a different sense? Okay, so mine would actually be this one. I feel like this color red is just a little bit off from the earthy tones that the rest of them have. This one is very bright, it's very almost orange-y color. Same with the one right below it. And, ironically, this image, I would argue, has less concept than all of the others. This one, even though you see this pose mimicked here, it still doesn't have quite the same conceptual overtone to it that many of the other ones do. So, I would argue that I might take this image out even though it has a decent concept. I think it's a little bit plain. It's a little bit simple, and she doesn't look totally integrated into the scene that she's in. Which is a little bit bothersome to me. And then these two both don't have quite the right color palette, so I'm going to remove them. But, you know what's really interesting to me? When I remove those two images, and I look at the colors flowing throughout these, suddenly the purple fits just a little bit more to me. Because, it's the only real pop of color now. Yes, you have red and you have teal, but somehow they seem really muted, don't they? There isn't anything bright going on, there isn't a lot of contrast going on, but he carries that. So, I'm going to use him, actually, as the boldest thing in my portfolio out of these images, and put that first. So, that now, we have our man starting off the portfolio. And I could switch that, right, like I could take that over here, and put him last. So, that people, you know, they'll get through my portfolio and be like, "Whoa, a man!" or something like that. (giggles) Maybe... I tend to like to order my prints by color. I think that that works really well. I think that it's something to really consider. And we have a really nice color palette going on here, because we've got two reds, two neutrals, and two cooler images. So, that could make a really good flow, but I don't know if it would. So, if I had to say the boldest image, I would probably say this one. Because this image has the red, which is always very striking, against a very contrasting color. And when you have that, it can be a little bit jarring to look at. So, that's this image here, which you can see a little bit better there. And I'm gonna put that first. So, if I put that red image first, I then have to decide do I wanna alter the images, like stagger them so then it's red, neutral, blue... Red, neutral, purple. I don't know, there could be any way of doing it. I might decide to go in order with my reds and my neutrals, like this, so that I had a nice flow of color that makes sense from warm to cool. The other, actually, it's quite interesting 'cause now I'm noticing that these two images are almost the same concept, right? Except, this concept's way cooler to me. So, I'd rather keep the one that's really interesting. Instead of the one that's a little bit less. Okay, so we've got a flow, so what would you guys do differently if I presented this to you? How would you feel better looking at these images, if you had to say? And it's good to think about pose as well. What pose flows from, pose flows from one to the other. For example, here we have this girl who's hunched over. And that might work well with this pose that's a little bit different. So, it might be good to have these next to each other because she's laying down and because she's hunched over. It has that same sort of (claps hands) back to the ground feeling to it, whereas the rest are standing. Just something to keep in mind. You might not care about color at all. You might only think about concept, and if you're only thinking about concept, then what fits here? I don't know if I can answer that. Nope, this is how I like it. So, how do you guys like it? Any thoughts on what you might do differently? You're allowed to tell me, I don't mind. I get that the first two are connected by color, but it seems really jarring... Image-wise. I agree, yup. From the plain to the very busy, to the full-figure to the more close-up. I don't necessarily know what I would do about it, but... Yeah, no, it's good to know because... Well, you guys know, I mean, as artists you look at your images so frequently that suddenly you're like, you can't see it anymore, you know? Like, I recognize that this image is a creepy picture, and that people have often commented to me that it's a really sad image. And I have a hard time seeing it 'cause all I can remember is how I was at this weird abandoned location with my sister-in-law and I made her jump in this murky water, and it was hilarious. And that's what I think of when I see this picture. So, I have to really take myself out of me, the artist who made this, and look at this objectively. And that's why it's so good to get help from people. To really figure out what works in your portfolio, what doesn't. This is not a dark image, necessarily. I mean, you might see it that way, depending on if you see this as blood or not, or whatever you think is happening here. It's not really a dark image, so what goes with that then? How might you reorder this conceptually if you're gonna keep that image first? Maybe these go together, 'cause they're almost like opposite compositions, which I think is kind of interesting. And then maybe you go to this one, because this one's getting a little bit darker so then maybe we transition into this one which has a similar flow. And then I like how this arm is out and this arm is out, and that kind of works together, next to each other. And then I, I don't know, these guys just... They're my two oddballs on the end, what can you do?

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.