Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


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 Some of them are outdated now, some of them I wouldn't use.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?

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. :)