Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 78/138 - Choosing Images for Your Portfolio


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 Some of them are outdated now, some of them I wouldn't use.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

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. :)