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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 96 of 138

Commission Pricing Structure


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 96 of 138

Commission Pricing Structure


Lesson Info

Commission Pricing Structure

So commissions. Now we're gonna talk about how to work with clients, how to prepare your files for you clients, and how to price commissioned images. And it's gonna be, in some ways, similar to licensing, and that's why I wanted to pair these two things together. Because they're two different ways that you can make money through your fine art. What you see here are three different images that were created for somebodies use exclusively. Now I still have the copyright to these images as we talked about, but for each of these examples these people came to me and said, "This is the book that I'm making, "can you please make me an image to go on this cover?", and that's what commissions are. It doesn't have to be a company, it doesn't have to be a book or an album or anything like that it could just be you and me. You come to me, you say I want my picture taken, I say okay, here's what I do. And I know that we were having a conversation earlier even about people who misunderstand what you ...

do. Somebody coming to me and saying, "Okay I want my picture taken", and then they expect that it's gonna be like a senior portrait session or something like that, so it's a really really good idea to explain very clearly on your website exactly what your service is, and what your product is, because you don't want that confusion happening. And I think the confusion happens because these people are not photographers, so we can't blame them for not understanding how we work. Somebody who's not a photographer, sees me with a camera taking pictures, I guarantee you they automatically assume that I shoot portraits and I shoot nature and I shoot landscapes and all this stuff because they just don't know. You think about photography that's what you think of. So it's important that we're really clear about that. I'm just showing this slide one more time, to just really drill in this idea that we need to keep track of everything from day one, or else you could find yourself in a bad legal situation. So just, that's it, just one more time, okay moving on. Alright so this is that book cover that I showed you where you can sort of see the halo effect around it, and it's unfortunate to me that this did happen because I really liked doing this book cover I had super fun with it, they're great to work with. I love this author, and I thought it was all a brilliant experience but sometimes these things happen. So this is one example of a commissioned shoot that I was on. This was a very interesting experience for this book cover because I shot this probably I don't know a total of maybe eight or nine times, totally re-shooting it, hiring different models, etc, until we had to have they said a Chinese American model, specifically, with a very certain look, we shot it many different times and then as you can see there was not model in the final photo. So after nine months of shooting this cover, they came to me and they said "Can you just photograph a rose to put in there?" and I was like, "Fine, a rose will be fine." so we did that, and my point in saying this, is not, oh whoa is me, I had to shoot this for so long, usually companies are very good about these things. They'll pay you more money as time goes on, as you do more work, so it's not about being compensated. It's simply about expressing that this is not just you in this process, this is a team of people, who all feel that their artistic way of expressing themselves is maybe the right way or the best way or what will work for this particular project. So it's important to remember that yes, while this is yours, it doesn't always go how you hope it's going to go, I would consider this to be a commercial image that I produced. I would not consider this a fine art image. Because this went through so many transformations, to the point where I realized I am deep in this, and this is not what they want, and I need to either bail right now after five months of working on this, or just get it to how they want it. So for example with this image, I ended up having to make the grass this green color that I would never use, I had to make the sky really bright colors that I would never use, and there were different things that happened that were just simply not how I would've done them. And that's okay, as long as you can just let go of that image being yours for a little while then... You kind of have to decide, am I gonna work through this as a commercial project or am I bailing because it's not what I expected? And I'm not saying one way is better. Either way is fine. This was my golden book cover. The process that was just so perfect and I loved every moment of it and I recently got to meet this author, Mindy McGinnis, and I was just like, oh man, we're the same person, we are so on the same page about everything. About telling stories and about life and that was really interesting to see because a large part of the process of creating commissions is how well do you as a person relate to that artist as a person, and how well do you gel visually, so I created this image and they gave me a lot of freedom here. And I just wanted to talk about this particular cover, which I have here because it was very much a process of them saying this is what the book is about, this is what we like, now you do your thing, and we'll see how you interpret that. So I created this book cover with some guidance. They had said to me, I had this image of where I was half underground and half above ground, and they had seen that picture and they said, we really like this image but it doesn't quite have the right feeling for this book cover, but we would love something that's half underground half above ground, something like that. That was my guideline. Then they sent me the summary of the book. Which was sort of a historical fiction about a mental institution from I think the 1800's. So that gave me a lot of good guidance, half underground, half above ground, mental institution, 1800's, cool, I can do that. So I've got this book cover, and I decided that doing something indoors would be really interesting, having all the outdoors underneath, and then the indoors above, with this hole in the ground. And then we got to add this little hand in to the bottom which is the kicker for me, I just love that little hand. So this was a really rewarding experience, because what I came back to them with was what we used. I sent them this and they said great let's take it, and now it's on this book cover. And that's not very typical for me. Usually I have the unfortunate experience of having to go back and forth and back and forth many many many times and I was really thankful that this was not like that. So how I price commission shoots. I price it with a shooting fee, a licensing fee, and extra images. And there isn't really any point in me telling you, that I break out the shooting fee and the licensing fee, cause I don't really do that personally. Okay? The only reason I'm breaking it out is this. Let's just say that your shooting fee is $1,000, and your licensing fee is $1,000. Well what I would normally do for my commissioned shoots is just go to this person and say well, for $2,000, I'm never saying $1,000 and $1,000, I'm just saying for $2,000 we'll do the shoot, you'll get one image, and one print. And that is how I do my commissioned shoots, every single time, and then if this person comes back to me and she's like, you know what, that sounds great, but I would need probably like 10 to 15 images from the shoot, that's when I'll start adding in my extra image costs. So you could do this differently where you totally break it out, for a licensing fee, instead of doing extra images, you might just have licensing fee for extra images, so you do your shoot fee plus your extra images, and that's you licensing fee, but I tend to just combine the shoot fee and the licensing fee, because a lot of people just want one image from the experience, so it's just way easier for me to say for $2,000 you get the experience, the high resolution file, and the print of that file, and that's it. So it's really really simple.

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.