Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Contract Terms for Licensing

Okay, y'all, contract terms. You guys are like, "I don't want to do this." I don't either, but nobody does, that's the thing. Nobody wants to write contracts. Well, this girl does. See? She's writing a contract. That's the whole point of this picture that I made. She's writing a contract. Just kidding. Okay, so contract terms for licensing. Who is the licensee and the licensor? Who is licensing it, and who is buying it? Make sure that that's really clear right up front in your contract. What image is it? I can't even tell you how many times I have almost forgotten to say what image I'm licensing in a contract, which sounds really silly, but I'm writing it here because someone out there is bound to do the same thing. I usually put the title of the image, and I attach the image as well to that contract because, if you have simply a title in there, then I just try to think of worst case situations, like, in my wildest dreams, I can't imagine this happening, but if it did, what if somebody...

was like, "You didn't show the image reference, "and there are tons of images with this title"? Or maybe, what if I go and I accidentally name two images with the same title? Which I have definitely done before by accident without realizing it. There are just things that can happen. Always attach the image. What project it is associated with? If you are licensing for, let's just say, an album, make sure that you know what album it is, or at least the artist that it's associated with, and the year that they're going to be using it just so that there's some association so then they can't say, "Well, it just says that "I get to license this image," you know? And then, all of a sudden, it's on every album cover or something like that, which would be not good marketing on their part, but nonetheless. Are there digital limitations? If you're going to give them that digital file, what are the limitations of how they can use that file? File sizes, just that all the expectations are up front. Copyright, make sure that you retain that copyright. I don't ever work in the way that I give my copyright to somebody for any reason whatsoever. I just wouldn't do it. You might do it. You know, that's okay, it's just your choice, and if you're giving away your copyright, you no longer have any claim to that picture. You can't sell it as a print. You can't do anything with it, so just keep that in mind. That's a very extreme way of licensing that I tend to find doesn't happen. Nobody has ever asked me for the copyright of the image. That would be above and beyond. How you like to receive photo credit. How is it that you want to be credited for this image, and where? So if I've got this book, I usually ask, I'm really flexible about this, 'cause I just genuinely don't really care about these things very much, but you might, and I think it's worth caring about. Every once in a while, I'll flip a book open, and I'll find my name inside somewhere. For example, on this one, it says a word that I can't pronounce 'cause this is in Dutch. (speaks in foreign language) That was probably terrible. Then it says, "Copyright Brooke Shaden,," and it lists my website. I usually ask that they list my name and website, and I've changed my mind over the years, so my contract has shifted where, sometimes, I say it has to be in the book. Sometimes, I say it has to be on their website. I just don't care, but make sure that, if you do care, you do put it in your contract, how you want to receive photo credit. If these people are allowed to transfer the license. Now, what this means is, maybe you have a publishing company who has a bigger parent company, you want to say if they're able to transfer the license to that bigger company for use in different materials and things like that, and this is often something that you can either just have a standard line in your contract that says the licensee may not transfer the license. Then, if they read that and they're like, "Oh, wait, I want to be able to," they'll probably tell you. It's not something that I bother asking about because it doesn't affect me very much. I can just say, "Don't transfer it," and if they sign that, then good, and if not, then we'll talk about that. If they can alter the image. I bring this up because I've had very unsettling experiences with people changing my images, where my contract just wasn't concrete enough, and they were able to do that 'cause I didn't stop them. The last time that that happened was this book, and I want to first and foremost say that the experience of creating this was not a bad one, and I take responsibility for this cover, which I think is generally a beautiful cover. What happened was, I didn't say that they couldn't edit this image after I sent it to them, and they ended up putting wallpaper in the background of this room, which they ended up doing in such a way that I would not have done. I would not have put my name on this if I had known it would look like this in the end because there is sort of like a halo effect around my subject where the wallpaper, they didn't quite edit it in far enough. That hurts me, so when I look at this, I cringe a little bit just because, from far away, I really like it, but then, when I get close, the artist in me is saying, "But I wouldn't have done that, "and now my name is on this, and I wouldn't have done that." I want to explain to people. That's just a cautionary tale. Make sure that you expressly say how they can alter the image, if at all. Sometimes, artists will maintain the right to put the text on the book, even, to design the book, which, for me, is going too far 'cause I can't design anything to save my life, but I let people know that they can add text to my images, and they can crop my images, and those are the two things that I let people do. If they want to change the colors, they have to have me change the colors. If they want to add something to it, I need to do that, and I maintain that because, if I don't, then this kind of thing happens, where everyone had the best intentions, and it just wasn't how I would've done it, but my name is on it. You know, no one's gonna open this book, and it's not gonna say, "Copyright Brooke Shaden, "except for the wallpaper." It's not gonna say that, so I have to be really clear about that. Oh, yeah, go ahead. If they come back and say, "We would like you to alter this," how much do you charge for that? That's a great question, how much do you charge? Two answers to that. One is that I will not charge anything, generally, if it's a simple edit. This is where my terms go a little bit wonky because I'm not very good at this part of the whole deal. If I were really on top of things, I would already have this written into my contract, of you get two edits to this picture, and outside of that, it'll be this much money. Because so few people have asked me to change anything in my images, I just don't think about it very often anymore. However, I would charge something if I were you. If I were starting fresh and making this contract, in fact, I'll probably go home and change it for myself, now that you say that, I would say a reasonable amount might be, you know, $100 per change to the image. The issue starts out where maybe that price is really low to somebody, and then they ask for another change, and another change, and another change, and it goes on forever, and then all of a sudden, your price is too low, and you're like, "This is way too much work." It also depends on how much work it is. If, for example, these people had come back to me and said, "Can you change the color of her shirt?" I would've said, "Yeah, that's a simple fix. "I can do that really fast." If they had come back to me and said, "Actually, I want this scene to be in a palace," I'd be like, "Uh oh, that's a really big change, "which is going to require a higher price." That's where it becomes a little bit tricky to add that into the contract. I think that there are ways of doing it. There's one way of just saying no, the picture is how it is, take it or leave it. Another option is putting two different price ranges in where you say, if you want things from color, lighting changes, for example, to be made, that'll be this price for additional changes, or if you want a really big edit, like a compositing change, that'll be this price. I'm just kind of thinking out loud 'cause I haven't done this yet, but that's what I would do. It's an interesting question 'cause we're about to talk about it with commissions, actually, 'cause I do do it for commissions. I'll let you know more in a second, yeah. Exclusivity, which is what we've been talking about, make sure that's in your contract. That's, like, why you have the contract, is for exclusivity, rights to be maintained within your exclusivity. How they're going to pay you. These are normal contract terms. How you're gonna be paid, when you're going to be paid, when you deliver the image versus when you get paid. I'm still waiting for a payment from four years ago that I'm sure is never going to come because I didn't have that written into my contract at the time. Artist delivery, how are you going to deliver the image, and I think it's important that you, as the artist, are upfront about that. Are you going to send it on a CD? Do people still do that stuff anymore? Probably not 'cause computers don't even have CD players anymore, do they? Generally, you'll upload it to a website, maybe your own server, maybe to Dropbox, WeTransfer, whatever it is, send it on over. Just make sure that you explain how you're gonna deliver the image. And damages, so you have this contract, they break the contract, what do you get because they've broken the contract? What do they get because you've broken the contract? Just make sure that you lay out what the damages are going to be. These are just a few examples of book covers that I've done, album art as well, and these were all images, as you can see, the original image there used in exactly the same format on the book cover, and not a lot of changes, in fact, no changes to this one. They decided to maintain the original image, and then just put a solid color below, which is great for me because nothing has to happen, and this is an option for book covers. Like we talked about earlier, we talked about images that might not be good for a book cover, and I would've probably said that this image is not good for a book cover because I'm taking up most of the frame, from top to bottom, so where are they gonna put the text? So it makes sense that they did this because, where would they have put the text? Right over my face? You know, that would be kind of funny, if it said, "Boom!" over my face, I don't know, but weird. Things to consider are that, even if an image seems unmarketable, it might actually work really well for their design concept. This is another image that I totally laughed at because I did not realize until maybe one week ago that I wasn't on that book cover. I thought that I was on that book cover the whole time, and this was, like, years ago that this book cover came out. I was just laughing. I was like, "Oh, the bird made it, that's good." (laughs) But hey, who knows? I licensed this image. I had no idea it would look like that, and that's fine with me, I don't mind that I've been cut out of their lives. Here we have another one, and this was an example of a much earlier one where they added smoke to the image that wasn't there before. I did not anticipate that. I am okay with it, but that should've been in my contract, and was not when I created this book cover with them. Just things to keep in mind, original versus how it ends up looking. Sometimes, it can surprise you.

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. :)