Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Contracts for Galleries

Well, let's talk through a contract, y'all. Okay, exclusivity. I feel like I've had to say this so many times, exclusivity, exclusivity. But it is so important that we understand how exclusivity works with a gallery versus licensing versus commissions, and all of those things. Exclusivity with a gallery is very common. So I don't want you to get freaked out if a gallery writes to you and says, "If we represent your work then "you can't show it somewhere else." It's very, very common. And it's up to you to decide if you're okay with that or you're not okay with that. And it depends, so region versus image. Sometimes a gallery will say, 'If you're in this gallery of ours, "we don't want you to show "within the same state, "or within the same country, "or within the same region of the world." And that's common, so my galleries do this almost exclusively by region. I have a gallery in Laguna Beach, and my contract says that I will not show anywhere else in southern California. So that's my...

sole representation in that region. I have a gallery in Amsterdam, and they have the right to represent me in the Netherlands, as a whole. So it really just depends on what they ask for, if you're comfortable with that or not. And that's okay if you're not. You can amend the terms of the contract. You can, you know, see how much clout you have there, and see what you can pull in your direction. But I usually like doing it by region, rather than by image. And you might be totally opposite. Maybe you like doing it by image. So you might create a series of images and you say to this one gallery, "You have exclusive rights to sell that series. Nobody else can sell that series." That's a great way of doing it, too. The only downside to that is that now that series will only be exposed to people through that one region, that one gallery, versus all of your galleries, wherever they may be. So you just wanna think about is that good for you or not? So, versus, image versus region is important with exclusivity. Gallery and artist. So who is doing this contract? What is the gallery name? Who is the artist's name? The length of the relationship, so how long do you plan on being involved with this particular gallery? Important to note, some people do six months, some people just do til the end of an exhibition, til the end of a year, two years, three years, whatever you think is good. What image selections they can sell. This is an important one because you have a couple of options with galleries. One is that you send them the images or the prints they are putting in one single exhibition. And then they have the right to sell those images, but nothing outside of that. Another example is that you send them the prints, they have an exhibition, they can sell those images. But also, if an art buyer comes in and they say, "Oh, I really like this work, "but can you show me more of it?" They can bring up your website and they can sell any other image as well. And that's how I work with my galleries. I try to work very exclusively with them so that they can sell anything that they find online of mine, pretty much, within certain parameters. And I give them that right because I wanna honor that relationship with them. Even though they had nothing to do with exhibiting that particular work. They still brought that art buyer in and that art buyer wanted to buy something else. Sure, they should get that sale. So I'm always asking myself, in terms of selling, is this particular sale something that I cultivated on my own, because of my marketing, because of who I am, what I've done, or is this sale in any way related to my gallery? And most times, if I get an e-mail from a stranger, if somebody that I don't know e-mails me and says they want a print, I often don't even respond personally. And that's the only time I will ever not respond personally to an e-mail. So instead I'll forward that directly to a gallery. And if I do respond, it's often by saying thank you and where are you located, so that I know which gallery to send them to. If they're in Europe, I'll send them to my gallery in the Netherlands. If they're in California, they go to my gallery in Laguna Beach, and so on and so forth. So that's how I tend to work with image selections. Sizing, pricing editioning. Good to have in the contract so that everyone is clear on your editions, your sizes and your prices. There is some wiggle room there, with your galleries. So for example, my galleries all have the right to discount 20% to an art buyer, if they so choose. Now, it's up to them during the haggling process or whatever's going on. If they want to charge a little bit less and give a discount, we split that discount. So I get 10% off my, uh, price that I, er, amount that I'm getting paid, and they get 10% off of theirs. And just split whatever is being discounted. Okay. Oh, discount allotment. Ah, there we go. So the discount allotment is up to you and your gallery. It's not usually more than 20%, but it can be. It can be, I've heard of up to 30%. I have not heard of more than that. And that's your choice, as the artist, to decide how much you wanna allow them to take off of that sale price. Insurance. Who is covering insurance and when? So, as far as I'm concerned, I cover the insurance of the prints until they reach the gallery door and then it's their responsibility from that moment on, until they come back to my door front. So that's how I do insurance. How is it going to be printed? It's good to have that in the contract, too. Because the contract isn't just serving as a way of defining the terms and conditions. It's also a way of each of us having a method of looking up all this information that we need to know. The gallery needs to know what kind of print this is, to tell their clients. And this is just one good way of having all the information in one place. Promotional materials. Giving your gallery permission to use your digital files in promotional materials. Always good to have that under wraps. Know exactly what they're going to be using it for. And then notification of a sale. So, this one is quite important. We have talked about keeping track of your editions and how to sell your prints, and who it's sold to and how much it sold for and all of that stuff. And the gallery has to tell you if they sold a print. Because you need to know what image comes next in that edition. So if I'm selling this image and this is number, let's say, five out of 10, and, and it's in a gallery in Timbuktu, and that someone's selling this image, I need to know that it's sold so that I know that the next one is going to be six out of 10, and that that's the progression. If I think that five out of is still available, I could send that to somebody else, you know what I mean? Like, oh, well, okay, you want six out of 10? I've got it. You want five out of 10? Oh that one's with this gallery. Oh, it's not anymore? Hmm, I didn't know that. Little things can happen like, maybe I've printed this image three times so far. One out of 10, two out of 10, three out of 10. And I send them all to different galleries. And every, and three different galleries have this print, I need to know if number three is sold before number one is sold. And I need to know if number two is sold before number three. You just have to know, to keep track of it. So, always notification of sale. Payment schedule and method. When will they be paying you for the print? Uh, typically it's about two weeks to a month after they get paid from the client. But that's usually up to them. The gallery, what their payment schedule is like and how they're going to pay you is, of course, up to both of you. Obligation to exhibit. I have been in galleries before where I've gone years without having my work exhibited with them. And then you kind of think, oh, what was the point? Because I could've tried to get into a different gallery in that region, where maybe they would've actually promoted my work, instead of never putting it in a show. There are pros and cons to having your work in shows versus not. The pro is, of course, that you get your work widely promoted. I would actually argue that I sell fewer prints during an exhibition than outside of the exhibition. I will, on average, sell one to four prints during an exhibition, which is great. Especially if it's only up for a month, or something like that, that's really good. But I sell the majority of my prints outside of exhibitions, just throughout the year, from the back room. So, something to keep in mind, you want them to put your name at the forefront of their list of exhibitions in their promotional material. So obligation to exhibit. And if you're doing a limited release of a series or something like that, so just making sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of what you're putting out there, how you're putting it out there, um, limited edition and things like that. Ah, when to send the print. I have made many a mistake where a gallery says, "Oh, I think I've made this sale." And then I quickly print it because I'm so excited and then it never actually sells, and it's just a false alarm. So make sure that your gallery knows that you're not going to print that image until either, they have confirmed that they received the money from the client, or until they've paid you the money. And that's up to you, as the artist. It really depends on your relationship with the particular gallery. Because if you are in a relationship that you feel really good about, like there's a lot of trust there, you've been with them a while. I'll send that print anytime they ask for it. And I, I'm pretty good with that. But if you're in a situation where it's really new and you're just not sure if they're really uh (chuckles) as good as they say that they are, then maybe you don't wanna send that print until afterwards 'cause then it's out of your hands and then you've lost this print, which is extremely important no to lose. So thinking about when to send the print, very important.

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. :)