Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Decide How to Start the Composite

And I'm gonna open up our fish tank photo. And this is a really interesting one to me, because, first of all, nobody can agree, and when I say nobody, I mean there are two votes on my side, as to which pose we should use, and many, many votes on the other side. But it's interesting, because they both evoke a different emotion, and this ties in perfectly to our series, to actually creating something that has a through line, right. Because we're creating a concept, an over arching story, with these images. And I haven't decided the final order of the images, or anything like that, so I can't say exactly where this falls, in that range. But let me just go in, I'm gonna go ahead and open two images here, let me see. Oh wait, I don't know how to use this computer, hold on. Option, no, command, it's command. Alright, so I'm just gonna open the two that I had really liked the most, and see them open side by side here. So these are the two images, okay. And, they have a really different feelin...

g to them. This one is much more serene. You can see she has really soft hands, she looks beautiful in this picture, she's making a really nice face, which is like a real testament to this model, and what she was able to do, because she was like a real popsicles in there, and I felt really terrible when I was shooting this. But, she's looking very serene, whereas in this one, she looks rather dead. And I love dead. But also, I love serene, okay. We'll go back to that one. I am not saying that I don't like living people, but, I don't know which one fits, and that's goint to be the debate here, is which one ends up in the series. So, we're gonna actually edit both of them, I mean, I'm definitely gonna take each of these to completion, with their edits. But my instinct says to go with this one. And if, at the end of the series, we need something softer, this conceptually fits better, then of course, I will use this one, and I'm not going to choose an image, solely based on the visual, which one I just happened to like more. And I think that's a really good lesson to learn, when you're shooting, is, which one really serves your purpose better, in the long run. I absolutely can not decide. However, I know, that this one had about seven more votes, than the other one, which had two votes. Me and Tory, we're in this together. But, yeah. So I'm gonna open this up. And this is an image where we definitely have a lot of shadows, a lot of dark points, that I'm going to try to lighten up, just a little bit, I think. Even the shadows don't wanna budge on this one, this is like (huffs). Okay, there we go, we've got our black point all the way up. And, I'm very interested in being able to see some detail, but I do wanna darken this back down, just a little bit. I did expant the frame on this one, but for the sake of time, I'll do that later, and we're just going to take a quick look at these two images. And you know what, I'm going to open the other one up, not because I feel the need to assert my power, but, because I think it'll be good to see, how these edits move along together. So, if I take the shadows and the black, all the way up, we're just gonna open this picture in there. I did photograph extra dress of hers, so that I have more flowing fabric, to add in, to these tanks, and that'll be really good too. But if we just focus in, on our subject here, there she is, and this is the only thing that we pay attention to, I think it can really good to just quickly talk about how these edits would sort of evolve in different ways. Here, we have a lot of skin showing, and so, you see, that there isn't as much murkiness around her face, we see a face that's much clearer, and she's much more yellow in this area, versus this image, where she's much more blue, it's much more murky, I mean, this is a really creepy picture, I think. And so, immediately, when I look at them, if I just quickly toggle here, this one, I think "Oh, well, this should be a warm image," because I see this warmth in her body. Whereas this one, I think this should be a cool image, because her body looks dead. So, I'm going to, just edit each of these really fast, to see, how color might be influenced by the subject, and by the colors that we see naturally in this space. So, if I go to my blue curve, this one, will take in more of a sort of yellow, red tone. Versus this image, which might benefit from a little bit of a cooler tone. And, I don't know which one will be better. I don't know if one will be better than the other one, but it's going to be very interesting, just to see them, sort of side by side here, to see what looks good and what doesn't. So, we've got our two images, side by side, and, I think, as I look at these, that I prefer the blue image, what do you guys think? Eh. Who's on team warm? Oh, no one on team warm. Team blue? Okay, okay, and then we've got some people who're like "I don't like either one of these that much." And that's okay, you know what, you can be difficult if you want, and that's okay, I'll still love you. And the truth is, I probably wouldn't edit either one of these totally blue, or totally yellow. Because my typical process, is to start with my color signature, to start, where I would put the blue in the shadows, and the yellow in the highlights, and this is going to be my happy starting place, of having warmth and coolness, to this image, and see how that evolves. And you can see, how immediately that warmed up her skin tone, which maybe I don't want, something to keep in mind, conceptually, throughout this series, is, what do the skin tones look like, and how does that inform how we see that character. Things like that, things like color, things like lighting, are all incredibly important, with how we're going to read this series, conceptually, visually, and if it's going to change our perception over time, as we look at the images, it's going to be a really big deal. So, editing these pictures, is definitely going to take a lot of time, of course, we couldn't get through all of them right now, I was shocked to learn that I had shot 200 pictures, in one day. I think that's maybe the most I've ever shot in a day. But we have 11 concepts here, each of them slightly different, from the other. And it's, I think quite a journey, to get through all of them, and to try to make them cohesive. But at least we have a starting point. We know that we're looking for slightly directional light, something that's a little bit more contrast-y than maybe I'm used to, as well as, having to pick a color palette, which we have not done yet, very, very well at all. Which I had hoped to do, but I did not do. So, that's what we're going to have to do. The final thing that I do wanna mention here, while I have that image open, is texture. And, as I was shooting these images, I also photographed a whole bunch of textures, which are available for download with the class. And I made sure to prepare about 17 of them for you, with some smoke as well. And I just wanna really quickly take one of these textures and this not from that pack, that' you'll get, this is from a different one. But I just wanna show how, even something as simple, no, I'm going to the other one, as adding texture, can help bring cohesion to the images. If you were to take, let's just say, this sort of, creepy, peeley texture, and overlay it. I like to overlay my textures with softlight, usually, because I think that gives a nice sort of gritty feel to everything. Let's just say that you had every single wall in the background, not the subject, I'm gonna get it off my subject, so not my subject, but the wall, reflecting this very gritty texture, than that's just one thing that can bring more cohesion to the series, if every wall has that same peeling, paint kind of look. That could be a really great thing to add in, and I did that super simply, just by dropping that texture in, changing the blending mode, I choose soft light, you could play with anyone that you wanted, and seeing how that blends into your image. So, I'm going to be thinking about texture, color, light, composition, and then the quality of all those things, which we talked about a lot now, in terms of harshness, or brightness, or darkness, or color temperature, and things of that nature. So, I'm going to make sure, I finish editing all of these images, and I'm really excited about that, and I'm going to make sure you also have an additional bonus download of one of these images, totally start to finish. And aside from that, I hope that you got a little something out of this, and I can't wait to see how it goes.

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. :)