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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 76 of 138

Decide How to Start the Composite


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 76 of 138

Decide How to Start the Composite


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.

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.