Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Edit Details of Images

I've got this image here, which was quite a funny picture to put together, not so much out of laziness like the last one, but this is a rather (laughs) shocking image to start, because I did it in my office and had just natural light coming in from the front, where I had a window and I could have done this outdoors of course, but there was no real need, because the end image was going to be in space and where you know, I don't really know where the best spot is to photograph somebody in space, except on a black backdrop with some sort of overall diffused light, unless you have a certain lighting structure, that you're trying to attain, but I did to just soft light, so I'll show you how this image was put together and some things are going to be a little bit funny, but we'll see how it goes. So I've extended the ladder upwards, that was the first thing, I wanted it to go either to the top of the frame or out of the frame, just so that it really moved through nicely and then I did my rea...

lly awesome technique of painting a color in the background, I sampled the color that was in this fabric, that I had and then I just started painting and this is what I was talking about earlier, I actually made a mistake in this image, that I would go back and redo, which was that I didn't have my hair on the black backdrop and I could not isolate my hair from that background, so I actually went in and just cut it out, I just cut around it, knowing that that was not something that people would be looking at in the image, it was sort of up and away, so that it didn't distract from anything and I do soften that later on, but it was a consideration after the fact and should have been before. So here we have this really funny thing, which looks like I just totally missed an entire piece of dress down here, I knew that that would be covered up, so I just drew a line all around my subject and this is an interesting case, because when you're thinking about how you wanna form your images, you're often thinking about color and I did think about color ahead of time, but I didn't have a dress that had the right feeling, except for this blue dress, so I ended up using it and went through quite a process to be able to turn it red, I don't know if any of you guys have ever tried to turn a really light color a totally different color, but it's super difficult to do and it takes a lot of patience with selections and coloring, so that's what happened there and then I have my clouds, so I've got the clouds and I obviously did not photograph them in outer space, I photographed them from an airplane, as one would and then simply, if you can sort of look at this Layer Mask here, I just erased at the back really lightly to blend those clouds in, so that it looked like it naturally faded into darkness and then we've got some shading here to make it look more believable, okay and then I've got my little star picture, I really need to photograph more stars, I think my constellations are getting a little bit predictable, so that's on my To Do list and then some more shading, so from here on out, you can see the colors are where I want them generally, very close to how the image finishes, so these are all finishing touches, which is texture, which I photographed and then all of these little things, that in some ways are very teachable, for example, why would you wanna do a vignette to draw attention to your subject, but others really have to do with your own personal style, one example is this second sort of coloring here, where I'm adding a color into the vignette, that you can see there, I don't know if that's obvious or not, but there's a red color that mimics the dress and those little, tiny details, oh, that's my little star, I love that little star, those little details make all the difference, so this was how the image ended and you can see it went quite a distance from where it started, which was in my office, looking very lazy, as they tend to do. And this image is one of my creepier pictures and we've looked at a couple of these already, so this is good just to be able to walk through this process. Compositing does not have to be so many elements put together, I think that it can easily be just a couple little things in the same space and this is a good example of that. So here we are with the main picture and you can see that I'm expanding my frame, so I took extra images, so that I had all of that, there's my (laughs) painted black, you can see a theme emerging here and these were extra pictures, that I shot, just adding them in to either side, okay and then you can see the beginnings of the rip in the back and all of these elements that you just saw are obviously not created in this order, so I did not go through and be like, hm, I'm gonna add in this shading, because I think that I'm going to put the rip in the back right there, no, what ended up happening was I put in this zipper situation that we have, as you can see it emerging and then I had to go below the zipper with my layers to create shadows, so that it only showed up on Layer four, if that makes sense and we'll talk more about this in just a moment. So if I continue on here, you can see lots of little, tiny changes, so many little changes and then we have the zipper mostly in place there and you can see little things, for example, look at my hand on this fabric, it doesn't look like it's really there yet, because there is no shading and that's why I wanna emphasize in Photoshop, that I would say that at least half of compositing is knowing how to create shadows, because that is what makes something believable or not, so I'm just creating the shadows under my hand, creating that believable look and as we go, you can see it becomes more and more believable, based on the shading, so this is a really good image to look at for that and again, these are little steps, that aren't as teachable as other things, but when you see this happen, you see that I'm sort of painting right over all of the fabric down at the bottom, because it was really distracting, 'cause it's the brightest thing, it has a lot of contrast, so I'm just literally painting over that to get rid of some of that contrast. Okay, and then we have some color changes and some highlights coming in and this was, I think the most important step in this image, which was desaturating everything but the skin underneath, one, because it furthers the concept, because if it was like this, then it's not quite believable, you don't really see the separation, but the concept is really aided by these changes here, because this skin is now looking old and disgusting and the skin underneath it looks new and fresh, you get a different perspective of what might be happening here, sort of a shedding of the skin situation. So I'll just zoom through the rest of these changes, which are now all cosmetic from this point on, brightening, darkening, shading, all of those fun things, we've got the texture, which always will come at the top, you'll usually see that at the top of my Layers, because it's one of the last things that I do and then I get a little bit indecisive and I make a few more changes and then it finishes there. So any questions on this one? It's pretty straightforward, when you start to peel back the layers, but you can see how many tiny, little thoughts go into creating that photo.

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. :)