Find Confidence to Print


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Find Confidence to Print

Is it okay to use stock images when you're printing your work for shows? And this is a question in general as well, can you digitally sell your images if you're using stock photos? What's the deal there? And I have my own personal code of conduct and then there's the general acceptability. And in general, if you pay for a photo that you're using, a stock, and they say that you can use that stock image for commercial purposes then you can. You can use it, you can sell it, that's commercial use. If you're paying for something but it says for personal use or not for commercial use, or that you can't make money off of it, then obviously you cannot sell it. If you're grabbing free things off of Google, definitely don't sell it. Okay? Just don't do it. If you go somewhere and you download an image and you don't have an agreement or you're not paying for that image, definitely don't try to sell that in galleries. It can get the gallery in trouble. It can get you in trouble and people will be ...

very unhappy if they discover this. Now, is it likely to be discovered? Honestly, I don't know. And that is not a risk worth taking, in my opinion. But is it okay to use stock images? Yes! If you're doing it properly. So, yeah. this image right here. Now I had photographed a hole in the ground, when we were on location and I was really excited about it. But I just didn't quite get the right depth of field on it and it just wasn't usable. So I actually paid for a picture of just some wood splintery pieces and so those little pieces, just right there, were stock images that I purchased. And I purchased the commercial license so that I could sell these images. And for me, I said I have a slightly personal code of conduct, simply because if I am using a really large element of a stock image, I don't want to sell that. I feel like I should go out and get my own picture. And this is just personal. You can sell stock images, if you buy them. But I'd feel better about using just a tiny little aspect of it, rather than having it be a very large portion of my image 'cos that's just a little bit... causes a little bit of pause on the art buyers part if they know that you actually didn't take a very large part of that image that you're presenting. So that would be my hesitation there and answering that question of can you sell stock images. Yes, but be very wary of that process. So then how do you gain the confidence to print? How is it that you go into this process and feel really good about your work? Enough so that you invest in printing, because I promise that a lot of people are going to be looking at this whole process start to finish of creating a series and saying, yeah well it's one thing to think about it, and have an idea, and then go do a photo shoot, and then edit, and have these images. But it's a whole other thing to invest in the printing process. It's very, very costly. So when I had these images printed, this cost me 500 dollars to print these images and have them displayed here. That's a lot of money. That's a really big amount of money, to have your images displayed in a show and these aren't even framed. So you can imagine the costs really add up. So, how do you know when your ready to take the leap? One argument that I have is that, you're always ready to start printing. You don't have to print really big. You don't have to print a ton of things. But printing is going to change your perspective on your work in some fundamental way, that I think is vitally important. I think it's really great to be able to see your work in print, to hold it and the process of doing that gives you confidence, in my experience. When you start to see your work as something that's tangible and holdable that you can give to somebody else, you have this whole new perspective of what your work is like, how it can effect others, and the way that it can be a gift for somebody else. So I would highly recommend printing. But if you can't print that many images or that large, fine. Start small, print something little and start like that, and build a small little portfolio that you can give to people, that's still going to show them that you print your work, that you know the paper that you wanna use and that you're on top of your game. So I would highly recommend it. Get reactions to how images make people feel. And that's probably a really good indication of what you might wanna put into print. Now, I have certain images that are very uncomfortable for people to look at and anytime anybody says to me that they feel a little squeamish when they look at one of my images, I'm like, printing that one! Ha-Ha! Cannot wait. Because I know that it's going to have an even greater impact in print than it does digitally. And this is almost always true. Now, if I'm going to a portfolio review or if I'm going to a gallery, I want to make people feel a lot. So if somebody has a reaction to a small digital file, they're probably gonna have a bigger reaction to a large print. That's my thought process in choosing what to print, is how do you feel towards this and let's try to multiply that by ten, by putting this in print. Challenge yourself to create something new every month. This is one of the biggest arguments that I have for creating a portfolio that's worth printing. We often coast through our work. We create things that maybe are not worth printing all the time and that's okay. But if we're consistently creating something new and challenging for ourselves than it's very likely we're going to hit on something that really, really resinates with us. And this was an example of that, this image, where I had created a very similar image and then I decided to recreate it under water to see how I could challenge myself to create something that I had done before but in a really new way. And it's been really interesting for me to print those two images and see how they're so similar but one prints really well and the other one prints really terribly. This one prints really terribly. The other one, prints really well. I just wanted to point out that it's such a good idea to appreciate every small success you have. When it comes to finding the confidence to display your work and to get your work out there, you have to see every little thing as being a really big boom to your business. I do this very naturally and I accredit my very annoying tendency to see everything as being really great, as a huge part of any success that I've had. Because all print and image and even if it prints poorly I'm excited about it. I am so excited about everything. You know, I'll have maybe like a publisher comes to me and they offer me 50 dollars to put my image on a book cover and I think that's the greatest thing in the world. I don't care if I'm gonna loose money, it doesn't even matter because I'm so excited. Every little good thing that happens, will add up to something much bigger and better. So always see small successes as being really big and then learn from your failures. You know, if we get out here and we roll that printer out and it prints out a terrible print, learn from it. Do it better next time. We get so stuck on our failures that we don't realize that it's fine. It's just part of life. Who really cares that much if something fails? It's just something to learn from and I think that's really exciting. These are those two images that I was talking about, creating one versus the other and that's what I tried to do with this picture. I worked on this image until it matched my vision. I did three different photo shoots like this. The other one was extra bad, so I didn't put it in here. And then it sort of got progressively better, until I finally found a place where I felt happy with the image. Now, it's really funny showing these two images because some people are very much prefer the underwater picture, some people very much prefer the other one. It doesn't really matter though. It's my vision that counts. So I'm going to confidently move forward with printing the one that I think is better, in the hopes that I will attract people who think the same thing. That's really the whole goal isn't it? And then be excited about improving and don't dwell on weaknesses and I have to say over the course of this class and we've been on quite a journey together now in the last few weeks, I've been watching you, Sareet and how you just, you just soak in information and within a second, you're like, I'm doing it. Like you just, you just fix it. You just get it done and honestly I think that's one of my biggest takeaways of this whole class personally, has been watching you just create. It's been amazing and 'cos you do this. You're excited about improving. You're genuinely excited. I meet so many people who are just so down on themselves, like this was bad and I'm never gonna get better, but you just do it and I love that. So don't dwell on weaknesses, because weaknesses never stay weaknesses unless you allow them to stay like that. They are going to get better and better until they're a success. What's better than that, right? Then taking something that was so terrible that you did so wrong and then making it the best thing that you ever did. That's the best like, in your face, moment to somebody, right? To be like, no I can make this way better. And something to just end on here, which is that you will improve, you will. We're not stuck in the moment that we're in forever. We will necessarily evolve and nothing is bad either. We tend to tell ourselves, this is bad, this is bad. What I'm doing is terrible. This looks awful. This is so much worse than this other person's photo. But it's not. It's not bad, it's probably not even good. What is bad and good, right? There's just how we feel about our process and how we evolve from there. That's very exciting for me and that's why I wanted to talk about printing in this whole segment because printing is so important to this process, to figuring out how your work is going to evolve, how you're going to display your work for other people. Because as we've been mentioning, our art is a gift for somebody else. Maybe no one that you know yet, but somebody out there needs to receive that work. So if we can print it and we can display that and we can physically give this to somebody else, that will change their life and that is why printing is not only important, but necessary for somebody in the world. So go print your pictures people.

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.


1Class Introduction 2Storytelling & Ideas 3Universal Symbols in Stories 4Create Interactive Characters 5The Story is in The Details 6Giving Your Audience Feelings 7Guided Daydream Exercise 8Elements of Imagery 9The Death Scenario 10Associations with Objects 11Three Writing Exercises 12Connection Through Art 13Break Through Imposter Syndrome 14Layering Inspiration 15Creating an Original Narrative 16Analyze an Image 17Translate Emotion into Images 18Finding Parts in Images 19Finding Your Target Audience 20Where Do You Want Your Images to Live? 21Create a Series That Targets Your Audience 22Formatting Your Work 23Additional Materials to Attract Clients 24Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful? 25How to Make Money from Your Target Audience 26Circle of Focus 27The Pillars of Branding 28Planning Your Photoshoot 29Choose Every Element for The Series 30Write a Descriptive Paragraph 31Sketch Your Ideas 32Choose Your Gear 33How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations 34What Tells a Story in a Series? 35Set Design Overview 36Color Theory 37Lighting for the Scene 38Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design 39Locations 40Subject Within the Scene 41Set Design Arrangement 42Fine Art Compositing 43Plan The Composite Before Shooting 44Checklist for Composite Shooting 45Analyze Composite Mistakes 46Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing 47Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing 48Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories 49Shoot: Miniature Scene 50Editing Workflow Overview 51Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress 52Edit Details of Images 53Add Smoke & Texture 54Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite 55Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario 56Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot 57Self Portrait Test Shoots 58Shoot for Edit 59Shoot Extra Stock Images 60Practice the Shoot 61Introduction to Shooting Photo Series 62Shoot: Vine Image 63Shoot: Sand Image 64Shoot: End Table Image 65Shoot: Bed Image 66Shoot: Wall Paper Image 67Shoot: Chair Image 68Shoot: Mirror Image 69Shoot: Moss Image 70Shoot: Tree Image 71Shoot: Fish Tank Image 72Shoot: Feather Image 73View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing 74Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion 75Edit Images with Advanced Compositing 76Decide How to Start the Composite 77Organize Final Images 78Choosing Images for Your Portfolio 79Order the Images in Your Portfolio 80Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others? 81Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order 82Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing 83Determine Sizes for Prints 84How to Choose Paper 85How to Choose Editions 86Pricing Strategies 87How to Present Your Images 88Example Pricing Exercise 89Print Examples 90Licensing, Commissions & Contracts 91How to Keep Licensing Organized 92How to Prepare Files for Licensing 93Pricing Your Licensed Images 94Contract Terms for Licensing 95Where to Sell Images 96Commission Pricing Structure 97Contract for Commissions 98Questions for a Commission Shoot 99Working with Galleries 100Benefits of Galleries 101Contracts for Galleries 102How to Find Galleries 103Choose Images to Show 104Hanging the Images 105Importance of Proofing Prints 106Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery 107Press Package Overview 108Artist Statement for Your Series 109Write Your 'About Me' Page 110Importance of Your Headshot 111Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch 112Writing For Fine Art 113Define Your Writing Style 114Find Your Genre 115What Sets You Apart? 116Write to Different Audiences 117Write for Blogging 118Speak About Your Work 119Branding for Video 120Clearly Define Video Talking Points 121Types of Video Content 122Interview Practice 123Diversifying Social Media Content 124Create an Intentional Social Media Persona 125Monetize Your Social Media Presence 126Social Media Posting Plan 127Choose Networks to Use & Invest 128Presentation of Final Images 129Printing Your Series 130How to Work With a Print Lab 131Proofing Your Prints 132Bad Vs. Good Prints 133Find Confidence to Print 134Why Critique? 135Critiquing Your Own Portfolio 136Critique of Brooke's Series 137Critique of Student Series 138Yours 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.

a Creativelive Student

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. :)