Formatting Your Work


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Formatting Your Work

So I've got this image here, and this one, let's just say I wanted to use this for a book cover. Does it work? Could this picture work on a book cover? Of course the answer is yes it could work on a book cover, 'cause anything could work, but in terms of actual use, I would argue that it's really good for text, because there's all this negative space, but it's really bad for cropping, 'cause you're gonna end up with two cut in half doors on either side of the frame, and the tree's gonna be cut off, so it's not so great. So it's really unlikely that I'm going to license this for a book cover, unless they do something creative with editing or something like that, extend the trees up, who knows what they might do. Because trust me, they will do anything and it's a little bit heart wrenching sometimes. But I would argue that. So with this image then, is this good for a book cover? You know, if you were going to crop it in, would you be losing an essential part of the image? And maybe yes, ...

maybe no, but what about text? Where are you going to put text on this image? It's covered in people. I know, 'cause it's me. And I covered myself here. So I would say that it's bad for both, bad for text, bad for cropping, and that's what I'm looking for with these images. So then I chose this one, which I feel is good for both. It has lots of negative space so it's okay if you cover up some of that smoke because there's smoke everywhere. It's okay if you cover up a little bit of it. And it's great for cropping because of the center composition. So we've got negative space and a center composition, which I know works really well for book covers. And I've had some success with book covers. I've done a fair few of them now, and I find that my work generally does work for that because of these two things: the negative space and the center composition. And that's not saying that your images won't work for that. It's just saying, think about how somebody else will use the work that you're putting out there. And these are just general samples that you can get for free of maybe like a blank book that you could put your image on just to show as a sample, same with that. So just thinking about, okay, how can I turn my work into samples? How can that be something that I advertise maybe on my website, maybe direct to the client? And then commissions. So we've got the service. And we've already talked about this so I'm gonna zoom right through, but advertising the service, creating samples of that as well, because it's important to show people, and then making it simple, not a complicated process. And I like to cater to my client, but I wanna really point out that using the word cater was really hard for me, because I don't mean that I'm doing everything the way my client wants it, I'm not starting the process like, "Tell me exactly the image you want and I'm gonna make you whatever you want." I'm not doing that by any means, but what I am doing is saying, okay, this is my work. You can look through what I've done before, you can let me know if any of my images speak to you, if you wanna recreate anything, and then I'm saying, now how can I emotionally and visually connect this image to you? And I'm not doing it in a way that takes away from my artistic abilities within this process. And I'll talk a lot more about this specifically with examples, because I think it's important that we most definitely don't lose our artistic perspective here. Set expectations for your clients, just make sure that they know exactly what they're getting into like I mentioned. You book a shoot with me, you're going in a swamp. Done deal. Not really, but you know, usually it is true. And then the experience over the product. I mean, I feel that there are a lot of photographers out there and I'm not saying anything bad about this either. There are a lot of photographers who advertise the product over the experience. And that's okay, it's a choice that you're making. You're saying, look, I take great images and this is what you're going to get from this photoshoot. You're going to get an 18 by 20 inch wall hanging or whatever it might be, and that's the product that they're selling. But I'm not doing that. And I have this idea that if you consider yourself a fine art photographer, if you wanna move in a more art direction with your business, then it's important to maintain that idea that you're creating art, and what is art but an experience? An experience of the art, an experience creating the art, so it's important that we really put experience above the product in this case. These are examples of my way of creating samples. So I started out... I think this was 2012 or so. I was going to do a commissioned photoshoot. I'd never done it before, I was about to advertise this new service of mine, and I was like, "Uh-oh, I don't even know how to do this, I just know that I wanna do it." So I got my two best friends and I said, "Hey guys, can you come to the forest with me and I'm gonna drape you in some fabric and put some Ace bandages on you", which at this point was very normal for them, and I said, okay, we're gonna do this whole thing and this is gonna be your commissioned portrait, and we did it. And this was what came from that. And it was a really good experience because I got to learn, especially with this one here, how does she feel best? The other one was already doing a lot of modeling, so that didn't really count, but the other one had never, so she was sort of like, "Oh, does this look good? Does this look good? Does this make my arm look fat?" Those kinds of questions that everyone will ask when they've not been in front of a camera, and it's a good experience to have. So I'm doing these commissioned shoots, I've put it out there, and I say, this is an example of my commissioned work. And then I got a couple clients from that. So it's just good to have, good to be able to say.

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. :)