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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 22 of 138

Formatting Your Work


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 22 of 138

Formatting Your Work


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.


  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.