Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Guided Daydream Exercise

Now let's talk about ideas. So if we're gonna go find some ideas, let's do it. One is a guided daydream. Now please excuse me for a moment, as I become my most hippie self, and I tell you that this is what I do every single day of my life to find ideas. It's going to sound like something that maybe you don't wanna do. You may be like, "Nope, there Brooke goes, "off the deep end, and I'm not doing that." I understand, and this is exactly how I felt when someone told me to meditate. I was like, "I'm not meditating!" And then I wouldn't do it, 'cause I thought that it was silly. And then I started, what I did not realize was my own form of meditation. I did it unknowingly. And I started this guided daydream. Now this is something I've mentioned on Creative Live before, but I wanna actually take you through the process right now of a guided daydream. I call it a guided daydream because you're imagining yourself as a character in a story that you're creating. I take anywhere from one minute...

to five minutes a day to do this, it doesn't take a long time. But I can tell you that I have created photos from doing this, I've written children's books from doing this, I've had novel ideas from doing this. Like, actual novel, not like novel ideas, like novel book ideas. So many things from doing this. And over time, it changes how you perceive yourself as well. Not just the story, not just your art, but how you see yourself as a character in your own life. Which really is, is what story is to me. Is taking that inspiration. So we're gonna do a guided daydream together. You guys have to close your eyes. (chuckles) Okay, I will try to close my eyes, but I might fall over. You know how you get dizzy when you close your eyes and you're standing? Okay, so what I want you to do is imagine, and this is just how I do it, you can change yours over time. Imagine that you are on a ship. You're on a boat, but your boat is floating through the sky. So you're sailing through the clouds. And you get up on the edge of the boat, on this big ship, and you're going to jump off the side. And you're gonna fall through the sky, and you're going to land somewhere. So you imagine, you're on the side of the boat, and now you jump off. And as you're falling, you're imagining yourself falling through the sky, and as you're doing that you imagine what you're wearing, you're imagining what it feels like to be falling, you're imagining what the clouds feel like, if you go through a rain cloud or something like that. You imagine your surroundings, and by the time you hit the ground, you've chosen where you are. So you can fall for 10 minutes if you're like, "Oh, I don't know where I'm gonna be!" It's okay. So you're falling, and you're falling, and you're falling, until you get somewhere, and you hit the ground. So right now, maybe I imagine that I'm in this deep, deep hole that's in the ground, and it feels really wet and really muddy, and I'm just like sinking into this hole. And I'm trying to grab my surroundings to get out of the hole. And I'm thinking, what does it smell like? It smells like mud. What does it feel like? It feels wet and thick and I'm sinking, sinking, sinking, until I'm fully submerged by the mud. And I keep going until I drop out of the bottom. And I've dropped out the bottom, and now I'm in this dungeon. And I start walking, covered in mud, and where do I end up? And who do I meet, and what happens to me? And so the point is, that you're going through this experience, whatever you want. As you're doing it, you're imagining different things in the moment. And see where you end up. I have had the most beautiful daydreams based on this. And sometimes, after five minutes, I'm crying because of whatever's happened. Sometimes I'm laughing, sometimes I feel so stupid because I've just had the dumbest daydream, that like I've been rescued by a prince or something like, silly, silly things, you know? Depending on the day, depending on where your mind is at. But what a great way to just clear your mind, don't think about anything stressful, and just be a character. You know, think about what would you be wearing if you could be wearing anything? Who would you meet? What would you see? What do you sound like? What do you feel like? And I know that it sounds crazy, and it sounds like such a hippie thing to do, but it is the number one most important thing that I've incorporated into my daily practice to find ideas, regularly.

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. :)