Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

How to Make Money from Your Target Audience

And then, how can you make money from your target audience, which is, like, what we're getting to here, right? Like, how do I actually make money from these people, which is a really difficult thing to answer and I'm gonna try to answer really concretely by saying, first of all, you could have digital products. It depends on who your market is. You know? It totally depends. So, you know, maybe, for example, your market is other photographers and you sell textures, or maybe your target audience is galleries. So, what do they wanna see? Well, obviously, they're interested in prints. You have to convince them that what you have to sell is the best. You might not believe it. You might know that there is no such thing as better and best. What's that rhyme? Good, better, best? Nevermind. Okay. So, but the point is that when you're creating a product for somebody that is going to either buy it or sell it for you, you have to convince them that there's something really unique about it and th...

ere are a lot of ways to do that. So, for example, I wrote mass production here, which is something that I don't personally do. But, there's nothing wrong with that. You know? I've been into many galleries. In fact, I've bought many prints from artists who don't edition their work. They produce as many as anyone wants. They usually have smaller price points and I've gone in and bought 40 dollar prints many times and I take them home and I display them and it's true that they don't necessarily always hold a place of reverence in my house, like I don't frame it and put it up on the wall and I'll never take it down, but I still love that art and it's still a way to go. So, how can you make money from your target audience? And it's important that we all answer this personally, that we all really think about how do I wanna do that? Who am I targeting and why would they pay for what I have to sell? It's really important to think about. So, now I'm thinking about a media content plan. How, exactly, are you going to market to those people? How, exactly, are you going to create the content for those people? So, first question is what do you love to create and this might seem really silly, almost. Like, you might be like well, I already know what I wanna create. Get past that. Tell me how to sell to these people. Okay, this is how you sell to those people is you're so in tune with what you love to create that other people feel that from you and I would honestly say that my career has been built on this principle, that I love what I do so much that I make other people love what I do because, trust me, there are a lot of people that don't like what I do. There are a lot of people that come to me, outwardly, as I mentioned, and say I don't like what you do. I hear it every single day, almost. And not in a malicious way. Not like people emailing me, like, you suck. You're terrible, but people saying, genuinely, I don't really care for your visuals because they're too dark for me, or they're too creepy for me, or, you know, just for whatever reason, but they say, but I connect with your passion, with you loving what you do and I hear this every single day and it's really important. You know, people ask me sometimes, how do you get a big social media following and it's not about that. I mean, the way that you get people to come to you is to show how much you love something. I mean, if I had to say my favorite thing in the world, it's telling people what I love and getting them to love that, too, in whatever way they can. So, I would say definitely don't skip over that question. And then, where are those things that you love to create being celebrated? Really think, like, okay, I love to create dark, creepy works. If I love dark and creepy things, what magazines out there are celebrating that? You know, what forums out there can I join to meet like-minded people? What galleries are putting, you know, really dark, creepy works in their galleries, because they're all out there. You know, we love to think that we're the only ones, you know, and we're so tragic, and, like, all this stuff. I don't really believe that's true. I think, really, that there's always somebody else out there with the same interest. Maybe not in the same way, not with the same experiences, but there's always someone out there who is just waiting to say me too, right? Like, you put a work out there and what do you hope people say? Me too. I identify with this. I understand what you're doing. That's what we're all hoping for. So, okay. I love dark and creepy things. I'm not the only one in the world who loves that. I mean, there are a lot of sub-genres of that, too, trust me, that I don't fit into and then ask yourself, how much of yourself are you willing to share. How much of you, who you are, will you put out there in what you do. In my experience, the deeper I go, the more I share, the more people connect. Because, we're all desperate for connection. I mean, it's like, we've got the internet. It's great. It's also horrible. People are jealous of other people. You look at other peoples' lives and you wish that you had that and you feel disconnected because you feel so isolated in your jealousy, in a sense. And, not always jealousy. That's a harsh word, but just in your envy and your desire to be someone else, do something else, connect with someone else. So, if I can go online and I can be a voice for people who feel like they don't have a voice, how wonderful to connect people that way. And the only way we do that is through example. You know, I can post as many inspirational quotes as I want, which I do post a lot of inspirational quotes, but they're not my words. They're someone else's words. So, yeah, you might connect to that quote, but are you connecting to me? Not necessarily, so I wanna put my story out there and I'm gonna get online and I'm gonna tell you if I'm having a bad day and I'm gonna tell you if a photo shoot failed and I'm gonna tell you if I'm experiencing some sort of trauma right now and you're gonna know about it because I think it's important that we know those things about each other and you might not. So, this question is for you to answer, you know. How much of yourself are you willing to share? And, I can't answer that for you. And then, where can you find people with similar opinions? And it's, very likely, going to be the same place where your type of work is celebrated, could be very similar. But, where can you go? I hear from people all the time, saying there's no place on the internet I can go to find people who are like me, which is a crazy statement, crazy. Because, everyone is on the internet. There are forums for everything. I mean, all you have to do is go on Reddit and you know that there is a forum for everything and people discussing things that you can't even imagine people discussing. So, you know that there's a place to go. You just have to find it. It takes work. I mean, for example, I have a really hard time finding friends. Like, in real life, friends and is that their fault? Is that the world's fault because they haven't come and found me? No, it's my fault for not finding them. Also, I don't want them, but that like a whole other thing. We'll talk about that later, maybe. Creating a content creation deadline, So, how can you make a goal for yourself? How can you make structure for yourself? And, again, if you're that person who puts your foot down and you say art is art and I will not be forced into creating. Good! Don't be forced into creating. But, if we're trying to build a business out of this, if we're trying to create something sustainable for ourselves, you might need a schedule. You might. I'm not saying you have to. I don't wanna scare you, but you might. And, there are lots of ways of doing this. I'm going to just simply say make your own schedule. My schedule, for example, is that I create about one to two times a week now. It used to be way more and now I don't put pressure on myself. But, I try to have, at least, one new thing to share a week, just per week. So, it might even be just, like, I'm sharing Instagram stories of shoots that I've done, not necessarily the shoot itself, but just something new. So, I'm trying to create new content every week, making sure that I do one to two shoots a week just because I think it's fun and I love it and it's good to keep up with your creativity. Your deadline, your guide, your whatever-you-wanna-call-it, to creating your goals may be very different, but making sure that you have that plan. And then, what other types of content can you produce? That's my plan for creating content is to figure out what other types of content you can produce. For example, we talked about behind-the-scenes material, maybe photos of you shooting, maybe photos of you doing weird things in trees. I don't know. I have a lot of photos of myself, lately, doing weird things in trees and that's fine, too, you know? Create that content. Put it out there. Show who you are. It doesn't all have to be serious, but it does have to be on-brand. That's the first time I've said brand, isn't it? This whole time. That's, like, a record because we're talking about branding without talking about branding. It's important that you know who you are, what you're trying to put out there, exactly what your art looks like, you know, who you're trying to attract to that art, but it's also really important to say, okay, this is my art, but this is who I am. And, that might be really different, as it is for me. People always expect that I'm gonna be dressed in black with mascara running down my face every single time I meet people. Also, people are always like, you're really short. I'm like, yeah. Okay. I'm different from my art. I recognize that I don't look like that person, necessarily, but both are really good to acknowledge. The fact that there is you, the persona and you, the art and they might not be the same thing. So, what other types of content can you produce that will either show who you are personally or what your art is like on a more emotional or technical level. I thought I'd just make a grand statement here and say that Game of Thrones is the best show ever made. I mean, I don't mean to, like, pivot, and throw you off, but it is. Do you agree? We got a no and, like, a I don't know if I can answer this question type of thing. So, listen. Which one of you thinks, like, yes, best show ever made? Thank you. Okay, we've got two people. This is good. Like, 50 % target audience? Yes! Okay? My point in saying this is not to say Game of Thrones is the best show ever made. I, personally, love it. I think it's fantastic, but my point is this, if that's my opinion, if I'm gonna, like, just imagine, I become a Game of Thrones artist. Everything that I make is Game of Thrones themed. Who is my target audience gonna be? People who love Game of Thrones, obviously. Nobody else. Everybody else is gonna be like, uh, yeah, I hate that show. That show is sexist, or whatever people say about it and I'm gonna be like, I love it. You're not my audience. You can move on. And, that's how we should approach our art is by saying this is my opinion, gosh darn it. This is my opinion, and I'm gonna put it out there and, this is how it is, and if you don't like it, then you're not my audience, and I'm not your audience, and we don't need each other. There are five billion other people who might be my audience and you are not them. So, just remembering, opinions don't always have to be bad. It's okay if you don't get along with everyone. This is a lesson that I am learning myself that I have not yet properly internalized. I'm trying really hard, though.

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. :)