Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

How to Prepare Files for Licensing

High resolution JPEG is typically what I will send my clients, unless they ask for something else. A lot of people, shockingly, when they license images don't know a lot about file types. And they don't know why I would send them a .TIF, or how they can use a .TIF. So it's just really good to have a standard file type and size that you will send to your clients. If they ask for something else, give it or don't give it. I've had people ask for the original PSD files with all the layers, in which case I'm gonna want to know exactly why they need that because they should not need that. There was one interesting case for a book cover that I think I have here, where the publishers had asked if I had the layered file for this because they wanted to add her hand over top of the lettering here. And they thought, well, if she's on a separate layer then they can do that really easily. And I wrote and said she's not because she was really there in that space. But they just thought if she was comp...

osited in, that would be nice and easy to just plop the letters underneath her hand. That did not end up working out. And I have many more stories to tell about this as well, but not until later. As for sizing goes for what you're going to send your clients, I will typically just send the standard size that it's in. If my pixel count across the longways is 5616 pixel, then that's usually what I'll send them. Unless, I will say, unless it's only for digital use. I tend to think that if you have, let's say you're selling an album on iTunes and you want a graphic for your iTunes album cover, maybe to put as a graphic somewhere. There's really no need why you're going to have to have a 25-inch photo for that, there's just no need for it. So I'll usually size those images down for those clients who are only selling digitally, depending on the use. Sometimes, I sell images for backgrounds for websites for certain launches. And in that case, I'll size it bigger to fit the scale of the website, so then there's nothing weird, grainy, stretched, pixelated, anything like that. But I try to limit my size for digital use because I trust nobody, I trust nobody. I have had some bad experiences where I've sold images to a magazine, and I think that it's gonna be in print. And whoops I forgot to ask, it turns out it's only online and I've sent them these giant files. And then, there they all are to be downloaded by anybody who clicks on that magazine. So it's really kind of rough out there in the digital world when you're selling your images digitally. Just something to keep in mind, I will often send two files to my clients if they're doing print and digital. I'll send them one full-sized JPEG for print, and then another one that I'll say, "Please only use this for digital use." And this is something that you might want to put in a contract because if you don't, then they really don't have to do anything that you say, which is not good. So here is the expectation of your client when you're selling a digital file. They're either going to receive a high resolution file. So if they're not, for whatever reason, you need to be very upfront about that. And I have had files before where I make the deal, I say, "Great, I'm gonna send you this file." And then I realize that I don't even have a high resolution file of that image for whatever reason. Because of the great computer crash of 2009 or because of whatever reason I just don't have it. So you always want to be really upfront, and know exactly what you have to offer before you move forward with any deals. Then they're going to want to know that they can use that image in connection with promotional materials. And this is something that often we as the person selling the image might not think about. You know, you might think, okay, we've got a book cover, and I'm gonna sell this image for this book cover, and that's the only place it's gonna go. But if you think about it they need to sell this book, so they're gonna need to put this work out there in many different places, not just the book cover. So it's really good that they know that you know that they can use that image for promotional materials and things like that. And if you're uncomfortable with that, well, this is on your terms. You don't have to send that image. So you change the terms based on your expectation as well. We're gonna talk about exclusivity, and this gets really complicated, as we've already sort of dived into. Exclusivity is based on, in my opinion, these three things more often than anything else. Region, so are you selling to somebody with exclusivity in a certain region of the world. Sometimes it's really small, like just a city. Sometimes it's really big, like an entire continent. Just depends on what they want. How long they get that exclusive license for. One year, two years, three years, infinity, however long. And the medium, so is this going to be on an album cover? Is this going to be on a book, a movie poster, a ballet poster, whatever it might be? Make sure that you know those three things. All right, so if you're selling a digital only image. An image that you are selling to somebody who's not going to put it in print for any reason, this is typically what I'll do. I'll make sure that the pricing is lower because they're probably not going to have a wide distribution. If you think about a music artist who has a big label, and they're gonna put their album out to everywhere, in Target or whatever it is, then yeah, they're probably going to have a really big budget to be able to buy that image. If a band comes to me and they say, and this is always the starting line. "Love your work, but I don't have any budget." Which is key for like, okay, this is probably gonna be a digital run. Then, they're not gonna probably be able to afford a really high-priced image. So generally speaking, pricing is lower for digital only distributions. The resolution is limited, for me. You might choose otherwise, maybe you don't care if you have high resolution files out there. And I know many people who don't care about that. But if you do, I tend to send a 1200-pixel out there to them. I still keep it at 300 DPI, and that's about a 4-inch print. So if somebody were to download that image, they couldn't really print it that big. So it's probably a more manageable fraud situation [laughs] than something else which, oh, the bigger it is the worse it is in my opinion. So that's typically what I do for digital only releases. And then for print only, the pricing will often be higher because they have a budget to print that work in whatever medium it is. And the resolution is unlimited, so I'll send them the highest file size that I can, and that's usually pretty good. I've actually had people email me and say, "I don't know how to use Dropbox, "just send whatever file will fit through email." And I'm like, "Oh boy, where is this going." [Laughs] But aside from that, it's good to send that unlimited size.

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. :)