How to Present Your Images


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

How to Present Your Images

Presentation then. We have got just a few notes on how to present your images to galleries, to art buyers, maybe through your website, whatever you might want to do to present your works. So, first thing is frames. One thing you have to consider is, "Will you frame your work?" And if so, how? Exactly what that will look like, what your budget is, because framing is crazy expensive, and always is, and probably always will be. So, there are ways to do it that can maybe be more cost-effective. But something to consider, "Will you print on canvas, for example?" Versus fine art paper, versus wood, versus acrylic, versus metal. There are so many different ways that you could print. There's dibond, I'm not sure how to say that actually. We're gonna say dibond, it sounds more right to me. So, dibond is sort of acrylic, it's really popular in Europe, I find. And maybe if you're out there and you're European, and you know, let me know if I'm wrong about that. But in my experience, that has been ...

the case. And then we've got metal prints, really popular right now, in a lot of different mediums. Wood prints, acrylic, and floating, which, I hesitated to put floating there, because that is not a framing style or printing style exactly. But what it is, is the cheap option, as I call it. I've learned, the first time I ever walked into my printer, to his business, I remember I said to him, "I need cheap prints." And he goes, "Let me tell you something, I do not make cheap prints, I make inexpensive print." And I was like, (gasps), I was so embarrassed that I said that. So, every time, he's been making fun of me for the last eight years, saying, "Never say cheap, ever." So, it's an inexpensive way of displaying your prints, where you have the print itself, unframed, untouched, just the paper, where you have little pieces of wire attached to the back of it so, literally, just float in the room. And that's one way of doing it, it's just a little bit of nerve-wrecking, because then your print is totally open to the elements. So, definitely, sort of a last case scenario, unless there's a certain look you're going for, but you can also float your prints in frames. So, I don't wanna be confusing, just by saying floating, cause you could have more like a light box, light a thick print, I mean, sorry, a thick frame, where your work floats in the center of the frame. So, that's just another way of going about presenting your works. I couldn't find a better picture of this acrylic print, for whatever reason and so, there I am, trying to look like myself-, anyways... So you've got this weird print and this is just an example of acrylic that I've done before where I'm actually changing the paper that I'm printing on to create this image. And the process that when we go through is printing on more of a high-gloss paper, which is something that I don't do, I try to stay away from that, but the point of doing that is, my paper that I use right now is very thick and textured and the process of acrylic it's to actually sandwich the print in between two pieces of acrylic and you wouldn't want any texture in your print because then it wouldn't sit flat on there, with the acrylic. So, a high-gloss paper is much preferred in this process. And that's something to think about if maybe you wanna try acrylic prints. Once the acrylic is on there, you don't take it off. It's sort of sealed shut and that's how it's supposed to stay. So, definitely if you're going the acrylic route, that's something to think about. This is not something that you can present in a gallery and then, have somebody say, "I prefer this frame," you can't just peel the acrylic off and hope it's okay. Probably won't be okay. This is an image of a print from a gallery that was installed in a house on dibond, just a little example of how that looks. And then, okay. This is like a whole new set of information now. So, change gears. So, how are we presenting our works when you're putting it in a gallery. One, there's a white border, usually. And the white border on a print, you can see it here a little bit, I know that it's a little bit difficult to see from far away, but we've got this white border of the actual paper, not the matting, so not the stick matting that's going around it, but the actual paper has a border to it. And there are multiple reasons why you would do that. One is that I sign my name and I number it on that paper. If you're not signing on the actual paper, where the ink is, then it's gonna be covered up most likely, right? You wouldn't wanna sign on the matting cause that has no relation to your print. That can be changed anytime, it's basically scrap. You wouldn't wanna sign on the frame or on the back necessarily, because that also can be thrown away and discarded. So, you wanna sign in a spot that's going to stay with the actual paper so, on the paper is really good. You also want the white border for framing purposes. So that you don't have to cover up some of the ink of your image, just to get the frame or the mat to stay on there. Because part of my white border is going underneath the matting here and that holds it all together. So, definitely something to keep in mind. So, aside from the white border, we sign on the print, typically, at least I do. Certificate of Authenticity, something that I like to give people when it's applicable, and if it's not, then I don't. But, a Certificate of Authenticity is basically a replacement for your signature that you would have here and it's a piece of paper that you sign, that you date, it has the information about the print, for example, what's printed on, what the title of the images, what size it is, what edition it is, and then you sign that and give it to associate with this print. And that's an official piece of paper. Your framing choice, you just wanna think really carefully about how you're presenting your images. A great example of this is what you see in these images here, where these prints are actually framed without any white border showing, they have a white border, they are signed somewhere underneath the print, the framing but, that's just a choice that we have to make. Do you wanna frame right up to the ink? Do you wanna frame with the white border? Do you want a mat? Is color important to you? I will say with frame choice that, at least 50% of the people who buy my prints give the frame right back. Because they already have a decor in their house and they don't want me to dictate what that should be. So, it's just really unusual that I sell a print with the frame and they keep the frame and that works with their decor. So, I would say, "Don't go crazy with it, unless you're making a statement with your frame." You know, there's no need to get a giant gold gilded frame to go with all your works, that's gonna cost you $5,000 a piece, if they're just gonna give it right back to you, right? It's probably not gonna be worth it. So I would say, simple neutral colors, black, white, brown, just simple frames are often really good. This one happens to be how I decorate my house so I actually printed and framed this just for myself and my space and this is what I prefer. But, this might not be what I'd go with for a simple exhibition that I'm having. So, how do we present to a gallery, then? Okay. How to sign and how to frame? These are two things that you want to have already locked in your head when you approach the galleries. So, if you imagine, I'm a gallery. And, you're coming to me and you're like, "I'm an artist, and I'm so and so, I do this and I want represented or I want to have an exhibition." Whatever it may be. You coming to me and then I'm gonna say, "Okay, what do your prints look like?" "How do you sign your prints?" "How do you frame your prints?" "What sizes do you have, what editions?" So these are things that you wanna know when you approach a gallery, maybe for the first time. Editions and sizes, as I just mentioned, what prices you might bring to the table. And I wanna point out with pricing that, yes, it's a really good to know these things ahead of time, specially if you're already selling work before you get into a gallery, but it's also good to be flexible and be able to adapt with the gallery if they're going to take the chance in representing you, because they know their market really well. They own the gallery that your work is in, they already have their art buyers that comes to them to collect art. So, it's really good to listen to them. If they say, "Whoa, you're way underpriced," you probably are underpriced for their market. You might not be at all underpriced for your market that you're used to. Because, let's just face it, artists are not always the best salespeople, are we? And some people are. More power to you, if you are. I'm not. So, my ability to sell a print to somebody is non-existent almost. I mean, I will let go so far as to almost give a print away, just so then I don't have to talk about selling it. "How do someone pay you for a print?" I'm like, "Oh, I don't know, maybe we'll talk about that next year, you know?" Terrible. So, they're really good for that. So, listen to them about pricing. Let them know that you can offer a Certification of Authenticity, that's just one little thing that they're gonna be so impressed by. If you have that to show them, "Oh, this is an example of my Certificate," great. I mean, they don't have to think about that then. And how you ship your prints? This is a surprisingly complicated thing among galleries and artists. It just gets me every time that we have to have this conversation so often. If you have a way of shipping your prints that works for you, great. Let your gallery know this is how you're gonna do it. I find that, just for moving around a lot and stuff, I'm always having to find different people to ship my work for me and it is quite a thing. It's very difficult to package art, first of all. And a lot of people will try to roll art on a tube, which is okay for the bigger sizes, but if you have a 10" print that you're trying to roll on a tube and that finally gets to the person, it's gonna be stuck in that shape so hard, it's gonna be really difficult to unroll. So, it's sort of a battle because, me, the artist does not want you, the shipper, to ship my print rolled. But the shipper's like, "I don't wanna mess up the shipping, I want it to arrive in one piece, I wanna roll it," that's a constant battle. So, know your shipping method, if possible. Speaking of shipping methods, framed versus unframed, I will almost always advocate for shipping something unframed. If you ship framed prints, first of all, it's gonna be crazy expensive. Second of all, it's dangerous. You've got glass in there, maybe acrylic over your print and it can crack, it can snap, it can break, things can happen. And this is why I would recommend framing without glass. Acrylic is much more common these days, it has less glares, there's a lot of reasons why you'd wanna use acrylic versus glass. But if you're trying to ship glass and it cracks, it can scrape up your print, things can happen, so, I would recommend, if at all possible, shipping unframed. And you might say, "What if I'm doing a show somewhere where I don't live? I have to the prints framed." Well, not necessarily so. With all of my galleries across the world, I always say to them, "I'm really excited to do this exhibition with you, but can I send you these prints unframed?" And I will pay for framing but you handle it on your end, so that I'm not shipping a framed print, cause it's just too much to handle. Flat versus rolled, as I just talked about, so just a consideration for shipping. Always require a signature. If you lose that print, if somebody else takes that print because there's no signature required, that's on you. You've got a rogue print out there and you have to try to handle that because you can't have it out there. You just can't. You have to know where every single edition is that you print and you send out, so always require a signature. Just consider customs and duties if it's international. I have had horror stories about trying to ship prints and then getting stuck in customs and the person over there doesn't wanna pay for the duties on it, and it's this whole big thing, so make sure that's listed right upfront. And then, insurance. "Are you going to have insurance on the print?" Just say yes. Just do it. I don't care if it costs a little bit of extra money to put the insurance on. I've had countless prints damaged in transit and it's always a good idea to insure it. Tracking, of course, simple, obvious but, things that I did not do at the beginning that I completely regret not doing.

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. :)