Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


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
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