Importance of Proofing Prints


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Importance of Proofing Prints

This is my worst nightmare of a story, that I thought I would share with you, which is slightly embarrassing. Proofing prints, it is the most important thing that you do in the process of getting your picture out there, getting it to a gallery and hanging it, if you don't proof your prints properly, first of all, you're not gonna look good for your gallery, they're gonna think that you've lost your mind, because this is your precious baby and you did not look at that work close enough. So, let me take you back to January 4th, 2017, when I did not proof my prints properly, I did not realize that, I thought I had done a great job, there was a lot of excitement, when I went to proof them, my friends were with me, we were all really just eager to see them really, really big in print and I thought everything was great, I signed them, which is a huge no no, if you're gonna sign that and number that and send it off, you had better make sure that that is a perfect print, I signed them, I numbe...

red them, I got them to the framer and then the day before my gallery show, I got a call saying, "We think there's a problem with your print," and I said, no, that's impossible, I proofed all my prints and I was very certain, that I had done this and then they said, "No, we're pretty sure "that this is a printing issue "and not, you know, a scratch or anything like that," and I again said, no, no, there's no way, just send me a picture and then that's the image that I got, which if you look closely enough at it, you will notice that we've got some issue with the printing here. Is that my fault that it happened? Yes, I know that my printer messed it up, that there, clearly there is an issue in the printing process, but who looks bad, my printer? No, I do, because I proofed that print incorrectly, so proofing prints is massively important, I had to print that image as fast as I could, I was freaked out, tears and everything, it was like a whole freak show event, I was flying to New York that day to go to this gallery opening, at which time I learned that also the model in this image was also flying to New York to see the show and I was facing two decisions, one, frantically get this new print in and frame it as fast as possible and hang it on that wall as fast as possible or take her print out of the show, that she had just flown 3000 miles to go see, so I frantically printed it and we got it there, thank goodness and they framed it, thank goodness and one hour before the show, we ran it in there and we hung it up on the wall and it worked out, but it very easily could have not worked out, so proof your prints everyone. (laughs) Here's what I do, I scan the digital file line-by-line, before I ever send it in to the printer, so I will go through my file, if I've got it up in Photoshop and I scroll to the very top at 100% and I go straight across using the... slider bars, what are they, scrolly bars (laughs) on the bottom and top, so that I don't miss anything, so I'll scroll right across, go down a little bit, scroll across again and check every line of my digital file, I then scan the print line-by-line, did I do that in this case? No, I did not, big, big regret, but I should, make sure that there's full ink coverage, so making sure that there aren't any little spots, that you think might just be like dust from the printer, it's very easy to have pieces of paper from your prints sort of like come off, like little pieces of dust in the printer, they sort of stick to the ink of your print, so you have to really check every single time you see a little, white fuzzy to make sure that it's not a gap in the ink and that it is something that will come off of your print and that happens a lot in the printing process. Compare color, so make sure that you are really, really certain that that print, that just came out of the printer looks the same as the other prints that have come out of that printer, that looks the same as the one that you have on your computer, making sure that it's perfect, tonality as well, lightness, darkness, mid tones, make sure everything works out and then make sure that whoever you're sending it to proofs that image as well and that was another mistake that I made, I had shipped these prints directly to the framer and this was the very last print, that they were framing and only then, right before the show did they realize that something was wrong, had I asked them to open up that box, when they got it, which was three weeks prior to that, I wouldn't have had to overnight rush ship and frame everything, I would have had three weeks to deal with this problem, so that was also my fault, not their fault, my fault. This is an example of my certificate of authenticity, so we talked about this a little bit and this is just really, really simply the piece of paper, that somebody would get if they bought a print, but wanted either more assurances, that it was mine, I would send this, of course, it would be signed and dated, the other reason is if you can't sign your print, you would send a certificate of authenticity, if your print was being framed in such a way, that it covered the signature, you would wanna send a certificate of authenticity and a lot of people do this for every print that they sell, just because they can and it's extra assurance for your person purchasing and it can't hurt, so this is just another example of that, different size, different edition, but everything stays the same from certificate of authenticity to the next, except for the edition, the size, the title and when it was created, but the medium isn't changing, the artist isn't changing, I simply change that little thumbnail and I send it off and I print these on the same paper, that I print my prints on, so I send these to my printer and he prints it on that beautiful paper and then it's just a little nice touch, instead of it being, for example laminated, which will take away the value of your certificate of authenticity, just doing it on the same paper is nice and simple and easy. So then finally the back room, which I love talking about, because galleries have this, I feel like it's a cute little secret, it's not really a secret at all, but they have exhibitions and then they'll take those works and they'll put them in their storage room, their back room and I am amazed at how many prints sell from the back room, from not being on display, but just imagine, we're gonna like role play, okay, so you're coming into my gallery and I'm showing you the exhibition and trying to sell you on whatever is on the walls or whatever it may be and maybe you're interested, maybe you're not and if I sense you're not, then maybe I'll say, well, we have a lot more works in the back room, if you wanna see and then I take you into the back room and you see kind of like the blankets covering the prints and things like that, that are protecting them, but it almost feels like an exclusive club, because you're being taken into the space, where they store the prints, you know, it's like a little bit more intimate and a lot of prints are sold from the back room, a lot of prints, at least a lot of my prints, so like I said, I'll have an exhibition running, I'll sell maybe one to four prints on average from that show, but then the whole rest of the year, I'm selling prints from that back room of the gallery, where my prints are housed, when they're not on display and this is my favorite thing about galleries is that you don't just have that exhibition, once you're represented, they really take care of you and sell your work all year long, they're looking out for people, who might express any interest in what you have to do and then they're showing your work to those people, because they think that what they have will sell, so I think the back room is a pretty interesting thing to sell from and as a tactic of sales, which I hate talking about, sales tactics and that's why we have galleries, isn't it, so then they can do that.

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