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.

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. :)