Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 37 of 138

Lighting for the Scene

 

Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 37 of 138

Lighting for the Scene

 

Lesson Info

Lighting for the Scene

So here we have a few images and we're dealing with lighting, now. And lighting is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating things that we can deal with as a visual artist, specifically with photography. And I never thought that I hear myself say those words, that it's one of the most interesting things to me, because I hate lighting, I really do. I don't enjoy working with lights, I don't enjoy, even, flipping a switch to get a light to turn on. I think it's annoying and quite frankly, it's not part of my process. That's not to say that I don't appreciate it immensely, 'cause I do, I love the lighting theory. I just don't love doing it. So, the way that I do my lighting is in Photoshop and I am not afraid to admit that. I do it and that's okay with me. And it might not be your method and that's okay. You know, we're getting to the same end goal, which is having control of light. Really having control of it and not just settling for whatever is outside at the moment or whatever's in...

side at the moment. So, with lighting, first and foremost, it's creating a mood. We're trying to create images that have a certain feeling to them, have a certain emotion in them. It creates atmosphere, which atmosphere I find, is a really hard to define word. It's a word that can mean mood, but it also has this, sort of, airy, tangible feel to it, which I feel that light provides, specifically if we look at this image with the ladder coming out of the hole. There's this beam of light coming into it, that you almost feel like you could sort of, like, touch the dust going through it, in a sense, and that to me is creating atmosphere. And then it brings attention to whatever you want to bring attention to. In my case it would be the subject, in yours it might be something else entirely, but it's perfect for that. And then we've got color temperature. So, how are you going to deal with color temperature of light? In camera, in post-production? Doesn't really matter how you do it, as long as you do it, as long as you are aware that color temperature is a thing. It's a real thing, okay. And then post processing. So, what is your process in post? (laughs) And how are you going to manipulate the light? So I'll just explain really quickly how I deal with light in my images. For example, this one, with the two bedsheets over my head, that one was a little bit, less manipulated and Photoshopped than the rest. I had hung a dark backdrop behind me, I stood with a window near me, so that the light hit directly and I made sure to position myself in a way where I wouldn't have to change a lot of things later on. It's simply, that's where the light hit, added contrast, of course I did a lot of other things in Photoshop, but in terms of light not very much. Whereas you have an image like this, where I'm coming up out of this hole and it was a little bit flat of an image. I remember, I shot this background in Australia, and it was just an overcast day. There was nothing special about that kind of lighting, but I really wanted to create this feeling that light was coming in from the background and hitting our subject because that made it more dynamic, because that shed light, literally, on the subject, on the character, here. And I remember when I was doing that there were a lot of things to think about. For example, how is that light going to hit my background, which wasn't really hit like that? How is it going to hit my subject, where I did make sure to light myself to match this lighting? But, am I making sure that the color temperature is the same between those two things? And then finally, how is it hitting the atmosphere? How is it hitting the clouds? Does this look realistic? I would actually say that it looks slightly unrealistic and that's just my own critique of my work. But, I was okay with it at the time, I'm still, kind of, okay with it, if I'm being totally honest and in the end it created a much more dynamic picture, than if I had not bothered to light my subject from behind with a rim light and if I had not bothered to add contrast to the floor of this image. Other images here, perhaps I didn't have to do as much in Photoshop with the lighting, but for example, with this picture, I have a lit candle here, in this one, and I didn't really have a lit candle in that scenario. Mostly 'cause I was in a swamp and it was very uncomfortable and I didn't have the patience to light a candle in that scenario. I just wanted to get the heck out of the swamp, so I didn't, and I did that later and then I added a glow to my face. And it's instances like that where yes, I could have done it there. It would have been fine, I was a little bit afraid of burning things down, which in hindsight in stupid 'cause I was in water, but still, I had this fear in my head, I was in Arizona, you know, you get these things, and I knew I could do it later. I knew that I could add that believable glow. Why? Because I was shooting in diffused light. There was no direct, harsh light source. So it was believable that I could light something up and it would look right, because there was no clear light source already in the image. So, for that image, lighting became super important to draw attention to my subject, to actually light my subject, and to not be distracted by all these other things going on in the picture. And again, whether I succeeded in that or not, is up for debate, but that was the goal, when I started creating the light in that image. This is an image where I did try to light it on the set, on the scene. This was in the forest and I brought all of these candles and I wanted to make sure that I had some natural glow that I could play off of in this picture, so I made sure that, for example, there was a candle by the book lighting the page a little bit, so then I could see how that naturally looked, and this was lighting her collarbone. So I did have a number of candles there, which I then enhanced here. Not very much, you can see that that light that was on the book is still on the book, that light that was on her collarbone is still on her collarbone, but then you can also see that I added lots of books that weren't there originally because I'm not made of money and I didn't want to buy a hundred books for this, so I bought a few books and did what I could with it, and then had to create that light. And I was able to create that light because I studied the light in this picture, because I'm studying where is the light coming from, how harsh is it, what is the temperature of it, and then emulating that in other parts of the image. These are super old photos of mine and by super old, I mean, as far back as my history goes. This image with this ball of light that one of me is handing to the other me, is the first image that I ever created, ever, with my camera, and that image was definitely a learning curve. I didn't know exactly what I was doing, but I was just coming out of film school and I had learned so much about lighting, and I did learn a lot, but I should say, I didn't really know how to do it. I had had this three and a half year education about how to light things, and then if you had handed me a light I would have said I don't know how to work this light. I was just useless. So I was doing things like using 200 watt bulbs, light bulbs, with Ikea paper lanterns around them, and diffusing the light somehow and just trying to create soft, ambient light in my images and that's how I created this other one, too, with the bedsheets, just by putting those balls of light behind me and seeing how that looked. And I show you these images because I have very much gotten away from doing things like this. If you look at the previous set of images, particularly these, there's lots of light in the images. They don't really come from a particular source, exactly, they're very, sort of, evenly lit, and I believe that I have started doing that out of fear, out of fear of lighting and I don't know if any of you guys have fear of lighting, but it's big with me. Like, I hate lights, I don't like using lights, and it freaks me out, and I didn't start out like that. So it's important to sort of, show you how I got out of film school, I learned about lighting and I wasn't scared to do it. And the reason why is that I didn't have a reputation, I hadn't done anything, so you could do anything. You know the feeling? Where you're like, wow, wow, nobody expects anything from me, I can just do whatever I want, and I started doing things like this and it didn't stick. It's important to know that I didn't love it enough to keep doing it. I didn't love the process, I didn't love the results, but I tried it. And lighting is really good for trying different things within your art, for experimenting and seeing how that sits with people, seeing how that sits with you and how that can tell a story. This is just a quick example of color temperature and how we can use the color of light to manipulate how we see an image. I just shot this image the other day in a forest and it was very yellow out there. The green was reflecting all over the place and then I simply switched the color temperature, made it really blue, and saw how that effected the mood of the image. And it does effect the mood, in a really big way. I think that color temperature is probably one of the biggest things that we can look at in terms of how do you immediately feel toward an image. I wanted to show this one to talk about the atmosphere of light, to talk about what kind of feeling does the lighting evoke here? If this image wasn't lit from the side and didn't have that contrast would it have the same impact? If this was just straight on, maybe like, lit with a big light, Ikea light, straight on? It would have a different feeling. You'll notice, for example, if you look at horror movie images there's often a lot of bright direct light in those images and you see lots of shadows and it's very mysterious and scary. And then you'll see, let's say a movie poster for maybe a period piece about people who live in the countryside of England and it's almost guaranteed to have overcast, gray light, right? Like, because that's what it looks there and it looks very whimsical and soft, and you're not expecting a horror movie, then, are you? It's just a fact. If you see a close up of someone's face and they've got like blood trickling down their face and a harsh light on them, you know what kind of movie you're getting, pretty much. And then if you see a girl in a whimsical dress running through a field and it's all very evenly lit, you know what kind of movie you're getting, roughly, generally speaking. So I'm giving you horror movie, no I'm kidding, I'm not really, but I'm giving horror something, my version of horror, and I believe that the lighting creates atmosphere here. The lighting cues you in to this is a certain type of image. It's going to be a little bit darker, the background is dark because the light isn't hitting the background, it's only hitting the subject and there's contrast within this picture. And then here I'm creating a cone of light, let's just say, which I think is an actual lighting term, so I probably shouldn't say that, but I am creating a literal cone of light. Where I have a light source that wasn't actually there and I'm drawing in where the light needs to go over the whole entire image and then same with this one. So here we have a cone of light, is that a real thing? Can anyone confirm? I think it's a real thing, okay. So, I've got my light that wasn't there to begin with, that's just adding to the shape of the image, the atmosphere of the image, and how your eye looks at it.

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.

Lessons

  1. Class Introduction
  2. Storytelling & Ideas
  3. Universal Symbols in Stories
  4. Create Interactive Characters
  5. The Story is in The Details
  6. Giving Your Audience Feelings
  7. Guided Daydream Exercise
  8. Elements of Imagery
  9. The Death Scenario
  10. Associations with Objects
  11. Three Writing Exercises
  12. Connection Through Art
  13. Break Through Imposter Syndrome
  14. Layering Inspiration
  15. Creating an Original Narrative
  16. Analyze an Image
  17. Translate Emotion into Images
  18. Finding Parts in Images
  19. Finding Your Target Audience
  20. Where Do You Want Your Images to Live?
  21. Create a Series That Targets Your Audience
  22. Formatting Your Work
  23. Additional Materials to Attract Clients
  24. Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful?
  25. How to Make Money from Your Target Audience
  26. Circle of Focus
  27. The Pillars of Branding
  28. Planning Your Photoshoot
  29. Choose Every Element for The Series
  30. Write a Descriptive Paragraph
  31. Sketch Your Ideas
  32. Choose Your Gear
  33. How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations
  34. What Tells a Story in a Series?
  35. Set Design Overview
  36. Color Theory
  37. Lighting for the Scene
  38. Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design
  39. Locations
  40. Subject Within the Scene
  41. Set Design Arrangement
  42. Fine Art Compositing
  43. Plan The Composite Before Shooting
  44. Checklist for Composite Shooting
  45. Analyze Composite Mistakes
  46. Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing
  47. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing
  48. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories
  49. Shoot: Miniature Scene
  50. Editing Workflow Overview
  51. Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress
  52. Edit Details of Images
  53. Add Smoke & Texture
  54. Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite
  55. Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario
  56. Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot
  57. Self Portrait Test Shoots
  58. Shoot for Edit
  59. Shoot Extra Stock Images
  60. Practice the Shoot
  61. Introduction to Shooting Photo Series
  62. Shoot: Vine Image
  63. Shoot: Sand Image
  64. Shoot: End Table Image
  65. Shoot: Bed Image
  66. Shoot: Wall Paper Image
  67. Shoot: Chair Image
  68. Shoot: Mirror Image
  69. Shoot: Moss Image
  70. Shoot: Tree Image
  71. Shoot: Fish Tank Image
  72. Shoot: Feather Image
  73. View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing
  74. Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion
  75. Edit Images with Advanced Compositing
  76. Decide How to Start the Composite
  77. Organize Final Images
  78. Choosing Images for Your Portfolio
  79. Order the Images in Your Portfolio
  80. Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others?
  81. Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order
  82. Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing
  83. Determine Sizes for Prints
  84. How to Choose Paper
  85. How to Choose Editions
  86. Pricing Strategies
  87. How to Present Your Images
  88. Example Pricing Exercise
  89. Print Examples
  90. Licensing, Commissions & Contracts
  91. How to Keep Licensing Organized
  92. How to Prepare Files for Licensing
  93. Pricing Your Licensed Images
  94. Contract Terms for Licensing
  95. Where to Sell Images
  96. Commission Pricing Structure
  97. Contract for Commissions
  98. Questions for a Commission Shoot
  99. Working with Galleries
  100. Benefits of Galleries
  101. Contracts for Galleries
  102. How to Find Galleries
  103. Choose Images to Show
  104. Hanging the Images
  105. Importance of Proofing Prints
  106. Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery
  107. Press Package Overview
  108. Artist Statement for Your Series
  109. Write Your 'About Me' Page
  110. Importance of Your Headshot
  111. Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch
  112. Writing For Fine Art
  113. Define Your Writing Style
  114. Find Your Genre
  115. What Sets You Apart?
  116. Write to Different Audiences
  117. Write for Blogging
  118. Speak About Your Work
  119. Branding for Video
  120. Clearly Define Video Talking Points
  121. Types of Video Content
  122. Interview Practice
  123. Diversifying Social Media Content
  124. Create an Intentional Social Media Persona
  125. Monetize Your Social Media Presence
  126. Social Media Posting Plan
  127. Choose Networks to Use & Invest
  128. Presentation of Final Images
  129. Printing Your Series
  130. How to Work With a Print Lab
  131. Proofing Your Prints
  132. Bad Vs. Good Prints
  133. Find Confidence to Print
  134. Why Critique?
  135. Critiquing Your Own Portfolio
  136. Critique of Brooke's Series
  137. Critique of Student Series
  138. Yours is a Story Worth Telling

Reviews

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. :)