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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 77 of 138

Organize Final Images


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 77 of 138

Organize Final Images


Lesson Info

Organize Final Images

We get to talk about organizing images right now, and I know that that seems a little bit boring. Or like, uh, I don't want to talk about organizing images when we could be editing photos or something like that. But I actually think that it's extremely important because when I started out in my career, I didn't care about this at all. I did not care about where my images were or if they were backed up or what file types I had saved or anything. And then I had the great computer crash of and I lost a lot of things that I wish that I hadn't lost. And so now I try to be a little bit better about how I organize my images and how easy it is to find my images and as I say this I am a hypocrite because as we all know there's the way that you should do things and the way that things actually happen. And those two things don't always meet in the middle. And that's me. So, I'm going to tell you my ideal version of how I would do things and admit that I don't always succeed in that. But nonethel...

ess this is the perfect way of doing it if you can keep up with everything. So I've got a few images to show you and in my opinion there are three ideal file types and you might disagree and this is totally okay to disagree with, this is just in my world, this is what I always do. I always have a Photoshop file and see I already said it I always do this, but I don't, but I should always do this have a Photoshop file, which is your psd file and that's my master file with all my layers at the largest size possible. So psd could be switched for psb which is the other Photoshop file type that allows you to save images that are larger than two gigabytes. So if you have a really big Photoshop file, you'll save it as a psb. Just large Photoshop file. I like to think that it stands for Photoshop big, but I don't know what it actually stands for. But makes a lot of sense to me. I save tif files because my printer prints from tif files. I don't mean my physical machine, I mean my human who prints my photos for me. He always requests tif files, so the way that I do that is by saving a few different sizes so however many sizes you have that you offer your clients or your art buyers, whoever is going to buy your prints. You'll want to have tif files to send to your printer saved in those sizes. So a lot of the times printers will accept just one big tif file, and then they'll resize it for you to print at whatever size you request, but my printer I think got sick of doing that and one day he said can you send me the exact file size that you want printed. And the good thing about doing that is they can't get it wrong then. If you say the file is already sized to what you need, then they can't be like oh shoot I forget the file size or print the wrong size or anything like that. So every single time I have an image I have the psd, it's a finished file. I always save it as 10 inch print, a 20 inch print, 30 inch print and so on. So that I can just click, drop in dropbox or we transfer whatever you use and send it off to my printer, super, super easy. And then I always have a jpg and that's for the internet. Just a small web sized jpg. And for me I do 700 pixel jpgs so if I'm putting something online it's never going to have a side longer than 700 pixels. And if I do behind the scenes work or you know sort of something that isn't an official image, then sure I'll do larger than that. I might post close-ups of my final images at larger sizes. But I try never to do larger than a 700 pixel jpg. And the reason is because I've had some issues with images being stolen and printed and sold and things like that. But I tend to think that those things are probably going to happen either way, but I still try to protect myself as much as possible and then at least I seem nice and responsible because I put the right size image out there and that's good for peace of mind. As far as watermarking goes, I'm not into watermarking, but I don't have anything against watermarking. I just tend to think that, you know, people who want to give credit will find a way to give credit. And people who don't won't give you credit. I've also never had an image protected by a watermark so I can't say if that would've helped me so much in the grand scheme of having pictures stolen, but I did have an exhibition once where somebody came along and photographed every single print on the wall and then sold their files as prints. So things can happen in ways that you wouldn't even imagine. And so I try not to worry too much about it, but these are my ideal file types. And this is how I organize my folders. Which you don't need to read this, I know its' really tiny. But I've got a whole bunch of folders that say different years on them. And I have all the images from that year in that folder. And then I've got them all named by the name of the image. And I know that if you create a large volume of images then you might be like, I'm never gonna remember the names of all the pictures that I've created, so how am I gonna find them? So your file naming scheme might be different from mine. I can't remember probably 75% of the titles that I've chosen for my images, but I have them all on flickr by date. So every time I create a new image, I upload it on flickr and that allows me to look chronologically through all of my images and then I can find them in my files if I can't remember a name or probably just can't remember what year it was or whatever that may be. So that's a really good way to do it. I always have the title and then this is what you'll see inside every folder if I'm being a really good girl, and if I'm not then it might look a lot more confusing than this. So I've got my psd file in there always, which I always name with my last name underscore the title of the image. So that that's always consistent if I'm sending to client or anybody at all. It's always like that. I have my 700 pixel jpg. And then I personally have four main sizes for my prints that I will offer clients. And I save all of those as tifs. So like we talked about the psd, the jpg, and the tifs. Here you can see four files that are tifs with my sizes put in the name. So for example we've got the 10 inch print that says Shaden, my last name, The Sky is Burning, 10x10, 20x20, 30x30, 40x40 and so on. So now if somebody writes me an e-mail and they say I wanna buy this print I can simply go into that folder, click the size that they want, send it on to my printer and we're done. So really really simple. But of course, it takes discipline to do anything like this and I don't have it so I'm trying to get better. So this brings me to this topic, which is really the most important thing perhaps that I could share right now. Which is how do you keep track of the images that you sell? And I wanna bring this up because it's something that I didn't do right away and I really regretted not doing it. And that is just thinking logically, okay I'm selling a print, how do I keep track of that. What kind of document do I make, who do I have to tell that I've sold a print, all these questions that if you don't keep track of it from day one, you could be in serious trouble with art collectors in the future if you accidentally number a print wrong or something like that. And we're going to talk about numbering your prints, editioning your prints, the sizes of your prints the prices of your prints, all of that stuff in just a bit. Not during this segment, but just a little bit later. And so I just want you to think ahead to you've got a line of prints that you're going to sell you've got sizes of them you've got editions of them. And again, we're gonna go over that in great detail, not right now though. So how do you keep track of the images that you sell? And you might already have a system, that is fantastic if you do. And if you don't I wanted to share with you how I keep track of my prints. And it's a very big document that I have to keep track. I keep this on google drive. And I do that so that I can access this anywhere at any time. So the first thing that you want to think of is where are you keeping that document? Because if you happen to be in another country, in another state, in another anywhere, and you're selling a print to somebody, you need to be able to access that document to know exactly what number print that is. What, you know, write down what size it is, who bought it. What did they pay for it? If it sold or not, things like that. So let me take you through the categories here of what you'll need to write down. One is the title of the print or however you keep track of your prints. If your prints are called one, two, three, four, then that would be fine, too, doesn't matter. So the title of the print. The edition number of the print. So an edition is when you limit the number of prints at a certain size that you're going to sell of a single image. So that edition number is indicating which number of that total amount you have sold so far. So you'll see here that we've got some that are out of 15, one of 15, two of 15, three of 15. And that is indicating that the next one that I sell of that image at that size will be four of 15 and so on until it sells out. And I need to know that, because if I don't know that, then how am I going to possibly legally sell somebody the next edition of a print, I can't do it. I have to just sort of scrub everything and admit to all the previous art buyers that I have no idea what numbers are out there right now and that would be, oh my god, it makes me sick thinking about it. Just like having to contact art buyers and say that. So then we have the size and you'll notice something weird with my sizes that I only have one number in the size. And you will probably have multiple numbers in the size like 10x12 for example, instead of just 10 inches. So my prints are all square, so I don't have to do 10x12 you know, I don't know any normal sizes, 11x18, things like that because they're all squares. So I should've written maybe 10x10, 30x30 in that column, but I know that they're squares so I just write one number. And then I have written down paper here. And you'll notice that literally almost everything says paper except for this one line that says acrylic. And that's because it's really important that you know what medium you're printing your work on so if you have some works that you offer on canvas and some that you offer on metal you should definitely note exactly what you're printing on. So I have for example this one print that I sold that was on acrylic. And it's important that I note that because that edition will be on acrylic. So always good to keep track of. I have my invoice number, which I just blurred out because those are the names of the people who bought the images and I thought let's not share that publicly, 'cause that would be rude. And then I have this other column that says sold. And what I mean by this column is, first of all, did I print it and then immediately sell it to somebody, if so I would write sold next to it. Some I have gift next to, because I've given it as a gift to somebody. Others I have donation written next to because I've donated it to a charitable cause. So all of these options are in there but then I also have blank spaces meaning that I printed it, and I still have it personally. So that's in my collection of prints. Which I'll show you in just a little bit. But you still have to note that you printed it, okay. So if you plan on printing your portfolio and you're like oh I'm never gonna sell these prints these are just like trash prints that I'll just share with people and then never sell, then okay you don't have to note that you printed it, but I don't know about you, if I'm gonna print something, I sure would like to sell it eventually to make my money back on that. So I have that column there just for that. This is just another example. Yeah, go ahead. So when a gallery is involved and they sell your print, how do you keep track of the edition that way? Do they let you know? Yes, they're supposed to let you know. And it's great when they do, and sometimes they'll drop the ball on that. And that has happened to me many times where you know like maybe they're system is that they'll tell you quarterly if they've sold anything. So I always say up front with my galleries if I have a new representation or just even a new exhibition I always say to them I need to know right away when something sells because I don't do a lot of exclusivity with galleries. So if I have a certain image it's really unlikely for me that I'll give one gallery exclusive rights to sell that image, I might have that same image in a different gallery across the United States. So I need to know right away. And this also depends on if you do exclusivity and if you sell yourself. So if you are selling prints from your own online marketplace or just to people that you meet, then of course you would need to know right away. So yeah, they should tell you right away, and if there's any doubt in your mind as to what number they had or what size it was, they should clarify all of that. Whenever I get checks from my galleries it almost always says in the memo the title of it, the size of it, and the edition that they sold. So that's really easy to keep track of. And then it's scanned into your bank which is also really good for, just like, I forgot to take note of that one. So that's a really good way to do it. But I would say that while galleries should be on top of that kind of thing, I kind of feel like it's the responsibility of the artist to put that in a contract with the gallery so that you have stated very clearly how you like to receive that information. 'Cause they all do it different. It's kind of a mess. Okay so this is just another example of how I'm keeping track and I pulled up this slide because you'll notice here that it says AP here, whereas all of rest are numbers, there's another AP. And the reason why I bring this up is because, and we're gonna talk about this later in more depth but when you're editioning your prints, you have the option to give an artist proof. Something that you sell, you could give it as a gift, you could keep it for yourself. And this tradition started because when artists would create their prints, you know, whether it was from a photographic medium a painting, whatever, they were able to create a proof for themselves which is simply printing something, looking at it, seeing if it works and if so then you print everything from that file then. And the great thing about this is that in the digital world yes we can do proofs but they're not labor intensive, they're not, they don't really hurt our budget very much, they're just small prints usually. But the good thing now is that we can sell artists proofs to anyone buying an image and that artists proof will often sell for double the amount that a normal print would in the edition. Because it's sort of like the last resort print. So if you have an image that has sold out of the edition, which is I brought this one up here, for example we've got one of seven, two of seven, all the way to five of seven, there are only two more prints at that size of this image. Considering that I only have two more prints let's say in the next couple of years they sell, I'm done at that size. So if somebody comes to me and they're like I really want this print and it has to be 30 inches, then I might say to them well I can print my artists proof for you, but it might cost more money. You know I can sort of say the series has sold out this is the marked up price of the artists proof. And that's just a personal preference how you want to deal with that. But also something that you will need to mention when you're keeping track of your prints. So this is definitely a very good document to have, something that you have to have access to anywhere you go. I know that I bring it up constantly when I'm at my shipper you know and I'm getting ready to send it out, I'm about to sign it and I'm like, oh no I forgot to write down what number this was. It's really good to have. So these are just some examples of the image and then the prints that I've sold with it. And you can see that here. Where there are different sizes that you'll see. And my sizes go in a weird order, so you see this is the 20 inch size, the 10 inch size, and then the 30 inch size all the way at the bottom. And that's just based on what sold first. So the first thing that I sold was a 20 inch print. The next thing was a 10 inch print. The next thing was a 30. And that's why it's not in exact right order. I could've tried harder and put it in exactly the right order, but I just don't. So that's why you see that getting all weird and messed up like that. Okay, don't even try to read this it is okay, I am going to explain every little bit to you. And this is a very intricate system of keeping track of licensed images. So we just talked about actual physical prints, and that is much easier to keep track of in my opinion than digital files that you are selling. So a licensed image indicates that you are selling a digital file to somebody for their purposes. Be it a book cover, album art, things like that. Website design, whatever you might be selling your image for. And I just want to take you though the different categories that you will need to be aware of when you are licensing images. Because this gets super tricky. If you license an image. Lets just say that I licensed a picture for a book cover. Well, there are so many terms that go into that contract that we have to be aware of that have to be indicated on this document. So for example, you have, okay who is the person buying the image? What company is it, what person is it, who's under that umbrella? Okay and then you have the amount that you're selling the image for, which you have to keep track of. Especially if that amount will change based on royalties or further purchases of the license for future use, which we will talk about in another segment. I promise, but just know that the amount is important to keep track of. If it's exclusive, which opens up a large can of worms, so. Let's just like brainstorm real quick. Let's say I'm selling my digital file to somebody and they're gonna use it on a book cover. Let's say April that you are buying my image and you have a book coming out and you're really excited about it but you're like I really want this picture, I don't have a huge budget, but I'm gonna try to work this out. You might come to me and you might say what's the price for your image? Which would be the natural thing to ask. At which time I would say well we have to talk about a lot of things. Like where are you going to sell that image, how are you going to sell the image, meaning on your book cover, to how many people, are you gonna print that book, will it be online only as an e-book. Do you want exclusive rights to that image? And if so for how long, one year, two years, three years, forever. Do you want to be able to have exclusive rights for one year but only within your country or worldwide? So there are all of these different elements that you have to know, so, if anything in this line of exclusivity says exclusive that's really easy to deal with. Because that just means that I can't sell that image ever again to anybody for any reason. Easy. Also, you know, doesn't happen that often, 'cause I'm gonna put a huge price tag on that, which we'll talk about later. But is it exclusive or not and what are the terms. If there are terms, if it's non exclusive, or if it's exclusive, what are the terms. For example are you going to sell that in a limited run within a certain country, within a certain time frame? These are all the things that you're thinking of. How did they pay you? Just to be able to track that back. What format are you giving them. So will it be digital only, digital plus print, print only things like that good to know. Let's see invoice number I have on there, totally optional just if invoice people keeping track of that. The medium so is it an album is it a book is it a website is it a movie poster, all of these options that you have of what you could sell for. Is there a working title for what you're putting out there? Always good to be able to google later and see your picture pop up. And then any notes that you might have just little notes of like I don't know little things within the deal that were different from others or that you might need to remember. And something that you might want to put in the notes is if you're supposed to charge that person extra if they print more copies of it or after a certain term. Often times let's say a band will come to me and they'll say I really don't think that we're gonna sell more than 1,000 copies of this CD, but if we do, they'll say, we'll come back to you and pay you more money if we do sell more than that. So I'll often give deals to artists if they really don't think that they're gonna have a lot of success selling what they're trying to sell. Which sounds mean, I don't mean it to, I want it to sound nice, because I want all of us artists to work together and give fair prices based on how its going to be used.

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.


  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


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.

Angel Ricci

When the title says comprehensive, it means comprehensive! I loved every part of this course. It's inspirational, motivating, and insightful towards creating art work. Even if you are not necessarily considering a fine art specialty, the concepts discussed in this course are applicable to many areas! I find this super useful as a videographer and photographer and look to apply all of these exercises and concepts for my personal and business work moving forward. It is lengthy, but you will not regret a single minute. Brooke Shaden is an amazing artist and educator. I recommend keeping up with her work, presentations, and any future courses that may come in the future.