Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

 

Lesson Info

Practice the Shoot

We finally know where we're doing every single image now throughout this amazing location. We've got the barn and the basement and all of the rooms in the basement. So I'm going to run through exactly how I'm going to shoot every single image. Not just with myself, but with my friend Samantha here. We're going to just pop in and out of every single one. Test a pose, see how it goes with the props, see how it is with the lighting, and just be totally ready for being on the official set to take the official photos. So for this image, I have a stand in right now, which is a little tiny grill. But here I have feathers, and these were completely naturally sourced feathers. And this is shockingly 300 feathers. And it doesn't really look like it. So given that we don't have enough feathers here, I'm going to be doing some compositing with these feathers where I will have them all around the subject in the final image, but I'm going to have to photograph them multiple times to be able to add t...

hem in later because this is a shockingly small volume of feathers for being 300 of them. So I'm not going to play with the feathers yet just in case they all blow away right now, which is highly likely. So instead I'll keep them off to the side. I'm just going to take one quick test shot with Samantha. She's going to be our stand-in model for today. And let's see how this one looks. So this is your spot. And for now you can simply sit on the floor. And this is a really good way to test my directing skills and to see what might look best tomorrow with the models, so that we're not here all day long just trying to figure out okay does this pose work, does this pose work? It's really good to visualize ahead of time, and see how it goes with somebody else, so that's what I'm going to be doing. I never met the models that are coming to do this actual shoot with me, so I don't know exactly what experience they have, or what they're comfortable with. It's always good to test those things. Alright. So for this image, I'm going to have you facing away from me, so you can face the back wall. Perfect. And what I'm going for here is that shallow depth of field that we've been talking about. So I'm making sure that I'm on F2, and I'm going to be really focusing on the form of the subject looking sort of like a a bird that has been injured in some way, so Samantha, I'm going to have you put your left hand to the ground. Yep, exactly. And then I'm going to have you pull your right arm in, so that I only see the side of your body. Perfect. And then I'm actually going to have you back-bend a little toward me. So arch your back. Good. And then you can flop your head to the left. Yep. Nope, nope, yep, left. There. Other side. There you go. Okay. And that is going to be generally the pose. Now I don't have her in a costume, but I'm going to have my model in sort of a nude leotard type of look. So knowing that, knowing that she is not as bright as will be tomorrow. Knowing that the shape isn't quite right because we can't see the form through the sweater. This is going to look pretty good to me. So I'm just taking one quick test shot. And I think that that looks good for now. My only concern that I can see happening tomorrow is that it's a little bit bright in the background. Knowing that, I might shut up some of the windows tomorrow just making sure that there is darkness in the background so that my subject stands out. But otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the depth-of-field that I'm getting, the shape of the room, and knowing that there will be feathers all around is going to make it even better. So let's move on to our next location. For this shoot, we are looking at the vines, and the chains that we have here. And this one's going to be really fun, I think, because we're again playing with that shallow depth-of-field, so we're trying to make sure that the subject stands out completely from the background, even though we have quite a close background here depending on which direction I shoot this. So what I'm making sure of is that I keeping my F2, my shallow depth-of-field, and I'm making sure that I have her completely wrapped up in these chains and vines. The idea being that we're mixing something manmade with something of nature. I'm actually going to shoot this as a levitation image. So she's going to be essentially dangling from the vines and chains with nothing below her, but of course I cannot do that because that would be dangerous for the model, so instead we're going to test. See how it goes with the chair. We're probably going to have a taller stool when I do the actual photoshoot, but we'll see how it goes with this. Just a general pose. Trying to get the chains and vines wrapping around our subject, and I think this one is going to require a little bit more finesse when we actually get to the model, just making sure that she's comfortable, but let's see how it goes test shooting this particular scene. So I'm going to have you sort of squatty potty in the chair. (laughing) Just-- Does it matter which direction? You can face this way. Good. Okay, perfect. And we're just going to take these and sort of wrap them around you. Just like that. Knowing that tomorrow, or when we actually shoot this, there's going to be a lot more finesse when it comes to wrapping and actually putting these chains in place, so that she really looks like she's being held up by these chains and vines. So I'm just going to see how this looks with the lighting, with the background, make sure that everything is going smoothly here. I'm going to frame this up. I'm actually going to have to get back just a little bit to about there. And I notice that there are some things that are distracting in the background. For example, I can see a window straight through here, and that's going to be a bit of a block of light. So when I shoot this, I'll just make sure that I don't see that window, that the light in the background is covered up a little bit better. And this is looking really neat, though, the vines and the chains look amazing. I like the shape that it's creating with our subject at the bottom of it. And when I actually shoot this image, I'm going to make sure that I don't just shoot the chair and the subject and the vines and the chains, but I have to make sure that I photograph all of this without the subject and without the chair so that I have a clean, blank slate shot where I can edit out the chair so that there is nothing below her. That's going to be our levitation image for the actual series, and I think it's going to go really smoothly, so let's move on to the next set up, which is just right here. So, Samantha, if you wanna hop over to this side. Here we've got an end table, and it looks nice and antique. We're probably gonna dirty it up just a little bit more because this is looking quite clean, in my opinion. And we have some more vines. I'll bring in a little bit of dirt just to make it look a little bit more natural all around. And the goal is going to be to take these vines and have them sort of crawling up the table so that it looks like it's being overrun with nature. And we're going to have our subject just plop sitting down right up there with one leg up. And when we actually shoot this, it'll be much more delicate. We're going to have her just draped in thin fabrics that will just flow right off. But for now, I'm going to get a sense of what this will look like with the background again. Good. And this one, we sort of did earlier with it shooting into this space, and it's looking quite similar with the light coming in from the front. That's really good. I feel really good about this image. It's gonna be one of the simplest ones that we do where it's just somebody posing, a really clear prop. There's not going to be a lot of Photoshop involved here, so that one is no sweat compared to some of the others. So let's move onto the basement and see what we're going to photograph in there. This is the scene where we're going to be photographing moss, and as you can see, we actually got it up on the walls. And I'm so excited to see that, so it's sticking and it's in the exact right shape. I'm really excited about it. So I think that this image is going to go really smoothly. What's going to happen is we're going to have our subject right in the corner of the room, and she'll sort of be dangling, stuck up in the corner, so her feet will be dangling here. So I'm going to have to shoot this one as a levitation image, as well. Where I'll simply photograph her feet, one right after the other so that I can edit them in later, and she will be dangling. So the idea here is that, if you wouldn't mind just popping yourself right into the corner there. Of course you don't have to dangle since you're not magic. Thank you. Yeah. You look it, though. You look very magical. And the idea here will be that we're going to cover our model in moss to cover her body a little bit, have the moss built up around her. And we're not able to that in a test shoot right now, but at least I can see a little bit of what the light is like, and I can see where the light is hitting. if I wasn't in the way, I would be able to see it even better. But I'm going to get just whatever angle I can right now because we have some work arounds. We're not doing the actual shoot yet. I'll be able to get a better angle tomorrow. But I'm just gonna back up and see what this might look like with the shape, in particular, in this scene. I'm just adjusting my ISO for this space, which again will be a little bit different. Okay. And so I'm just taking a few images here. I'm looking through my camera here, and instead of taking some shots of this, and instead of taking multiple shots and seeing how that looks, it's actually just really good to look through the camera. See the blur on the edges and just get a sense of the shape that we'll be creating with this scene. I feel really good about this image. I think that it looks really organic, really natural. And I think that this is going to be one of the easier shoots of the series, so I feel good about this. And I think we can move on to the other end of the room. This is going to be one of the more complicated shoots. This is where we're doing the tree photoshoot, but there is no tree in this space, so I have to Photoshop a tree into this space, break up the wood, not literally, but in Photoshop, break up the ceiling and create a lot of elements that are not here to begin with. I know that I'm going to use this particular space because it's so open and there's a lot of room to work in Photoshop here, but I'm actually not going to worry about exactly where I put my subject because that's going to be Photoshopped as well. The idea here is that we're actually going to see both underneath the house and in the room so that I have my subject trapped in the tree roots underneath the house. So this image will essentially be half below the house and half in the room. So I can photograph my subject anywhere, but I have to make sure that the lighting is the same so that the lighting is coming in from the side. I also need to make sure that she's on a completely black or dark backdrop. The reason for that being that if she is underground, in tree roots, there isn't going to be a lot of light and it's very likely that the background will be very dark considering it's underground. So that's what I'm thinking about here. So when I think about pose, I'm just gonna have you kneel down and sort of take fetal position. And this is the pose. Yeah, that would be great. And so if you can imagine her here, we're going to have tree roots sort of sweeping and under her and crawling all around her and that's going to be the pose, so it's almost as if she's being reborn underneath this tree in this decrepit house so that there is both death and life happening in this image. That would make this picture probably come at the very end of the series, making a statement about life and death instead of one or the other. So thank you. You can get out of fetal position. And that's going to be the tree shoot. I don't need to photograph it yet. I don't need to do a test shoot because I simply have to photograph the room as well as our subject separately, plus the tree, plus the roots, plus the leaves and all these other elements that are going to come into play. So let's move on to some of the more simple shoots. This image is going to be a lot simpler than the tree shoot. This is going to be an image where we're going to have this beautiful frame up on the wall, and I will be photographing my subject looking out into the frame, so she will have her back to me, the camera. I'll be looking at the wall, and I'm going to see this beautiful frame on the wall, but instead of keeping a mirror in it as we have right now, I'm actually going to edit that part out and make it look like there's something else outside. Maybe rolling hills or a stormy sky. Something like that to show this little bit of imagination, little bit of an alternate reality coming into this very real space. So that's going to be the goal here, and we're just going to hold this mirror up. Oh, it's heavier than I thought. And put it on the wall just like this to photograph it. So we don't really have to have the mirror and the subject in the same shot, necessarily. This can be done at anytime throughout the day, and that's all it's going to be is a mirror up on the wall. We're gonna be keeping the frame in the final picture. We're gonna edit out the mirror portion that way you won't see me standing over here taking the picture. And something else will be in this frame that our subject will be looking at. So that's going to be this image. It'll be a little bit more simple and straightforward than some of the others, so let's move on to talking about another one. This image is going to be one where we're sort of faking wallpaper in this space, so we've cut this bed sheet that looks like a wallpaper pattern, which is really good. But downside is that it's not actual paper. So the struggle here is going to be how do we make a bed sheet look like wallpaper, which is going to be okay. We're going to make it work somehow, someway. The idea is that we're going to have our subject, if you wouldn't mind just facing the wall, this will be the simplest thing that you do all day. She's already covered in moss 'cause we were playing with the moss earlier. And this is going to be the main image that I photograph here. So I'll just step back. Get my shot of the wallpaper and our subject here. Just like that. And the point of doing that is to just get a blank, clean shot of our subject. The next thing that I'm going to do is take some of this wallpaper, which is actually a bed sheet and cover her head. And I'm going to make it look like the wallpaper is peeling off of the wall, and sort of engulfing our subject. That's going to be the goal here. It seems like it could be simple, but since this isn't actual paper, we're going to have to do a couple of tests to see how it goes. I can see that it might not flop over the same way that paper will, but I'm hoping that we can do some sort of test where maybe-- (laughing) We can just photograph the edge of it going over her where it needs to go, and then I can blend this image of the fabric and the line of the fabric with the image that I will have shot earlier of her simply standing against the wall. It's a little bit complicated. It will come together eventually. So we're gonna have to walk through that in more depth when we do it, but I know that I have this idea at least of having the line of the wallpaper on her body, and I can blend this in with the actual image of the blank wall with the wallpaper. So let's go ahead and take a look. Let's uncover our subject. There you go. You're free. And the other thing that we're going to do in this space is with a chair. So I'm just going to grab this chair. And this chair is going to be the featured prop in our next space, which is going to be in the same corner. I really like this corner. I especially like this door. I think that it's a really interesting piece, and it has nice color to it. It'll just add some variation to this space that we've been working in. And the idea here is to actually take this chair, and hoist it up on the wall. I'm very strong. Just like this. There. I'm making it look easy. And this is what I'm going to photograph as my sort of main shot here. So I'll be looking into the corner. You'll see the chair up on the wall. And then I have to edit somebody into this chair. So this we'll do in three parts. The first part is going to be just the corner without a chair, without a person, nothing else. Just to make sure that I have this blank slate shot. The next thing that I'm going to do is photograph my subject. So I'll make sure that I have somebody sitting in the chair. Just like this. Really simple. Going to make sure that I have her hair up because I need to photograph her hair separately moving in a downward direction. That way I can add the hair onto her body later so that it looks like her hair is actually falling with gravity to the floor when she's sitting up on the wall in the chair. The reason why I'm able to do this in separate parts by photographing the wall and then photographing my subject sitting in the chair is that I can use this light coming directly in from one direction, there's not light coming from above, from behind, from any other direction but straight at my subject. And because of that, I can then rotate that picture in any direction and the lighting will not change. So I'm going to be able to photograph somebody sitting in a chair, and then eventually rotate that person to look like this, and the lighting will not change. So that's going to be a big plus for this image so that I don't have to precariously balance somebody on the stool, on the wall, on a chair, which would be really not fun to do for the model, although maybe fun to try, but we're not going to. So that's how I'm going to achieve this image of having somebody sitting in a chair that is also on a wall, and I think that that's going to be a really interesting image in the series, something a little bit different, a little bit more surreal. And a little bit simpler too in its composition. So that's going to be the chair on the wall in the same place as where we're doing the wallpaper, but a completely different feel to the image. In this little tiny room, I'm going to do the image with the sand. So we're bringing in a whole bunch of sand, and we're going to make sure that the room is filled at least in one corner with a whole bunch of sand. But I have to decide which corner I want to put the sand in. The final image is going to have someone sitting in a chair with all the sand built up around the chair. And the idea here is the passing of time. The way that sand builds up, and these old, decrepit things remain with our subject sort of trapped in the middle of it, delicately sitting on the chair. I'm not sure which angle I'm going to get yet. So let me just quickly test the light. I wanna do it in this corner, that would be really ideal here, but this light might be a little bit weird, so I'm just going to set the chair here in the corner of the room, and take a little step back just to see what this light is like. I'm trying to challenge my self as well, I think it's always important to challenge yourself when you're creating new works and this would be a lighting set up with the window so close and at this angle that I really shy away from usually. So I wanna see if I can do it, see how it looks and see if it still fits my style. So I'm just looking at the chair, looking at the light, and I really love it, and it does go against what I would normally do, but I think that it's going to be worth trying. This is not something that we're going to be able to set up and move easily because it's 800 pounds of sand, so I'm going to have to make up my mind, and I think that I'll probably shoot into this corner despite the fact that it's a little bit weird for me to do so. I still wanna see how it goes. The other thing that we were going to do in this room is photograph this bed. The idea being that we wanted to put the bed up on the wall with the headboard up on the wall. All of it cut in half and split apart so that our model would be stuck to the wall right in the middle of the bed that we have beautifully cut in half. But as I got into this space, I noticed that while the wall was really neat and the floor was perfect, the room was just not tall enough. And I needed a lot of height for this image. So that was when I started brainstorming. All right, if I cannot do this picture in here, where could I possibly do it. And someone suggested to me that maybe we do it on the floor. I thought about it, and I thought that will work. It will be perfect. But then I thought, this whole series is about meshing indoors and outdoors. Bringing the nature, the outside inside. So why don't we take something that is traditionally used indoors and bring that outside. I didn't have an image planned outside at all for this entire series. So I thought that might be really nice, to be able to take this bed, move it out to the field and actually photograph it looking down at the scene in a field. So that's going to be the new plan. We'll move the bed outside, and photograph that in the outdoor space. This is the final shoot that I have to test before we do our actual photoshooting in all of these spaces, and this is the one that I was most nervous about to begin with because the light is so strange in this room, and it sort of comes and goes really easily. It's very directional in here, but we've been able to move the fish tank, and that is super helpful because now the light is hitting the fish tank much more evenly. It's not in a shadow, and it looks really neat with the lines of the room. So we're shooting into the corner of the room, rather than straight on to anything. I think is going to be really beautiful, but in a lot of these spaces, I really have to be careful about where the subject's face is specifically, and if the light is hitting the face because there's so much shadow fall off here. So I need to be really careful of that, and another thing that we're thinking of is this piece of blanket that we have sticking out. You know there was of course a lot of safety issue in this room, having a lot of glass with a lot of water with a lot of rocks. So I have a blanket laid down here, and we're just gonna cover that up with dirt when we do the actual photoshoot. But for now, this looks pretty good. And we've got Samantha laying like a corpse in here, which I think looks really cool, but we're going to have our model floating in the water when it comes time to do the shoot, so for now, though, this is a really great way to test the light. I'm just going to back up and get a couple of test shots. Tomorrow when I do the actual photoshoot, I'm going to switch my lens out so that I have a 25 millimeter lens instead of a 50. That way I can get everything in one shot in this little space. So I'm just gonna step back, and see how this light officially looks with the fish tank moved into position. Okay. It looks perfectly creepy. I'm really excited. Everything looks very blue and murky in here. So I think that once we have our model dressed in a light colored outfit, which will be very, very helpful in this space to reflect more light. Once we have the water in there that will be a little bit murky, I think that's really going to stand out from the background, and this little beam of light is going to be perfect for creating just the right atmosphere in this space, so the next thing that we're going to do is do this actual photoshoot now that I have run through the entire location, sort of tested with a model and figured out all of my angles and all of my options. So the next thing we do is shoot, and this has been really, really good test run.

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.

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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

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
Locations
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
 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • 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. :)