Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Pricing Your Licensed Images

So how do we price this work? And I have this little tiny formula that I hope is helpful, which is your base price, which is not helpful for me to say, but we're gonna talk about that, your base price of the least amount you would sell an image for digitally plus how exclusive that file is going to be with that company, and that will equal your cost. So let's just give a quick example here. And this is a totally random example. I do not remember the exact terms of this license. But let's just say when I sold this image, this person had come to me and said "Okay, I would like this image "not to be sold on any albums for one year." Let's just say that. So I could still sell this picture for book covers, for websites, whatever I might want. And they said "You can sell this anywhere else in the world, "I'm not giving any location exclusivity. "But no other album art for one year." Well, I'm gonna have to determine what is my base price and how exclusive does that make that contract to get ...

my cost. So let's just say that my base price is $500. That's my base price of if somebody wanted, like, no exclusivity, I can sell it anywhere at any time, $500 is my price. So if I have $500 as my base price and then I take into account I can't sell this image for one year on albums only, you have all these little, tiny steps of what you could decide to make your pricing. So I'm not gonna tell you yet exactly what I would do, we will get there. But just keep in mind there are a lot of tiny things to think about and it's quite daunting. Hopefully we'll get to a good place. Oh, there we go. So if your base price is $100, let's say that you just tack on another hundred for each piece of exclusivity just to make it easy. Maybe you have that adds up to $300, and then that would be 400 bucks. Simple, but not so simple at all. (chuckling) All right, so let's talk about why it's not so simple. So this is a pricing structure with limitations. So if there are limitations to how your image can be used, this is what you would wanna consider: is it within a certain country, within a certain medium, for how many different years, or forever. And I write out these specific things because this is how my pricing works. So instead of figuring out my terms for two years, and four years, and eight years, and 15 years, and all the things that it could be, I tend to just choose the most common of the requests that I get, which, I don't know why, but I don't think I've ever had somebody license an image and say that they wanted exclusive for two years or four years. It's always one, three, and five years, for whatever reason. Maybe that's like a publishing thing that I don't know about or something. So that's how I do my pricing. So I have different pricing based on within a certain country, within a certain medium, for different years, and then in conjunction with one another. This is torture. This is torture pricing. I mean, I feel like nobody should have to do this for themselves, but we're doing it for ourselves. Okay, so this is an example of what I might add on to my pricing based on exclusivity. So for example, if my base price is $500, and then they're going to be exclusive for one year with a certain company, maybe within the country and the medium, then maybe I add $200. For three years, maybe I add $500. For five years, maybe $800. And forever, maybe $2,000. And this is just my general pricing personally. I do not know what everyone else sells their images for, okay. So, I do have a few of my images with an agency, and I sell through an agency in a very limited way. And mostly I sell by myself. So I'm representing myself, I'm giving prices myself, I'm sending the image myself, and this is simply what I have come to sell at. And so far it's working! I mean, so far I am selling images, and so far nobody has yelled at me too much. Just once, and they were mean, so it didn't count. Isn't that true, if someone's really mean, it doesn't count?! Yeah. Everyone be nice. Okay. So then here's a pricing structure with exclusivity, perhaps one year. And this is with exclusivity in every country, worldwide, exclusive rights for one year: a thousand dollars, $1500, $2000, and forever. Just examples, just guidelines that you might wanna use for pricing your own work. And if that looks really high to you, it might be for where you are in your career. If it looks really low, it might be for where you are in your career. It totally depends. And my pricing also changes a lot based on the image itself. For example, I've had a number of requests to license this image so far since creating it, which it's about a year old now. Maybe a little bit longer, but around a year old. And that's kind of a lot for me, to have a number of inquiries about a single image in just the year since it's been created. So I wanna think about this image and its sellability, you know. If I've got an image that I think no one's gonna ever want to buy for whatever reason, then maybe I would sell that at a lower price than this image, which I would be more hesitant to give exclusivity to, because I know that there are other people interested in buying this picture. So if I've got this image and someone says "I want exclusive rights forever, and ever, "and ever worldwide," I'm probably gonna put a really high price tag on that because I know that there is more money to be made from selling this image digitally versus some other creepy picture that I've done that almost nobody will wanna buy for whatever reason. I don't know why more people aren't into creepiness, but K. So optional pricing considerations, things that you might wanna consider. The quantity of the print run, so how big is their budget for printing, which is not always, I should say, an indication of how much they can pay their artist. You know, if you think about yourself putting a project out there, maybe you put all of your budget into just printing it to get it out there to as many people as possible, but you don't think about the artist and who you're gonna pay for the cover. I totally get that. I mean, if I were doing that, I would probably do it the same way, without really considering oh my gosh, I have to pay the artist. Which is terrible, 'cause I am an artist and I like getting paid. But I still probably wouldn't consider it. The personal value of the work, not just sellability of an image, such as this one, but how personal is it to me. I mean, where do I want to see that work go? There are certain images of mine that I won't license to people because it has really significant personal meaning to me and I just don't want it out there on a book cover, or album art, or something that I don't feel really good about. So I'm always thinking what does it mean to me and what is my sale price on that emotion, which is terrible, right! Like, okay, this means a lot to me, but what price will I give it up for?! But generally, the answer is nothing, you know. If it's really, really important, then I won't sell it. And if it's something that I can let go of, then I let go of it. So personal value. Value of the product. Kind of an interesting one to consider. So, you know, you sell a book, and this book probably has a price on it somewhere. Of course not! But you know how books usually have prices on them? That's what I was hoping to see. Oh, this one does, okay. So this book retails for $17.99, 17 dollars and 99 cents, so we'll say $18. And if that book is selling for $18, then you can imagine, once you break out that price, who gets what. Probably the people who put this book together are not making a lot of money per sale of book. They're hoping for large quantities of book sales so that they can make their money back. Now, if you take that versus, let's say, (humming) let's say that someone's using your image for an opera show that's just come out, and it's going be the poster image for that show. Well, they're not selling the poster. So the price of the product itself, the physical poster, is nothing. But the price of the experience is quite high. You know, you'll have people paying hundreds of dollars to go to that opera, and you have to think about that in terms of pricing your work. What is the value of the product, and how is that money being split up among the people who are involved in the project? So just something to consider, value of product. This is probably my favorite thing that I have written up here to date. (laughing) How difficult is your client? And I hate talking about difficult people, because I really am empathetic to people's situations, how they work, what they want out of the experience. But let's just be honest. If someone's really hard to work with, I'm gonna put a higher price tag on that experience for them, I just am! Because I don't like working with difficult people! I want everyone to be really nice, and kind, and gentle all the time. That doesn't always happen. So first of all, client status. If somebody, let's just say that Beyonce e-mails me, and Beyonce is like Hey, Brooke. This is what she would say to me, obviously. I would like to buy this image for my next album. What's the price? Am I going to say $500 'cause that's my base price? Probably not. Because there is going to be, first of all, a huge distribution, huge distribution, very big money being made by everyone around. So I'm going to take that price to an appropriate point for that client, just like with galleries. You know, if you have a certain gallery that doesn't have a lot of art buyers coming in, where they're not really gonna sell a lot of work, you might start out pricing your prints lower. But when you get into a much better gallery that has art buyers come in, you're gonna wanna price your prints for that market, because they expect that price when they walk into a gallery. It has to do with how your art is perceived, you know, and then getting paid appropriately for that circumstance. So what is the status of your client and how difficult are they to work with. And I'll share some horror stories later, but not yet. If you're going to extend the license. So if your license that you initially agree on is for three years, you can always give that person the option to come back after three years, pay more money, and extend the license. Something that you wanna think about, maybe in terms of offering to your client, just letting that be known up front, especially with clients who don't have a big budget. I would say that 90% of the licensing e-mails that I get are from people who flat out say I don't have a big budget for this. And it's kind of good that they do that, because now we're all on the same page. Like, we know that this might not work out, and maybe my prices are too high. But I love being able to go to those artists. Because I have a lot of respect for artists who want to make good products, you know, and I wanna be a part of that experience for them. So if this person comes to me and says "I would love this image. "I don't have a big budget. "What can we do?" Then I might say to them "Okay, well, "how about I sell it to you for this price for one year. "And then if after one year you wanna continue distributing "that work, then you can pay the next license fee." And then that's easier for them, 'cause they have a whole year to work on getting that money together, they can see how successful that album was. I might do it not just in terms of year, but in terms of region, in terms of... The medium, you know. And there are all different ways that you can work with artists to lower the price, or extend the price, extend the license, so that's always a good thing to do.

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. :)