Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design

So if we move on to props very quickly, which of course goes into set design, image design, however you wanna design your image. We've got three different things to think about. One is how is your prop aiding your concept? What is the idea of the image? How is your prop going to really help tell that story? And we talked about this already with this image of the doors and how you have a prop which is a door and that door means something and therefore it aids your concept. But what about believability? I mean, how can you use a prop to make an image believable or not? I find very, very frequently that if I see an image that just doesn't quite look right, it's because the prop is out of place. Either it's the wrong time period of the prop or it's not being used in a believable way. It's not being interacted within a believable way or it just doesn't fit the scene very well. And that's what I'm trying to think about with all of these props. So everyone of these images uses a prop. In fact...

, in this image, it's not even a recognizable prop. It's a fish bowl. You may know that. You may not know that. It doesn't really matter. The point here is not the prop, but what the prop is doing in the scene, which hopefully is true for all of them. It doesn't matter that this is a paint can. It matters how it relates to the scene here. If I was just standing there and there wasn't paint in the sky, then what would the point be? If this was just a white sky in the background, it wouldn't really make sense. So there always has to be something that ties in every single prop. And then you might say, well then why did you use cardboard boxes? How does that make any sense? And you might settle there. You might say, it doesn't make any sense. That's just what I think. But in my opinion, I used cardboard boxes to show that you need to make your own ladder to your dreams as part of the concept. So there's always something that ties it in or at least I try to make sure that there's always something that ties it in. So here we have a few other images that utilize props. The umbrella as we talked about being a symbol for protection. We've got the watering can being a symbol for growth. We have a lantern and a feather pen as two different things I should say. I was going to just summarize it too quickly, but the lantern being a symbol for light in a dark space and the feather sort of an old timey time period type of tool here, where I'm not necessarily saying that the pen has anything directly to do with the concept, but that it's setting a mood, setting an atmosphere here. And then a key, which I love to use. Here we have different wardrobe examples, which also have to do with concept and time period, but also character. How are you developing your character within your scenes? What is it that you're doing to create a very specific character? In all of these cases, wardrobe is doing that, not entirely, but in a very big way. So here we have a dress that has these poofy sleeves and don't mind the hand and all of that. I realize there's a lot of weird stuff going on here, but we've got this girl in this poofy dress and that makes her look younger, right? Like if she was wearing a tight, slinky, sexy dress, then you might be like, oh what's that woman doing in there? But instead you're like, hey there's a girl in that picture. I get told all the time that people think that my self-portraits are of children, all the time, because people always think that I'm a child. I don't know why and I'm not, in case you didn't know. And it's often 'cause of my wardrobe and also because I'm oddly short, but also my wardrobe. So I wanna make sure that I'm using a wardrobe that one, gives me a certain age bracket, that also matches me to the image that I'm in and tells something about the character. So here we have this creepy picture that I was warned not to use, but I'm using it anyway and here we are. And I decided to use this very old nightgown in this image because what is creepier than somebody's head wrapped in ace bandages wearing an old nightgown? And I wanted to go for a creepy look here. So what I want you to know is that these girls are all dressed the same. Maybe they came from a hospital situation, maybe from a mental institution, who knows. They could be from anywhere and it's matching the theme of the image. The red, we've already talked about how that red gives already an image of who this person is, but then also the shape of it, the flow of it, how does this wardrobe feel and how does she work in that wardrobe can just be huge for the concept here. And then this one is one of my favorites where we've got a little bit of texture in the background with the wallpaper here and that matches the pattern on her dress and that's really important to me to draw in little ties like that with the background of the image, the foreground of the image. How does this relate in entirety to the image as a whole? These are my non-wardrobe wardrobe options where I've got just pieces of fabric in all of these. One of them is a bed sheet. Others are just literally random pieces of fabric that I found in my garage. And I love using that, probably more than anything because what is more nondescript than a blank piece of fabric? It doesn't indicate a time period. It doesn't indicate a certain character. It can be on anyone meaning anything in any time period and that's why I love to use them in my images, because think about it, this picture could be on any book cover. It doesn't matter if it's modern. It doesn't matter if it's about the 1200's. It doesn't matter, because it's just a piece of fabric. And that's what I think is so cool about wardrobe.

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. :)