Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario

So we've got some box here, and it's really hard to figure out which picture was which, isn't it? Like, where the focal point was, and which angle was what, but I think this is a pretty good angle, so let's go ahead and open this one up, and I'm going to take the exposure up on this just so we can see it a little bit better here. And I think this is going to be pretty interesting, so I'm going to open up, and then I need to find my... I need to find my cup, because that's going to be part of the scene, eventually. We'll try this cup to start, I don't know, I'm not magical, I don't just know what's going to work, so I go through, and I try to, you know, see what's going to fit, what's not going to fit, how everything's going to go, but I always have to try multiple options. So we've got our cup, and then we have to find our subject so we've got a number of images that are going in here, and I think that I liked the lower angle that I got, which I believe would be this picture. And for r...

ight now, we're not going to worry so much about the feet, we'll see if we have time to put those feet on, and if not, that's okay. So here's our room, and we could go ahead and crop this, you know, I do squares for example, for my work, I could crop it into a square, but I actually really want to see some of the edges of this, so I'm just going to crop it slightly in. Maybe to about there. And there's certain things that I would do to the background, for example, I might use my little heel brush, just take the size up and the hardness down, to get rid of the lines in the background, so I might like, the harsh lines, you know, I could just blend them in together. Just like that. But I would go through and do that later, just know that it would happen, eventually, to make it look like a room. I would even add wallpaper to the back wall, maybe, and the way that I would do that is with a repeatable texture, not by photographing wallpaper, necessarily, but by taking any repeatable pattern, that you could find online, you know, just any repeatable pattern, letting it repeat all over the place, and then blending it into your background, so there are lots of ways that we could proceed. Now we have to see if our perspective was accurate, so let's go ahead with this cup, going to use the lasso tool. I'm going to select the cup, and I'm going to copy it. And I'm going to paste it, okay. The moment of truth. Does it work, I think not. I think we need a lower, higher, lower, higher, higher angle on this, I get very confused when I'm editing, so this one doesn't quite work. I'm going to leave it just in case that's the best one that we got, but if it's not the best one, let's try to find it. To see if we can get our perspective to be accurate here. So let's go, what about this one, so we have this cup, maybe that'll work. It's from a much higher angle. And we'll see. And this is why it's good, like, if you had asked me which one would fit, I would've said, oh no problem, of course it's going to be this one, the first one. No, it is not. So let's go ahead and paste that one in. Okay, that's looking a lot better, right? It looks like it matches with the floor line a little bit, a little bit more. I'm going to free transform this layer, edit, free transform, and that brings up these boxes I'm going to hold shift, click and drag, because I don't need a giant hole in the room, I think that should be just fine, and if something doesn't match exactly, so let's just zoom in on this. If this doesn't match exactly, then we can always go into edit transform perspective. And we can make some adjustments, just like this. And that's okay, you know you can do that, and as long as you don't go like, whoosh, or like, well, that's crazy (laughs) or like that, oh gosh, it's all so good, though, because it's really helping me to see what fits, and this is great, the more you study perspective, the more you'll be able to, just really get a sense of what works and what doesn't work, so I'm going to go ahead and start to erase this. And we'll see how we do, because obviously, we need to have a little bit of a hole on this floor, or else there's nothing going on. So I'm taking my opacity back up to 100, and on black, we're just going to erase, so here's one issue that we have so far. Which is that the background is black. And we don't have a black box, so we're going to need to make a decision here, about our background, do we want a darker background, or do we want to lighten this hole in the ground. Which is obviously a hole in the ground, like I don't even have to do anything, that just looks so realistic. I'm going to lighten the... Cup, though, and I'm going to do that with replace color again, and just see how that goes, so I'm going into image adjustments, replace color, I'm going to choose that outer rim, and let's just go ahead and see how this does, we can take the lightness up, and then sort of make it match a little bit, you can also change the hue, see if that will help it match the box a little bit better, if I can get into a more yellow hue, in this region, but you'll see that it's really collecting too much of the darkness inside, so instead, I'm going to select what I don't want to be effected, which would be anything within the ring, just like that, that wasn't a great selection, but it was okay, and, I'm going to feather that selection, something small, maybe 25 pixels, and now I'm going to right click and select inverse, so I'm really just selecting the outside of the cup here, so that when I go into replace color, then I select, it's only going to effect what's outside of my selection, I can take the lightness up, I don't want to go too far with it, and then I think when we went all the way over with our hue, that looked best, and it's not solving our problem, you'll notice, we still have things to do, but it's way better than it was before I did that replace color. So now I can start to blend even more gently with a lower opacity, so that we have this cup blending into our scene, and I want to erase the front right up to the edge. Just like this, and it's the wrong color, I mean, there is nothing in nature that looks blue, right, like you wouldn't see a blue hole in the middle of something, so I'm just blending this really gently and then I'm going to change the overall color palette of it. I think it's looking pretty good, though. Right, like it's pretty in the floor, at the moment. And I'm just going to change the color, through curves, by pinning that curve layer down, as we did, and I know that there's too much blue, for example, so maybe I'll go in and do the opposite of blue, which is yellow. And I know that there's too much cyan, so maybe I'll add some red, and this is all just trial and error, what's going to work and what's not going to work, I think because there are so many shadows, I'm actually going to go from the shadow portion of my curve, and add in some red, and I'm going to do the same thing for this blue curve, to add in some yellow, and maybe I'll decide, okay, well, this is a little bit too colorful, so let me do a hue saturation adjustment that we can pin right down there, and take the saturation down. And now you might think, well, there's weird highlights inside this cup, so let's get rid of the highlights by taking our opacity down on our brush, maybe somewhere around 30% and erasing inside the cup, because we don't need to have this entire cup in here, it's just a guideline for where we're going to have this hole, and creating believable depth within this image. Now not to mention, we still have to put a person in here, so it's very likely that we won't even see this back edge, but it's good to be thorough, okay, so we're zooming out, we've got a weird hole thing, happening here, I still need to put some dust on the floor, or whatever we want to call it, so I'm going to go ahead, and search for, let's see, I could do forest, I could do, okay, I've got this barren landscape, which I've actually used on creative live before, and this is like my, it is just, the best thing, I find that I use this landscape all the time to create dirt on a floor, and it works really well, so I'm going to go ahead, and oh, wait, where are we, there we are. I'm just going to paste it in, again, we've pinned it down by accident, so I'm going to go ahead and release our clipping mask, and I'm just going to stretch this onto the floor, and I'm not as concerned about perspective here, because this is going to be a situation where we're going to blend it so carefully, so lightly in, that I'm just much more worried about just creating a little bit of texture, rather than anything else, so I'm erasing at full opacity here, full opacity, I said, there you go, no, ah, ah computer, no. There we go, and then I'm just going to get in here with my brush, just erase, erase, erase. So that we have some believable dirt in there, and I'm just toggling my opacity, to erase more on the edges, okay. Alright, and now we need to erase even more over the hole. Because we've got to see our hole, okay. Just a little bit of dirt in there. And maybe we'll finesse that later, but not yet. So we've got our dirt, now we've got our subject, who I'm going to select, all of her. Copy, nope, hey you. And paste. And now we've got this issue of somebody being gigantic in our little box, so let's fix it. So I'm going to command or control T, hold shift as I just free transform her down, aw, that's much better, isn't it? Okay, I think that looks like a pretty decent size. But I'm not a very good judge of this, I tend to be wrong a lot about this type of thing. About sizing of objects, so maybe there? That's a little, I'm going with it, I'm just going to go with that, we'll zoom in, and we've got this really dark backdrop. So the process here is going to be much the same, where we're going into image adjustments, replace color, first to see if we can lighten up that background a little bit, just to see if it works, just taking that lightness up, you can see already, how much that will allow the background to blend together. And I think that's going to be a really good start, but another thing that we can do here is, we can choose our background eraser tool. Which I'm going to have to search for, because I'm not used to macky-macs. So I always have to find where things are. In here, and there are so many things. Uh, eh, no. There it is. Of course it's the one that looks like an eraser, because that makes a lot of sense. So, in your eraser tool, in that little drop down menu, you're going to find your background eraser tool, and this is going to be a brush just like anything else, when you right click you'll get all of your options. Taking my hardness down, and this is going to allow me to, if I zoom in here, to run this brush against my subject, and it's going to try to separate her from the backdrop. And in fact, if I were to step back in history here, let's see, to before our replace color, this is the perfect situation for this brush, you have black and white, and this brush is like, wow, I understand what is happening, because there's black and there's white, and it's going to separate the two, but the good thing here, is that we don't have any texture in the background so we don't have to worry about anything being too distracting back there, it's really good that everything is clean and smooth and contrasting, this tool will start to have more issues the more you get into these murky areas, right there, see, it's like, uh-oh, I don't know what I'm doing anymore. So we'll step back, and that's why this is not the tool that you can use for every single thing. You know, it was really easy for me to start down here, because I knew that it would work really well, so I could be like, guys, look how magic this is. Just kidding, but it will work for some things, some factors that you'll want to consider, are the tolerance levels, so if I take tolerance down to one percent, it's not even erasing right now, because the tolerance is so low. It wants like, oh, you see how selective it's being? I don't even know if you can see what it's doing. It's so low, but if I go up to 100% tolerance, it's going to try to like, cut everything. It's going to be a much wider spread, it's working really well right now, which is kind of irritating, because we have so much contrast, but in general. The reason why I love this tool is because of hair, let me go back to 50% tolerance, or somewhere around there, it'll tend to work really well around hair, and this isn't quite the right tolerance so if you have this black rim, then you know that maybe you need to switch your tolerance levels, so if I go back, maybe we'll try a little bit of a higher tolerance, and there are a lot of things that you can change, like the spacing, for example, taking that down. Seeing how that works with the hair, so all of these factors are going to go into what exactly the type of tool is that you need with your background eraser tool, the smaller your brush, the easier time you're going to have with little areas, like fingers, just getting in there, and the idea here, is that you want to put that little crosshair that you see, right on the edge of what you're trying to erase against, and then your brush is going to be like, oh, that's the center point, whatever's on one side, versus on the other, is going to try to separate, and so I could do this really fast, just to have her cut out but like I mentioned before, there are often times when you have fabric, when I would actually just want to use a layer mask here, and adjust my size and hardness to be able to cut against the fabric, because we have that latitude here, so I can take my size down, all the way down, maybe to that big of a size, take my hardness up, and the reason why I'm taking my hardness up for the first time is because I want the hardness of my brush to be as sharp as what I'm erasing against, so a fuzzy brush is just going to create a really fuzzy look against this fabric here, if you can see, oh, I have to take my opacity up. So I'm going to want to make sure that I'm not erasing with this really fuzzy brush. Instead, I'm going to take my hardness up, maybe to around 89, 90% something like that. And then, I can create whatever shape I want in this dress right now, it doesn't matter if I get in there and I say oh, yeah, oh no I cut a piece off, that's okay, see, we can just follow right along this shadow, and make it look like we've got a different dress, so that's why I like to erase just normally instead of using any sort of tool like a background eraser tool, on fabrics, because often it's really easy to just go in and start erasing wherever you want to on the fabric, but I would recommend it for hair, for places of great contrast, and things like that. Okay, so we've got our subject over our hole, which is not mapped out yet, we would definitely need to erase a lot of the dirt that's in here, within this region, because this is not looking very good so we'd want to get rid of that, and I'm going to sort of leave this there, even though she's just sort of standing above our hole. You get the idea of how this would proceed, so we would need to cut around our subject completely, which I would do with a combination of layer mask, changing the background like we did with replace color to be lighter, to blend in better with the background, as well as our background eraser tool, which is, you know, like a genius tool that Photoshop has that we should take advantage of for sure, I would need to add in the little feetsies, because we have two flat feet here, and they need to be pointed to be hovering, and I did end up shooting some additional images of the skirt just flying outward, so I'll make sure to finish that up, and make this look like a room as much as we can, but at least we've dealt with perspective, with this little weird cup in the floor. So we've got that going for us, we've got the texture of the floor, and then we've got our subject who eventually will fit into this scene, so I hope that that all made sense I know it was a lot of ground to cover in Photoshop in a very short time, but it's really fun to make something believable with compositing in Photoshop, because it trains your brain in such a different way to see every little detail as having equal importance in the end, because you can composite any of this together, and it can be amazing, but if you forget to add that foot on to look like she's hovering, it just doesn't matter if that cup looks like it's a hole in the ground or not.

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. :)