Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 98/138 - Questions for a Commission Shoot


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Questions for a Commission Shoot

Now if you're working in a commission portrait situation, let's say that it's us and we are going to be creating an image together, we need to think about what we're going to ask that person to be able to create an image that they like, that feels good for them. So when I'm thinking about questions for my clients, this is typically what I'm asking about. Is there a certain theme that the photo shoot should evolve into? Is there a certain feeling or emotion, an idea or an opinion that you wanna get across in this picture? Anything that you like or don't like? Not like french fries versus avocado or something like that, but you know, like certain visuals that they're drawn to. What insecurities do they have? That's a really big one, because even though somebody's asking to have their picture taken, that doesn't mean that they love having their picture taken and we always have to be cognizant of that, that they might not be comfortable in front of the camera. Is there any symbolism that t...

hey wanna bring into this photo shoot? Different momentos that mean a lot to them maybe that they want incorporated? What their expectation is? Do they want to walk away looking like a glamorous person in a flowing gown or do they wanna look muddy in a hole? I can do muddy in a hole, I can't do glamorous very well. So expectations, very good to set on my part as well. As I mentioned earlier, I'm never ever going to tell a client of mine that you're gonna be perfectly clean throughout this whole shooting situation. No, because I almost always end up throwing baby powder on them or putting mud on them or just doing something weird because that's how my work flows and I like it like that. Logistics in terms of are you coming to me, am I coming to you? How are we going to do this photo shoot? Indoors, outdoors? And reference images. Reference images is a really big one here just in terms of do you have any images of mine that you have seen before that we could create as a base from? I think that's a really good one. So these are the literal questions that I ask people when I send them an email. If they've inquired with me and we decide we're gonna move forward, price is good, all of that, this is the email that I send them. So who's gonna be my victim? Who did we decide was my victim? Was that you Tory? So I'm gonna ask you these questions and we're gonna see how this evolves. So I've got my little notepad and now we're pretending. I would do this through email because I'm a millennial and I don't use telephones and I guess that's just how life is now. So I'm emailing you these questions, but here we are in person. So is there a location that you feel most drawn to? I would say forest or ocean. Okay, that's really good. And you see, that's going to determine where we end up doing this shoot that we're doing now. Is there a color that you feel defines you? You're not gonna like me for this. I like green. That's good. I also feel very connected to green as a person, so I get it. Is there a color that you feel best wearing? Red is pretty good for me. Red, okay good. Although red and green, I don't know. I don't know how this is gonna go. Bright colors, but yeah. Okay, that's good. What emotion do you wanna portray? If you had to say for this picture. How either you wanna feel looking at it or how you wanna feel in it. Inner power, if that's an emotion. Yeah it is. Power. I forget to put inner first so I wrote power, parentheses, inner. Is this portrait relevant to your life? I know that you don't actually want your picture taken, but just in case. I would love you to shoot me. Oh good. Sure. I don't really know how to answer that question. What do you mean by that? Okay, that's good. So I can refine my questions now. So when I ask that, I mean is there something that you've gone through in your life or that you're going through that you would like to bring into the portrait? I feel like the power part of it has been my journey and I'm owning that more and more. So, yes. Okay, good. So let's see, are there any images of mine that you can call to mind that you feel like you might wanna start from? Something that maybe a location you've seen me use, a concept or just an overall image that you really like? I would need to spend more time with your portfolio. So this one is definitely one that you can't answer right away and this why I email these things. So then, is there anything that you feel uncomfortable doing or wearing? I don't really want to be nude, but a back. No nudes. Yeah a back would be-- Very good to know. Fine for me. Because my shoots tend to end up very clothed and then very unclothed. So that is good. Okay, so no nudes. Do you prefer dark or hopeful images? I want both. Good. Dark and hopeful. All in the same image or do you want multiple pictures that are on either side? That's a good question. All of the above. Okay, both. I mean if you're going to do multiples. Okay, yeah sure. Okay, and this is good 'cause now I can be like definitely do all of them and sell more images. Is there a story that you want the image to portray? I don't have one in mind, no. Okay, so no particular story, but so far we have forest or ocean, the color green, you like to wear the color red, inner power as a potential theme or even storyline or something like that. Yeah, that kind of connects to story. Yeah. No nudes, got it. Is there a particular, now we're riffing, so now I've gone through my list and I'm thinking, okay I need to know a little bit more information. What types of wardrobe do you like to wear? Like dresses, pants? Dresses, flowing fabric. Dress, flowing fabric. Okay, so I've got a lot of information now and this looks pretty good to me. Well mostly because like we're very on the same page I think visually, which is great except for chicken, goat. I'm not gonna put chicken, goat in this one. So we've got forest or ocean, green, wearing red. So this makes me think that I would really like to do something with you where maybe if we choose the ocean instead of the forest, we could do something where maybe you are standing on a rock in the ocean and you won't see the rock and there will just be this crazy red flowing dress all behind you, maybe with a wave coming toward you or something like that to show your strength and power in the middle of this ocean with this wave coming, but you're just resistant to it or something like that. That was my first thought in terms of a location with the maybe green color of the ocean and the red color of the dress or something like that. Trying to think in terms of colors that go together. Cyan is an acceptable greenish sort of color. Good, we got cyan. Okay, I'm even gonna say cyan here. Okay, good. So we've got cyan. Now if we were to move to the forest, I would probably have a more difficult time with the colors that we'll find there compared with the red so I'm gonna have to get back to you on that one. So far that's your picture, but I'll get back to you with more later. But thank you for sharing your answers with me. And that's how I would approach licensing and contracts and commissions and all of that fun stuff. So I'll let you guys look through these a little bit later. But it can be pretty straightforward. A lot of people when it comes to pricing for portrait sessions and stuff like that, it can get really complicated. As you guys probably know, well there's the sitting fee and then there's like all of these layers of do you want an album, do you want wall art, do you want all these things? And I just try to keep it really simple where it's an experience and it's about the experience with me and the person who's hiring me. They get one image or more if they say that up front and then it's all about creating that one moment that we're trying to capture. So that's how I would do commissions. That's how I sell my images through licensing and that's how I write my contracts. I hope that that was useful to you in some way.

Class Description

Creating a great photo for a client is one thing - but turning your passion and ideas into a series that is shared, shown, and sold is a whole different business. If you do it right, you’ll be shooting what you love all the time. Learn how to choose which ideas to create, how to turn your concept into a production, and steps to getting your work seen and even sold in Fine Art Photography: A Complete Guide with Award-Winning Photographer, Brooke Shaden.

This is an all-inclusive workshop that provides the tools you need to run a successful and creative business as a fine art photographer. You’ll learn creative exercises to find and develop your ideas, how to create an original narrative, how to produce your own photo series, post production techniques and skills for compositing and retouching, how to write about your work, ways to pitch to galleries and agents, and how to print your pieces so they look like art.

This workshop will take you on location with Brooke as she creates a photo series from scratch. She’ll walk through every step for her photo shoots including set design and location scouting, she’ll cover techniques in the field for capturing your artistic vision, post-production and compositing techniques, as well as printing and framing essentials.

She’ll round out this experience by discussing all of the details that will help make your career a success like licensing, commissions, artists statements, social media plans, gallery prep, and pricing your work.

This comprehensive course is a powerful look into the world of fine art photography led by one of the world’s most talented photographers, Brooke Shaden. Included with purchase is exclusive access to bonus material that gives exercises and downloads for all of the lessons.


1Class Introduction 2Storytelling & Ideas 3Universal Symbols in Stories 4Create Interactive Characters 5The Story is in The Details 6Giving Your Audience Feelings 7Guided Daydream Exercise 8Elements of Imagery 9The Death Scenario 10Associations with Objects 11Three Writing Exercises 12Connection Through Art 13Break Through Imposter Syndrome 14Layering Inspiration 15Creating an Original Narrative 16Analyze an Image 17Translate Emotion into Images 18Finding Parts in Images 19Finding Your Target Audience 20Where Do You Want Your Images to Live? 21Create a Series That Targets Your Audience 22Formatting Your Work 23Additional Materials to Attract Clients 24Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful? 25How to Make Money from Your Target Audience 26Circle of Focus 27The Pillars of Branding 28Planning Your Photoshoot 29Choose Every Element for The Series 30Write a Descriptive Paragraph 31Sketch Your Ideas 32Choose Your Gear 33How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations 34What Tells a Story in a Series? 35Set Design Overview 36Color Theory 37Lighting for the Scene 38Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design 39Locations 40Subject Within the Scene 41Set Design Arrangement 42Fine Art Compositing 43Plan The Composite Before Shooting 44Checklist for Composite Shooting 45Analyze Composite Mistakes 46Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing 47Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing 48Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories 49Shoot: Miniature Scene 50Editing Workflow Overview 51Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress 52Edit Details of Images 53Add Smoke & Texture 54Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite 55Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario 56Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot 57Self Portrait Test Shoots 58Shoot for Edit 59Shoot Extra Stock Images 60Practice the Shoot 61Introduction to Shooting Photo Series 62Shoot: Vine Image 63Shoot: Sand Image 64Shoot: End Table Image 65Shoot: Bed Image 66Shoot: Wall Paper Image 67Shoot: Chair Image 68Shoot: Mirror Image 69Shoot: Moss Image 70Shoot: Tree Image 71Shoot: Fish Tank Image 72Shoot: Feather Image 73View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing 74Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion 75Edit Images with Advanced Compositing 76Decide How to Start the Composite 77Organize Final Images 78Choosing Images for Your Portfolio 79Order the Images in Your Portfolio 80Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others? 81Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order 82Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing 83Determine Sizes for Prints 84How to Choose Paper 85How to Choose Editions 86Pricing Strategies 87How to Present Your Images 88Example Pricing Exercise 89Print Examples 90Licensing, Commissions & Contracts 91How to Keep Licensing Organized 92How to Prepare Files for Licensing 93Pricing Your Licensed Images 94Contract Terms for Licensing 95Where to Sell Images 96Commission Pricing Structure 97Contract for Commissions 98Questions for a Commission Shoot 99Working with Galleries 100Benefits of Galleries 101Contracts for Galleries 102How to Find Galleries 103Choose Images to Show 104Hanging the Images 105Importance of Proofing Prints 106Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery 107Press Package Overview 108Artist Statement for Your Series 109Write Your 'About Me' Page 110Importance of Your Headshot 111Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch 112Writing For Fine Art 113Define Your Writing Style 114Find Your Genre 115What Sets You Apart? 116Write to Different Audiences 117Write for Blogging 118Speak About Your Work 119Branding for Video 120Clearly Define Video Talking Points 121Types of Video Content 122Interview Practice 123Diversifying Social Media Content 124Create an Intentional Social Media Persona 125Monetize Your Social Media Presence 126Social Media Posting Plan 127Choose Networks to Use & Invest 128Presentation of Final Images 129Printing Your Series 130How to Work With a Print Lab 131Proofing Your Prints 132Bad Vs. Good Prints 133Find Confidence to Print 134Why Critique? 135Critiquing Your Own Portfolio 136Critique of Brooke's Series 137Critique of Student Series 138Yours is a Story Worth Telling


April S.

I tuned in for most of Brooke's lessons in this course and watched some of them more than once as they were rebroadcast. First I want to say that Brooke is a very good instructor. Her easy-going, friendly, down-to-earth, somewhat quirky manner cannot be mistaken for unprofessional. She is very prepared, she speaks well (not a bunch of hemming and hawing), she is thoughtful, she is thorough, she is very relatable and at ease, and she is definitely professional in her presentation. I really thought when I first tuned in that it would mostly be background noise while I was at work, sound to keep me company. Not because I didn't like Brooke but I really didn't think I was into fine art photography nor did I think I cared about the business side of things much. Not now anyhow. I was really wrong. Brooke sparked a deep interest in me to delve into fine art photography, to consider creating images for myself, from my imagination. In fact, I realized that this was something I'd been thinking about for a couple of years though I hadn't put a name to it (the idea of creating pre-conceived images based on my own creative goals). I gleaned many little treasures from her about image sizes, working with printers, different types of paper, selling, interacting with galleries, and so much more. I may not need all of what she taught right now because I'm definitely headed in another direction at the moment, but she planted ideas and information in my head that I know will be useful at some point. Things I may not have thought of on my own, but that seed is in my head now so when the time comes, I'll know. I'd really like to buy her course but at the moment, with the holidays right around the corner, it's not in my personal budget. I'm grateful to have caught the live and rebroadcast lessons though, and her course is on my list to own. I think it's a great reference to be consulted over and over again, not watched once and forgotten. Kudos Brooke for really putting together an excellent course.

Ron Landis

I'm retired now, but spent decades in the people and training business. Brooke is extraordinary! Even though this course is extremely well organized and she's left nothing unattended, she moves through it with friendly conversational manners and without a sense of it being stilted. It's as though we are all her friends, not students, as she shares her heart and passion with us. What a joy it is to listen to her. And what a clear, unambiguous command of her subject. Wow! She explains it with such ease using explanations and techniques that won't overwhelm artists just starting their portfolio or the Photoshop-squeamish among us; but despite its simplicity her resulting art is breathtaking and beyond original. I wish more of my professors at school were as engaging. This was by far my best buy at Creative Live yet.

a Creativelive Student

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. :)