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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 98 of 138

Questions for a Commission Shoot


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 98 of 138

Questions for a Commission Shoot


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.


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

Angel Ricci

When the title says comprehensive, it means comprehensive! I loved every part of this course. It's inspirational, motivating, and insightful towards creating art work. Even if you are not necessarily considering a fine art specialty, the concepts discussed in this course are applicable to many areas! I find this super useful as a videographer and photographer and look to apply all of these exercises and concepts for my personal and business work moving forward. It is lengthy, but you will not regret a single minute. Brooke Shaden is an amazing artist and educator. I recommend keeping up with her work, presentations, and any future courses that may come in the future.