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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
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