Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Set Design Arrangement

So we've got a few different wardrobe options here. And, my particular wardrobe is not very diverse. I have a very specific style, and in fact, I thought that what I was wearing would be really different, but it's not, it looks just like all these things. I tried to wear this to a wedding, but I was vetoed on that one. So, I've got a bunch of dresses here, and I also have a couple examples of props. And the point that I want to make here, is this... This really matters. This, versus this. Which, is still warm actually, this is tea. This is a teacup. Did you know? 'Kay. So we've got two very different props, and if I had said to you, okay guys, we're going to do a photo shoot, I need a teacup, somebody bring me a teacup. What is your idea of a teacup? Somebody might bring me this, someone might bring me this. You don't know, and you have to be so specific about what goes with what. So, same thing with keys. I have had this happen on a number of occasions, where I've said to someone, do ...

you have a key that I could photograph, and then I get this. And this is not a good looking key, is it? Maybe you think it is. I think this is a good looking key though. You know, something really old and timeless and beautiful. And, the fact is, that it doesn't matter which one you like more, but you have to choose really specifically. I wish that I could convey how many times I have looked at people's portfolios, and they'll tell me, okay I want, I want to make images that are, you know, that can go on book covers, that can go on young adult fiction book covers. And then I look at their work, and they've got people wearing jeans in the pictures, you know, jeans and a t-shirt. It's like, I get that that's the easy thing to do, but does that actually work for what you're trying to do here? And often it doesn't. So, we've got keys, we've got books, for example. A normal, everyday book, that you would find in Barnes and Noble, versus, this beautiful thing that we found. I just love this, I know. And the pages are worn, and it's just beautiful, and these kind of details make a big difference. Even, let's just say, I'm gonna do a photo right now, and I'm gonna take these book pages and rip them out, and throw them around the room, and that's gonna be part of the photo. I'm not really gonna do that, 'cause this is my book, and I don't wanna do that, but let's just say we were gonna do that. Look at what a difference it would be, to have these pages, these modern book pages that are crisp white, and nothing's ever happened to them, versus this book, which has the most perfect yellow pages in it. I just love them. So how do we choose props, and wardrobe, and location to all go together? We're in this room right now, which is very lovely, but, uninspiring, perhaps, to us sitting here, in terms of doing a photo shoot. So what if I did have to, what if I did have to do a photo shoot here? What are my options? Well, my options are probably to look down at the floor, in terms of the way that I like to shoot, right? And the background that I like to have. So, I would probably, so let's just say, I love books, I just need to say that, I'm not trying to be disrespectful to books, just in case. So if I'm going to create a scene here, you know my reaction is going to be okay, cover this newness as much as possible. 'Cause I'm not into that. So I'm going to lay these book pages all over the place, and you know, I'm gonna try to create something that covers the whole floor a little bit, makes it look dirty. Maybe I'll bring in some dirt for this image. Maybe I'll have somebody in one of these dresses, just curled up on the floor with the book pages. An easy way to create a scene that is, I was going to say timeless, but let's just say, not of our time, of a different time, because these are not from our time, and these pages are not from our time, and the floor could conceivably not be from our time. What a great way to do that, in this space. To limit the background that you see, to get rid of the noise, to start with the blankest slate possible, because that's what set design and image design is, is thinking of it from the ground up. From having absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing. What are you going to put in that room? What are you going to do? What does your room look like? My room looked like this new series that I created recently, with the yarn on the floor, and the wax on the floor, and things like that. Your room would be totally different, and the way that we would shoot this would be different, but what we need to think about, is what's the difference between these wardrobes? What does this color mean, versus this white color? What does this teacup mean, versus this teacup? Which I think is really just a glass, I don't think this is a teacup at all. I think I've been tricked. So what does it mean? How does it work together? And, are you doing everything possible to make sure that your image tells the story that you want it to tell? And if you are, then, fantastic. And if you are not, there are so many ways that we can do that, and we're going to be looking at that a little bit later on in the class, as well, in terms of how to actually build a photo shoot from the ground up, to be able to communicate what we want to communicate.

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. :)