Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 46/138 - Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing

We've talked about all of these little things that we have to think about when compositing. And it's one thing to talk about it, and it's a whole other thing to actually do it and hope that you're getting the exact right angles. So one thing that I like to do when I know that I'm going to be compositing is to get tons of angles on things. And I would argue that this is why my composited shoots tend to go a little bit longer than my very straightforward images. Because I'm thinking so much about, okay, I've got this box. And as we talked about with a box, depending on what you're doing with it, if you're shooting it close or really far away, I'm going to definitely need to figure out my angle now. And if I don't, then I could be very unhappy with how this is going to go. So if I've got my box, and I'm going to be photographing it up close, okay, then like we said with the marker example, if I'm here versus here versus here, that's gonna make drastic changes in this image. Versus if I ph...

otograph it from really far away, this change isn't gonna do anything. So how can I make sure that this works? Answer number one is I cannot make absolutely certain that this works, that it works exactly as you want it to work. And I know that I can't do it, 'cause I've tried to do it, and I can never be certain. I am like... My brain does not work like this at all. Maybe yours does, and I envy you if it does. I am not a logical person. This does not come naturally to me. And I have people say that to me every once and a while, "You're so lucky that these things just come to you." I'm like, "No, this is hard work for me." I would rather be at the dentist. No, I would not be. I heard that coming out, and I was like, nope, I would not be. (audience laughter) But very close to it; I don't like this. So when I'm thinking about this box, you could approach it two ways. One being, okay, I'm gonna think this through. I'm gonna look at my other stock images. I'm gonna shoot this at exactly the right angle. Or my solution, which I think should be everyone's solution, because it's so much faster, is just to be like, okay, click, click, click, click, and you have all of these different angles that you're getting. Those weren't in focus. Don't mind that. (audience laughter) You know I already told you it's my problem, right, I've got some focus issues here. That sounds like a bigger life problem, doesn't it? Got some focus issues. But I'm gonna shoot it from every angle because I just don't wanna get in later into Photoshop and have to really stretch things in weird ways or have to re-shoot it. I mean, photographing a cardboard box is hard work, you guys. I don't wanna do that again. So I'm gonna make sure that this looks good as it is. But I am not ready to make sure of that, because I wanna shoot something else first. So, okay, we've got the cardboard box. We're gonna shoot this miniature scene, and I'm really excited for that. But... And this comes later, my special mug that I use all the time for different things that you'll see in just a moment. But first, I wanna get set up to photograph something really, really simple, and just put this into action how this might work, with cutting somebody off of a background. So April, would you mind coming up here? And I'm gonna have you come up again later, so this one's gonna be way simpler than even the next one, which is so simple. And I'm just gonna have you stand against the black. And if we can get the houselights down and the other ones up, that would be great. Yeah, and what I'm doing here is so simple. I'm just going to show really quickly what I would be thinking of if I was going to cut you off of a background and put you somewhere else. And I'm not going to try to do anything fancy here. This is just going to be a quick example. And I have... You have very pale skin, which is good. You have red hair, which is my favorite thing in the world, and you're wearing white, so there's nothing to think about because we have this perfect situation of black backdrop, pale everything. We have so much in common; we're so pale. And so I'm just going to first get my focus here. Really, really simple. Oh, wow, and now suddenly everything is lit how I like it to be lit. And we've just got a quick photo. Now if I want you to be in a field with a dramatic, dark sky, there are two things that I'm thinking of. One, how dark of a sky, right? Oh, oh, yeah, great, okay. The lighting is down. Oh, yeah. So what I'm thinking of first is if I'm gonna have super dark clouds back there like in this image that I showed you earlier with the pulling the sky down, the clouds were very dark. And that could work really well for this image with the black behind because I'm going to be able to blend that well enough. But I would probably choose the gray backdrop just simply because gray clouds, gray backdrop. It all works. But let's say that you don't have that option. You have black and white, and those are your options right now and you can't do anything else. Well, think about this. So you've got a subject here who is wearing all white. Beautiful, awesome hair that doesn't have any darkness to it. You look perfect. And there are no shadows on you. You're just light and airy. So if I were to go in and Photoshop with this dark backdrop and it needed to be just slightly lighter, it would be really easy for me to do because I could just isolate this black, just select that color black, which is not showing up anywhere else on our subject, and lighten that color black to be gray. That would work in this situation because there isn't anything else black. So if you wouldn't mind just looking airily out to the side. Oh, that's perfect. Good, okay. So then we've got our subject with almost no shadows. And one thing that you can argue... Oh, and you can have a seat, thank you. So one thing that you could argue is that there are shadows down in this area on her chin and on her neck and things like that, but it's gonna still be pretty easy to isolate the dark background because I can just draw a quick outline all around it just to isolate it. You don't have anything on the subject. And then we can lighten that background up. So I'm gonna stick with that actually for this image, just assuming that one day she'll be on this stormy background looking very pensive and, I don't know, heroic in some sweet way. 'Cause I feel like I can't just say you're heroic and then not say sweet, because that doesn't make any sense, especially 'cause your sweater's so cute. So that would be one way that I would consider how to move somebody to a new background. And I shot her straight on. I didn't get some weird, low angle. So that means that if I am putting a sky in the background, I would've wanted to shoot that sky sort of off in the distance. One thing that I notice a lot in images is... And, in fact, when I've been out shooting with people, is you'll see these great clouds and then you're like, oh, my gosh, click, and you take a picture of this cloud that's above you. But how frequently do you shoot someone from this angle, right? You just don't do that. You shoot somebody looking straight at them. And that's why whenever I photograph clouds and things like that, stock images that are out in nature, I try to see a horizon line in the distance so that I know, oh, those clouds connected here with the horizon. In this case, we have somebody who is not in any particular background. They don't have any context to where they're standing, so she could be super close to the camera and maybe the clouds are way in the distance and there's all this blur between them. And that doesn't really matter in this situation. The one thing that I would mention here in terms of moving someone to a new background is the fact that April was standing really close to the backdrop generally. And the closer you are to the backdrop, that means the more the backdrop will be in focus, right. It's just how cameras work. If the subject is close to the background, both things will be in focus, depending on your aperture, of course, what your f-stop is, is you have shallow depth of field. So one thing that I could've done in this situation to make this even easier to cut would be to just have her step up closer to the windows and have all of this separation so that the background is super blurry and our subject stands out. Because just imagine right now... We're gonna play a little game where you're imagining that you're a tool in Photoshop. So just visualize you're a round eraser tool-type thing, okay. Yeah, that's what we're gonna do. Just go with it. And you're a little eraser tool, and your job is, because you're like this big in comparison to my head right now, okay. And you're like, okay, I've gotta erase around the hairs that I'm seeing. What are you gonna look for if you're the eraser tool? You're gonna look for, first of all, is there contrast between them so that I can actually figure out what I'm supposed to be erasing? And then, two, is there blur? Because if something is super in focus, and the thing in the background is really out of focus, that's going to create even more separation for that tool in Photoshop to isolate what you're trying to cut out. So that's something that I'm thinking about. And if I notice, I can see a few hairs around here. Okay, I definitely see that. And I notice that I can see some texture in the background as well. And that's probably not as good for being able to cut those hairs out. So would I re-shoot it? Yes. Am I going to? No. Because it's a really simple thing that we can all visualize, just that separation as much as possible. I mean, what's going to separate someone from a background? Contrast with the background and focus being shifted from the background to the foreground. So that's the big thing.

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. :)