Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Shoot Extra Stock Images

Anytime I'm in a new space, no matter if it is near where I live, just down the street, or in a different country, I always try to get stock images of everything, everything possible. But, the two main things that I like to have stock images of no matter what I'm doing are textures and smoke. Those two things come in more handy than anything else possible. So, what I'm going to do right now is photograph textures and smoke. Both of those things are super handy when it comes to adding atmosphere or mood to your images. If you can add a little bit of texture, maybe in the background of an image, it can really bring everything together with cohesion. It can also make an image look even more photographic, like an old picture, or it can make an image look more painterly. I love paintings, personally, that is my favorite medium, though I don't work in it, for whatever reason, and I love to make my photos look like paintings. It's sort of like a little, personal challenge, and textures help m...

e do that. Textures are anything that you can overlay on an image that has texture, which is super simple, and maybe very obvious, but texture can come from anywhere. It can from a floor, a ceiling, a wall, from a rusty can. It doesn't really matter, as long as it is a solid space, so there's no definite pattern happening, as long as it has interesting texture on it. So, I'm going to walk around here and take a look at what textures I can find and just simply see what works and what doesn't work and I'll walk you through a little bit of what I might consider a photographic texture, something that makes the image look like an old photograph, versus a painterly texture that will make the image look more like a painting. So if we look at this door right here, I thought this was just the absolute perfect thing. We've got a door and it has a couple of things going for it. We've got some, sort of, grungy texture, happening right through here. We have all these splatters, that can be really neat for perhaps, looking like drips in a photograph, which could be really interesting. But, there are lots of scratches, lots of little things that will make this look like an old photograph, or at least that's my hope. So, I'm just going to take one little step back here, adjust my camera settings and photograph up close. I'm going to get it in focus, and there, I've got my first texture, just of this little space on the door and it has to be that simple, there's nothing else to it. There just, get up close, frame it how you want, solid color, texture, flat surface, that's all I'm looking for right now. So, I'm going to get a few more textures, specifically down at the bottom here. I think this is really interesting. So I'm just going to frame this up, make sure that it's in focus and I've got the textures. And I'm just moving my camera around as much as possible so that I'm getting textures from all different spaces. I don't want to get the same texture twice. And you never know how these textures are going to work out. What I've noticed is that scratches like this on the door, they're very, if you can imagine old film, let's say, shot maybe 50 years ago, you can imagine scratches on the film and that makes it look like an old photograph. So, this particular spot right here, will be great for that, for overlaying scratches. But, something like down here, has a lot of drips and it's a little bit more muddied. There aren't any, necessarily, scratches going through it or dense, it's very mixed, and it even looks like paint dripping. Which means that this will probably be a good painterly texture. This is what I use on almost every single image of mine, and I often layer together multiple textures to create a different look. So instead of just taking one texture that I've shot. I'll often take anywhere from two to five textures and mix them together to be able to create one really neat texture. The other thing is that you notice that this door has green and teal on it and I'm not concerned with color here. Color is of no importance, even if it's different colors moving through one texture because I use all of my textures in black and white, so after I get these images I will convert them to black and white and then I can overlay them on any image without messing up the nature color of my original photograph. So, if you imagine, maybe I've taken a picture in this room, I have a model in there, I have props in there, later on I overlay my texture. I wouldn't necessarily want a teal texture to go over that image of my model because that's going to color everything in the scene. So turning it black and white is simply going to allow me to not mess up the, sorry, the color of the original image, but to still retain the texture over top of that image. So I'm going to go around, photograph a few different textures, which are available to download if you get the class and I'm also going to photograph the smoke. So let's see what other textures we can find within this space. (camera clicking) I also really like to find cracks. So when I'm moving around I'm particularly looking for spaces that have cracks, such as right through here because that can be used later on. If I photograph a wall for example, I can make that wall more interesting by adding cracks going through the wall. So I'm very interested in finding very small, tiny spaces with cracks and then utilizing that later. So that's something that I'm looking for. I'm also looking for holes in walls, anything that I can shoot from multiple angles, that maybe if I find a hole in the wall, for example, I can make it look like a hole in the floor, like a really big hole in the floor, even, if that's something that I'm going for. Which it is because I'll be photographing a tree in the room though there won't actually be a tree. So, I'm going to have to photograph a hole somewhere in the floor, or the wall, or the ceiling, and then make it look like a tree is bursting through that hole in this big room. I happened to find a really good hole in the floor in this building, so I'm going to definitely photograph that from multiple angles, but aside from getting cracks and holes in the walls, and things like that, everything else I'm going to shoot straight on flat to the surface that I'm photographing. Now we're going to shoot the smoke that I have with me and these are just little, tiny, smoke emitters, that let off smoke for about 45 seconds and they don't shoot flames or anything like that, you just light it and then it starts to smolder and then all of the smoke comes out. So what I'm doing right now is photographing white smoke on dark background. I didn't exactly have a dark background here so we made one up in this barn. So I'm going to photograph the smoke sitting here with the natural light hitting it from the front, with a naturally dark backdrop and I'm going to make sure when I edit these images that the smoke stands out really beautifully so that we can use these smoke images in any picture that we want. We can just add it in as atmosphere. So essentially we'll be cutting the smoke off of the background, putting it in to whatever image we have and then blending it using what blending it using whatever blending mode works for that particular image. So I'm going to photograph this smoke really quickly and I'm just going to pop out the smoke bombs. We've got these, they look just like that, really tiny, and I'm going to light two of them at the same time, just to make a thicker plume of smoke, and I'm just going to hold them together like this, hold the lighter, right there, at the flame, drop them in this cup, and let them billow. First I'm going to get my settings so that I'm totally ready to just drop them and run. So I'm going to take a few steps back, my goal here is to properly light the front, where the smoke is going to be, and let the back fall off into darkness. So I'm going to get about this far back, maybe, get my focus in general, give a test shot, that looks really good, and I think I'm ready. So I'm just going to set my camera there so that I'm totally ready to go and then I'm going to light the smoke bombs. (camera clicking) Okay, it didn't quite go according to plan because there's a little bit too much wind, so I'm going to wait for the wind to die down so the smoke actually comes up in a plume, but that's not to say that these images are usable, they're just going to be better used as a general fog layer, rather than smoke.

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