Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Shoot: Feather Image

This is the final image that I have to capture today and I'm doing so back in the barn. I really wanted to use this space because of how far back this room goes, but we had to make a few adjustments here in order to create an image that would visually be pleasing to look at, so what we've done is we've put some trash bags and tarps against the windows in the back to block the light so that there's really beautiful light coming in in the foreground and nothing in the background which means that I can have really beautiful light fall off in this space, which I think will be interesting because it's already architecturally fascinating with the beams on the ceiling and the walls and I think that's going to make a really interesting shot here that's very rustic in a sense, but also really elegant. Which is kind of what we're going for for this picture, because we have a whole bunch of ethically sourced feathers and these feathers are going to be laying in a pile all around our subject. She'...

s also going to be painted white, just to show a little bit of the sort of less than human quality that I want her to have where these feathers will have fallen off of her and what's left is this raw, white skin underneath with good texture from the paint. So we're going to get this started because we have a lot of work to do painting our model and getting the feathers in place. But just on a technical note, I am going to be shooting this at F2 so that I do have that amazing depth of field here, really shallow, as we've been doing for this whole series. So why don't I have you come on over, and we're going to paint your body white, and we're going to get some feathers in place in just a second, thank you. So I've got this body paint here, and I'm gonna try to be really careful with it. (chuckles) And I'm gonna have you generally in position, you don't have to totally assume your position, yep, right where those bags are, right in the center. And I'm actually gonna have you face away from me, which is a theme of the day. I feel really bad because I always have to say to models, oh, face away from me, I don't wanna see you, but I do, but just not exactly. So I'm going to start to put this white body paint all over you, I'm gonna move your hair to the side, I'm gonna start, my hands are really cold on your back, and hopefully we'll get you nice and painted really fast here. I'm just gonna slip off my wedding ring and well, that was a bad idea. And I'm pouring the paint into my hand and then I'm just going to, okay, there we go. Get started. All over the place. (chuckles) This is a very fun process. I definitely don't have any complaints having to do this today. I'm getting my outfit all messy, but that's okay, because isn't that what clothes are made for? Or at least what washing machines are made for. So this image is the final one that I'm shooting but probably won't be the final one in the series. This one is going to be probably somewhere in the middle, and it's important to think about the order in which you're going to display a series. In this case though, this isn't quite as dramatic as the first or the last image should be, and I think it's going to fall somewhere in the middle. I was actually talking to Rachel earlier and she was saying that she is not only extremely bendy but also very creative with her poses so we're going to see what we can do here to create a really sort of fallen bird look to this image. So the idea is going to be that she has lost all of her feathers, and here she is just sort of rejected on the floor, not knowing where to go from here. So now that we've got this paint on, which is looking very cool, I'm just gonna get it kinda up at your hair line. Let's see a pose that we might assume here, so what you did with your legs earlier was super cool. I don't remember what it was exactly. Facing away from me to start. Yep. I really like this, and I'm just going to get your leg now if you don't mind, so I'm just paying attention now to what the camera is going to see. And I think it'll be just right around here. I just met Rachel today, but now I'm going to touch her bum if that's okay (chuckling). Do you mind? Okay there we go. Just get in there. And make sure that what the camera sees will have paint on it. And I think this looks good, I'm just gonna wipe the excess on the leotard here. I think that looks good, I'm gonna put a little bit more on the leotard just for continuity just to be able to see the right color running through this whole picture. And then I'll be ready to shoot as long as I can hold my camera, because I've made my hands very dirty. So, okay, I'm sorry, i'm just getting in between my fingers so that I can clean myself on you. Just so mean. But I promised everyone cupcakes after this, so everyone will have cupcakes, eventually, one day. All right, so I'm going to pass that over there, grab a little wet wipe which is super handy. And then I'm going to put the feathers all around here. And once I'm clean, gonna open these up. And I just want fluffy feathers so I know that I probably don't have enough for what I wanted to do here. So I'm simply going to put them where I can and maybe photograph them a few times extra to make it look like there's more than there really are. This is 300 feathers. This was 100 of the 300. Actually it's looking pretty fluffy. We were all a little bit worried that it was going to be a really lackluster affair with these feathers, but this is looking really good. And I'm just going to make sure that they're in a circular pattern all around. I like some of them being on her, some of them not. And one last pack. So I think this side could use a little bit rounding out through here. Again I'm not worried about the front, so I'm just going to fill the frame where I can and we'll let it taper off a little bit to the edges for balance. Right there, this is where I want the last feathers. Okay perfect. Okay, and I think it'll be nice to have maybe a couple feathers coming toward the camera. And maybe one even really close to the camera. So that's what I'm going to keep in mind, thank you. I'm going to get my position here, and what I'm looking for is just some good depth of field, shallow depth of field here, so I'm just making sure that I'm as close as possible to my subject. I'm going to change my settings, so I am at ISO 200, and 200 for my shutter speed. Okay, Rachel, I'm going to have you actually pull your elbows down, yep, just like that. And then arch your back toward me even more. Oh, you've got it. She is fantastic (grunts). Okay, now I'm going to have you do even softer in the arms, like your arms are just about to fall off because you're a bird (chuckles). Logical, right? Okay, and then right arm down even lower, and then if you can pull that elbow back toward me a little. Yeah, just like that. Good. And now, yep, perfect, that's exactly what I was going to ask you to do. And this is a really fun image because I was able to work with Rachel as a performer and ask her what would you do in this space? And is that in alignment with the story I'm trying to tell, and it very much was. So I'm just taking a couple extra images here of the barn space, making sure that I have all the images that I need all around. And this is looking pretty good. Fantastic. And you can relax. So that is the final image of the series, but of course, not in order. So I think things went pretty well today. We went really quickly, we got everything that we needed, and most importantly, I feel like I have the base shots for every single image that we created. The good thing about that is that if I have to add little things in later like cracks in the floor or a tree in the room or whatever I may need, I can probably get those things off set or off location. So that's what I'm going to rely on doing to be able to finish this series. I'm super excited about the images and I hope you are too, and we're going to take a look at how they're put together and also how to market and sell the images as well. So thank you for joining me for this photo shoot.

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. :)