Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Shoot: Miniature Scene

And the first thing that I'm going to do is photograph my box, so I might actually need you to help me, Tori, if you wouldn't mind. I'm going to throw this away, and now we're going to move on to this miniature scene that we talked about, and I'm going to have Tori help so that the box isn't just on the floor. One, so that the light is hitting a little bit better, but also so that I'm not laying flat on the floor to get this image. And another thing that I thought about, I'm gonna tape these flaps down just a little bit here, because they are going to just be in my way. It doesn't make sense that a room has giant, flappy doors on it, or whatever you wanna call these (laughs) boxes with flaps, so I'm just gonna tape them down. Do you wanna also tape some, just super simple. Just like that, thank you. And once we have that, my goal is going to quickly be to get multiple angles on this box. Wonderful, teamwork, okay. You can go the other way with it, yeah. So I'll just have you hold the b...

ox up and I'm gonna get pretty close, and now, this is the part where things are gonna get slightly tricky, so I'm gonna have you angle toward me this way, yep. Now the lighting is more coming in from the front, I don't have to worry about weird side light or weird shadows in this room that we're photographing. But what I wanna think about is my f-stop, so I'm changing my f-stop, I'm gonna try to go to 5.6, but we're in a very dark space, so at 5.6, I'm gonna take my shutter speed down, to probably a 50th of a second, and I'm gonna take my ISO up. I am not somebody who is afraid of ISOs, so I don't mind if there's grain. I'm totally good adding grain, taking grain away from an image, and that's just my style of shooting. So now I'm getting pretty close, and I'm gonna focus on this box, and it can be hard to focus on a space like this, 'cause you're kind of looking through a camera like, Oh, where am I gonna put my subject? I don't really know, so my first use of my little mug, which is not the actual use of the mug, I'm just gonna set that mug down in there, and focus on that so that I can just be sure that my focus is good and that I can also see the depth of my focus which is super helpful here. Okay, got some tape in there. That looks good, though, to me. So I'm gonna take the little mug out, and I'm going to just make sure one last time that my focus is good, and I think it is, and I'm gonna photograph this box from many angles. So first one there, next I'm gonna come down really low, there, maybe even from above because you just never know what kind of room you're going to need in this space. Just resetting my focus one last time, and trying again with a slightly different focus so there's my low shot, my medium shot, and my high shot; okay, I like our box room. I think it's gonna work out pretty well. We'll see how it goes. You can put the box down (laughs) anywhere you like. But now, she's not done yet. Could you hold this mug for me? Thank you; you can actually hold it from the handle if you want. I'm not going to be using any of this mug except for the rim, so I don't know if you guys have guessed what I'm doing with this yet, but I'm going to make a hole in the floor of this room, so it's going to look like our subject is hovering above the hole in the floor. This will act as the actual hole that goes into the floor, and then I'll cover this box room with dirt from outside, to make it look like there's dirt going in the hole, it's gonna be fun. Okay, so I'll have you just hold it out slightly so there's that black backdrop so that it's just really easy to edit together. And I'm getting my focus, and I'm actually gonna lighten this up just a little bit so I can see the rim really well, so I'm at 25 for my shutter speed, and I'm getting my focus, okay. Now I'm just gonna get every angle I can think of here. Low and high and in between, and this is a little bit tricky because I'm so close to this object, so like we talked about the depth of field would be more shallow, so I'm just trying to get a good mix of making sure that the middle part of this is in focus, the front and the back can go slightly out of focus, and I'm okay with that. Thank you very much, okay, so we've got our room. We've got our hole in the ground, and now we need our hovering subject. And this will be easier than it sounds. I really, really hope it will be. And should be pretty straightforward. So what we're going to do is this. Because we're in a dark space, I'm not gonna have April jump for the photo, because, first of all, danger, we don't wanna hurt anybody, but second of all, we just don't need to, it's so dark that I don't wanna get a ton of motion blur in this room. If she's like, am I doing it right? And then she's just like a white blur, and then it'll be a ghost picture, and that would be weird, so we're not doing that. So instead, I'm just gonna have you stand really, really easily, and your position will sort of be arms out like this. Can I have you take the sweater off? We've got the worst dress ever, that I've perhaps have ever brought to CreativeLive. Here we go, oh my God, yep, okay. And then, I'm gonna put it in our house, okay. So I'm going to have you just stand like this with your arms out and head back, just, yes, exactly. And I'm gonna move your hair just slightly, there. Okay, and this'll be very straightforward. But now what angle do I shoot her at? I can't be certain, 'cause I photographed lots of angles before, so I have to shoot her at maybe three different angles. So we'll start about here, I think and I'm just getting my focus, take a little step back, okay, good, and then a little bit lower, resetting focus, good, and then even lower, and getting that focus, good, so now we're going to photograph your feetsies, and it's gonna be so simple, so instead of having her jump but we still need her to hover, I'm just going to photograph each foot separately to make it look like she's dangling over this hole. So I'm going to have you, if you wouldn't mind, just lift the dress up slightly. The rest of your body does not matter. And you'll do just exactly that, and in fact, the best thing that she can do is actually to lift in place like this, so that her foot really goes straight down, yep. Good, now I'm gonna just take my little step back, and the funny thing here is that I'm not photographing her from the same distance now, I'm a little bit closer, so her foot's gonna look really big when I put it in to attach to her body, but we'll scale it later, so next foot. Great, and then could I have you pull the dress up even more in the front? It's just kinda dangling too far. Yeah, there is a lot of fabric there, perfect. Good, okay, now I'm not gonna photograph you from different heights with your feet as well, I'm going to have you sit back down, thank you so much, and some things that I might also photograph are the dress moving a little bit, the hair moving a little bit, things like that that add to believability, but in terms of what we've got here, we've got the box, we've got our subject, we've got a hole in the ground, and we've got the main pieces to that, so now we just have to think about details, which is, is the dress going to be moving at all and will the hair be moving at all and is there wind in this room that we've created where there'll be leaves scattering about? There's so many options that we have right now, so I think that we're probably going to add some dirt to the floor, some leaves to the room, some motion to the dress and hair, but aside from that, I think we're pretty good to go. So what I wanna stress here is, that compositing and even creating a little set for ourselves can be really simple as long as we go through our checklist, and as long as we're prepared to think about well, is there going to be blur? I can't believe I've never thought about noise before, and all these things, so exposure, the lighting, the quality of light, all those things, the perspective, have we gone through our checklist? And if so, it's very likely that things will eventually come together, and I'm not saying it'll be the simplest thing, but it will work, and the reason why this is so exciting to me is because I love creating my own reality, that's what I love, is to look at the world that we live in and to say, you know what, that's really great, but I see things just a little bit differently, and this is how my world would look, and that's why compositing is such an incredible tool, especially in fine art. Fine art means that you're creating work for yourself, and if the world doesn't look how you think it should look, then make it. I mean, gosh darn it, just do it. And that's what I think is the mind-blowing thing about photography, about art in general, is that you can create what you want. So I hope that you got a little something out of compositing, and a little bit of set design, and we're going to put some of these images together later as well.

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. :)