Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Shoot: Mirror Image

This is an image that I think is going to be quite simple in the series, but it's going to be a little bit magical as well. And part of my goal with this series of images, is to bring magical elements, into a space, that looks very realistic, as this decaying space does. I think the more that you have a building that's falling apart, that has grime and dirt all over the place, the more realistic it tends to look. So, if we can bring some magical elements in, I think that we're going to have a good balance, between magic and realism. So, for this picture, we have a mirror, and this mirror, we're going to end up putting on the wall, make it look really big, and I'm going to put something else in the mirror. It's not gonna be a mirror by the time we get done with it, it's going to be sort of a portal to whatever is on the other side of the wall. Not literally what's on the other side of the wall, because we have a fish tank, on the other side of the wall, but instead, it might be clouds, ...

or it might be rolling hills, something very magical, something that our character's dreaming about, sort of like a portal to a new world. So, that's what I'm going to edit into his picture, and to do it, I'm going to have our subject standing with the light hitting directly, and just sort of be dreaming about what is through this portal. So, I'm going to have hers simply like this, with her head back, with the arms back, very graceful, with the dress flowing, with the hair moving, and then, I will edit this picture frame, separately, to look really big on the wall. Even bigger than it actually is, so that this portal, looks really big and inviting, and will actually form some of the lighting conditions that we might change, later on in post. So, instead of having lighting just coming from one side, I might edit light to come out of the frame as well. And that's something that I have to think about ahead of time, to make sure that I'm shooting in the right conditions for that to happen. So, I think we're ready to get started. So, Rachel, if you wanna come on over here. We've got this nice, gray dress that we're using, and it could be good on it's own, but I've actually found that this dress, works really well to change the color up. So might make this dress blue, or red, I'm not sure yet, exactly what color we're gonna go with, that might be determined by the colors that we find through the portal that we're going to create, so this should be nice and simple to start. So, I'm gonna have you stand here, and actually just gonna move this mirror slightly away. Just there. So that we have a night clean slate. So, I'll have you stand just about there, and for this first shot, I'm not gonna have her do anything, but assume the position, which is good, you were already doing it, look at that. It's so nice, having people along, who just get it. So, I'm going to turn my camera on, take a step back, I'm going to get a bit of a lower angle here, and I'm going to get my focus. And my settings are stying pretty consistent at this point, because we're still in this room that we've been in, so right now, I'm at F 2.5, 100 for my shutter speed, and ISO 250. And that looks pretty good to me. We might get a little bit of blur, when we start moving the skirt. And that will be fine, in my opinion, just adds a little bit of a believability and motion to the picture. So, I'm gonna have you lower your arms just slightly, yup, that is perfect. And then, arch your back toward me a little, yup, you got it. And, can you put all your hair behind your shoulders? Perfect. Okay, so, this is my base shot. This is the image that I am going to start from, and then I'm going to build off of. And I'll explain what I mean in just a moment, after I capture this image. So, I'm checking focus one more time, (camera clicks) And taking one shot, and if you could actually even back bend a little bit more toward me, yup, that's perfect. Just cause of the angle, that I'm so much lower, I need a little bit more of an exaggerated pose, so that was perfect, you got that. Now, we need to get extra shots of our subject. So, I'm going to have you, you can sort of relax your body, I'm going to have you, flick your hair toward me, so just a little like that, over the shoulder, and I'm going to catch it, as you do it, whenever you're ready. (camera clicks) Perfect, and now the other side. (camera clicks) Good. So it's just a little bit of motion, her hair went out really far, but I'm not catching it when it's sticking straight out, because that wouldn't be believable in this space. So, I'm catching it as it's falling behind her, just to create some motion in that area. So now, I'll have you take the sides of your dress, and just flick them out, and you don't have to do it really hard, just gently will be perfect. (camera clicks) Okay, and maybe two more times. (camera clicks) Good, and now let's do one, if you can grab the very back of your dress, and throw it toward me a little bit. That's hard to do, I know, but if you can, we'll see. (camera clicks) Perfect, got that. So, we've got the images of the dress, images of the hair, we've got our subject in her pose, and it looked really lovely. So, you can step aside, and then we're going to have our friends come over, and hold the mirror. And for this image, I'm not worried about keeping my position exactly, because I need to make this mirror look bigger than it actually is, I'm actually gonna get pretty close to the mirror, and photograph it closer, so that I have the room, to be able to make it look bigger, in the final image. Of course, the closer you photograph something, if you then put that image into another picture, it's going to look bigger. So, I'm going to get as close as I can, and I'm going to photograph this mirror, just like this, just getting my focus. (camera clicks) Got it. Thank you guys. Okay, so, now I'm going to photograph this space. Would you guys mind moving that with you? Thank you. I'm going to photograph this space, because this is going to be my room, so I'm just steeping back, and taking a few more images, on my knee, like I did before. And, focusing on the spot on the floor, that I marked mentally, where my subject was standing, (camera clicks) Just get a couple of images of that room. (camera clicks) Okay, and now we have the space, to build out from there. So, this one is fairly simple, but there is some cutting involved, some editing, that's going to be a little bit tricker than just, "Oh, I'll just put the mirror in, "and then the subject will be there, "and it'll all be perfect." I'm actually going to have to cut around her hair a little bit, which is another deterrent, from capturing the hair going out to the sides, because that's the area that I'm going to have to be editing. So, I don't want little, tiny strands of hair, going off, if I'm going to have to cut around, every single one of those hairs. So, I'd prefer the hair being, sort of slick straight, and then just flaring down at the bottom, where I don't have to edit around the hairs. So, that's what I was thinking about for this photoshoot, and I have high hopes, that this one is going to be magical, and realistic at the same time.

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. :)