Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Shoot: Sand Image

We're in this little tiny room with this one little tiny window and we're doing the sand shoot, which has been a lot of logistics to get to this place. Because when I was planning this shoot, I wrote down that I needed 800 pounds of sand and I put a little question mark next to it because I did not know if that was going to be possible, especially since we're out in the middle of nowhere and it ended up being possible. And here we are in this little tiny space with all of this sand and this beautiful chair. And the goal here is to create this super atmospheric very old feeling image and I think that we're going to be able to achieve that with this little tiny window with this light streaming in. Which is a situation that I would actually not shoot in generally. It's my natural instinct to shoot with the window light coming straight in at somebody rather than sweeping across the scene in this very diagonal sort of way. So I'm challenging myself in this space and I think that aside from ...

that lighting challenge, it's going to be a really beautiful image. And I'm really excited to see how it goes. But we have a couple of things that we have to do here in order to make it work. First of all we do have sand, but we have apple boxes put in place to try to hold the sand in because we didn't want the sand to just sort of spill everywhere into this room because then it wouldn't be piled up around the chair like I wanted. So we have things holding it in and just when I'm about to shoot, I'll move all of that away, let the sand spill down a little bit more and hope that everything stays in position long enough. I actually ended up choosing this room because the floor slants in the direction of the sand which is really helpful so that the sand doesn't immediately roll away. That would be completely terrible and a waste of 800 pounds of sand, which we're going to donate to playground afterwards. So all is well. But we have to get started here, get our model in place, so Kristen if you wouldn't mind just taking a seat on the chair. There goes sand. There it goes. Awesome, okay that's perfect. And she instinctively sat down in exactly the right position, this is exactly what I want you do to. So you are perfect right now and I'll pose you in just a second. But first I'm going to get the sand moving around here. You can see that it's already streaming in the window light, which I did not anticipate. And I am so excited about that. Because I think if we can capture that in the image, that's going to be beautiful. So I'm going to just really gently move this tarp. And, okay, this is good. So I'm just going to cover up the tarp a little bit. Just make sure that we don't see that as much as possible. I know that part of the goal here was to not dirty this house, but you know when you're in the moment you just do what you have to do and then you cross your fingers that no one's mad at you afterwards. Or at least that's my theory. So here go the apple boxes. This is like an adult's dream, right? Like it's not just for children. Okay, we've got one out. So far so good. And the thing that I should mention is that if for whatever reason we can't cover this tarp, that's okay I'll just get another shot later of the sand hitting the floor. And we don't have to worry too much about that. I think this apple box is now filled with sand, so. Yep, there it goes. Oh my gosh. Okay, that looks good. Wow. And then we've got a couple extra bags. I know that I do see these back here, these apple boxes. I'm gonna leave that one, cause it's just in the shadow. And I actually think that one will be completely covered as well because of that strip of shade that's in there so I'm not worrying about that right now. But I am going to cut these open, with some scissors. (plastic ripping) Let's see what we can do here. I may be small, but I'm very strong. Oh it looks so good. I'm like a little kid right now, are you doing okay? Yes. Okay. There and then one more for this side here. (plastic ripping) That one little flap, okay. There we go. Alright, we did it. It's very dusty in here. Maybe that's obvious already. But I'm just going to smear this around just slightly. This is a professional technique of making sure that the sand looks really natural. I just made it up myself. And we're gonna get that out of there. Okay I'm going to build it up a little bit around the dress. And now I'm going to decorate our subject. So as if you're not decorated enough, I'm going to put some sand on you. There, oh, look at that. It sticks really nicely, so that's really good. I'm making sure that she actually looks integrated into this sand pile not like we just sat her down here. And the sand is sticking beautifully. So this looks really good. Get some up here, you can move your hands if you want. Want them messed? Oh yeah. Yeah. We have a model who likes to play so this is really good. Okay, now I'm going to have you get in position. Your position is going to be letting it actually fall off your shoulders and you'll just sort of hunch this way, just fall this direction. Yes, exactly, that's very good. And I'm going to take a look. I'll let you know if anything needs to change. But for now, I'm just going to let your back show a little bit right here. That'll be good. And I'm going to take a look through my camera. So I'm actually switched over to a 25mm lens. And this is going to allow me to see what I need to see in this room to start. This is looking so beautiful through my camera. I'm very excited here. And I'm already getting ideas about editing so I'm already starting to think, should I take that window out of the picture or should I leave it in and actually edit something out that window that's relevant to this scene. So I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do, but we'll find out later. So I'm going to take my first shot, 'cause I actually love this pose. So I'm going to capture this as it is. That looks just beautiful. And then I'm going to take a couple extra shots around the space. And now we're going to try one more pose just to make sure that I have some options in this room. So I'm going to have you actually turn your body a little bit more this way, just your upper body, yep. And then just fall forward. Yep, no, that was perfect. That's exactly what I want. And then I might have you just angle a little bit so if you wouldn't mind taking your left shoulder up and your right shoulder down more, yep exactly. Perfect. And then I'll just really quickly shoot a couple more images there. Okay, and then I lied, as all photographers do. So if you can sit up in the chair once more. And I'm actually gonna have you stay sitting up with your arms exactly as they are but turn your upper body away from me as much as you can. You want me this way, or? Facing away as much as you can. Yep, just like that. And then let's have you take your shoulders toward the corner of the room even more. Yep, and then actually lean into the corner of the room. Good and then, again I lied. But I'm going to have you take this arm forward, yep, and then hold on and turn away just like that, perfect. Okay. And I'm going to shoot this really fast. (shutter clicks) Good. (shutter clicking) Okay. And we are finished with that shoot. So you can get comfortable. And what I was thinking about there was just allowing her to look fragile in this space where sand is symbol of time and letting our subject sort of blend right into the floor in this very old chair in this very old dress, looking like she belongs in this space. So I'm really excited to try out this new type of lighting for me, see how it goes and I think it's going to fit really well into the series which we're going to keep shooting now.

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. :)