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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 70 of 138

Shoot: Tree Image


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 70 of 138

Shoot: Tree Image


Lesson Info

Shoot: Tree Image

This image is going to be, perhaps, the most complicated picture that I'm trying to complete in this series. I said perhaps, but I definitely mean it will be the most complex picture; because this is going to be almost entirely Photoshopped. From the moment I take the shot to the end product, it's just gonna be maybe one or two pictures and then the rest happening in the computer. What I need to do right now is to make it look like this entire room has a huge tree coming through the floor and up through the ceiling. The gist of it is that we're going to have our subject just totally enveloped in the tree roots underneath the room, so she is completely a part of nature and structure at this point. The difficulty in doing something like this is that there are a lot of small elements that will add to the believability of this final image. One of the most important pieces is making sure that the lighting is maintained on every single image that we end up putting in this picture. One of the...

m being the tree roots, another one being our subject, another being the tree itself; plus, the little details of how we're going to create holes in the floor and ceiling of this picture. Then there is an entire other aspect to this that is complicated in and of itself; which is that I'm shooting, essentially, a half above ground, half below ground image. I need to make it look like there's cut in the floorboards so that I can see below the house and in the room. That is complicated alone. When you add that with something shooting through a room, all these entry points of different objects that weren't there to begin with; this becomes a very complicated image. That's why we have to be completely ready and know what elements we need ahead of time. What do we need ahead of time? First of all, we need to know our angle. If I'm going to photograph something below this floor and above this floor, then realistically I have to get down really low to shoot these images so that I'm close to the floorboards that are coming toward my camera. Part of the reason why I'm using a 25 millimeter lens here is so that there is just a slight bit of distortion on the floorboards, so that they do look like they're really coming toward my camera; which is going to be helpful for creating a little bit of a dynamic believability with the perspective, here. That's one consideration. I have to make sure that I have the room completely cleared, which you can see we have done. So there's nothing in this space, which is making room for the tree. I'm actually going to use this column here as a little piece of the tree. That's going to be our marker of where the tree is going to go. You can see it doesn't actually go into the floor, but it is creating a shadow, so I'm going to know where the tree shadow needs to be in the end. That's going to be how this image comes together. It's going to be very complicated, but I think we have all the elements that we need. I'm going to get down low, and I'm going to shoot this room first. That way I have my very first image, I understand the angle that I'm getting on that, and then I can shoot my subject. First thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to get down low and I'm going to shoot this room. Let's go ahead and take a look. The lower you get the better in this situation, since we're going to see underneath these floorboards. Doesn't really make a lot of sense if I start shooting it like this, up higher, to then be able to see underneath the floorboards. The lower we get down with the camera, the more you're going to believe that we can actually see underneath the floor. That's going to be super important to the believability, here. I'm gonna get pretty low. I'm actually just gonna lay down to get comfortable. I think this angle's really nice. I'm at ISO 500 right now, and F 3.5. I'm changing my shutter speed to be 160. This looks pretty good from my angle. I'm just gonna flip my screen up a little so I can see better. I'm going to focus on the column in this room, knowing that that's where my tree will be. Where the tree is, is really important; because the tree will end up under the ground, and that's where our subject will be, as well. This is going to give me a sense of space. Knowing that this column is in the room, and that's where the focus is, I also need my subject to be relatively the same size and distance from my camera as this column is. I'm gonna go ahead and get my focus. That looks good. There are a couple things that I don't like in this frame, such as the windows; but that's something that I can deal with in post if I don't end up liking it. I'm gonna get my low angle. I'm focused on the post. I'm gonna go ahead and take my first shot, here. That's looking really nice. I'm just gonna move my camera around the room, making sure that I can expand this frame out if I need to. I'm gonna get some of the ceiling, here. That should do it for the images around the room. Maybe a little bit more floor, just in case. You never know where that edit is going to come in. Now that we've got everything in the room, we can get our subject. This is going to be a little bit more complicated, because our subject; we can't see exactly where she's going to be, yet. It's going to be a little bit difficult to envision, what will her background be, what will be touching her? All I know is that she'll be underground in the earth, in the dirt, and the tree roots are going to swoop in and sort of cradle her underneath this house. Knowing that, I wanna make sure that there's darkness around her. I don't know if it'll be pitch black, or if it'll be brown like dirt. So, I'm going to place her in a spot here, where there's natural light coming in; which will allow natural darkness to fall off in the background. We're gonna have her in fetal position on her back. If you wouldn't mind coming in, I'm gonna have you lay down just right about there. We've swept a little spot for her. I'm gonna have you on your back with your legs pulled up. Exactly. Instead of holding your knees, I'm actually gonna have you put your head up to your knee. Yep, just exactly like that. She just did it, everything's perfect. I'm gonna move back and get this shot. I'm making sure that I get a low angle, but not as low; because if I am as low as I was, then I would be shooting up at our subject, whereas if you can envision in this final image- Yes, relax. In this final image she'll actually be below the lens of my camera if she really is underground. I'm simply going to photograph her, maybe from just a little bit slightly above, here. Can you pull in in even further? Yep, that's it. Got it, okay. You can relax. Those were the pieces of this image that I needed to get right now. What you're not seeing me get is a tree and tree roots, as well as the hole; which I think that we talked about earlier that we saw a couple little holes around here in the floor. I'm going to try to use those as the entry point for the tree through the ceiling and the floor. After I get those, this image should be good to go, but I do anticipate a number of hours in Photoshop.

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.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Storytelling & Ideas
  3. Universal Symbols in Stories
  4. Create Interactive Characters
  5. The Story is in The Details
  6. Giving Your Audience Feelings
  7. Guided Daydream Exercise
  8. Elements of Imagery
  9. The Death Scenario
  10. Associations with Objects
  11. Three Writing Exercises
  12. Connection Through Art
  13. Break Through Imposter Syndrome
  14. Layering Inspiration
  15. Creating an Original Narrative
  16. Analyze an Image
  17. Translate Emotion into Images
  18. Finding Parts in Images
  19. Finding Your Target Audience
  20. Where Do You Want Your Images to Live?
  21. Create a Series That Targets Your Audience
  22. Formatting Your Work
  23. Additional Materials to Attract Clients
  24. Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful?
  25. How to Make Money from Your Target Audience
  26. Circle of Focus
  27. The Pillars of Branding
  28. Planning Your Photoshoot
  29. Choose Every Element for The Series
  30. Write a Descriptive Paragraph
  31. Sketch Your Ideas
  32. Choose Your Gear
  33. How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations
  34. What Tells a Story in a Series?
  35. Set Design Overview
  36. Color Theory
  37. Lighting for the Scene
  38. Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design
  39. Locations
  40. Subject Within the Scene
  41. Set Design Arrangement
  42. Fine Art Compositing
  43. Plan The Composite Before Shooting
  44. Checklist for Composite Shooting
  45. Analyze Composite Mistakes
  46. Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing
  47. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing
  48. Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories
  49. Shoot: Miniature Scene
  50. Editing Workflow Overview
  51. Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress
  52. Edit Details of Images
  53. Add Smoke & Texture
  54. Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite
  55. Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario
  56. Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot
  57. Self Portrait Test Shoots
  58. Shoot for Edit
  59. Shoot Extra Stock Images
  60. Practice the Shoot
  61. Introduction to Shooting Photo Series
  62. Shoot: Vine Image
  63. Shoot: Sand Image
  64. Shoot: End Table Image
  65. Shoot: Bed Image
  66. Shoot: Wall Paper Image
  67. Shoot: Chair Image
  68. Shoot: Mirror Image
  69. Shoot: Moss Image
  70. Shoot: Tree Image
  71. Shoot: Fish Tank Image
  72. Shoot: Feather Image
  73. View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing
  74. Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion
  75. Edit Images with Advanced Compositing
  76. Decide How to Start the Composite
  77. Organize Final Images
  78. Choosing Images for Your Portfolio
  79. Order the Images in Your Portfolio
  80. Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others?
  81. Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order
  82. Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing
  83. Determine Sizes for Prints
  84. How to Choose Paper
  85. How to Choose Editions
  86. Pricing Strategies
  87. How to Present Your Images
  88. Example Pricing Exercise
  89. Print Examples
  90. Licensing, Commissions & Contracts
  91. How to Keep Licensing Organized
  92. How to Prepare Files for Licensing
  93. Pricing Your Licensed Images
  94. Contract Terms for Licensing
  95. Where to Sell Images
  96. Commission Pricing Structure
  97. Contract for Commissions
  98. Questions for a Commission Shoot
  99. Working with Galleries
  100. Benefits of Galleries
  101. Contracts for Galleries
  102. How to Find Galleries
  103. Choose Images to Show
  104. Hanging the Images
  105. Importance of Proofing Prints
  106. Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery
  107. Press Package Overview
  108. Artist Statement for Your Series
  109. Write Your 'About Me' Page
  110. Importance of Your Headshot
  111. Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch
  112. Writing For Fine Art
  113. Define Your Writing Style
  114. Find Your Genre
  115. What Sets You Apart?
  116. Write to Different Audiences
  117. Write for Blogging
  118. Speak About Your Work
  119. Branding for Video
  120. Clearly Define Video Talking Points
  121. Types of Video Content
  122. Interview Practice
  123. Diversifying Social Media Content
  124. Create an Intentional Social Media Persona
  125. Monetize Your Social Media Presence
  126. Social Media Posting Plan
  127. Choose Networks to Use & Invest
  128. Presentation of Final Images
  129. Printing Your Series
  130. How to Work With a Print Lab
  131. Proofing Your Prints
  132. Bad Vs. Good Prints
  133. Find Confidence to Print
  134. Why Critique?
  135. Critiquing Your Own Portfolio
  136. Critique of Brooke's Series
  137. Critique of Student Series
  138. Yours is a Story Worth Telling


April S.

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.

Ron Landis

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.

Angel Ricci

When the title says comprehensive, it means comprehensive! I loved every part of this course. It's inspirational, motivating, and insightful towards creating art work. Even if you are not necessarily considering a fine art specialty, the concepts discussed in this course are applicable to many areas! I find this super useful as a videographer and photographer and look to apply all of these exercises and concepts for my personal and business work moving forward. It is lengthy, but you will not regret a single minute. Brooke Shaden is an amazing artist and educator. I recommend keeping up with her work, presentations, and any future courses that may come in the future.