Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Shoot: Vine Image

This is the very first shoot that we're doing today as part of this series, and as I mentioned a little bit, this series is all about bringing the outdoors in and talking about decay and how we find ourselves trapped in those situations, which obviously are not literal, we're not going to as we see here find ourselves literally dangling from chains and vines, but trapped in the decay of our lives, which sounds really depressing when I say it out loud like that, but what I mean is, we find our walls crumbling in on us, we find ourselves in the same situations that we're always in and we find ourselves getting too comfortable in that lifestyle, so this is about how we all feel sometimes, like we're a little bit trapped, we're a little bit stuck in the decay of our lives and how can we break free from that? So this first photo shoot, we have Rachel here, she is our lovely model who's going to balance on this stool with these chains and vines. As you saw earlier when I was location scoutin...

g this area, I didn't have any plans to have chains in this image but it ended up being just so perfect for this concept that we're able to have the mixture of man made versus nature all intertwined together. So that's what we're going to be doing is having her sitting on this stool. And this is going to be a little bit tricky because the idea here is that the chains and vines are actually wrapping underneath her, holding her up as she dangles from the ceiling. So we're going to have her in a position that's sort of curled up in fetal position on this stool, and these will be coming from under her, scooping her up. Now I already know as somebody who puts people in dangerous situations frequently that I don't wanna hurt anyone but I also really wanna get the shot, so I might rely on Photoshop just a little bit as I photograph these chains and vines separately from our subject and stool just so that I have enough images of, for example, the chain coming around and underneath her. I can just get this separately, put it in later in Photoshop and then I don't have to make her terribly uncomfortable by trying to wrap her in chains as she balances on the stool. I already know better than that. So we'll see what we can do, we can see how we can make it look right now as we get set up, but I'm not going to freak out if something doesn't work right here on set, that's going to be totally okay. As I look at this scene, we tested yesterday, I already know the pit falls of this location. One being that there is light coming in from the back, but we have really nice light from the front, so what I'm going to do is take a look through my camera, get our model set, and just make sure that there aren't any pockets of light in the background that are distracting. For the final image here, I wanna have a nice, dark background and really make sure that our leaves and vines stand out a lot in this image. So the first thing I'm going to do is get a couple more vines up here. So I've got these extras that we've brought in, and I'm just going to weave maybe one or two up here. If I can get it in, there we go. Just a couple, see this one was perfect, it's like five in one. So I can just fix these, make sure that it looks nice and bushy here, make sure that it looks believable. And I'm not gonna worry about leaving all of them in because this might be a good opportunity to just slip one underneath her so that it looks like it's coming around. So I'll leave some of these open, same with the chains, and let's get you in position if you don't mind. So we've got Rachel wearing a nude leotard and this is a costume that I take advantage of all the time. One of the reasons being that it's very timeless to me. It almost has a look like a 1920s bathing suit or something like that, but it's super simple, super neutral, doesn't have a time period associated with it and it's going to allow the costume to blend in with her skin which looks very natural. And that's what we're going for here is natural and timeless. So this is going to be really good for that. So let's have you come take a seat. I'm going to try to not make you too uncomfortable, so go ahead and have a seat, you can face just out this direction is perfect. Okay. And then, yep, if you can. Oh you're so good. Thank you. And I'm going to stick this one just under your bum there, if that reaches down a little. Okay. And if not that's okay. We'll just stick it there instead. That looks kind of neat I think, going in under her arm, just any way that we can get these vines to actually attach to her body, so maybe this one, this one's pretty long. Can you sit on that one (chuckles)? Perfect, yes. We got one, and then maybe we'll just tuck this one in that way. I like it, I think that's looking really interesting right now, and if I ask you to rotate slightly, is that okay? Oh, oh, it spins. Okay that's perfect, yeah, exactly. So I might have you do that. Now we have to get these chains. I'm sorry this is so cold. Oh, I don't know, do you guys ever feel bad when you have to do something like this to somebody? Tell me if it hurts also. It's fine. Okay. Oh, okay. You're being so good, thank you. I'm going to drape this over your foot if it'll stay. Okay, does that hurt, you're good? Okay. And now this one. (chuckles) Okay, I'm gonna go just right through here with it. Okay. Yeah. This looks good to me so far. I think that this will eb a really good start. And if I need to photograph the vines separately, that's okay, I'll just add them in, covering her a little bit more later, but I like how this is looking. I'm just going to take a look through my camera right now, see if there are any windows that are getting in the way, and then close them up if I need to. I've got my camera on a tripod here. And I can shoot this image portrait since I have a very long subject, if you include the vines and chains and all of that, so what I'm making sure to get right now is all of my subject and a bit of the floor, just to have some context of exactly where the shadow is falling, where the stool is hitting, all of that goodness. And I notice that the background looks pretty good, she's actually covering the doorway that I was a little bit nervous about in the background, but the windows are open on the left hand side so I'm just going to close those really fast and make sure that we don't have any light coming in from that direction and these can't hurt either. Just any places where there's some discontinuity in the wall, I wanna make sure that we close that up. And that we have as clean of a slate as possible. Because that's going to help in editing to not have as many small things to get rid of. This was the window that I believe was bothering me in the shot. Okay, so now we can head back and actually take this picture. And at this point it doesn't take really any more effort. Just going to get my focus. And I'm on F2 and I'll probably stay there most of the day trying to get that shallow depth of field that we talked about when we took a look at the location scouting of this area. So I'm at F2. ISO 125 right now, I might take that down just slightly to 100, and I'm going to choose for my shutter speed. And I think that looks really beautiful, exactly how I would normally shoot it. So Rachel, if I could have you just put your head down a little bit, perfect. That is exactly what I want. So I'm gonna take one shot, just like that. Now I know that there is a chain on your foot, but (chuckles) if you wouldn't mind pointing your toes as much as possible. Oh that's really, really good. Okay perfect. Got it. And that is going to be our shot I think. Let me just take one final look. And perhaps if you could make your arms really soft, just your hands so then you're not clasping so much. Yep, that'll be perfect. Good. And now I've got a couple of options there. So now that I have that shot. I can actually ask Rachel to move because I'm okay. One thing that I might do is just tilt up while she's still there and get an extra shot of those vines and the chains, but aside from that, I'm going right back to where I was. Can't hurt to take one extra. And I'm going to ask her to get down. So Rachel, if you wouldn't mind untangling. I'll try to help as much as I can, and you can sort of hop down when you feel comfortable from that position. Thank you so much. The last thing that we have to do here is to move the stool out from this area. (chuckles) Just like that. I'll put the stool off to the side, and now we're going to take my blank images. These are my plate shots where I'm going to be able to have this empty space underneath all the vines. And that's going to be the image that I use to get rid of the stool that we have in this shot, so eventually, I will erase the stool out from under her, she will be dangling from the vines and chains. There will be nothing below. So I'm just not moving my camera, it's on the tripod. It's already positioned, it's already focused, it's already set with its settings. So I'm just taking a quick shot. Now at this point I might choose to take extra shots all around the frame just so that I can expand my frame outward if I want to and that's something that I'm considering here. Just taking a few extra images of the surroundings, and what I'm mostly concerned about is the floor, just getting some extra shots of the floor just in case I need them cuz it can't hurt. So that's it for shoot number one today, and that was vines and chains and levitation and all of that all in one. We've got a lot more to shoot though so let's move onto the next one.

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. :)