Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 118/138 - Speak About Your Work


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Speak About Your Work

We get to talk about one of the scariest things that anybody will ever have to do, which is speaking about your work. I know how challenging this is. I have a lot of sympathy for anybody who is afraid of this topic, because it's something that I also have a ton of anxiety about, but hopefully, I can walk you through how I have overcome that anxiety, because I have, tremendously. Speaking about your work does not necessarily mean public speaking, so I'm not trying to prepare you to get up on a stage and speak in front of a thousand people or anything like that, or even ten people, 'cause that's just as scary. But what I do want you to be able to do is to speak about your work in an intelligent and communicable way that will enhance your brand, that will market your images better, that will market your persona better, because, as we know, we just recently talked about writing, and when we talk about writing for your work, that's one whole thing, right? Just a way of getting your brand ou...

t there, of accentuating what you have to offer. Speaking about your work is the same. It's another way of putting yourself out there in a different medium in way that might attract more people to what you're doing, and that's why it's so important. I mean, you'll notice on social media that all of these social sites are moving in the direction of video. I remember the first time I put a video on Facebook, and I was shocked at how many people saw it compared to a regular photo post that I would make, and I realized, well, they're probably promoting video, because that's what everyone's promoting right now, is video, video, video. Instagram is obviously really big into promoting video, with their stories and things like that, and it's just the way that people are sharing now, so we have to talk about it, because if we're going to get our work out there, and if we're going to speak about it intelligently, we have to learn how to do that. Now, I don't mean to intimidate you too much, but I do mean to intimidate you slightly, 'cause this is a hard thing to do, and I know that. So, I used to be extremely shy, grossly shy. I would not talk to strangers, let alone pitch myself to them, let alone be able to talk about what I was doing. And we did do elevator pitching, which was fun, but not quite as in-depth as we're gonna go right now. Speaking about your work might be in peron or it might be on video, and we're going to focus a lot on video, because that's the trend that things are going in, but everything from being able to go to a job interview and present yourself well, to talking to people in a room about your work, to making a video about it, so important. So, that's what we're going to do. We also have a guide for download with this one, which goes in detail with questions that will help, hopefully, everybody just in terms of being able to market yourself, visually and through your words. So, hopefully, you're going to find that really helpful, and help you to just sort of hone in on the type of content that you should be producing, and the words that should be coming out of your mouth. Okay. So, here are ways to speak about your work. Different things that you'll need to keep in mind, we've got elevator pitching, which we already did, okay? Gallery meetings, which will happen if you're on that fine art path. We've got portfolio reviews. Now, this is a big one, portfolio reviews, which I'm a big fan of, and we're gonna talk about that in a second, so we've got portfolio reviews, portfolio reviews where you sit down with somebody who's going to review your work, and then, you're going to have to speak about it. So important in this situation. This is like the artist's job interview, basically, and it's importan to get right, so we'll talk about that. Giving a lecture, a Q & A, an artist talk. I mean, if we're all so fortunate, we will be invited to give artist talks, to speak about our work, you have to know how to do it. Negotiating and hiring, just another way that you would want to be able to speak about your work and this goes back to knowing your worth. If you're going to enter into a deal with a client, it's so important that you know your worth and you can communicate that to the person that you're dealing with, and then social media and video, which I mentioned. So, here's just more in-depth about these things. An elevator pitch would be a random chance meeting. A gallery meeting, you're gonna wanna be able to talk about your prices, editions, sizes, and things like that. For a portfolio review, you wanna talk about your concept and technique. That's gonna be most closely related to your artist's statement. We've got a lecture, a Q & A, an artist talk, and that's where you're going to want to have opinions formed about what you're doing, what your work is like, and your motivations, because, if you think about it, we've got all these different ways of speaking, but the motivation behind what you do is relevant in every single one of these, negotiations and hiring, things like that. We've got pricing, methods of creating, contract terms, things that you need to be able to speak about, and then social media, where I think it's good to focus on your uniqueness, or it's good to focus on what makes your process interesting, and things like that. Here are some pitfalls in public speaking, and these pitfalls, I do not blame anyone for. I have the same ones, and I'm going to hopefully just talk you through a little bit of how we're going to overcome that. So, do any of you guys have any anxiety about public speaking? Okay. And I have a good feeling that you represent, also, the larger community who might be watching, and I also feel the same. I mean, there are many different events that I do where my armpits start to sweat, and I get really nervous and anxious. I remember I did this one lecture, and it was in front of a few thousand people, and I was really nervous, and it wasn't recent, it was sort of more in the beginning of my career, and I was shaking nervous, and I was about to go on stage, and they go, "It's so exciting! "Did you know that 85,000 people "are livestreaming this right now?" I was like, "Oh, wow. "That might be the worst thing "anyone's ever done to me in my whole life," and then I was way extra nervous, and I realized after that experience that I need to find ways to calm myself and to be okay with this, and there are ways that I've done that, and I'm gonna talk about them. So, this is what people struggle with, is confidence, to be able to speak about your work. We often get up on stage, I do the same thing, and we say, "So," and, "um," and try to fill the gaps with anxious words, something to really keep in mind, but I do it constantly, and it's hard not to. It's really hard to get those extraneous words out of your dictionary. Inflection is another one that people struggle with. It's really frequent that I see people getting up on stage, and they'll keep one tone as they talk, they don't have a lof of excitement in their voice, it becomes very monotonous to listen to this type of voice inflection. I'm not trying to put you to sleep, but you're looking rather sleepy. Okay. Having concise thoughts. It's really hard. Have you ever been to a lecture where you feel like somebody's rambling a little bit? Where you're just like, "Okay, get to the point, "get to the point, I wanna know what you're trying to say." All the time, we see this. I am definitely guilty of this. My problem is actually mostly with stories. I tend to tell stories all the time, and then I forget that we're trying to have a point that's being made. So, stories are another thing that can help you tremendously when it comes to public speaking, or you can get lost in them, and we'll talk about that. Eye contact, so I'm trying to make eye contact with all of you guys, I could look straight in the camera and talk to the camera as we do this, so it's good to know where you're supposed to be looking and being able to maintain that eye contact, because obviously, I want to engage with you guys, but I also don't want you to fall asleep, so I'm gonna keep looking at you, so then you'll know that you'll be in trouble if you do, okay? All right, and then, being relatable. This is another thing where I've been to a lot of artist lectures, and there are times when the ideas and the work is just so abstract, and it's never brought down to my level, so I feel, where I'm just like, "I cannot connect with this, "because this is so heavy and intellectual "that I just don't know what the point is. "I'm not understanding," so making things relatable when you're speaking about your work. Now, how do we solve these pitfalls? One way is to realize that nobody cares as much as we fear that they do, nobody. We care way more than anybody else cares. It is a well-known fact. You know, if I stood up here, and I tripped, fell on my face, got up, and couldn't remember what I was trying to say, trust me, I'm going to carry that with me a lot longer than you are. You're not gonna lose sleep over it tonight, I am. You're not gonna remember that ten years from now, except as something silly that happened, I am, and I'm going to start sweating, and I'm gonna remember what it felt like to be in that position. Nobody cares, okay? People want to hear what you have to say. People really do want to hear what you have to say. The problem is not that they don't wanna hear you. The problem is that they wanna hear you be interesting, okay? So, it's not the content, it's not the sentiments, it's the way that you present it, more often than not, that isn't interesting for people, and that is fixable. Everything is fixable, the content, everything, but especially how we present ourselves. Learning how you like to present best is also a really important thing. You know, maybe your style is never going to be to stand up and give a speech to somebody, or to a room. Maybe you love Q & A's, though. Like, you love being interviewed, and that's how you communicate your vision best. Know that ahead of time, so that you can create scenarios where you're going to shine when you're speaking about your work. Not everyone can do everything most of the time. Some people can, they're amazing, but not everyone. Having talking points laid out, so important. I could not get through a single video or lecture or anything without having talking points. I don't have the memory for it, I'm not an actress, I have to have bullet points in my head, so that's really important, we're gonna talk about that. Focus on one main theme. That's another thing that's a real pitfall for people when they're speaking about their work, or about their life, or anything, is that it's so all over the place, and it never really gets tied back to one main central point, so have a theme. Write down audience takeaways. It's important to consider your audience, and if I'm going to give a lecture, if I'm going to give a class, for goodness's sake, I'm gonna make sure that I know what you're going to take away from my words that I am spitting at you. Literally, I keep spitting, I don't know why. I need to know, and if you walk away not knowing, that's bad, right? Like, maybe I could fudge my way through it, but if you walk away like, "I'm not sure what I was supposed to be learning from that," that's not good. Okay, cater to your favorite format, as I mentioned. If you wanna show yourself in action, show yourself in action. If you wanna show yourself standing still, talking to a room, do that. Interview style, go for it. You have the power to do whatever you need to do to get your words out there. And then, finally, learn what's editable. So, if you're making a video, learn what you can do in that video that you can take away, and learn what you can't. I did a video recently where I did not expect to be on camera. I thought it would just be a voiceover, and then I ended not having enough content to fill that video, so I had to put myself speaking in it, and I was still in my pajamas, I looked ridiculous, and I had to do it, because there was nothing else to be done. I'll explain that later, 'cause I'm gonna show you the video in which I look like I just rolled out of bed wearing my pajamas. You'll see! (sighing) I'll explain the circumstances, but learn what's editable. So, no one cares as much as we fear. Just going over these one more time. I really, genuinely believe that we are our own worst critics, that people won't remember, it just doesn't matter, so always remember that. Someone wants to hear what you have to say. If you don't believe me, just know that you're wrong. Okay, great. Covered that point thoroughly. No, I really do believe that someone wants to hear what you have to say. I think that we all have very interesting pieces of ourselves that we could put out there, so it's a matter of marrying the content that you choose, the most interesting content, with delivering that in an interesting way, which is really hard. Learn how you like to present best, for example, there was a long time when I had a really difficult time speaking to a small group of people. I became very comfortable speaking in front of very large audiences, and I became way more comfortable with that, because there was more likely to be somebody in that audience that would connect with what I was saying than a small audience. I just started becoming really scared of small rooms, like this! Now I'm not, and the way that I got over that is to remind myself that it doesn't really matter. It just doesn't matter. I'm gonna say what I have to say in the most genuine way possible, and if you guys don't like it, then it's not the end of the world. You know, I tried my best, and that's it, that's all I can do. Talking points, we're gonna go over talking points in more detail, because this is extremely important with public speaking. Focusing on a main theme. If you have that one thing that everything falls under, you'll have a really nicely structured talk, very likely. Takeaways for your audience, another thing that we're gonna go over, and then catering to your favorite format. So, how would you like to work? What way do you wanna be showcased? And then, what is easily editable in post, and this is things like, if you accidentally stumble over your word, you know that you can probably edit that out later. If you wear your pajamas, you probably can't edit that out.

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.


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

a Creativelive Student

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. :)