Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Three Writing Exercises

This is one that will scare you. I'm just going to put it out there. Don't be scared. You will be, but don't be. Stream of consciousness writing is the first thing that I want to talk about. This is where you put your pen down on paper, and you write continuously for a certain amount of time. I think that that is one of the most beautiful thing that anyone can do. You start writing, you put your timer on five minutes, and you don't stop, and you will realize immediately how difficult that is, immediately. You start writing things like hello, hello, hello, my name is Brooke, and you just write whatever comes until something better comes along, and it's amazing how many themes you can find within your writing when you really, really focus on your writing and just whatever needs to come out of your brain. I find that to be fascinating. I always start with nonsense, you know. I might start writing about my day, and then it's like clockwork. After about one minute, I just start writing stor...

ies. Just pure story comes out, and I love that. It didn't used to happen that fast for me, but now it does, and you might think a minute is a long time to just be writing, writing, writing nonstop, and it is. My hand cramps up, we're not used to writing that much, but really, really valuable as an exercise. Now if we think about story and writing in terms of how we use story visually, we've got these elements that we so often use, character, time, wardrobe, color, location. You can add in any of our image components here, and that's fine. So I've got these elements, I just chose five of them, and what I like to do is to pick a totally random thing to go with each word. So character, 10 year old girl. Time, early evening. Wardrobe, mermaid tail, why not? Color, blue. Location, desert. (laughs) I threw you off, didn't I? And so when you just do totally random words to go with these story components, it is so much fun to see what story will come out of that. So I challenge you to just, totally random, if anybody remembers what I just said, Girl, 10 year old girl, early evening, blue wardrobe, mermaid tail, desert. Write a paragraph of a story where you have to use every element. It is so much fun, and you'll be amazed at how many ideas visually come from that little exercise. And then finally, story structure. Now we're going to play a game to learn story structure, okay? So I want you guys to pass the mic, alright? But I promise you won't be too overwhelmed by what I'm going to say. So, first of all, these are the different elements of story. We've got an introduction, every story has an intro. Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night, all of these things, intros. Then we've got backstory, which is where does your character come from to get to the place in the story that they're about to lead their lives and show you through the story, okay? So this is everything you need to know about the character. And we've got inciting incident, which is like, the point of no return where you've got this character, they're making choices, and suddenly they can't go back. Okay, they make a choice and it leads the story in one direction. It's like a Y, you're going on a path and then all of the sudden it splits. And based on their choice, you go in a different direction. Okay, and then after the inciting incident we have the climax, which is where The Thing happens. The Thing that you've been leading to is taking place, and either everything is gonna come crumbling down, or everything's gonna be great, and then the resolution, okay. Now I challenge you to try to write with story structure, but it's very difficult for a lot of creative brains to work like this, to work in a really structured way. So just know that it could be really, really difficult. So our quick, quick exercise, okay? Let's start over here. Who are we? We're a little boy. A little boy, okay. Um. Any special attributes? Well, he... went with his grandfather, he's coming out from a balloon store with lots of helium balloons. Ooh, nice! Okay, perfect. A little boy coming out of a balloon store with lots of balloons. Would you pass that on to April? Okay, what is he doing? He is (clears throat) going to a birthday party. Oh, okay, good! Next? But he's mad, because they didn't have the color of balloon that he wanted, so he's crying. Perfect. How does it end? Yeah, yeah-- I get the hard part, right? Um... So he's mad, he's been crying, he doesn't have the color that he wants. He sulks in the corner at the birthday party. Okay, I like it, you guys are real sad. (laughing) Okay, but look how fast we have a story? So, story is really just made up of who is this person? What do they want? Why can't they have what they want? How does it end? Super simple, right? Takes like a minute to find a story. Now it takes way longer to find a good story. To find a story that you actually need to tell. But story itself is simple, and we get really overwhelmed by story, because we think that it's this huge thing, that like we just couldn't possibly do because it's such a time consuming thing to learn. It's not. But the way that we personally tell stories, the stories that we have to express are in the end much more complicated than our poor little boy sulking in the corner 'cause of his balloons. Okay, so that was storytelling exercises and idea exercises, and I really hope that you get a lot out of it. But I also hope that you come up with your own ways of finding ideas that work for you, because this is our fine art class, right. We're going like start to finish, everything in the world to do with fine art. And I want you to have your own personal journey in this experience. I want you to take your own associations, your own past, your own experiences, and channel that all into art that is meaningful for you. That has your type of story that you need to tell. Because in my opinion, it is vitally important that we tell those unique stories.

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. :)