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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 11 of 138

Three Writing Exercises


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 11 of 138

Three Writing Exercises


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.

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.