Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Translate Emotion into Images

How do we cultivate an original narrative? To me, it's curiosity and experimentation. Those are the two ways that we cultivate an original narrative as we explore our curiosity and we experiment with our curiosity. And if we're constantly doing those two things, then we're never bored with what we're doing, we always love what we're at least trying to do, right. I mean, it's like, if you watch cats, for example, and they're, like, following a dust ball around the house or something, they are so fascinated with that dust ball. And my cat will just sit there and eat the dust ball, 'cause she's a little not very smart. But it's really fun to watch, because I'm like that cat is so curious about this dust ball, to the point where she's experimenting with eating the dust ball, and she is a happy, happy cat. Now, what if we were all more like our cats? Yes, I'm going somewhere with this. (laughing) And what if we followed our own little dust balls around and tried to eat them? Okay. (laughing...

) This is getting weird. But what if we did follow our curiosity, and our curiosity looked like an image like this, and then we experimented with how could we make that different, how can we push the boundaries of what this is? That's going to create originality, no matter what, no matter what. We fear that word, originality, so much, but I don't think that we should. And it's because we need to pursue creative bravery. Bravery is one of my, my fourth favorite word. I'm keeping tabs. Fourth favorite word. And it's one of my favorites because it's the non-defeatist way of looking at the situation. So, you could say "Well, I'm not creative," or "I don't have anything original to say," or you can say "I'm going to be brave in my creativity, "and I'm going to do whatever I want." Because honestly, doing whatever you want with your creativity is the bravest thing that an artist does. It is terrifying to do. It is terrifying because if you do whatever you want without regard for other people, that is opening up a can of worms for other people to critique you, to be mad at you, to be upset about what you're doing. And I've been going through my own creatives struggle this year of having this new series that I wanna produce and being terrified of upsetting people from it. And then I wrote this slide, and I said you know what, I have to go for it. There's no way that I can't go for this thing that I wanna do, which I'm not gonna go into detail about, but hopefully one day you'll see it. And maybe you'll even be offended, and that'll be okay. (chuckling) I'm okay with that. What makes something original? Your experience and your voice. What experiences do you bring to the table, and how do you see the world? What is your unique voice? And voice is one of these trigger words. Like, we say it all the time, point of view, voice, style, all of these words that are a little bit difficult to define. But it's the same as what if you're standing in a room with someone, how would you speak to them? If we're gonna literally use voice as the example here, what does your voice sound like, and how do you put that into your work? If I have the opportunity, as I do, to stand here in front of you guys and this is my chance to put my voice out there into the world, you better believe that I'm gonna try to inspire you, motivate you. I'm gonna do everything that I can to infuse my joy into the room and give it to you, because I don't want who I am and the way that I see the world to be negative. I want it to be really positive, and I'm gonna put that into my images. Now, you might look at my images and say "They're not positive at all, they're terrifying and horrible!" And that's okay too if you don't see it, but I do. I feel the joy in it, and I put that into my work. I think that three main ways that we can create originality is through theme, visuals, and your expression of those things, the way that you personally put this together. And there are lots of things that come into that, like colors, lighting, location, that whole list that we came up with. But... Those are the extraneous things. Those are the things that yes, we must consider them. But if you have first thought about theme, visuals, and expression of those things, then all the rest falls under that. Everything will fall into place as you start to learn your craft better.

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. :)