Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Why Critique?

Not just critique, I'm not just going to critique you but self critique and how do we start to look at our portfolio in a really constructive way, where we can give ourselves some feedback. Which is really hard to do because it's hard to be objective about your work and impossible I would argue. You can't be totally objective about your work. But we're gonna talk about a few ways that you can take a fresh look at what you've been doing and figure out a way forward. And if you can't find a way forward, that's where other critiques come in and we're gonna help each other today, so what we're going to do is I'm gonna critique you four, who have been sort of like the stand in studio audience for everyone else out there who's watching. And you're gonna critique me and it's gonna be a really good thing, I hope. We're not gonna offend each other at all. Because I have the self critique checklist. And I'm hoping that this is going to really help us just going through the elements in the portfo...

lio that you'd want to look at, that you would want to make sure you check off your list if you're trying to figure out what's good, what's bad, what needs work, things like that. So we're going to be going through that and that's a bonus material self critique checklist that we have for our final segment, I'm so sad. Okay but let's talk about critique. Why, why bother critiquing? It's gonna give you better aim at your goals, which is an obvious thing. That's what you hope for from a critique. It can also break you soul into a million pieces if you get the wrong critique. So let's first of all recognize that there's almost always something valuable to be found in a critique, even if it might come at you from a harsh perspective. Technical advice, just literally improving your technique, which I think is probably one of the main reasons why people get critiques, is to improve their technique and their work flow, but I would argue that that's one of the simplest things to change and the simplest things to figure out about your own work. So I actually prefer to get critiques that are more centered on concepts and where my work is going to go after that. It helps you form an opinion of your own work and it helps you do that because essentially what you're doing is you're saying here critiquer person, here's my portfolio, what do you think? And the second somebody tells you what they think, you immediately form an opinion. Either yes I agree with that or no I don't agree with that. You know the feeling? I do this all the time with my friends. I'll be like, "oh I really want to make a picture, I don't know what to make a picture about, do you have any ideas?". And then they'll be like, "Okay yeah do this". And I'll be like, "No". They'll be like, 'Okay do this". I'll be like, "No way". And they're like, "You never take our ideas". And I'm like, "Yeah it's because I actually do know what I want, I just like to hear what I don't want". And that's what a critique is a lot of the time, where you're giving your images over and you're like what's good, then what's bad? And then they'll tell you and then you're either like I agree, or I definitely know that I don't agree with that person. And it's really good for that, it helps you form opinions about your work and you know right away if you feel strongly about something or if you don't. Clarity of vision, helping you to move forward in a way that feels really good, really authentic, really personal. Which images are the most popular. If you hand your portfolio over to enough people, eventually they'll start to say, "oh this one's my favorite, this one's not my favorite" and you'll probably start to get some consistent popular images cropping up. And then print worthiness. I had a review recently where I had my portfolio given to five different people and at the end of it nobody had mentioned this one print that was in there. They didn't say it was their favorite, they just kept moving right past it and the last person pulled out this image and she goes, "Get rid of this, this should not be in print, this is not good enough quality, do not print this image, don't keep it in your portfolio". She literally set it aside, she was like, "Don't even put it back in, put it somewhere else for now". I was like okay. You know what, two days later I sold that print. So you can't always trust people, but she was right about that print, it was not as good of quality as all the other prints. But sometimes the technique, the quality, sometimes those things take a back seat to how somebody emotionally feels towards something. So it's very difficult to get critiques because while she was absolutely correct about that image not being as good of quality, what she overlooked was the emotional tie that somebody might have to it. So, that's why critique is very, very difficult. So who can you trust? Everybody, everybody has something valuable to give. Now they might not give it in the most constructive way. They might now think of anything good to say right away. I've had my portfolio critiqued where we sit there in silence for way too long and you're very like, "Oh, what's gonna come of this, they can't even think of anything to say". And it's really, really scary. So I think that everyone can give something constructive. Everyone out there could look at your portfolio and say something that will positively impact the direction that you go. But at the same time, I don't trust anyone but myself. So this is a very confusing, conflicted set of emotions, because I'm very open to critique, I love being critiqued, I think it's massively helpful, but at the end of the day I can't listen to anyone, unless what they say aligns with my goals. And that's how I always judge a critique. Now I have a self critique check list and this is part of what you have in the bonus materials here. And this checklist is just really centering in on things that might need improvement, really big areas of connection with images and how can we work through that in a logical, technical way. Alright, overall cohesion. When you hand a portfolio over, they're going to expect there be cohesion from one picture to the next, to the next, all the way through to the end. Unless you're entering into a review, saying I have multiple portfolios here, they're going to expect one continuous portfolio that really works well together. So how do we determine cohesion? As we talked about in the printing segment, that there are ways of flowing form one image to the other be it visual or conceptual and either of those might apply to you portfolio. So whatever would make a series work together, same goes into your portfolio. Is there something that connects one to the other, to the other?

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
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