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Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 30 of 138

Write a Descriptive Paragraph


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Lesson 30 of 138

Write a Descriptive Paragraph


Lesson Info

Write a Descriptive Paragraph

Looking at more images here, this is one that I created earlier this year and I had a lot to think about here because almost none of this image existed, it was just a field that I went out to, and I had to create something in that field. I didn't have to, I chose to, but I needed to put something in it for sure because how weird would it be if you just saw me post a picture of a field? You'd be like, "Hm, what's Brooke up to? "Not much, she just took a picture of a field." So I need to put something in it, so I've got these stars, which, I should say this is not quite the before image, there were no stars in the sky or stars on the ground, there was just a field, but I added stars, I added more stars. Stars and stars, stars in the sky, stars on the ground, and then I built this box tower and then I photographed myself in multiple parts trying to get my body in there. I changed some colors, I changed the lighting, I changed a while bunch of stuff about this image and then I ended up the...

re, but what I really wanna talk about with this image is not how it was created but why. And I think that what's important to do is to write about your images, and you might be very resistant to that, you might think, oh I really hate writing, and that's okay. I'm not saying become a writer, write a poem about the picture you're gonna make or anything like that, but if you can answer how, what and why for the images that you're creating: what is it, how did I do it, and why am I compelled to do it? Then you're much more likely to be able to speak more meaningfully about your work, and I think that's very important to be able to speak about your work and we're actually gonna talk about that later on in the class, but to me, if you can answer how and why before you even start the picture, aren't you much more likely to create something meaningful that actually ends up working out if you think it through how you're going to do it and why you're doing it ahead of time. I think that you should do this both for new pictures as well as old pictures. So I love going back through my portfolio and choosing a random image and writing down why I created that picture. I think that it's really fun to do, it just gets your mind thinking about, oh, what was I thinking on that day, why did I wanna do this, how could I put that into words? But especially doing it before you create something new is, in my opinion, one of the best things that we can do to start training ourselves to think more deeply about our images. Okay, so I've got a wall of text for you here. I'm going to read it to you though. And this is my description of this image, what I would write and what I did write before I created this image. I put it into nicer terms, cuz I did a lot of bullet points, but you get the idea, so I wrote, too often we face gray sky days and wish for something better. What if we could pull the curtain over those clouds and create our own blue shy day? I will achieve this by standing on crates that allow me to reach higher into the sky. I will photograph a blue sheet so that I can impose light clouds on to create a blue sky look. I will blend gray clouds into the being so that they are being covered. I want to create my own reality, one that I can control and define as I wish. This image represents that power that we have as artists and creators. So that was my how and why for this picture. I went through, I said exactly what I wanna do, how I plan on doing it, and then further, why it's important to me, what is the concept here, what am I trying to communicate with this image. And I find that when I go through this process and I show people my images, they're much more likely to say, "Oh I get it, I get what that concept is, "I get what you're trying to say." But when I don't think about it enough and I send someone an image and then I say, "What do you think?" They're like, "Uh, what are you trying to do here?" You know? So the point I'm saying this is that I think that the more you can do this, the more that you can talk about why you're creating and how you're creating then someone is much more likely to understand that thing, the how and the why, they're likely to say, "Oh it works, it flows, I understand not necessarily "how you created it but I get that this looks like "a picture that was created well." And that is the worst thing when someone says, "It looks photoshopped." I don't wanna hear that from anybody, ever. But then more importantly, they're going to look at it and say, "I understand why you did this." And I think that if we can write that out ahead of time, perfect. All right, so I just thought that I would show you how this image was built since we just talked about it. But first, let me tell you what, how and why. So if we can break it down. If you don't feel like writing a paragraph, you like, "Eh, I don't wanna write a paragraph about "every single picture," fine, don't write a paragraph. That's okay. All I want you to do is write what, how and why which is a part of our guide for this class, so we've got our little work book and it's going to ask you some of these questions like, what, how and why, and how you can try to work that into when you plan your photo shoot, so what for this image is literally what, what is happening? I mean we can all answer this, it's just a girl pulling a blue sky down over a gray sky, that's what the image is. And then we have how, so how did I do it? I used a blue bed sheet, that was how I did it, I used a blue bed sheet to be tugging on to pull it down over the sky, and then why. To show the power that we have as individuals to create our reality. Great, simple, simple, simple. Now if I know these things in three easy sentences, then I can communicate that so fast to people. I have been in gallery shows where someone comes in and they'll say, "Why did you do this?" Like really easy question, right, except not an easy question for a lot of people. You have to be able to say, "Boom, that's why I did it. "I know exactly why I did this picture." If you can't say that, I mean, just think about if you're the client, you're going into buy someone's print and the artist is there and you say, "Why did you make this?" And they're like, "I don't know." Or, "I can't think of anything." Then aren't you gonna be like, oh, I don't really wanna buy that print after all, there was no thought put into this, it just sorta muddies it up a little bit. So this was how this picture started, with a field. As apparently so many do with just a field, and I ended up using various compositing magic, just kidding, to put this together. So this was my really awful next stage where I've got like random colors put in here, cuz I thought it'd be covered later, like right now, and I have this, I'm not gonna say bad habit, I'm gonna say really effective but potentially what other people would call bad habit of just painting over things with my brush in Photoshop, it's my favorite thing to do. So I just painted over the sky, cuz I didn't need it, I knew I'd be putting my own in. See if I had kept this image, it would have been okay, those are stormy clouds, it would have been okay, but it wasn't quite the right field, it was still a little too bright in the background. You can see how some of the whites, some of the highlights are being really blown out back there. So I'm just covering that up so that I have a blank canvas to create my own version here, whatever I want. There are my crates. There are my legs. There's my body. There's some hair. I don't know why, I'm always photographing myself in multiple parts and I really don't even have a reason for you, but it just happens. Then I've got my clouds that I chose because they were nice and dark at the horizon line which is where they're going to be showing most. Okay. Now we got the sheet, so there's my sheet. That's my blue sheet that i was clearly not holding to begin with, so I was posing with just my arms in the air pretending like I was holding onto something, because I'm working totally by myself, so I wanna make this clear. Had I had a crew with me, had I had just one person with me, then I might have had them try to hold the sheet up or I might have tried to fix the sheet somewhere, but I'm just one little girl, and I did it like this because one, I'm very impatient. I don't have a lot of patience when I'm shooting so I don't wanna take the time to clamp things in places, but also, I was by myself and it was just easier to photograph the sheet separately instead of while I was posing, so I did that. Then we've got the sky blended into that sheet, just a totally different picture of clouds that I blended into that shy. And now we have some overall adjustments, which in my opinion make it mine at that point. It's like there's the compositing and there's the making it your portion, which is the lighting and the colors and how you choose to go about finishing the image, and so there we have it. It was a very cold day where I was. So that was me photographing the crates, and I knew that I wanted the crates to look a little bit bigger in the final picture, so I knew that I would be cutting them out anyways, so I didn't bother going into the space to do it, not to mention, this field was from New Zealand and I don't live there. So that's how this came together, New Zealand field and sky from California and crates from my house and a sheet from Goodwill, and there we have it.

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.