Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide


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.


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