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Marketing and Selling Composited Images Part 2

Lesson 40 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Marketing and Selling Composited Images Part 2

Lesson 40 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

40. Marketing and Selling Composited Images Part 2


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Why Composite ?


Logic Checklist


What Not To Do When Compositing


Shooting for Composite


Changing Backgrounds and Light


Shoot: Simple Swaps Part 1


Lesson Info

Marketing and Selling Composited Images Part 2

this is one of the biggest misconceptions about composited imagery which is that that basically it's all done in photo shop that it's all done in a studio that it's all then done in photo shop I get this all the time from people saying well I didn't know that we'd have to go out on location I didn't know that we'd have to do this and that we have to do that and you know like why are you actually putting mud on my face when can't you do that in photo shop on and so the answer is generally no for me so if you're the kind of person where that's a yes from you that you do work in a studio and you know you don't have to you know potentially put your models in danger than good definitely good but in my case that's not true so these kinds of behind the scenes images allow me to show that yes there is a girl she is half naked she is standing in the snow she consented to that so so I'm saying but still it's not going to be comfortable but it's going to be fun and I'm going to buy you hot chocol...

ate afterwards so it's all ok in the end so here's some more behind the scenes images and this is the more that kind of thing that I would show in a pitch package a smattering of images from a shoot that are behind the scenes so here we can see that I'm lighting a smoke bomb over here and I'm doing the actual photo shoot down here and we're doing detail shots down here room putting little fingernails on the subject and stuff like that and they can see what the final image look like so now they're not just seeing the before and after they're not just seeing kind of like my perspective of how it was shot but they're also seeing each detail that went into creating this image so we have the detail of you know what the subject actually looks like up close we have the detail of what the scene looked like a cz well as the sort of detail shots like we've been talking about do you need smoke do you need hair do you need a dress stuff like that so that all pops in there then so when shooting for a client I try to make sure that I have enough pictures for compositing I learned my lesson back in two thousand eleven when I did not have enough pictures to composite something for a client and this picture in particular I was shooting for a magazine and we I didn't know any better I had never shot for a client I never shop for a magazine it was totally out of my vocabulary so when I created this image I just shot like maybe five pictures of the model for each different scene and then when the magazine came back to me and said where the other pictures for us to look at I don't know what they're talking about I said wolf that's it there's one picture for you to have then they said no that's not how this works we need to be able to choose from multiple images of the scene of our model so I learned my lesson not so much for magazines I just decided that I'm not interested in shooting for magazines but four other clients I want to give them some variety because if you're going to great lengths to do a photo shoot then you don't have to go to great lengths again to do the same photo shoot because you messed it up so I've been learning to take few more pictures when I'm shooting for a client and you're going to say see every single picture that I shop for a book cover in a second so I'll show you that but I do think that it's important to take enough pictures so then they're confident that they can then choose bits and pieces from other photos to add in if that's something that you offer as part of your package so don't let your client believe that anything is possible if you're not sure that it is possible I can't stress this enough and I've definitely made this mistake and I've definitely corrected that mistake now I try not to let my client think that anything is possible where let's say that we shoot on location and it's a really messy background in the forests and their hair's kind of blending into the trees I'm not going to tell them I can move the subject to a new background if I don't think I can so I'm going to let them know that when we're on location or well rather before we go on location that this is the background because people don't understand that if they're not into photography it's a really confusing topic especially if they know that you really heavily edit your pictures so I get this a lot from like family or friends or something people saying well can't you just change the background like if you guys ever heard that we were can't you just do this and you're like no and then they say why and they're like it's not worth explaining that I'll be here for twenty hours trying to teach you photoshopped but the bottom line is that not all clients are going to understand photo shop and the shooting process and stuff like that so if we go on location I will let my client know the likelihood of being able to switch the background or what elements can be changed in what can't be changed because if they don't know that up front then really it's kind of on you like that's kind of your fault because they don't have a responsibility to know what you can do in photo shop in what you can't do so we just have to let them know so some of the questions then that I asked my clients when somebody hires me r which images of minor you drawn to because I want to know right away what is it about my work that you like and why are you asking me to do this for you so typically though you know pick out a few images and typically they're pretty similar so you know they're not going to pick out like some creepy picture of my spine like in the forest stuff with molasses stripping off of it terribly awful photoshoot to dio and so they don't you know if they're going to pick that then they're generally not going to pick one of somebody floating in the clouds because they're really different pictures so generally they like a certain style within my work and then I know that and then I'll ask them more specifically about that picture then I'll say something like well what is it about these photos that you're drawn to and is there anything within these images that you would like tio imitate or you know replicate or something like that then I have a really good foundation for what I need to do for that client because I've already done it and I know exactly what element they're talking about so I can tell them how minick a ble that is on dh if I do that then they know right away what the expectations are ask if there are colors props locations things like that that they're more drawn to so really typical question of mine especially for commissioned portrait is is there a location that you feel more comfortable in and there you really drawn to that you feel this sort of like your special place because somebody asked me that I would say the forest instantly not even a thought I would say that's where I personally feel the most comfortable the most centered the most happy so maybe that's totally different for somebody else and maybe they say well I never thought about that I don't care or maybe they say I never thought about that I care very much about that and it's something they just don't think about because we as artists think about color prop location stuff like that all the time I mean we go anywhere and we think of it in terms of can I take a picture of this thing other people don't do that so I find so we need to sort of help them through that process seeing visually figuring out what they're connected teo all of those fun things and then is there a budget and that is the worst question to ask I think we can all agree but nonetheless it has to be said a lot of times clients will either already know the budget because I'm doing a portrait for them so therefore I set the price or it's a publishing company a music artist something like that who wants you to create an image for them and then they have to set the budget so I'm going to say to them if they don't ask me what my prices then I'm going to say what's your budget I want to know right away I don't want to get into this whole back and forth of well can you do this and can you do that can you you know set this house on fire and then have somebody running out from the house and I'll be like well do you have twenty thousand dollars or not you know that kind of thing so maybe I won't say it like that but but I don't want to get into the planning process too far if it's just never going to be a reality you know I don't I don't wantto disappoint somebody like that okay and then are you going to print this image something that's important to consider because maybe they wanted to be billboard size maybe they wanted just a little tiny print on their desk but that's going to determine how you shoot it based on quality if you can shoot really low light or if you can't shoot in low light something different things like if I knew that my client want to print a billboard size of something then I would definitely take great pains to shoot as close as possible and then expand my frame that way I'm literally adding more pixels onto the shot so if I do that then they can print it much larger than if I were to crop into a picture so that's something that I'm considering asking my client's right away if it's a book cover all say or you're going to create posters if it's a movie poster I'm going to say or you're going to create billboards and so on and so on just to make sure where that's going to end up this goes into terms for a contract so if you're creating a contract for your client for somebody who is you know interested in hiring you then what are you going to say how many re edits are you willing to complete it's a really big one one that we just talked about is it okay to distort the subject something really interesting to consider for image manipulation is this idea that the person in the photo might not look like the person in real life I was looking at sam's work today it was like what crazy distortion happening and that might happen so you never know so I just try to let my client know that may be the face will be covered you won't be able to see the model it's going to be a little bit different in the end and how much of that is okay so I let my clients know with these terms that we can talk about it like it's not like I'm just going to send them the contract and say this is it nothing else will ever happen you know you don't get a choice in the matter but I'm going to let them know that you know how much of the distortion are you are you willing to accommodate or maybe they'll say I really want to see the subject's face I don't want that to be covered then I will take that into consideration how many images will result from the photo shoot we're gonna be in trouble if we don't talk about this because I have been in trouble for not talking about this that's a really bad thing okay so if you don't let people know that you're producing one single image or however many images then they might expect a lot of pictures so I've run into this problem specifically with music artists where I think we're just doing an album cover they think we're doing a whole booklet for example so that's just one example of where this might be a problem and if that's going to be a problem then we need to know that up front we need to know okay I actually have to do ten setups instead of one set up for actually need to do this many shoots so just talking about that to begin with super important putting that in the contract so my theory is that you don't have to change your style for a client I'm not going teo say to a client okay I'm willing to photograph a car in a studio because that's what you want me to do and it's fine if that's what you want to do if you're willing to accommodate clients and if you're willing to just you know sort of change up your style do something different then great go for it but it's just important to know that you don't have to do that I tend to stick with my style I let people know what that style is I let them know exactly how I'm going to shoot them and then I don't have to worry about this because then the people who like that hire me and I'm not being hired for a whole bunch of different things ace I mean I've never actually gotten an email from somebody saying can you take a head shot against a brick wall except in my first year of photography when I lived in a way and that's a very common thing to be asked but if you're not there and you're not you know around actors who want head shots against brick walls then you consort of decide for yourself you know just say this is my style put that out there let people know that this is what you dio and then you're not going to attract those people it's just walls of physics there it's not gonna happen they're not going to be attracted to you even though opposites attract but let's not talk about that broken yeah but a few questions on this we've got kisses and chaos who says does she include a priceless or rates in her media kit or does she leave it open to negotiation when do you figure out your pricing that's a great question I do leave that open to negotiation most of the time because every shoot it's so different what I do now is to set a minimum price and then just say this much and up so I have that on my website for example for prints on my website it says prints start at four hundred fifty dollars and then they know that the prices go up from there depending on the size and the addition and stuff like that and I did that because I was getting too many emails from people who kind of thought that it was going to be like fifty dollars for print and there's a really big price gap there so instead of going through all of those e mails to try to find the people who are serious about buying something at a higher price point then I thought I just put it on their website and then leave the rest up tio basically the gallery to sell or when a commission portrait or something like that up to the terms of the contract how many images they need how labor intensive it is and things like that there's just no way for me to even put a package together like okay two photos is this much three photos is this much because they're also different with how much they're they're edited and how much work goes into it um let's see trying to figure out that a lot of questions coming in right now which is fantastic uh yeah go ahead you're talking about doing test shoots if a client theywant to fall through the wall you're not sure if you can do that do you do that with the client and then if it works you ask then ask them to pay you or do you just do a self portrait and then do that shoot with them when you show that you can really trust it depends because okay so a good example is was recently in hawaii and I was hosting an artist or treatment of his really busy and really chaotic but then I had a client who wanted to see an example of something I couldn't go visit the client they didn't care who was in the picture so I just did a really quick test like I put it together in a couple hours for them I sent it off and I said I could do a better job of this but I just want you to see what it might start to look like so that's an example of what I would do that if the subject doesn't matter if I can mock it up wherever I am that I will but if I need to do something with specific people that I'm going to do everything in my power to just make it work the first time and see how that goes but typically I'm not working with the client in terms of but covers album art stuff like that so yeah it's what the client I'm just going to do everything I can to make it work ah question from kevin k and five other people would love to ask brooke how she deals with your standards of obvious issues in photos versus the client's perception clients often don't have the same attention to detail as a trained professional I never know where to draw the line so do you approach the actual craft of the image differently when you're shooting for clients versus shooting for fine art versus other types of shooting I tried to go through my process as it is for every single picture so we were editing before I was paying attention to little tiny things like is the shadow exactly right and is this little piece of fabric moving in the right direction and I'll do the same exact thing for a client and then if they have a problem with something all either change it because I can see what they're talking about or I'll explain why changing it is going to make the photo worse than it already is so I tend to just end it the same way for every single thing that I do whether it's personal whether it's not personal on dh then when it gets to that point that they want to re edit it then I'll let them know that you know that's a bad idea because of this because I you know I'm not going to say like I have a trained eye and I know that this is going to be better but I am going to say something like I understand what you're saying but I think that you know moving like swapping the head is going tio I don't know portrayed the wrong emotion or something like that you know something that somebody might ask so I don't know I thought totally answered the question but it's kind of the next question I wanted to ask s j and three others have clients ever said the image of the end was not what they expected and walked away and at that point then the question is as we're talking about contracts including those do you have any sort of satisfaction clause in there or I'm the artist and too bad you're paying me to do whatever I want klaus can you talk about satisfaction definitely so I've not had somebody say I'm dissatisfied with the product but I have had people just say I decided to go a different direction with it which I guess is kind of like saying the same thing but they're being nice about it perhaps but yeah by signing the contract basically my re edit klaus is the same thing as saying you have to deal with it klaus because I'm saying after three re edits I still get your money like that sounds awful but like like the deal is done now after you've gotten the three re edits on dh so I don't I haven't worked this out actually totally up on my own practice but but I think what the best way to do this is to say half of the amount is due before the shoot and then the other half is due after the delivery of the however many re edits you're going to allow so either you send the first one in there like that perfect I love it this is it and then they pay you or they say re edit this really this re edit this and then on that third re edit you invoice them for the final amount so yeah I guess that's how I would do it one more and then let's get going because you're mostly a self portrait artist and a lot of the pictures you take our stories that you create when you do commissioned portrait it's um the client say I want you to copy this pass image but with me in it or I want to do an image of me like floating with the tire somewhere thing and then like I have no idea what you're talking about or do you like yeah it's a little bit of both so on this actually this is the perfect slide to have up for this because I did a shoot a couple weeks ago for somebody who pulled up an image of mine and they said let's do you know another take on this image but I want to be in it so I photographed her in this kind of like really similar photo that was just catering to her and her style and the way that she might pose and stuff like that and then I've also done images like this one where I'm collaborating with the commission portrait a person to talk about what the image is going to look like in the end and what's important to them and how my style could interpret that and stuff like that and so that's where just a lot of talk has to happen before okay let's keep going great okay all right so how do you make your client trust you especially when the original picture looks like that so I was doing this shoot took a picture of the bird cage and I was like oh it's such a cool picture of the bird cage but really I'm thinking what if my client thinks that's your final picture you know it would not be good so what do you d'oh now for me it is a process of just explaining what you're about to do really really thoroughly so I explained how long the shoot's going to last that I'm going to photograph each element separately so I let them know that you're not going to actually be in a bird cage you're not actually going to be doing this this is how it's going to go that the images are going to end up looking very very different from what you see in camera I let them know that we're going to shoot on location and I explain why two so not just hey we're going to the swamp but rather were going to the swamps than all the elements that I take pictures ofthe fit really well together so they understand that this is not just a matter of me wanting to be dirty but a matter of me wanting everything to come together for them and I find that that's really the best way to sell something like that is not just this is how it has to happen but I care about you and I want to do this and then you get what you want out of it and this is how it has to happen so I make sure that I explain that and then I tell them to just trust me when I say I can do something and when I say I can't so in doing this photoshoot you can kind of see how it was done here photographing the bird cage photographing the subject up in the tree so then I had the right angle and I had you know I could move her to a different background and stuff like that and so when I was well I wasn't doing this when I was watching somebody else hoist her up into the tree it was you know I could have just said we could do this simpler somewhere else but really that's what had to happen to do the shot for me as a photographer as an artist that's how I needed to do it because that's how it made sense in my brain so we shot it like that and I told her it would work I said I feel pretty confident this is going to come together so let's go forward and do it we did a couple other shoots that day and I said to her as we were shooting I'm not sure that this is going to come together and I just really really honest about these things but that's why I tend to break my own rule which is I will get hired for a commission portrait one portrait that's what the contract says but then I'll shoot five and the reason is because then I can have something to fall back on if something doesn't work then at least I could tell them well your four more you know and that one of these might work and I love clients know that like when I was shooting with this amazing wonderful individual I said this is going to be the shoot that I really hope works out but we're going to do three more one I was really inspired I just wanted to shoot more pictures to I didn't want us to fail I didn't want to have nothing to show her when I had just flown to texas to do this so it's not so easy to get back sometimes it's not so easy to do a reshoot so I tend to do that and that's what I'm talking about when I say a safety shop yeah um if they see the other pictures would you sell them both yes so always a statement you'd make more money you know because I'm a bad business person I just say I really like you here you go so yeah I'm really selling myself here but in some cases I only do two chutes and in some cases only one works as was the case for this image with the red fabric I did two shoots I didn't feel one was really working but I liked the other one enough and that's kind of I sent them both and I said I don't feel this one's is strong but you know it's here it is if you like it on and they said they agree and they wanted the other picture so I just try to kind of feel it out a little bit try to figure out you know exactly how many shots I'm going to need and and what I feel comfortable doing and I'm not trying to create a ton of extra work for myself and in fact even if I shoot multiple images when we're together and we're doing that photo shoot that doesn't mean I'm going to edit them all I mean maybe I just edit that main shot that I really hoped would work and it works and I give it to them and I say I didn't need to edit the others because this one worked out but you know typically I go overboard and I just do things so okay moving on all right so I try to what my clients know exactly when I'm able to do something and that's why I show them the images beforehand typically so I'll usually show them like flip through the back of my camera and I'll say ok I'm going to put this picture combined with this picture and even if they don't know what I'm talking about really it's still kind of gives them the confidence that oh she knows what she's doing and that makes them feel good so I think I'm pretty positive that a client would rather just shoot maur when you have the opportunity and you're all there because that's less money for everybody so if we're already there then you might as well just keep taking pictures you know and make it work when you're on the set

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Logic Checklist
Must Have Shots
Favorite Photoshop Tools
Lighting Effects
Practice Files - Cutting out Hair from Background
Practice Files - Building a Dress
Practice Files - Swapping Hand
Practice Files - Levitation
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Logan Fox

I'm so thrilled to have come across this course and to have been introduced to Brooke Shaden. As a bit of background I do photography as a hobby, and always had an appetite to composite my work. It's only after watching this course that I can finally put a name to a craft that I love, that being 'fine art photography'. Through my own personal journey I've read various books, followed online tutorials both paid and free. When I came across this course I did hesitate. I wondered 'is it going to teach me anything new'... 'would the standard of the course be up to scratch'. Well, I can honestly say with hand on heart that this is by far is one of the best courses I've come across to date. As a solo photographer myself I've found it difficult at times to be both photographer and subject at the same time. From the outset what became clear was that Brooke is just like me in this respect which made the course so 'relevant' to what I do. Brooke shows throughout the course what can be achieved with a little planning and some creative approaches to situations that can be difficult to pull off when on your own. She is such a joy to watch and listen to, I loved her sense of humor and great how the audience were involved in some of the shoots. All I can say is, if you're in to photography and interested in compositing your work, you should give this a go, you wont regret it!


I'd like to show my gratitude and gratefulness to Ms Shaden and other wonderful people at CreativeLIVE for sharing your vast knowledge without making a fuss. Not everybody has a super computer and a top-notch camera, not everyone has a studio to work in and not everyone needs to know everything as perfectly as some instructors and professionals do. I, for one, have gained so much insight and have been intrigued by Ms Shaden's present and past lessons, she makes the most difficult and surreal subjects unfold so easily and effortlessly. Ms Shaden has made me believe no matter where I be and no matter what i have, as long as i have a good story to tell, and the right vision, I should be able to handle it with a working camera and any version of Photoshop. Unlike many other instructors who kill us every 5 minutes to buy their flashes or gear and support this or that company and agency, Ms Shaden has spent the whole time teaching and teaching and teaching and I am sorry I cannot be there to thank you in person, but you, Ms Shaden, are awesome and nobody can unawesome you :)


I have been a huge fan of Brooke's work since the beginning of the flickr days. I'm so excited to see her in her element on CL. So many years ago i was so very interested in learning and creating and CL makes this possible now. A lot of my work has been inspired by Brooke's dark yet beautiful work style and i am super inspired to create some using her advice. I cannot wait to delve deeper into this world i have been waiting so long to indulge in it and now i will even more so than i have the last 3 years. Thank you Brooke and CL ! =) Sarina Gito Photography (

Student Work