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Building Community

Lesson 11 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

11. Building Community


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Building Community

Connecting with your community. Join photography groups in real life, not just online. (laughing) Yes, like-- 'Cause we're all introverts. We do so many meetups, and we do meetups because everyone gets something from it. Yes. Whether it's workshops, events like this, you know, you walk away with these connections that are irreplaceable. You're not gonna get that level of intimacy when you're just online. No, you're really not. Or the connection, like, you might find a friend in another photographer and then, yeah. Now you've got a buddy in the same industry as you, and that's really great. So, yeah, I think it's really, really important. Go to workshops, go to expos, and go to talks in your area. Again, just to connect with the community around you, because make-up artists, hair artists, and other people might be there as well. You know, Jessica and I met because she came to one of my talks. You came to London. Yeah. Yeah, she came to my talk, I did a talk at Adobe or s...

omething. Right. And you were there, we connected, so good to see you here. So, yeah, personal connections are made in person, like, usually, right? So, attend networking meetups, go for photo walks, and yeah. I think it's really important to- And don't be afraid to inspire people. Because you think your work might not be good enough, but you don't know who's actually looking up to you. Yeah. And how many people you're inspiring. Yeah. And that comes back tenfold. Yeah. I'm curious about how having that online presence brings you clients, again. Yes, yeah, so I get a lot of my clients from Facebook and Instagram. And actually, right now, it's mostly from Instagram. So my community is growing there, and people who are... Because your community is growing, people reach out to me more. So I get clients asking me to shoot their designs. I get designers reaching out to me to shoot their designs. I get personal sessions with people who are like, "I love the fairytale worlds that you create. Could you do something for me so that I can hang it over the bed and show my husband." So we do all that. So a lot of my work comes from Instagram now. And that's from social media. And then, a lot of the time, I reach out through social media. So I, because I'm working with designers now, and I have enough photos in my portfolio, I reach out to other designers and I'm like, "Hey, look, this is the kind of stuff I do and the work I create. Your pieces are beautiful and I would love to create with them. Would you like to commission me for a shoot?" You know? And they can use that in their social media, in their advertising campaigns, in their look books. So I'm trying to use the work that I've built and take it into that direction as well, because at the end of the day, you know, it's a job, it's work, you gotta hustle. Yeah. Don't wait for them to come to you. You reach out to them as well. It was, you inspired me. For what? You were like, "Send out a hundred emails!" Yes! And I was like- I was like, you just, you needa make connections. Lot of photographers are so shy to approach these companies and art directors and editors. You have to do it. Yeah. You don't know what happens if you don't. And you leave so much on the table. You don't know what happens. And that's the other thing is, lot of your work, also, isn't just client base, but when we talk about reaching out to editors and- Yes. And galleries, you know? They're interested because we're actually reaching out- That's right. And contacting them. That's right. So, don't be shy. (Pratik laughs) And I try not to be, even though I am. I am naturally very shy, and I naturally don't, I'm naturally over-considerate. Like, I'm like, "I don't wanna disturb them." Yes. (laughter) You know, I don't wanna disturb them. Yeah, they don't care! They get so many messages from other people. You should be one of those people. But in a way that stands out, obviously. In a way that stands out, yeah. Remarkably. And usually, what do we do? We ask to have a meeting as well. Right. Because, personal connections are made in person. Yes. So, don't just send out an email. Follow it up and be like, "Hey, I can come in for a meeting." And I've traveled. Right. I've traveled for a meeting. I've spent money just for a meeting. And even if it doesn't work out, they know who I am now. Right, and the conciseness. Don't bury them with 10 paragraphs, you know? Approach them concisely. Yeah. And ask for a meeting, and ask to talk on the phone. That's right. And then go from there. Yeah, keep it short and sweet. Because at the end of the day, you are running a business. You need to make a livelihood, you need to eat, you need to be able to look after your cats and dogs. (laughter) You gotta hustle and make it work. So being shy is not gonna get you anywhere, I really don't think so. And I don't think that waiting for people to come to you is gonna happen either. And everybody says it, but it's true. So, if you don't do the hard work, then you're not gonna work. Right. Yeah, you're not gonna make your passion a living. It's going to be, you know, I'll probably be back at my architecture job where I wasn't happy, just because it pays the bills. But no, I hated that job, so much so, that the only thing I could thank for it is a fire under my butt. So, I honestly feel that you really need to realize that you are in control of how much work you put in, nobody else is. And that work does pay off.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work