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Write for Blogging

Lesson 117 from: Fine Art Photography: The Complete Guide

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

117. Write for Blogging


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Storytelling & Ideas


Universal Symbols in Stories


Create Interactive Characters


The Story is in The Details


Giving Your Audience Feelings


Guided Daydream Exercise


Elements of Imagery


The Death Scenario


Associations with Objects


Three Writing Exercises


Connection Through Art


Break Through Imposter Syndrome


Layering Inspiration


Creating an Original Narrative


Analyze an Image


Translate Emotion into Images


Finding Parts in Images


Finding Your Target Audience


Where Do You Want Your Images to Live?


Create a Series That Targets Your Audience


Formatting Your Work


Additional Materials to Attract Clients


Which Social Media Platforms Will be Useful?


How to Make Money from Your Target Audience


Circle of Focus


The Pillars of Branding


Planning Your Photoshoot


Choose Every Element for The Series


Write a Descriptive Paragraph


Sketch Your Ideas


Choose Your Gear


How to Utilize Costumes, Props & Locations


What Tells a Story in a Series?


Set Design Overview


Color Theory


Lighting for the Scene


Props, Wardrobe & Time Period for Set Design




Subject Within the Scene


Set Design Arrangement


Fine Art Compositing


Plan The Composite Before Shooting


Checklist for Composite Shooting


Analyze Composite Mistakes


Shoot: Black Backdrop for White Clothing


Shoot: Black Backdrop for Color Clothing


Shoot: Black Backdrop for Accessories


Shoot: Miniature Scene


Editing Workflow Overview


Add Fabric to Make a Big Dress


Edit Details of Images


Add Smoke & Texture


Blend Multiple Images Into One Composite


Put Subject Into a Miniature Scenario


Location Scouting & Test Photoshoot


Self Portrait Test Shoots


Shoot for Edit


Shoot Extra Stock Images


Practice the Shoot


Introduction to Shooting Photo Series


Shoot: Vine Image


Shoot: Sand Image


Shoot: End Table Image


Shoot: Bed Image


Shoot: Wall Paper Image


Shoot: Chair Image


Shoot: Mirror Image


Shoot: Moss Image


Shoot: Tree Image


Shoot: Fish Tank Image


Shoot: Feather Image


View Photo Series for Cohesion & Advanced Compositing


Edit Multiple Images to Show Cohesion


Edit Images with Advanced Compositing


Decide How to Start the Composite


Organize Final Images


Choosing Images for Your Portfolio


Order the Images in Your Portfolio


Why do Some Images Sell More Than Others?


Analyze Student Portfolio Image Order


Framing, Sizing, Editioning & Pricing


Determine Sizes for Prints


How to Choose Paper


How to Choose Editions


Pricing Strategies


How to Present Your Images


Example Pricing Exercise


Print Examples


Licensing, Commissions & Contracts


How to Keep Licensing Organized


How to Prepare Files for Licensing


Pricing Your Licensed Images


Contract Terms for Licensing


Where to Sell Images


Commission Pricing Structure


Contract for Commissions


Questions for a Commission Shoot


Working with Galleries


Benefits of Galleries


Contracts for Galleries


How to Find Galleries


Choose Images to Show


Hanging the Images


Importance of Proofing Prints


Interview with Soren Christensen Gallery


Press Package Overview


Artist Statement for Your Series


Write Your 'About Me' Page


Importance of Your Headshot


Create a Leave Behind & Elevator Pitch


Writing For Fine Art


Define Your Writing Style


Find Your Genre


What Sets You Apart?


Write to Different Audiences


Write for Blogging


Speak About Your Work


Branding for Video


Clearly Define Video Talking Points


Types of Video Content


Interview Practice


Diversifying Social Media Content


Create an Intentional Social Media Persona


Monetize Your Social Media Presence


Social Media Posting Plan


Choose Networks to Use & Invest


Presentation of Final Images


Printing Your Series


How to Work With a Print Lab


Proofing Your Prints


Bad Vs. Good Prints


Find Confidence to Print


Why Critique?


Critiquing Your Own Portfolio


Critique of Brooke's Series


Critique of Student Series


Yours is a Story Worth Telling


Lesson Info

Write for Blogging

I get very excited to talk about blogging because I love blogging and I recognize that you might hate blogging, but I think it's very exciting. There are certain elements of blogging that are maybe becoming outdated. Really, really long posts sometimes don't have a place in the way that we hope that they will because people just don't have the time to read it, and that's why we have to be better at blogging than ever. I don't think the solution is just don't blog. I think the solution is just get better at blogging. (laughs) That's hard if you feel like you're not good at blogging in the first place, but let's see if we can work on it. Why is it important and why is it difficult? It's important 'cause you can go deeper with your readers. You can take them even deeper into your world. How you create, why you create those things that are so important to you. It's long-form engagement, so this is sort of like, I have different levels of how I view my audience. I've got the social media wh...

ere maybe somebody likes a pictures, and that's the least form of engagement you can get unless somebody just doesn't do anything, which is fine. You've got the number of people that have seen your post, the number of people that have liked your post, the number of people that comment on your post and these are all different levels of audience. There's the person that will look at it and not engage. The person that will look at it and like it to let you know. The person that will look at it and bother to comment and then there are different types of comments like a heart or holding a book above your head. I don't know if it was a book that was being held above the emoticon's head, but whatever. Things that I don't always understand but are still effort and then people who will write a really good amount of text in response to something, and then there's the blog. My point in saying that there are different levels is that I feel so connected to the people who write on my blog. If I see comments come in on my blog, I know that that person not only took the time to look at what I posted on social media to then follow that over to my blog, but they also read every single word and then bothered to leave their thoughts there, which is like going the extra mile, literally. Of clicking through to a link, going somewhere else, and engaging. Let's just say I had a million dollars to give away and I could give it to anybody, I guarantee you I'm going straight to my blog and looking at who's been commenting to see who's really engaging with me and supporting me in a very immersive way. Where they're really engaging with everything that I'm putting out there. What I'm saying is, if want you a million dollars, go to my blog, obviously. No, don't do that. But it is long-form engagement, which is super important because it's also very likely that if you have something to sell, those people are gonna be the ones that buy it way more than the person who likes something but doesn't leave a comment just as the person who comments but doesn't give a blog post is more likely to pay for something than somebody who just gives a like and so on. It's all these different tiers that I think are important. One other thing to mention is that blogging can be very daunting because you don't know where to start and I understand that and I've had those days and that's why I think of it in terms of a broad topic that you could blog about. Like, I have an opinion, here's my opinion versus individual images. I mean, it's totally possible to make something new and then just write about that picture which seems way more manageable than trying to think of a topic to give your insight on. I would say for this image, if I was going to write a blog post, and in fact, you guys help me. I'm going to write a blog post about this picture. When you look at this picture, what do you want to know about it? If you don't wanna know anything, just make it up. What would you wanna know? (audience member mumbles) Why, why did I do it? What else? Anything else? How did you do it? How did I do it? Which are the obvious questions, right? You already know what it is, so then that really just leaves how and why. Choose one, choose both, and then write everything that you can think about this image. Sometimes I do it that way, where I'll write everything and then I'll just go back through and cut the things that I think are probably not as interesting to people, but it's good to just get it all out and other times you know exactly what people wanna hear. This all depends on who your audience is meant to be. If I'm trying to attract an audience of fellow photographers, I'm probably going to go into this image and write about how I did it 'cause you'll wanna know that, being photographers. You're gonna look at this and say, "did you make a dress "out of books? "Did you composite a dress of books? "How'd you do it?" Maybe I'll show before and after images or whatever is relevant and, I don't know, see how that goes. See how you like that. If I'm trying to appeal to an art buyer, I might write about the why and that's not to say the two categories are mutually exclusive. You could be a photographer and an art buyer of course, but an art buyer isn't going to have that technological background, necessarily, to back up a post about how I did this image. They're going to wanna know why I did this image, which we'll talk about in just a second. Here are some different types of blogs and it's good to recognize the different types so that you can easily find ideas per type of blog post. We've got how-to blogs or behind the scenes blogs, and this is where you're sharing part of your process, you're showing people maybe how you did something, how it was put together, how it was shot, things like that. I post a lot of stuff like this because it's relevant to every single person I want looking at my work. It's relevant to fellow photographers, who I'm very invested in keeping contact with. It's relevant to art buyers because they might wanna know that process. Not necessarily technically, like, "I clicked this layer mask in Photoshop." They probably won't care about that, but to see how it started and what it ended up becoming is very interesting for anybody, whether you understand photography and Photoshop or not. To do that, I would always write an introduction just saying, "here's what you can expect "from this blog post." Make it short and interesting. I would show my process of creating, either in Photoshop, physically with my camera, or otherwise. I would reveal something unknown. So something that you wouldn't expect about this picture. If I'm writing this right now, I'm gonna give you an introduction. My introduction is, I photographed this in the forest and spent 30 hours constructing this in Photoshop. That's just a little introduction to what you might see in the blog post later. My process, I might show images of before and after and during the process, and then reveal something unknown. Here's something you don't know about this picture. I created this image for print. I wanted to be able to print this really, really big, so I actually photographed my subject really close up like this. I photographed her elbow, I photographed this arm, I photographed the book, I photographed her torso, and I ended up with about 30 different images of this scene to stitch together so that I had a really big canvas. That's not going to appeal to somebody who's just an art buyer probably. They're probably like, "whoa, what does that mean? "I don't know what this means." But to you guys, it's relevant because you would wanna know how this was constructed. That's something unknown about this picture. Now relate it to the viewer. A lot of blogs are very me-centric. Like, "me, me, me, this is how I do it, "this is how I do it," and that's still relevant for people. And I'm not saying that's bad necessarily, but when you can take this unknown piece of information, the process that you've gone through and relate it to the viewer, to be able to say, "now, this is how you "can use that technique," or "this is how you might relate "to this idea." That's when people get really excited about a blog post, a piece of writing, or anything. When they feel personally related and invested to that idea. There's another type of blogging called expert advice. I made this up, but it's still true. Expert advice, what is expert advice? This is where somebody is presenting an idea and they're acting like an expert. And I say, "acting like," 'cause not everyone is an expert at everything that they write about, but you might know something or have an opinion about something that, yeah, you feel like an expert about it. Whether you are or aren't is for somebody else to decide, but you might feel that way. You're gonna want an introduction, and this is going to be relevant to you. When you're giving expert advice, you're gonna wanna have that introduction immediately state why this person reading it is going to get something out of it. Otherwise, why would they bother continuing with this article, which is very clearly giving advice? It would usually have numbered or bulleted points, so I'm sure we've all seen these types of articles and often, they're associated with click bait. Like when you click on something and you're really excited and then you're like, "oh." Like How To Get Rid of Bloating and then it's just like, "drink camomile tea." I'm like, "eh, okay, that's a random example, but." Now you know the kind of blogs I follow. (laughs) Numbered or bulleted points, really, really good to have in a post like this. And then a summary at the end. This is what you're gonna learn about, these are the points that I need to tell you to be able to follow this advice, here's a summary of how it relates to you. Then there's the opinion type of blog which I'm personally a big fan of. I love reading blogs like this. This is just, if you have an opinion, share your opinion. Of course, it's never that simple, is it? We've got an introduction and the introduction is going to introduce people to the blog. Guess we figured that out by now. You're gonna wanna say what the topic is that you're going to be discussing. Maybe how, how this is relevant, how you're approaching it, and then why. Why do you have an opinion on this? What is your opinion? How deep does that go? And then your final opinion. This is the most like an essay at school. You're in school, you have to write a five paragraph essay. You ever had to do that? Five paragraph essay. I was the queen of five paragraph essays. I loved them. This is most similar to that. Of course, it doesn't have to follow any particular rule, a piece like this, but in general, the reader will have expectations when they open a blog. They're going to want to know immediately the type of blog post that they're entering into this agreement with because it really feels like a contract when you open a blog. You're like, "am I committing to this or not? "Do I have to finish this or not?" And sometimes it's hard. I don't necessarily like reading long things on the internet. It gives me headaches and I don't enjoy it. It has to be really good if I'm going to click on it, so I wanna know right away if it's worth my time. How do we find topics for blogs? First, what excites you most? Really, what excites you? Is it clouds, is it your kids, is it cardboard boxes? What excites you, really, and talk about that thing. We don't do this enough. Don't you agree? We have these ideas of what we should be talking about to sound smarter and more intelligent, but what excites you? Talk about that thing. What do you have opinions about? If you have something that excites you, but you have no opinion about it, then maybe you don't need to write a whole blog post about it. We force ourselves to do these things that we think we should be doing and then that's the exact wrong way to go about it 'cause then nobody cares because you don't have an opinion about this thing that you're trying to force. What do you want to be known for? This one is important because you're curating the content that you put out there. If you decide that the fastest way to get a big following is by posting before and after pictures, which is probably true. That's one way to get a big following of people. If you have really impressive before and after photos and you're posting that, yeah, you'll grow your following. But is it the right following? Is that what you want to be known for in your business or is that just a way to get people in the door? Think about that, and I would recommend that you don't do that, obviously. You can do what you want, that's fine, but in general, I would say think about what you want to be known for, how you want people to see you as an artist and put that content out instead. Now also think about the medium that's best for you. Not just the type of post that you wanna put out there and what opinions you have, but is a traditional blog post the right format for you or not? It might not be. Maybe you do way better with video. Maybe you would way rather be a vlogger. Maybe you would rather be a podcaster. Just think about all the different ways that you could be sharing your media. I think that we don't very often expand outside of what we know. We know that people write blogs, so we should also write a blog, that's how we feel, but what other ways can you communicate your voice and your vision through writing or otherwise that will be effective for your audience? 'Cause I think there's a lot. But I don't like writing. Do you know how many times I've heard that from people in my life? How many of you guys do not like writing? Okay. And it's okay to not like writing. I don't blame you. It's not like I won't be your friend if you don't like write things. That's okay, but I wanna make a case for writing, and my case is this. First, that your pictures are not speaking for themselves. I'm sorry to say that and they are to some extent, but they're not doing all the work. We live in this world where images come and go really, really fast in our lives, so it has to be either a stellar picture to make somebody linger or you have to say something that catches somebody's eye, and I would rather double my chances of catching somebody's eye by putting interesting text with my interesting photos than just do one or the other. It's just a simple fact. This is why you need to get past your hatred of writing to hopefully find a successful business happy medium of both in there. If you don't like writing, if you're like, "writing is just not my thing and it's inauthentic," that's a whole different thing. From not liking it to saying it's not authentically me, then we have a problem, right? I would argue something very important here, which is this. I'm going to say something sort of embarrassing right now. We're just gonna go with it. I used to watch America's Next Top Model. I loved it, okay? I really loved it. This is the embarrassing thing and there was a model on there who was dyslexic and I went on to follow her later on social media. She can't write sentences very well. It's sort of sometimes hard to understand what she's trying to say, but the great thing is that she never apologizes for that. She writes how she writes and that's how it's going to be and she owns it. I bring up this example because you don't have to be a great writer to be a great blogger. You don't have to be a great writer to get attention on social media. You just have to own what you do. That's the whole secret behind it is to do it with passion and to be bold about and people don't care if you don't have good grammar. Nobody cares. The fact is that they feel the heart behind what you're saying. I would argue that even if you don't like writing, still give it a go and just own it no matter what. No matter what it comes out being like. Some other blogging considerations. These are just technical notes. Spacing of the text, just literal technical note. Things that people will complain about when you're blogging that seem really unimportant but are super important. Readability of the text in general. Is it hard to see? Is it too small? The boldness of the text, the size of the text. Are you repeating your information? I am the queen of repeating information. I can't remember yesterday, let alone what I wrote about two months ago, so I probably have, I'm gonna estimate 85,000 blog post, just kidding, about inspiration and I can't remember ever writing about it. But I know I have, I must have, right? I must have done that, but I cannot remember it. I repeat information all the time and it's important to be aware of that, of not repeating yourself too frequently 'cause then people think you have nothing else to say but that one topic that you keep dwelling on. Is it relevant to your viewership? I was a little bit hesitant to put this in here because I don't want you to sensor your information that you're putting out there based on what you think people want to see, but to simply ask yourself, "does the audience that I want to attract align "with this thing that I wanna be talking about?" 'Cause sometimes they're really different. Maybe I'm really excited about how I put this image together, so I'm like, "I'm gonna write "a how-to blog," but then the other business part of me is like, "but I wanna attract art buyers. "Is this relevant?" Sometimes they're not on the same page, so thinking about relevancy to your viewership is important, but I'm not making a definitive statement to say, "don't do this," or "do this." Just be aware that maybe your content isn't always right for the audience that you're trying to attract. Again, not to sensor yourself, but maybe write that blog post and maybe you just don't push it out to your followers, you know? A blog will often have an RSS feed where you can choose to follow the blog if you want to and that will allow you to understand who's really committed to your blog no matter what. They wanna see what you have to say. Then you have sort of the next tier which might be your newsletter. And then the next tier which is just people on social media. It's like people who really wanna be plugged in to your blog, people who wanna receive general information that you have to share, and then people on social media who can scroll right past if they don't feel like looking at what you have to say. You've got these different tiers of audiences and when I say that something should be relevant, maybe it's not relevant to your wider audience, but you still wanna write about it, so you just put it on your blog, hit publish, but you never push it out to your audience. You don't put it on social media, things like that. Sometimes it's good to just get it out, let it be said, and then move on, and I do that a lot. I write a lot of blogs where I never tell anyone that I wrote it. They're there. If you follow my blog, you'll see it. If not, oh well. I'm okay with that. That's not relevant. A blogging challenge for us is to think in terms of the elements of a blog. What type of article do you wanna write? Literally is it a behind the scenes piece, an opinion piece? What is the topic of the article? And I think that if we can actually go through these elements and answer them properly, we can write blog posts that are so much more effective if we know these things ahead of time. 'Cause have you ever sat down with the cursor blinking and there's nothing on the page and you're just like, "what am I gonna write about? "I have everything in the world and I could write anything, "but what will it be?" I do that all the time. It's very, very frustrating. Instead, let's choose a type of article, a topic of the article, keywords that we wanna be using which will always bring us back to that really elemental way of thinking, of, "these are the three words "that I really want people to walk away remembering." If you have those written down, it can really help guide the shape of your article. What is your opinion on the matter? If there's a topic, there must be an opinion, so what's your opinion? What structure are you taking? Are you gonna do bullet points? Are you gonna show lots of images? Will this be a traditionally structured opinion piece? Including images, really obvious. We have to do that these days. You can't get away with it. I know it'll be really hard 'cause you guys don't take pictures, but, I'm sorry. You're just gonna have to find a way. This is me doing this challenge. I would like to write an opinion piece about releasing your art. My keywords are gonna be release, choice, and bravery. These are the three words that I will repeat throughout my article. My opinion about this is when you release your art, you truly release it to whoever will view it. I'm gonna write a traditional essay with images. If I know all of that ahead of time, it's way easier to start that blog post. Way easier. And this is why I love keywords so much and planning. Because keywords will help you just, anytime you get stuck with words, you go back to those keywords and figure out how you can integrate them and having a structure already laid out is going to ensure that you don't have to struggle through that blog post. You can always go back to these main components that you need to nail to make it good. Just a quick note that audiences are multifaceted. A collector might also be a photographer. A photographer might also be a designer. My only note in saying this is to bring us back to reality that you cannot know your audience exactly at all times. There's just no way. In my opinion, instead of pushing something out, a certain type of content to the right audience, whatever that means, put out the content that you're most passionate about. Make sure that it has a direction, that it has a tone, that you're creating consistency, and then the right people will come to you. There's no way to say, "okay, I only want my content "to go to art buyers because I wanna make a lot of money "selling my art." If I wanna do that, yes I can target certain social media sites that are more likely to have those people, yes I can use certain keywords that they're more likely to search, but is it possible to just get my work in front of them? No, of course not. There's not some secret out there that I've found where it's like, "oh yeah, just obviously. "You just push it out to this person." Who knows? There are ways to be smart about it, but I really believe, if you're putting out there your opinions, your ideas, that are authentic to you, the right people will come and eventually they'll pay you for what you wanna do. I know, you might be thinking, "no they won't. "I've never been paid for what I wanna do." I know, it took me a long time and I'm telling you right now, blogging, writing, is massively helpful for getting this done, for getting the money in the pocket, if that's how it were. What would you wanna read about? I have a special little image coming up here. I used your picture, hope that's okay. This is Sarit's image and I found this to be a really interesting one because I don't do this. I have literally no idea how to create an image like this. I have no idea. I pick up my camera and it might as well be like a movable car. I don't know what do to with it. Pick it up, and oh, I don't know. Help me. Let's ask ourselves this question. What do you wanna read about with this image? It's not my image. I can answer this for myself. For example, I wanna know where this was because this is the coolest place in the world. I wanna know a lot of things. First of all, I wanna know technically how you did this. From a photographer's standpoint, what angle were you on? What lens did you use? What time of day was this? Was this sunrise or sunset? I wanna know everything about this picture. I'm very, very curious. Conceptually, I wanna see more images like this. I wanna know, is this part of a larger series? Is this just one image that you made in a certain place? But the first thing that my mind goes to is where the heck were you? I wanna know. So what about you guys? If you were to see this image and you knew that there was a blog post associated with it, what would you want to see when you click that blog post open? I wanna know where she was standing to take this photo That's a great point. 'Cause it looks like she was flying. (laughs) It does, doesn't it? Like you're off the side of a cliff or something. I totally see that. What about you guys? What would you wanna know about this picture? I kinda wanna know why she went there or what sort of emotion she had there. The experience that she had. Yeah, like what brought you to this place and what was your experience of it? That's very interesting. Yeah, it's an interesting photo. Thank you for letting me share it. (laughs) I totally stole it. (laughs) No, but it's beautiful and it just brings us back to this idea that we all have different ways of communicating. Your way of communicating is very different from mine, visually, but our interests remain the same. How'd you do it? Why'd you do it, right? And we all have that together and that's something that we can all write about. How then, do you take just somebody's interest in something into a piece that they wanna hear about because I guarantee you there's a very easy way for us all to say, "Sarit, how did you do this? "Where were you standing? "Why did you go to this place?" And then for you to write an article that none of us wanna read. That we're just like, "oh, this is boring." You know? There are things that we're interested in and we still don't wanna read about it once we finally get there. Then there are ways of pulling somebody into your world. I have my own ways of answering this, which I will happily share. My way of doing that is to immediately do one of two things. One is to break myself down vulnerably and share something immediately that connects me to other people in such a way that's either emotionally vulnerable or that puts me in a light that's not above anybody else, which I think is really important for writing about imagery. Is to not sound like I know everything and I just have everything under control. No, I'm going to break myself down to a place that's a little bit more vulnerable and from a place of connection. That's one thing that I'm going to do. The other scenario is that I'm going to say something completely weird and that's my technique. Is to be like, "anyone else ever been completely covered "in mud before?" Then I'll show a picture of me completely covered in mud. And people are like, "you're weird." Trust me, I get it all the time. People are always telling me how weird I am which I take as a big complement. You might have different tactics. To me the ones that work best are the kind that sound genuine. When you're saying something heartfelt, that brings a lot of people in and when you're asking questions, that also brings a lot of people in. We're gonna talk about this during our social media segment, but just really being aware of how people are going to connect to what you're saying is a great way to start out any sort of writing about an image. You can do this in a lot of ways like we just talked about, but the way to do it is to one, genuinely care about the people who are reading. It's like you shouldn't have to say that, but really, not a lot of people seem to do it. I see so many different places where someone's posing a question, let's say, and it totally got me. I'm like, "yeah, I wanna answer that question," and then I'm like, "they're never even gonna read this. "They're never gonna read my answer to whatever "I have to say." Showing a genuine interest in your writing, to care for people, and just simply being yourself. Being your weirdo self. How great that we can be our weirdo selves in our writing. I think that's really exciting. These are the five topics that I think are very, very important, that we keep in mind with writing. We've got personality, it has to be on brand, meaning it has to go with our persona and what we're trying to put out there. We have to have knowledge of our craft. I mean, I genuinely believe that if you can be an expert in something, be an expert in it. People are going to want you to be that for them, and you have that opportunity to be an expert in what you do. Nobody else is gonna be an expert in what you do, so you might as well be that person. So be an expert, be knowledgeable about what you're doing. And then build trust with your audience. How do you build trust? One way is to post consistent work. Not just visually but with your writing. If you've got multiple personalities going on and one day, you're like, "wanna hear a funny joke?" and then you tell a joke and the next day, you're like, "it's my 10 year anniversary of my cat." I don't know, that's not a thing, but you get it. So something really sentimental, it's gonna be really weird for people, and we talk all the time. I mean, photographers talk at length about consistency with your imagery. We hear it non-stop about how your images have to be consistent and I've said already a ton of times in this class, but if our writing is not consistent, it's the same thing as our images. It has to be consistent and that builds trust and trust is why people keep coming back again and again and again. If we're thinking about writing, in terms of being on brand, being for your business, being for your art, how will you approach it? I write very poetically, very atmospherically when I write online because that's how my brain works. I've written a novel, for example. It sounds the same way. It's just how my writing naturally comes out. Do you guys feel like you have a style to your writing without trying? I'm curious. How does it come out? Is it technical, is it personal, is it quick witted, is it funny, is it sentimental? Just if you had to pick one word, each of you get the word in your head right now. You have a word? Too much pressure. You got your word? Okay, tell me your word. Funny. Funny. (laughs) Just personal, simple. Moody. Moody? Genuine. Genuine. That fit you guys so well, I cannot believe it. (laughs) I agree. I've never even read your writing, but I know you guys personally and that was exactly what I would've said. That's insane to me, but that was just so good. I'm very excited about this. (laughs) So you all have a style. I would say that my style is atmospheric. Let's just say that we each have a style. How to we begin cultivating content for that style, which is very challenging to do? What's your ideal client? If you had to get in your head right now, your ideal client, the person that you want to either engage with you or pay you money or do both. Hopefully both, in your business. What's your ideal client? Got it? For me, it's art buyers. What about you? Ideal client. You can do it. Okay, art buyers as well. Art buyers, okay, fair. Galleries. Galleries. Fellow weirdos. Perfect. Collaborators. Collaborators. Great, so we have lots of different answers here. Collaborators is really interesting. I've never thought about that. Oh, it's my anti-socialness, right? We all have a keyword of style, we all have a target audience that we're trying to attract with what we're writing. Now, put yourself in the mindset of that person. The person who is coming to read what you have to say and answer this really honestly. What you have written, if you just had think about things that you've put out there in the past, is that enough for that person to buy what you have to sell? Maybe you say yes and you're like, "you know what? "I'm killing it with this writing thing. "I think that my writing is attracting and selling "to the right person." It's hard to talk about selling and writing and selling and art, but we have to. We have to because we're trying to make a business out of this. Are you convincing people that what you do is special enough, is polished enough, and is worth purchasing? If you can answer yes, good. If you can't, why? What is missing from your process? I can tell you exactly what I do wrong on social media, on anytime I'm writing, what I do wrong is I have no idea how to sell something. No idea. I hate it so much. I hate it so much that I'll be doing something that has a price tag on it and I just won't mention it. No, I just won't mention it for weeks at a time until finally, a company is like, "you have to say "that you're selling this thing 'cause nobody's gonna buy it "if you don't," and I get in trouble. I just don't talk about it. I find it very difficult to weave that into my story. One thing that I could do better, for example, is to actually mention that I sell prints. I don't know that I've ever talked about that on social media. I don't know that I ever have. I have never written a post where I'm like, "by the way, "I sell these prints." I just hope that people assume that I do and then hope that they email me one day. That's a bad business decision, isn't it? It's really bad. I'm aware, so what's your answer. Yes or no? Do you feel like your writing is currently attracting and selling to the right person? I just have a question. How do you motivate to keep writing? Motivation is right. Mine would be consistency as well or just doing it period. Yeah, finding the consistency, the motivation for consistency. Let me put it this way, and this is creating in general. Not just writing necessarily, but let's say that for whatever reason, writing, creating, updating your website, whatever it is, you just don't wanna do it that frequently or you feel like it's really tedious or whatever. I used to think about art and writing and connecting with people as something that I had to do for my business. If I was going to have a successful business, I had to write, I had to create, and I had to do that all the time. I always felt that way until I realized that I'm actually less interested in getting people to come to my business and I'm more interested in bringing my business to those who need is, so I sort of shifted the way that I think. So now, if I go a week without posting anything, I don't feel frantic, like, "oh no, I'm losing business "because I haven't posted." I feel bad on a personal level because I feel like somebody might need to hear what I have to say and I'm not holding up my end of the bargain here. Not that it is a bargain. You don't have to do anything, but when I shifted my perspective to say, "you know what? "Writing can be a way of healing for people "and connecting for people, and if I can be a voice "of positivity for someone and they need to hear that, "then I'm gonna post really consistently." That has been the best thing in taking away my anxiety about it, is just every single day, I don't say, "I'm gonna better my business." I say, "I'm gonna better somebody else on the internet "and then hope that they're helped by that process." That's how I do it, and aside from that technically, literally finding the time to do it, I tend to do it all at once a couple times a week, so I'll get my content all laid out in front of me and then I'll write and I'll write and I'll write blurbs for every single image and what point I wanna make and things like that. I don't know if you guys find this to be true, but do you find that when you're writing something that you have trouble coming up with what to say because you could say anything? Do you ever feel that? I could say literally anything about this image. How do I know what people wanna hear? How do I know what to say? I am a very structured person, so I don't tend to think about it in terms of what do people wanna hear or what do I necessarily even wanna say, but I think about structure. Okay, I'm going to have talking points in this piece of writing that I'm putting out there. I'm going to have a theme, I'm going to have an opinion, and once I have those things laid out, it's so much easier to just follow a formula for everything that I'm writing, which also creates consistency. I like to do it that way as well, just be like, "okay, three main points that I'm trying to make, "overall theme, go." See how it comes out. It's a practice thing, too. Writing takes so much practice. It kills me how much practice it takes. I was telling you guys earlier that I've got this novel that I'm writing that I've been writing for three and a half years now, and I'm only just now learning how to write. Just now, and barely even at that. I've so much work to do. I'm a really big believer in practice. I'm a big believer in all of us being babies about things at the start of something new. At least most of us. We come up against a challenge like, "I don't like writing." And then we think, "I'm a bad writer. "Nobody wants to hear what I have to say, "'cause I don't know how to write. "I have bad grammar, so this isn't gonna work out." Whatever the case may be, when in fact, if we just practice really hard, we're gonna get better and the better we get at writing, the better we can sell our art. One quick point that I wanna make about this is that I've been to gallery shows where other artists are exhibiting, and nine times out of 10, if they can write about their work and they have really beautiful artist statement to go with whatever their pictures are, they're way more likely to sell the art off of that wall than somebody who has no idea how to write about their work. It's just a fact. People want to be connected to that art and the way that they connect is not only visually, but by reading what they artist has to say. I would recommend that practice writing for fine art is genuinely one of the most important things we can do in our career. I believe that I would not have a career if I did not know how to write and the reason why I believe that is because I would say, actually, the split is 50/50. People writing to me, and I'm not saying this offhandedly. I hear from people every single day of my life writing to me saying, "I follow your work "because of your writing, not because of your images." Every single day, somebody says this to me. That's a lot of people saying that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Guided Daydream & Writing Exercises Workbook (Lessons 1-11)
Creating an Original Narrative Workbook (Lessons 12-18)
Finding Your Target Audience Workbook (Lessons 19-27)
Planning Your Series Workbook (Lessons 28-34)
Set Design Workbook (Lessons 35-41)
Compositing Workflow Checklist (Lessons 42-49)
Editing Workflow Checklist (Lessons 50-55)
Location Scouting Workbook (Lessons 56-60)
Stock Image Downloads for Practice (Lessons 61-72)
Organizing Your Portfolio Workbook (Lessons 77-81)
Pricing & Editioning Your Work Workbook (Lessons 82-89)
Writing Contracts & Licensing Images Workbook (Lessons 90-98)
Gallery Best Practices (Lessons 99-106)
Pitch Package Workbook (Lessons 107-111)
Writing Your Brand Workbook (Lessons 112-117)
Marketing Workbook (Lessons 118-122)
Social Media Workbook (Lessons 123-127)
Printing Methods Checklist (Lessons 128-133)
Self Critique Workbook (Lessons 134-137)
Bonus Materials Guide
Image Edit Videos

Ratings and Reviews

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.

Student Work