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Fine Art Photography

Lesson 11 of 38

Posing a Man


Fine Art Photography

Lesson 11 of 38

Posing a Man


Lesson Info

Posing a Man

posing a man I want to talk about this quickly because I think that it often gets very overlooked but with storytelling photography you could do whatever you want with a man and have it be okay so the difficulty lies in the fact that elegance is not easy to direct but manley are is easy direct manliness is not so elegance we can all do that right we I mean even if I liked got josh up here you could totally like do this and it would look great you know flowing and whatever so I can direct that I can tell you how to direct that but can I tell you how to direct manliness not so much I'm not a man I don't know I don't get it so much but I have watson lots of different tips on how to pose a man in this case we have an elegant man we have somebody who's being elegant elegant but also powerful so he's not just like being girly because there's a difference between elegant or graceful and girly he's being powerful while being graceful so here I have two poses that are very similar to one anothe...

r but one is a female one is a male they're different though the girl is very very posed she's got her hand very delicately placed if I had told him to put his hand up like this and look very delicate that's moving into girlie and not so much elegant but he's got his hands up palm's up and it's more powerful posey sort of pushing and so because of that he seems a little bit more tense a little bit more ah what's the word strong I guess in this picture here we have a man with a woman and I find that to be a very simple thing to direct usually I have the man of wrapping around a woman or something like that in this case he's doing just that he's behind her so he's being hidden a little bit by her but he's also protecting her and lifting her and holding on to her and it gives him something to do that's a very obvious thing to be ableto too direct stoic man my stoic man this is all the same man by the way I don't use many male models so we've got christopher here he's beautiful brilliant model and he's very stoic and a lot of these pictures so I haven't just standing still looking straight out and I always tell him to clinch his jaw when he's doing that in that way he has that sort of like hard exterior to him here's another example of that stoic nous so don't think of the word forgive me I don't know stoic gossipy once making up words now he's got that thing to him so he's standing very very still here interacting with your surroundings it's a great way to have a man pose and in fact anybody if you wanna have composed so I had him up in a tree I told him to sit on the tree branch but if he just sat there it would be really boring if he was just sitting on a tree branch so I told him to put one leg up higher than the other one to create that separation and then I had told him to just touch the tree branches around him in that way he was actually interacting with the surroundings now we have our goose terra hates the goose pictures she heard she's like oh my gosh it's great so yeah you got the goose I swear I did this on purpose I did I know okay so in this case he's not touching the goose but there is clearly a goose on him and so we sort of be this is weird yeah this has gotten a little weird okay so he's got the boots on him and he's sort of hunched because of it it's it's it's affecting him he can't help but to hunch over because there's something happening so he's interacting in that way he's reacting to his circumstances interaction with others here I have somebody hugging and then we have another person again wrapping behind that's a very easy way to post somebody to pose anybody toe have them naturally interact so in this case I had my friend alex I said okay just just how would you hug me if we were about to never see each other again and we're about to be separated forever I didn't actually know him at that time it was kind of weird but I was like just pretend like we're lovers or something and so we hugged and then that was the pose that came out of it this very warm embrace and then here we have that again here I have the two sort of wrapped together which is a really good way to pose people say how can you mix yourselves together as much as possible and then I have this very again stoic pose where you have the man sitting the girl sitting and he's still interacting yeah you were saying earlier than elegance is easy to direct in the mail as opposed to manage but would that be a ce faras like the male model himself because he's not filling manley wouldn't back despite it exactly yeah it totally depends on who it is that's being photographed of course because I photographed men who are very comfortable with doing very elegant things and men who do not want that at all and I've had a very difficult time directing those men because they have a very specific idea of what they look like and what they want to look like and so in that case I usually go for the more this still poses the more static poses whatever they're comfortable with because I don't want to make somebody feel uncomfortable like I'm representing them than a in a bad way but yeah I find that it really just depends on the model and asking them how they feel that they can pose okay so creating motion now I want to go through a couple more things about creating motion here about how to get that pulled out of your subjects implied emotion so implied motion is similar demotion except they're actually doing anything it's just they're making it look like they're doing something this is what I avoid a lot of the time because it's really hard to get a believable pose out of somebody if they're not actually doing it now in this case I had my subject very slowly just walk up the stairs he did it very slowly it wasn't like I just had him stand still but there wasn't a real motion and like I said run up the stairs and create that motion and feel the energy I just didn't know what step I wanted him on so I was like just keep walking and I'll photograph it slowly we'll see how it goes and when he got to that step I said okay hold that pose and then I said okay hunt a little bit like move like you're going towards like you're going to start running up the stairs so that's how I had imposed and it was a very simple thing to direct it wasn't this big motion thing but he's in motion it's implied motion we know because his leg is up and he's hunched forward that he is actively climbing the stairs oh okay so these are the different things we already talked about these I'm going to move on so if the subject doesn't understand the directions ask how he or she would naturally respond to a situation I do this a lot with my models because I find that we all understand emotion very differently we understand stories differently so let's see who wants to come up here and model oh cool yeah right that enthusiasm I know right and gosh I love it okay so here's what you have to do go ahead and stand right there you have tio let's see um create a pose that to you represents anger very stoic say so that's how you naturally respond to that would I respond that way know what I told you to respond that way maybe because that's how you responded so I always try to ask my models how do you respond to the situation because if it's very different from how I would respond then I want to know that and I want to try to work with them with what their strengths and weaknesses are and I don't want to make anybody uncomfortable especially if you're not shooting a model if you're shooting a client and you want to get a certain pose out of them or a certain emotion ask them how they would respond instead of saying okay I need you to do this because they might not be comfortable doing that it might not be something that's easy to do for them or that they feel represents them in a good way so just say how would you respond what wouldyou naturally dio and see how you can work with that so tell a story rather than asking for simple or complex emotion now like I said it's one thing to say he sad it's a whole other thing to say be sad because this has happened to you and this is what's going to happen teo so continue with that emotion this way the model can understand the context of the scene rather than trying to embody the emotion that might be different to everybody so if the emotion is different to everybody how are we going to create a singular posed by understanding a story that everybody can latch onto and ross something from as faras inspiration goes so know how you understand emotion and what motions best display what you're trying to say this is quite simple here because what we have is how are you actually literally going toe act that out ask every model that I ask myself that by knowing yourself though how you would do it you khun better direct somebody else my two favorite emotions to portray sadness and longing those are the two emotions that I'm trying to pull out of my subjects very very often so if I have these emotions that I'm trying to get that means that I am going to do that in specific ways now this is a really interesting example of how I do this because I very often if I'm doing an emotion shot with the face I'm getting closer if I really want to be able to see an emotion in the face I don't tell the model to do anything I don't say make a face I don't say look sad look belonging I do if they're very expressive people but if not for example this model has a hard time pushing her eyebrows up so I do it for her so I show that that emotion that sadness that longing in the eyebrows but I do it later on in photo shop so I'll tell her just look normal look straight ahead get the shot and then later on in photo shop I just push her eyebrows up here to make it look like she said I have sad eyebrows but I'm doing it right looking that e I know I've got that so I know I understand that because I couldn't do it so that's something that I latch onto I say oh I understand what sadness is and what longing is because that's how my face looks and when I do that so I put that in my models but I don't make them do it if they can't do it some people just don't have those muscles that do that that's okay

Class Description


  • Brainstorm and plan a fine art photograph
  • Design a story with props and posing
  • Shoot an image that only exists in your imagination
  • Complete the vision in Adobe Photoshop
  • Self-critique your own work
  • Build a business from fine art photography
  • Approach galleries with confidence
  • Grow your own unique style and brand


Sometimes, creative vision is bigger than a camera can capture. In this class, learn how to turn imaginative ideas into physical fine art prints. From planning the shoot to assembling composites in post, work to turn the images in your dreams into a concrete photographic image. Go from a dreamer to a professional photographer with the help of artist Brooke Shaden.

Start with defining your style and building your creative vision in this three-day class. Then, learn tips and tricks for bringing that vision to life using posing and props. Go behind the scenes in nine live shoots ranging from self-portraiture to creating your own fairytale. Use posing, props, motion, and composition to tell a story.

While fine art photography isn't usually the first business model that comes to mind when considering a career in photography, Brooke shares how it's possible to earn a full-time living from your art. From building a brand to approaching fine art galleries, learn what you need to turn a passion for fine art photography into a career. As Brooke says, you can't stop because your best work is just ahead.


  • Intermediate photographers ready to take fine art to the next level
  • Professional photographers looking to expand their storytelling and compositing skills
  • Fine art photographers at any skill level


Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom


Brooke Shaden is a storyteller. The American fine art photographer is well-known in the art world for her dream-like, fairytale images. Her work often uses dark tones, heavy emotions, self-portraits, and juxtapositions. Working as a fine art photographer for more than a decade, she started her art journey after studying film in college and now teaches and speaks along with continuing her work. Brooke's work has been featured in dozens of gallery exhibitions, along with magazine and book covers and limited edition fine art prints. After growing up near an Amish community in the United States in Pennsylvania, she now lives in California.


  1. Class Introduction

    Meet Brooke Shaden in the first lesson, and learn where the fine art photographer finds her inspiration. Then, gain an overview of the three-day class.

  2. My Evolving Style

    No one starts out creating their best work, Brooke says, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get started. See how Brooke grew in her craft, where she started, where she is now, and how she's always motivated to continue to create beautiful images.

  3. Visual Examination

    How you describe yourself as a person will influence your art. In this lesson, embark on the process of visual examination. Learn to visualize yourself, your style, and the story you want to tell -- and how that translates into photography.

  4. Storytelling and Character

    Brooke is more motivated by storytelling than photography -- and you can tell by looking at her work. Learn how to train your mind to find your inspiration, to then start telling that story. Work on building a story by starting with an object or person from your inspiration, and asking yourself questions about that item. Build a story with elements like theme, setting, character, time, and conflict.

  5. Storytelling Q&A

    Build on the concept of storytelling with questions from students like you.

  6. Critique Yourself Part 1

    Critique is an important aspect of any type of fine art -- but photographers shouldn't consider critiques from others as fact. In fact, Brooke encourages photographers to learn how to critique their own work. Follow Brooke's process for self-critique in this lesson.

  7. Critique Yourself Part 2

    Everyone will have a different favorite image. After sharing her favorite and least favorite images, Brooke shares what some of the students in the class pick as their most and least favorite images. The insight helps build the skills to critique a photograph.

  8. Identify the Problems

    Learning to identify problems in your own work helps you focus on areas to improve your art form. Watch Brooke work through some problems in her images. Learn to correct the problems that you see in your images.

  9. Posing Overview and Q&A

    Posing for a portrait and posing to create a fine art photograph are often very different. Dive into creating a story through body language, emotion, and character after a brief Q&A on questions from the previous lessons.

  10. Ten Basic Poses

    Learn how to create a better pose using ten basics. Work with poses to create lines and shape while telling a story. From basics like creating separation to advanced topics like creating believable action, pick up essentials to building a pose in fine art imagery.

  11. Posing a Man

    Posing looks different for men and women. In this lesson, Brooke shares her tips on posing a man in an emotive manner, while keeping the "manliness" intact. See different examples of fine art poses for men.

  12. Shoot: Posing Demo

    Should the model look at the camera? Brooke shares the pros and cons of eye contact and why it's often avoided in fine art photography. Run through a checklist to perfect your pose. Then, jump into a live posing demonstration to see those tips in action. Watch Brooke direct a model to portray a specific emotion, then watch how she fine-tunes the pose to create the desired look.

  13. The Art of Self-Portraiture

    Even if you don't actually want to be the subject matter in your own images, learning how to photograph yourself helps you learn how to direct a model to create fine art images, along with building the ability to express yourself and create something from your imagination. Build a foundation for self-portraiture in this lesson.

  14. Posing Yourself

    Walk through the process of posing yourself for a self-portrait. Learn how to focus and trigger the shot when you're not behind the camera, while still having enough time to get into the pose. In this lesson, Brooke shares tips for the process of posing and shooting yourself for fine art.

  15. Shoot: Self-Portraiture Demo

    Go behind the scenes for one of Brooke's self-portraits. See the process in action, starting with the test shot. As she talks through the process, watch Brooke create a pose, critique herself, then improve the pose. Using student suggestions, Brooke goes through several different poses portraying different emotions to use in a self-portrait.

  1. Shoot: Indoor Scene Part 1

    Starting with a blank canvas, learn to build a scene for an indoor shoot. Begin with a vision and an empty room, and watch how Brooke begins to bring her creative vision to life. See the inspiration and the blank scene, then watch Brooke build the scene.

  2. Shoot: Indoor Scene Part 2

    With the model and set in place, watch how Brooke captures the shot. Go behind the scenes on decisions like composition, angle, lighting, exposure, and focal point. Learn to evaluate the scene to get the details of the story in the camera.

  3. Shoot: Butterfly Daydream

    Work within the same space to create a different fine art image. With something as simple as an empty wall and a few still life props, go from creative vision to art print about a daydream. Refine ideas about posing, props, composition and more in this lesson.

  4. Image Compositing

    Sometimes, those fine art ideas aren't something concrete that could actually exist in real life. Other times, shooting in exotic locations isn't feasible financially or practically. Brooke suggests shooting as a landscape photographer to capture backgrounds for composite work whenever the opportunity presents itself. Learn how to shoot with a composite in mind, considering factors like matching the lighting and the perspective. Then, gather some basics on editing composites.

  5. Shoot: Using Props

    Start shooting a composite image using some backdrops and a kiddie pool. With a composite in mind, watch Brooke work the scene and plan ahead to mix multiple images together. Work with multiple poses and props. Then, move into a second scene and watch Brooke work with props in a self-portrait.

  6. Editing Indoor Shoot Part 1

    Move into editing for fine-art photography. Go through the complete editing process from the first live shoot with the vines. Work with aspect ratio, merging multiple images, layer masks, curves, cloning, and more.

  7. Editing Indoor Shoot Part 2

    Continue working with the image from the previous lesson, making overall adjustments to the image. Here, Brooke shares how to edit lighting, replace color, adjust overall color, add make-up, and more.

  8. Editing Butterfly Shoot

    Work with the butterfly shoot in Adobe Photoshop. Analyze how to improve the image, then work with several different editing techniques, including composting, adjusting brightness, making local adjustments, working with color, and more.

  9. Editing Pool Shoot

    Start working with the indoor-outdoor composite mix from the pool shoot. Learn how to paste a subject against a different background with realistic results. Work with trimming out the background, blending edges and more as you learn to create realistic composites.

  10. Shoot: Outside with Open Sky

    Move away from the computer and jump into more complex fine art composites. Working with multiple images and objects pasted together, start with the shooting process. Work with matching lighting, capturing the right angle, creating a strong composition, and telling a story in fine art photography.

  1. Shoot: Fairytale Scene Part 1

    Head behind the scenes as Brooke re-imagine a scene from The Princess and the Pea. Work with turning a well-known, traditional fairytale into something unique, beginning with the brainstorming and props.

  2. Shoot: Fairytale Scene Part 2

    Gain insight into the process of creating a fairy-tale inspired fine art photograph. Integrate motion into the image and work with motion blur, multiple exposures and more. Work with multiple poses with a model, then move into a self-portrait.

  3. Shoot: Snow Scene

    Move into the final live shoot of the course as Brooke brings the outdoors in. In this start-to-finish shoot, work on the story and vision for the scene, then learn how to create (and photograph) a snowstorm indoors.

  4. Editing Outdoor Scene

    Finish the vision from the live shoots in Photoshop, starting with the outdoor shoot. Work with complex composting techniques, like replacing the sky. Throughout the process, pick up editing tips, like choosing a brush and keyboard shortcuts.

  5. Editing Fairytale Scene

    Fine-tune the Princess and the Pea shot inside Photoshop. Extend the canvas, work with the warp tool, clone out a doorway, and more as Brooke turns her vision into a high-quality fine art photograph. Then, learn how to add textures to your image using photographs of textures that you can create yourself using desaturated black and white images.

  6. Editing Snow Scene

    See the progression from the test shots to the final shots from the indoor snowstorm image. Because the shot used a tripod, the editing options for adding snow becomes simpler. Besides working with the snow and adjusting color, learn how to add a fake light to an unlit lantern.

  7. The Business of Fine Art

    Fine art may seem trickier to turn into a business than something like portraits or weddings -- but it is possible. In this lesson, learn how to build a business as a fine-art photographer. Work with building a brand, finding a place for your work, sharing your talent, and selling your work as a product.

  8. Eight Business Practices for Fine Art

    Build your own fine art business with eight actionable steps. Here, Brooke shares a list of eight actions fine art photographers should do while building a business, from building a portfolio to contacting galleries.

  9. Beginning Your Artist Statement

    An artists statement should describe your photography thematically, visually, and technically. Writing an artist statement feels daunting -- in this lesson, Brooke simplifies it by sharing the process she used to write her own artist statement.

  10. Making Prints with Q&A

    Turn your fine art digital photography into art prints, wall art, and photography books. Decipher the difference between various types of printers, papers, and print sizes. Learn how to find a reputable printer. In your portfolio, learn why details like the order of the print matters. Then, find out how to prepare for a gallery meeting and what to expect during the meeting.

  11. Becoming You

    Becoming an artist, becoming yourself, is a process just as important as the business side. In this lesson, Brooke shares how to grow as an artist. Learn how to move forward, how to challenge yourself, and how to grow as an artist.

  12. Taking Risks

    Taking risks moves you forward on your fine art career path. Taking a risk that has nothing to do with money, Brooke says, helps you move forward, expand your reach, and grow your confidence. With that confidence, learn how to build opportunities like book publishing and more through risk-taking.

  13. Bonus Video: Expand Your Space

    In the bonus video, go behind the scenes as Brooke shares how to work in small, tight spaces by composting. This technique is good for both small spaces and shooting with a shallower depth of field.



Brooke says she wants to be inspirational - she has achieved this and so much more during this course. I am so inspired to follow my dream of becoming a fine art photographer and step out of a life as an academic and stop finding excuses. Watching other photographers shoot and edit is always a great way to learn, everyone does things slightly differently and I enjoy Brooke's no fuss techniques. Seeing so many of Brooke's beautiful images through the course has been great and seeing shots from the shoot through to editing really makes them come alive. If you are looking for inspiration or you want to learn techniques or new skills then this course provides all of these things with a big dose of positive thinking thrown in.


Brooke is amazing! I love this course. Brooke is easy to listen to. She has a beautiful insight into creative fine art . Love it! I have learned so much. I especially love that she is so candid about everything.

renee Wilson

I love Brooke and the wonderful way that she teaches. She is a gift to us all. Jane, her model, was lovely - a beautiful girl, a wonderful attitude and a real professional.. I could not do what Jane did to help Brooke convey her story.

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