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Fine Art Photography

Lesson 12 of 38

Shoot: Posing Demo


Fine Art Photography

Lesson 12 of 38

Shoot: Posing Demo


Lesson Info

Shoot: Posing Demo

breaking the fourth wall moving into what is the fourth wall first of all it's this in front of the camera what you're seeing me versus you is having somebody make eye contact with the camera it becomes very intimate for somebody to do that they're looking straight into the viewfinder they're confronting you and of course I contact is using commercial photography very often not as much and fine art I find I avoid it as much as possible personally because I think that it's very confrontational it very it's a connection that I don't necessarily want to make because I like anonymous characters somebody who was unaware of the camera being there at all and then by making a connection the viewer is more likely to see a model than a character so if I'm looking at the camera and I'm like yeah I'm posing for the camera and I'm like right at it right so I've got that going on but if I'm just like over here and I'm looking off in the distance then you don't know who I am I'm a character you can e...

nvision a story rather than me staring you down in the face and having it be something that's a little bit traditionally more commercial so here I have this image of this man staring directly into the camera that was a very specific choice that I made something that I don't do very often but I felt that this man had something to say and he was already a character I was at a civil war reenactment because of that I went ahead had him look directly at the camera and then I went ahead with shooting it just like that so question to ask when you're posing what is the emotion of the image at the most basic level what are you trying to convey to somebody to make them understand the emotion is the character louder quiet so is the character somebody who's going to be still is it going to be vibrant whatever that character might be is it louder quiet how would I the character expressed the emotion so you are taking the picture you must understand what you're trying to get if you're going take a picture that's your responsibility as the creator so how were you going to express that emotion and how can you tell somebody else to do that what body language would be typical of the emotion okay so we've already gone through this with sadness with anger with happiness how would you portray that and what is typical of being portrayed like that so yes happiness is this it's jumping it's a smile on your face it's it's loud usually happiness is loud but what if somebody else doesn't read it like that consider all of the different ways that other people might read happiness at the same time is the subject after actively doing something so asked that to your subject to yourself do I need this person to actually be doing something how is the subject interacting with the surroundings are they actively doing something with what's around them are they picking something up or reaching for something or maybe they have a cloak around them that they're sort of latching upon their body whatever it is it could be simple could be complex and in the posing checklist is a subject static er in motion should the toes be pointed this is something that I haven't really talked about but this is something that I make almost every model dio have them point their toes just so there's some elegance to it I've got my toe pointed in the back I'm not a ballerina I don't know exactly at a point my toes but I've always got a toe pointed even if it's just a little bit doesn't have to be a lot but I'm not gonna do this don't be crazy you don't ask somebody to do that unless that's what you're going for unless you want like sleep with this and like like my claw hands and stuff so it's not like that are the hands relaxed or tents hands are such an important part of posing we're going to talk about that more when we're actually posing models tomorrow is the expression what you want and then are the shoulders relaxed so important these air just the basic things that I tried to ask about my models does the subject blend with a scene most important thing is that model posing in a way where they actually fit into what they're doing I think that's the biggest thing that happens is that we find a really cool space and we're like oh gosh the space is amazing so I'm just going to my model stand there because she looks really good in that space but is that really what you want them to do do they really fit into that space posing can help with that so much and then are they looking at the camera looking away so those are the different things that are on my posing checklist that I go through and I say okay if this this this and this is happening then I feel good about it okay so any questions about that I would say let us jump right into our shooting were going to do some live of this so let's go ahead and do it I'm so excited seamless okay we're bringing to see post backdrop yes and where is our model and you look beautiful come on over here I'm so excited okay so we're going teo I'm actually just going to back up actually if we could just pull up those ten different posing steps again we'll get right to there and then I'm going to run through this wall I shoot so what I'm going to do with jane as I'm going to have her on that backdrop and I want to go through some of those basic posing techniques some of those very very simple techniques that we talked about arching the back tilting the head back things like that and then I'm going to ask you guys to come up with an emotion and we're going to see how we condemn erect her into that emotion so that's what I want to do right now once they get this set up let's go for our first emotion what do you guys think emotion fear I love love it okay so we're going to do fear well tevye stand against that backdrop perfect okay now if I were to ask jane what isthe fear look like to you what would you d'oh cool so that's her fear is that your fear okay so what is your fear scared and surprised terry up like running away from something but like looking over her shoulder yeah something's coming to get her wonderful like withdrawn a little bit like holding back okay so like yeah like stepping back from something what about you I think running away and a cz she said okay total great so let's do sort of like a running away and pulling back at the same time and we'll start with that as our fear and we'll see how we can director into that now let me just set this down I'll grab my camera thank you so if I am going to direct her into this pose what I really want to do here is let her mimic me first so I'm not just going to say ok run away from the camera and looked really scared and pull back because she's not going to know what to do if I tell her that now obviously she's listening to you guys explain it so she might have a better idea but I'm going to say ok jane watch what I do and then do it with me so and without dropping my camera I'm goingto be scared with you okay so I'm going to do something like I have my arm down like this yeah just at the side pretty pretty easy like that so you're the camera's over here imagine that you're just going to go like like that running away like this turn completely with your back towards me good and then take a couple steps back towards me there you go now let me just get my picture taking skills in check here there we go okay I can take a picture okay so now go ahead without motion okay now I've got a picture of her here that to me does not say fear and that's because I haven't directed properly so if ever the model does something and I think oh that's not what I was going for it's not her fault it's my fault I did not director the right way so what I want you to do is angle with may so you're going to stay facing this thing and so this hand like this just out good and then you're going to turn just like this always keep your back good just like that and I want you to look off in the distance yep and then you'll take this hand and just bring it up like this like oh gosh you're scared yep now arching a little bit less because you're a little too elegant for me which is funny but arching lesson just like really scared and looking up yep okay now let's try that okay I'm ready when you are great okay so that is much more fearful now the only thing that I would say toe take it a little bit further perhaps to have your head tilted back more and really look up and perhaps part your lips more and I'm ready great beautiful so that's a much more fearful to me now with the other hand if you can manage us also take the dress and just let it go like spin it out a little bit as you're moving just so I have some motion in there okay I'm ready good so now we've got the motion happening now I didn't catch it at exactly the right spot that's my fault but we have something here were directing the model into the pose way more than it was before we can see from one shot to the next that it is transforming into something that makes sense now if I want to do one more shot with her I would have her actually run so why don't you come take a couple steps back with me and I want you to just turn your head look over your shoulder the whole time grab onto your dress keep holding it and you're just going to run forward while looking back over your shoulder with your lips parted I'm gonna try to get her and focus and I'm ready whenever you are okay I got one picture there let's see how it looks so I'm starting to really like how that looks a lot more now obviously I don't even know how to shoot on a backdrop because she's just like off the back job that's okay though that's me now I would do one more thing and I can't stop myself because we're ruling over into this so I'm going to get a low angle I'm gonna move you over just so when I do get you on the backdrop get a low angle on her and I'm gonna have you do that exact same things that was beautiful that was me I didn't click my camera you know how it is when you're just watching something okay go ahead ok good so we've got a couple of different shots here none of them are exactly what I would be going for because I think that in this case I would make one more change instead of having her runs so much I would have her hit her mark so like we said before instead of having somebody just haphazardly do stuff and like that was mourning but yeah run around run around like that I'm gonna have her hit a mark so I know that I want you to land there so go ahead take a step there I'm gonna focus on you yet so go ahead and stand there and I'm going to get my focus first and then I'm going to lock that down and wait for her to hit that pose okay so on lock down no take a couple steps back that's where I want you to land so go ahead and do that same thing landing there good wonderful now that is much much better so this is the pose that I would definitely end on I would actually be really happy with that post because we've got the foot in the air the motion of the dress she's looking back her hand is elegant and so after doing this we only did it what like five six times and after that she created a pose that was really dynamic so we've got her arm back we're creating that separation between her arm and her her back there small of her back we're creating that motion with the other hand it's not just stagnant snot just laying there her face is has good emotion we've got the motion in the dress there's movement to it so I'm going and that there because I know that I'm like really overtime again and thank you so much jane

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.