Skip to main content

photo & video

Fine Art Photography

Lesson 12 of 38

Shoot: Posing Demo

Brooke Shaden

Fine Art Photography

Brooke Shaden

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

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.

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.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Brookes Posing Guide

Self Portraiture

The Art of Self Critique

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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 Akana

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.