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Fine Art Photography

Lesson 15 of 38

Shoot: Self-Portraiture Demo

Brooke Shaden

Fine Art Photography

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Shoot: Self-Portraiture Demo

so let's do some shooting shall we okay good I'm very excited all right sweaters coming off and I am going to shoot myself okay it had to be said right so I'm going to grab my camera here I'm just going to pull it back a little bit I'm going to shoot on the seamless again I'm just going to start taking a look making sure that I actually fit in this frame okay now I'm going to go through all of the different methods here that I can think of for taking a picture first thing little dio is the evey easier method let me just grab my remote okay coop shoes off okay so I've got my remote here I can point it at the camera I got to keep finding the focal point see this is where I end up doing the ten second dash method because I'm so bad at finding the focal point it is if you want my tiptoes I found it I tilted it up too much apparently so now I know so I can look at that picture we can see that yes I had it tilted up too much because I can see that so now I'm going to tell to down a little bi...

t to make sure that I can actually reach my focal point there we go that should be about my height I hope well that's a wonderful self portrait I think tohave out there in the world okay much better now we'll probably not the face but the focal point is much better now so now that I know that my inclination would actually be to flip it to manual focus I would want to just say okay my mark is exactly at this line on the floor I could go over there and lock it down and then I want to worry about it searching for focus I hate that so I'm not one to really let it auto focus on me and less um doing a stagnant pose stoick post stagnant post now you've got me confused josh I don't static pose he was he was saying on the break that I was using the wrong word and I was like oh crap so yeah I'm now I'm all confused your fault okay so unless I'm doing a really still bows they're just kind of stay still now unless I'm doing that then I want to be moving a little bit and that is just going to keep so searching for focus so I don't want that so I was just doing my s on my remote have it on my remote setting on the camera pointing it at the camera I'm doing that because all of the cameras will have this little sensor on them so if you're like doing this and hoping it focuses is probably not going to focus you actually want to aim it at the camera so I'm going to make a self portrait I know where my focal point is so I'm going to go over here and I had already focused I didn't change the focus so I'm just going to lock down now manual focus it's locked hopefully so now I compose okay I need to come up with some better poses as we move along here okay so we've got a pose and the focal point is exactly the same is it where it was before I hope I can't entirely sea but um yeah I'm in focus it's okay so now I can get creative because I know my mark I have my focal point all set I am good to go so now I just need to think how am I going to pose myself what is the story here that I'm trying to create so let's do one together what kind of a story should we create in the self portrait you give me an emotion really okay we're doing glee oh gosh okay we'll do that after because I like you a lot better ok good so oh I put my remote down what am I doing now in this picture I can't have the remote like I said it could put it in my mouth but I can't do that so maybe I'll drop it down here maybe I'll set it down the floor doesn't really matter what I do at this point I find it's sometimes difficult to set it on the floor if I'm going to be doing a lot of motion but generally it's okay now if I wasn't on this floor I would just take it and throw it my inclination everytime when I start hearing that thing beeping like oh my gosh I've got to get rid of my remote the road down on the ground and then boom it goes everywhere it doesn't break it's just the battery pops out easily so I'll try not to do that so ugly okay do you see what I'm getting into character I'm getting it I'm flapping my wings were ready to go okay that was my glee that a silent glee it was very subtle glee okay pretty goodly thank you I have an actor you know so that's my glee now you can see what I did here when I posed myself I made sure to pose my whole body so I jumped a little bit because I knew that my feet would then have this nice line to them where they would be pointed naturally my arms naturally went out to the side I moved my dress so in moving the dress my arms naturally posed themselves and then then I told to my head back I do that almost every time just out of instinct my head goes back I have in a long gated neck my shoulders are down so this is an example of one of those poses that we did before rather a few combined pulling the shoulders down having the arms go out it's innocent and that is glee to me that's saying this is an innocent image it's very very subtle but at the same time it looks very graceful graceful yeah okay now I wouldn't do the ten second dash method so I'm not going to use my remote I just set it down it's ok and now I'm going to click and run which is actually not very difficult I'm locked on manual focus on my lens don't need to worry about that searching got the ten second timer going it's beeping at me beeping at me um in my position now you have to know when it's going to go off that smartest thing way go we'll see ok good so we've got another pose very very similar but just a different method of doing it so I'm running back ten second dash method and the hardest thing is knowing when it's going to go off now I am watching my camera and I can see a red dot flashing and I can hear the beeps so it's flashing it's flashing and then it gets really fast to solid red light on my camera and the beeping goes beep beep beep beep beep and it makes you feel really really panicked and then it goes off so that's how I know that it's about to happen because it's it's something that's very uncomfortable so let's do another emotion yeah I want to see you do anger I don't even like you rise anymore I don't understand this I like I literally I can't do happy and I can't do angry okay so thank you for challenging me though that's a good thing okay through in this I really gotta think about this one oh my goodness you have to marry the prince oh yeah I have to marry the prince no I won't marry the prince he's a pump coast all right let's do this okay I'm already I'm already embarrassed about this so let's just do it that's my that's my anger both I'm very angry though it's like I'm scared so therefore I'm angry I don't know I'm not good at that one I don't do angry how about surprise what's with you people why can't you just say sad okay surprise okay okay okay e I think I was a little too late other on that one with my turn yeah I like that little to wait we'll see african hit it and then it'll be much better that one felt better but I don't know what a little bit better okay and that's the exact pose that I showed you before with my socks on with twisting your body pretty much so good we've got a recommendation from the chat room shannon wants to see confusion wow what you just did it I know I did shannon said this shannon said that yes or we've got shelly in narva who says contentment oh I love being content let's do that one okay thank you content so you know this instantly I think back contentment I go back to my my innocent fairytale pose when I think of that because who looks more content than somebody who's just pleasantly accepting their surroundings so if I were going to do content I would probably just go like that something really really simple really elegant and that's because I have a very specific style of doing my self portraiture I have a very specific idea of how I move my body and what I want to do with that how I want to express that yet terra abandoned oh I love abandoned okay so let's move now with your camera just a little bit we'll just go like this there we go okay so I'm changing the position now and we're going to see what this does for our focus we'll see if we can leave it where it is but I want to get on the ground now and my abandoned it's going to be like this like that that's how I would do abandon and I do that for a very specific reason now I didn't have my toe pointed which I don't like so I would definitely want to do that sort of point my toe a little bit more soul take one more shot and I'm doing things with my body it's really hard to describe unless you're feeling it so I'm going to try to describe because that's how you learn to direct a model so what I'm doing with my body is I'm yes I'm hunching my body but I'm feeling the tension in my body at the same time so I'm going like this but I'm pulling my arm away so I'm not just doing this I'm pulling it away and I'm feeling the strength I'm tightening my muscles and arching my back as I hunch and I'm sort of putting my arm or my hand planted in the ground so that's what I'm going to do keep this toe pointed just a little bit here we go so I think that fixed but I wanted to fix at least enough there we go so you can see that I have my remote just sitting there in the frame and that's okay because I can either clone it out later in photo shop I could take a blank shot after this and remove it leader so there are a lot of options for getting rid of it but since I'm actually on the floor now I could just slide it across the room and that would be okay but then I have to go get it and we're all pretty lazy around here so I'm not doing that so now at this point who wants to do a self portrait brooke really quick uh we would love for you to explain your settings and why you've chosen them and also the lens that you're using yeah absolutely the setting is actually already we know what they are I could be shooting on auto right now I don't know my settings one fiftieth of a second for my shutter speed four point o for my f stop and five hundred s o now in fact that's actually a good thing to talk about with the shutters I'm sorry the f stop because you're doing self portraiture maybe you want a little bit of wiggle room to get something and focus then you might want to choose a higher f stop so that's a good point to make that you know maybe you're going to be moving like this and you're not sure exactly where your land choosing higher f stops going toe provide that latitude for you to really move around a little bit and still be in the focal range so that something good to think about when you're doing a self portrait my lens amusing a thirty five millimeter lens that just happens to be the ones that I travel with because it's a good sort of in between lens for different rooms that we might be shooting in and stuff so as you can see I'm not terribly technical because right now it doesn't matter all I'm making sure of is that I am properly exposed and that I'm in focus and then I could do whatever I want with that picture because of that I happen to have studio lights hitting me right now so I wouldn't actually shoot like this normally but that's okay because this is something that I could change later if I wanted teo or do nothing within just show you so either way good okay who wants to do a self portrait who doesn't want to do a self portrait okay domar come here what do you think this is fine okay the remote is yours okay okay so getting here okay I'm going to be helping you somewhat with this please never done this before good when you're a kid you had a lot of fingers pointing at you when I asked you want to do this so you could blame them yeah all right now how do you want to focus based on what I just said how would you like to focus on yourself you can focus on the floor you khun try auto focusing on you and then flipping it to manual focus I think auto focus it on okay so all flip that toe auto focus for you you've got the remote great okay I can tell you that your standing in the center of the frame so that's good now point the remote at the camera and click there you go now you look in focus so where are you standing are you at your mark do you see where your mark is on the floor yes ok good come up here flip the lens to manual focus it's just down there if you can see it good there you go now you're ready to pose okay so take a step back I'll let you pose however you want first okay now I'm going tio let you ought to focus on yourself again oh come on just a second there we go autofocus cause I had to move the camera come on put your hand down a little quick it's searching don't worry oh that's my fault there we go way now I'm flipping emmanuel focus okay okay we'll help you out please what emotion should he dio nervousness I like that one nervousness okay good just whatever you want to do with that you can stick it in your pocket um so okay you're good okay now we're going to the two second timer so to s put your finger on that aim and click when you see that red light go hide the remote yes just like you are right now ah ah ah e try yeah it worked but one more try more expressive it's hard awkward it's me and I know exactly how good you're good we all love you for it I got this it's only two million people out there okay ready ten seconds ten seconds I know it's hard to go I don't I don't know what I'm doing at this point you look very nervous I am very nervous e really don't look at myself we'll keep doing it later great

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.