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Fine Art Photography

Lesson 10 of 38

Ten Basic Poses

Brooke Shaden

Fine Art Photography

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Ten Basic Poses

feel free to laugh it's okay I know I've got socks on it looked like a total dork it's okay I've been showing this to people and everybody's been laughing at me about it this is this is sometimes how I am in my house so I'm in my bedroom there got my socks on got the work out you're on you can see the body a little bit better and I want to talk to you about some go to poses that I have these air ten different poses that I feel a really important in my work that I think translate easily into other poses the biggest problem that I have with a model is that I won't know where to start I don't know what posed to start with so I don't know howto build on that so a lot of these poses are very basic poses but you could do a lot with them so you can keep expanding on whatever it is is that you might want to dio with the emotion with a story based on these poses creating separation now some of these air kind of obvious pose is something that you might learn in portraiture doesn't have a ton to ...

do a story telling but there are some nuances where if you incorporate those traditional methods of posing into your storytelling images you're going to create a stronger image because these things still matter so what I don't want to do is create lots of weird lines like maybe I have my arms pressed against my I'll just take this off maybe have my arms pressed against my um my side there and then my arm gets a lot bigger because I haven't pressed against my side things like that are things that I'm thinking about even when I'm posing for fine art because those they're saying that still matter we want to create a nice straight lines in your image so this allows first limber body shape just by separating the elbows away from the body just a little bit and you're creating triangles of course inside the arm I think that's really important I was taught in film school always have triangles even in moving images not just still photography toe have something where the eiken move around the frame really evenly on really smoothly so by creating a triangle here in this image you're creating that separation now these air example it's like real life examples of where I have used this pose simple simple pose there's not a lot happening the subject is usually very static standing there not doing a lot but we have the girl with the tin cans against the wall and she's got that really nice separation in her arm they're against her body and not create something to look at its dynamic she's not just standing now she is doing something with her arms and then in the next one I do this as self portrait it thins your arms out a little bit if you have it pulled away from your body and it just looks like something's happening instead of them just standing there I'm reaching for something I'm in the middle of something my fee favorite thing in posing as to creating in between moment not the moment right after something has happened while it's happening that can create motion but it can also be static so in this picture with the lantern in the keys you have a static pose but I'm still doing something I'm raising my arm I'm not just standing comfortably talking the arms in so this is kind of counter intuitive because I just said pull the oboes away from your body but sometimes if you can move your arms back far enough behind your body and then tuck the elbows in your hiding the upper arm a little bit and you're allowing your elbows to cinch your waist a little bit so yes pulling the arms back talking the elbows in and then your arms naturally come out that's a very inviting pose usually it's usually very whimsical something that says fairy tale to me just with the arms out kind of like ready for anything to happen and so here's one example of that that I have where we have this little snow scene I wanted to create a very wondrous character somebody who is looking up and wondering what's happening all around her she's very innocent and so she has her arms just kind of out like a little fairy tale character okay now forcing the chin away from the neck I do this a lot I have one of those next which in my family we call the dish a neck because all of all of that side of my family has this neck that isn't quite it doesn't have a lot of definition in the jaw it kind of like starts there and then it's like this big web going down e don't know so I have learned to push my chin out and it feels so strange but I typically just lean my head back and then push my neck out and it feels really weird but it makes a huge difference you can see it here I'm creating a straighter line underneath my neck and I look more alert so if I'm just standing normally um usually standing like this but if I think about my neck I straighten my whole body I tilt my head back and then I push forward and now my shoulders are pushed back I'm standing at attention and it makes everything change here are some examples of this now the one with the bees which is my bad picture my technically wrong picture here I had the model do that because she also has that problem or not a problem of course not a problem at all just a fact of life she doesn't have that defined chin but because of that and the light was hitting her pretty evenly on the front I wanted to create a shadow underneath her neck so then there was that separation on the neck from the face so I had her stick her chin out and she kept saying this feels really weird and I was like I know but you can't even tell that you're doing it and you can't you look at this picture and I'm sure that you can't tell that she was uncomfortably forcing her chin away from her neck but it did allow for that shadow to hit at just the right angle so that I had that separation of the shadow under the chin and then I have this other one here where I had I was profiled the camera had my head down and go back go here we go so if I just had my chin down like this I'm not creating any separation so I did this I stuck my neck out as far as I could I can't even talk like that so I stuck my neck out as far as I could to create that separation I think that creating as much separation and the body is possible is often a really good thing to dio none of this is concrete none of this is like you need to do this to take a good picture but these are things that I have found very very helpful when creating my imageswhen posing arching the back now with arch in the back I did this a little bit extreme here sometimes I I I shouldn't be hearing this hotel you um sometimes it can be as simple as just standing like this versus standing like this just a little bit of an arch in the back and when you do that you define your your waist a little bit more because you're sort of sucking it in when you do that naturally are you posing over there okay all right so when you do that you create a slimmer stomach something that naturally happens and then you put your arms sort of naturally moved back when I do that you don't they don't stay hunch forward like that would be weird to dio right so everything's sort of tightens up I think that that's really really good because it creates negative space your arms naturally moved behind you and then you have this area right here where you've got that little bit of a gap happening so these are some examples of that creating that gap right in between the arm the elbow and the waist but also these characters look much more attentive because of how their arching their backs this is probably the number one direction that I give my models I told himto arch back arch your back arch your back more and more and more until I nearly break them and it at that point it looks good so I always tell them arch as much as you can and arching the back automatically means that everybody is going to feel much more attentive everybody stand up oh yeah oh we're arching okay stand normally be comfortable now arch your back okay everybody turn profile to may good so do you see how every single one of you guys put your chin up once you did that every one of you and that's good because that means that you're creating straighter lines on your neck you're arching your back you're at attention and you all look so much more like I could take a picture of you right now so good have a seat thank you it's really unfortunate that everybody's got giant coats on I have to say I can't see the separation all right dropping the shoulders now this is also something that I tend to have a problem with I know that I very naturally will stand like this well not quite like that not so much but I tend to have my shoulders tense a lot just naturally when I'm standing that's a bit of an extreme example stay like this very often but it's a good example because the second that I drop my shoulders I along gate my neck so I'm trying so hard to force my shoulders down and very often when I'm forcing my shoulders down I find myself naturally doing this you start to like stretch out my neck muscles see how low and I take breaths so I go and I relax into my shoulders coming down the second that I do that my neck becomes elongated and much more likely to stand up straight or when I do that so all of this is about creating tension without even realizing it you're creating tension in your shoulders by pushing them down and relaxing into it but that means that your whole body go straight after you do that so here are some examples of that I shot this friend of mine olivia in the bathtub she standing there and I remember specifically when directing her I had her start on the ground so she was like this and then I had or get all the water in the bathtub and then stand up but every time she would do that she would go like this and she would stand up like that on your shoulders would come up so I kept directing her that once you do that you get that water in your hands and you keep your shoulders down the whole time and so she would stand up like this then in her whole body came to attention when she did that so in this case it's elegant it creates better posture so these are the things that I'm looking for when I'm telling people to drop their shoulders now in the case of the tree in the room here this model had an issue because she was trying tio hold that whole entire tree on her back it was very uncomfortable for her she had a problem with that so she's trying to balance it over here holding this arm up which means that it's a little bit harder to drop this hobo when you're balancing everything so I kept telling her okay lower it as much as you can but put a lot of tension in it too that way it looks like a straight line so everything is sort of tightening up there rather than being hunched up or everything drooping because she's trying to hold something tilting the head back now uh this is my favorite thing to dio personally for self portrait ce I know my angles now I know that if I told my head back then my jaw line's going to be defined and you won't be able to see my face is about which is exactly what I want in this self portrait so I do tell my head back a lot creates a longer neck very naturally in a more defined jawline so I will almost always if I have somebody without a very defined jawline I almost always have them told their head back in pictures just a little bit so here are some examples of tilting the head back it creates a sense of wonder it creates a story because the subject is looking up towards something and you wonder what are they looking towards why are they looking in that direction so I have the paper airplane shot there that's a self portrait and I wanted to create a longer neck so I dropped my shoulders I did that pose of having my elbows tucked in and then I also tilted my head back to create that longer neck and then we have the next one over here with the birds I wanted oh yes we have a question yes when you talk about ten years back are you also pushing your chain forward to two longer to sometime it depends not often because typically when I'm shooting with my head tilted back I'm also shooting from a lower angle so doing this versus this doesn't make too much of a difference is just doing that will automatically create that shading underneath and have that jaw wind stick out more so I don't typically but it's probably a good thing to dio to try at least that was there another question um well you might get to this but I was going to ask how you normally start with your models like do you start are you going to get to that okay awesome okay so the second picture with the birds we have the head tilted back in this case it was about mimicking the surrounding I wanted the model to look like a bird she's wearing this black dress that was really amazing and awesome and I wanted her to have her arms flung back and her head back so it's one thing to make her look like a bird we've got somebody in here is scared of birds I'm just saying it might be terrible saying so we've got somebody scared of birds that so I'm going to show lots of bird pictures today so I'm trying to make her look like a bird and in doing that she could have her arms back that's very bird like but what if she was just like this she would not look like a bird you have to ever have that emotion that energy of a bird taking flight and then we understand a little bit better she's looking up towards the sky where the birds are it all starts to make sense as faras a storytelling pose goes twisting the body that's a funny example I guess but I have somewhere practical ones so when the body straight on to camera it creates one mass and if you're creating one big mass then it's really hard to tell what's going on in the picture you got the arms stuck to the body and the leg stuck together and the more you can twist that around and create this pose like that you're creating this interest in everything that you dio your body is that attention again so I start like this and they will turn like that or something like that and so once I do that I have separation in my body which is great and I'm creating this shape just a shape this is not much of a shape I don't want to be a rectangle I want to be lots of confusing lines in a picture so here we have twisted body examples here we have one with the umbrellas where she is doing exactly what I just did I had her take her dress and just go like this and just present her whole body to the sky as much as possible and so she was actively twisting in that picture I was having her actually move her body move it around as much as she could tilting your head twisting her head this way I wanted her to look anguished I wanted her to look like she was a tornado about to get sucked up somewhere so that was the motivation there and then I have the other one which is a little bit more subtle actually but this is creating motion as well so she's starting over here and I had her going this for every single shot she would just take a step back and then when we were ready to hit the mark she would just go like that and she would look back and so while she's doing that this other arm of hers is creating that triangular shape on the other side this one's creating motion it's doing something not just laying there and she's tilting her head so all of these things when you twist the body it forces you to think about every little part of your body you're saying oh I have to twist therefore my feet have to be here my hips have to be here my upper body has to go here you're thinking about all these things that you might not think about otherwise putting your arms back this creates a more dynamic pose for storytelling and it creates tension in the body so this is similar to how we serve arch your backs before but this is like like really pulling the arms back there's a really good girl re alone like you see that was really funny okay so um creating tension so I like to do this pose when I'm trying to do something very specific in an image so if I move on here the arms back this post could be done in a couple of different ways so here I have it where the arms are really back like this it's more of like a balletic pose if she's standing in a position like this every single time that I have done this pose I go up on my tiptoes is just something that happens I don't even know why I'm wearing shoes so goes up on the tip toes it just happens naturally the second that you present your chest to the sky and you do this it makes you want to get on your tiptoes I can't help it oh you guys get on your tiptoes let's do it I feel it I feel the tipped onus okay so you have to have the energy the energy of pushing your arms back yeah see I want everybody's like jumping like yeah we're going to do it okay and pose yes yes it feels right doesn't it e all of you guys later I love it okay you could have a seat thank you so the character seems alert when you do this it forces you to be alert it wakes you up immediately so if you were sleeping you're not now which is good and it creates motion naturally because somebody can't pose easily like this just by holding that standing there so it's much easier to tell somebody okay do the motions do it go like that like pull yourself into it and then they can actually create that motion it's very believable with the one next to that in the clouds we have this pose here that's not quite as dramatic it's not so much of that presenting that chest up but instead it's just a very natural natural pulling the arm back much more graceful much more elegant on by doing that we have this pose is very similar but it creates a very different feel one has more attention to it the other one is more graceful so creating motion and reaching this is much more specific but creating motion in general is so important because you have to believe in emotion you can't just have somebody pretend to do it so when you actually do the motion then the whole body is going to jump into action and that's what we just did showing how if you actually do something your whole body is going to be alert and it's gonna want to do it so in this case reaching I do pictures like this a lot where I'm actually reaching up towards something so when I do that I'm going to stand there like this like I'm reaching for something baba hope this looks good no could do that I'm going to go like like that and reach and reach I'm a little constricted right now there we go so I'm reaching and I'm doing that over and over again until my muscles hurt so I'll go like that like that it was keep doing it I keep doing that motion until I feel every part of my body feeling is so important in this you have to understand what it feels like to go up on your tiptoes and then field the arch in your back and to understand how how hard you have to be reaching and all those different things that's really hard to tell a model unless you've tried it yourself which is exactly why we're going to be talking about self portraiture after this because that's so important so here are some examples of that of having a subject perform the action instead of just having them try it out so this one both self portrait one is a fake underwater picture where I wanted it to look like I was being pulled by a rope if I'm being pulled by a rope my whole body has to be stretched out and really have a lot of tension because the fun being pulled through the water dragged out of the water then that's going to look like there's gonna be tension against my body so I had to create that without actually being dragged underwater by doing that is the same pose that I've just been demonstrating I'm actively going through that motion of reaching my hand up reaching the other hand back the great thing about this is that if you have a model do this say they have a dress on you want to create some motion you can have them do all at once just like that throw that dress back reach at the same time and in this case it was all one shot I had my hair down here got my dress and I went like that got the dress got the hair and it was a really simple shot to do once you get your body to spring into motion and it can be easy to tell models to do that if they understand what the motion feels like so often I will have my model's mirror me I'll have them stand in front of me will be doing the same action ok do this and I'll be watching them and do this and then I watched them over and over again until I see them doing the exact same thing that I'm feeling creating shape um now this one is all about twisting your body again but being very very aware of the shapes that you're creating so instead of just creating motion and trying to create shapes haphazardly like before I'm talking about actively posing somebody to create as many different shapes as possible so here we've got the legs tucked over one over the other that way you're creating that kind of curve there of the body we have the separation between the arms now we have the neck turned the head turns than you have that kind of l shape in there everything is simply having more tension in it and that's what I want to create when I'm doing this pose shapes intention so creating shape in actual images it could be so dynamic especially when a picture is just not feeling right I always start with my model's laying flat and I'm going to talk about that in a second I almost always if if we're doing something on the ground there always laying flat if they're standing up there always standing street and then I start to pose them what I try not to do is overwhelm them by saying ok now I need you to tell your head back will putting your arms back arching your back and going up on tiptoe and and see what they dio instead I'll have them stand there and I'll say okay so go on tiptoe now arch your back okay now put your head up and then move your arms back and then I'll let them feel what each part of that process feels like once they know what it feels like they can start going into that motion more and more becoming more comfortable with that okay so this is what I'm talking about start simple and then tweak it so in this case I had the model weighing down on the ground I'm just going to go ahead and lay down on the ground okay so I'm lying on the ground I am that model what I told her to do is exactly this this was all she did to start and then I took that pose and I said okay move your arms out because we're going to do lots of tension I want you to feel like you're stuck to the ground but when you're stuck to the ground you're trying your hardest to get away so I had her put her arms out and then I had her arch your back so she went like this on her whole body came alive and she started digging in the dirt and she sort of feeling the character and then she became that character who hello so I get up now hmm so that's how we start with all of my models I always start simple and then I elaborate from there and start to build on the story it's easier to start simple and then add directions because models get overwhelmed sometimes especially if you're doing this really crazy storytelling thing and it can also send mixed signals so like I said before if I had told this model okay so pretend like you're attached to the ground and you're trying to escape from it that could be a really strange pose that she might give me if that's the case she might end up like on the ground like like this or something completely in the wrong pose and then I have to say ok not like that which then immediately ruins the shoot because you're having to say no that you're doing that wrong and then everybody feels uncomfortable after that so I start simple I start building on that the simplest way to make a pose more dynamic is to add tension to the body very very often I focus on tension and the on ly reason I know why to use that word is because I do self portrait I do self portrait I understand what it means to put tension in your muscles in your body now in this case we've got the shoulder blades that's what I mean by tension I am not just standing there if I was just standing there would be hunched a little bit probably you wouldn't see that tension in this case though I have my shoulder blades pushed back like a chicken so bursting my shoulder blades back and I'm making sure that there's that dynamic variation of light and shadow hitting the model if I had my shoulder blades smooth and I didn't have them pushed out my whole back would just be bright you wouldn't see that shadow in there which means that there's no interest in the body at all now so arch in the back pinching the shoulder blades these are two examples of things that I do very often things that I tell my models to do on a very regular babe ace is to try to get that excitement out of them and into the pose so make your subject aware of every part of his or her body if you can isolate the muscles in the body then you can add tension in the right places so I do exercises with my models you can warm them up essentially so what I try to do is I stretch them so okay you guys know what's coming scott get we're gonna stretch is gonna be great okay so some of the things that I do is normal normal stretches first thing I'll say is okay stretch your neck out do head rolls good okay and then I'll tell them to move their arms out and just stretch their arms in either direction just feel them stretch and then move the hands in and out move the fingers around what do they call it twinkle fingers sparkle fingers spirit fingers jazz hands jazz hands well of it okay so we're doing that and they don't tell them ok arch your back and then bend over and then we bend and you start to feel all of that you start to feel it in your back you feel the neck has worked out your arms are stretched and they're always telling that there's kick their legs out and now they're ready and then we start posing so I don't do this every single time some people don't need it some people are just ready to spring into action but other people I find are simply not ready to do that they're not warmed up and they're not ready to just get into a weird pose and hold it for twenty seconds or whatever it might take feel free to embassy although I like everybody standing all at once I have to say so any time I tell a model that I want more tension from them I usually mean that I want more energy so it's not just okay you know the models laying there and I'm going to say you know give me more energy I don't feel the energy from you how would you feel if somebody said that if you were modeling for them you'd feel so deflated you'd be like oh no I've failed them but if you say okay this is great I just want a little bit more tension in your body that's just a different direction it's not saying you've done something wrong it's saying I just need a different thing from you so I say more tension so when I was posing this model who's brilliant and amazing and I love her I had her lie on her back that was the first pose that I put her into and then I said now let's do more tension so why don't you roll over on your side and an archer back as much as possible and then she came up with this pose and I thought it was a lot more dynamic because she was able to move her body in a way that created shapes and she looked more alert about everything even her face became more model esque when she did that creating motion I think that motion is so important when posing and not even necessarily the presence of motion but the absence of it to understanding why you're choosing one over the other motion creates a believable story very very often so if you're going for a story and you need something to be believable it really helps to have something moving in the image because very often a story or even our everyday lives is not static we don't just stand here and say now I'm going to eat food now I'm eating my food and like that doesn't happen like you're like oh my gosh I'm so hungry and then like you walk over here and there's movement there's stuff happening so why not put that into your pictures to create that motion unbelievable story give the subject a starting end position very helpful when doing motion so instead of just saying to somebody spin in a circle twenty times I mean like I could spend a circle like five times and then I fall over see it's like I could do this like yeah no three times and then I will fall over that I just realised that's my limit so I can't do that over and over and over again so if you ask somebody to have a starting and position I don't need to spin in the whole circle to take a picture of myself if the camera's right over there and I need to take a picture then instead of spinning like this and trying to click every time I hit that pose that's ridiculous so instead I'm going to say this in my start this is my end this in my start this is my end and if you need to do repetitive motion that's fine you can do that without making yourself dizzy or uncomfortable or tired so adding motion allows extra time for the subject to get into character I think that's also really important so if you have motion and you're telling your character to do something the more I do this start here and go here the more I'm getting into that motion and I understand what exactly I'm trying to dio so if I'm doing that over and over on the tenth time going to understand that motion a lot better than the first time so that could be really great for a model telling them do this again and again and again and just so you know it's not you it's not like you know I just need time to catch it at the exact right moment and then just wait until they really get into that character repetitive motion this is a really good example of that this is my sister and I asked her to pose on dh so I needed this exact pose from had a very specific idea of what I wanted we tried many different things to get this pose we started statically I had her just reaching wasn't working not enough tension I had her flicking her hair and stuff like that I had her moving her dress and then we started the repetitive motion where she was doing that same pose over and over again this or whatever it was I can't remember exactly but reaching and moving the dress and doing it over and over and over again and finally she was like one you're going to get this shot like just keep doing it because it was my sister so it doesn't matter so we kept going with it and eventually we started full turns with it whatever she was comfortable doing she really got into that character I could feel her reaching and I told her you're reaching for a bird because tara loves birds there's region look she's like no I do not love just reaching for the bird and I said imagine that in this final photo there's a bird right there you can almost reach that bird and you're looking right at it and you're really trying and then she finally did give me the pose that I wanted and I hardly had to do anything in terms of combining shots together or anything like that even though it wasn't or complicated posed to ask somebody to dio so it gives the subject more time to get into character when they do it repeatedly and it gives you more time to shoot it as well I find that to be very helpful to be able to say to somebody okay do this multiple times maybe you'll get this dress moving in different ways every single time you do it and that means that you have more to work with so maybe if you're going to be compositing you can add a little bit of another dress in there to the main pose that you really liked you don't have to get it all in one shot but doing that repetitive motion means that you khun you can anticipate it you understand when it's coming you can get your timing right and everything goes a little bit smoother so when opposed isn't working I combined several of them this is what I'm talking about with compositing sometimes it's just not possible it is not possible I get the whole pose in one sitting now if that happens I photograph leg a photograph in armagh photograph ahead I put them all together also with the other body parts too not just the head in the arm and the leg but all of them and so this is what I d'oh now this shoot perfect example I realized when I got there that she couldn't balance on the units like I want to stool I mean who is she gosh I can't believe you couldn't do it theo in the cycle was way too tall for her we realized she couldn't actually keep a leg down when she was up there we had this wonderful man helping us still it and it didn't help enough because she just couldn't balance it's a unit cycle it's going to fall over so we did it in pieces so we removed the seat first so that we could at least get the unis cycle to go between her legs and that way it wasn't sticking up in front of her which would be very bad so we got that much done good we were able to move on I had to shoot this very differently from how I anticipated so we shot as much of the pose as was possible in one shot so this is the main pose that I ended up using for this picture she has her head back chairs or arms pose she has one leg up but she had to have that other leg down there was no other way to do it so we left that other leg down I photographed that separately just like this in another shot we photographed the dress move it movements up police there was just no way when I go back to this she had her arms posed and I could have had the man move in and start moving or dressed for her but she was so off balance that we didn't want to touch her when she was posing like that don't put stools and sand lesson learned so photographing the dress movement photographing the hair movement so I've just got her hair being flicked a little bit on a separate shot photographing the unis cycle separately that way I could add that in later because if you remember in these first shots if I just go back here her leg is down in the back so I never had a clean shot of that eunice cycle so I'm photographing that in the air and then I'm photographing the rope separately to create that tightrope effect and then I'm starting to photograph the man in the picture separately so we've got him in his po's number one and pose number two and then we put all of us together we have the final image there was just no way to pose her in a way that was appropriate to get all of this shot all at once so instead we had to do it piece by piece and I don't see a problem with that the only thing that can go wrong is that it might not be believable you can't anticipate perhaps that somebody literally would never look like that only unit cycle maybe or something like that but in this case I was really happy with it so sometimes static is better when do you want to use a static pose if you're not going to go with motion when is it okay to use a static pose when you're going for something stoick so if you want somebody to look very manly perhaps or very serious I often go with a very stoic solid static pose ah hard pose so is your character a hard character somebody who's very who has a hard shell around them maybe or somebody who's angry or whatever it may be that makes them a hard character unmoving that's when I'll use a static pose if I want somebody to emotionally a seaman moving I mean not just actually unmoving is that would be the same thing a static but emotionally unmoving somebody who has a specific belief and stays true to that and then we have somebody integrated into the scene so if somebody is maybe let's say that you're photographing a girl who is in a thicket of vines or something like that in the woods maybe she's already in there she's coward and their their vines all over her and she's sitting in there maybe that's appropriate cause he's integrated into that scene already so she's not moving into it she's not coming out of it she's in it calm if you want somebody to appear calm and a picture it doesn't make sense to have stuff moving everywhere and that's okay so this is one of those pictures I found this to be a very calm picture I wanted her to be very stoic so she stays very very still in this image and then two other ones one where I'm asleep on the bed I obviously don't need for motion there because I am asleep unless there was perhaps a wind blowing through or something but generally a very static posed and in this one again there is that wind there is that motion of the hair but I wanted my character to almost seem like she was fading into the background she has not allowed character she's a very quiet character

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.