Class Introduction


Fine Art Portraits


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

So I just I have to get started saying that I'm really happy to be here and it's sort of strange and round about how it came to be here about a year ago I heard about creative life for the first time because my friend lindsay adler who has been on creative live and his amazing told me about it and I kind of said I don't want to do something like that it's not for me you know I like to be in person when I teach my workshops and and then I met somebody who has previously been in the audience on creative live her name is t y and she was visiting from nigeria I believe and she said to me you know think about all the people who can afford to come to your workshop who can't travel to get to your workshops think about those people and it just kind of knocked me on the floor and I said oh my gosh I've been you know, thinking so much about what I want to do I didn't even consider what other people might want me to do and so that's when I said you know what I am now fully on board with creative ...

live fell in love with it I've been watching the videos I was completely glued teo kelly last week doing the newborns so now I'm an avid fan and that makes me even more excited to be here s o I just want to talk you a little bit through what we're going to be doing the next few days what this class is going to be like it's going to be a little bit different I think from what creative life is usedto having on the show maybe we have some really strange props and things like that but it's going to be awesome so let's take you through the overview of what we're going to be doing on creative life first thing we're going to talk about inspiration that is the reason why you create something in the first place so if I'm going to pick up my camera it's on ly because I'm inspired I'm not going to pick up my camera unless I feel that inspiration I'm going to be doing a lot of photo shoot demonstrations so we're going to be shooting in a studio which is something it's really funny because I don't often shoot in a studio in fact I never shoot in a studio but I always shoot in my bedroom and this is really no different so I'm going to be showing how I shoot in my bedroom little things that I do to change the space up and not make it so boring so we're gonna have some models we're goingto have a bride and a groom we're going to do a senior portrait because I wanted to relate this in general to the portrait world so, you know, it might not be my style to go out and grab, you know, a senior in high school and take their picture, you know, for their, you know, senior portrait, but it would be my style to grab any person in the world no matter what they look like, no matter what their ages and create a character out of them. So I'm going to be creating characters, even with the bride and groom, we have a story telling so I will be talking a lot about how to tell a story because that to me is the heart of an image is, you know, being able teo, create an environment that people can get lost in when they view the image editing we're going to be doing editing tomorrow so that's going to be very fun and exciting? Andi, we're gonna be doing business, so I have ah long business presentation to give you guys hopefully jam packed with things that you're gonna find fun and exciting in a way that business can be and we're going to be talking to a gallery live as well, okay, so I'm gonna just jump right in here if you guys are already, we're all good to go, we're ready, okay? So the first thing that I wanted to dio so as not to freak everybody out as we go is show you a little bit of my portfolio because it is a little bit different. It can be a little bit strange, like to photograph dead people, but not actual dead people just like me playing dead, and so you'll see that, but, yeah, I want to take you through how I got started in photography and why I got started. So the story that I like to tell in terms of my fee first experience with photography was in high school, and in high school I took a black and white film photography class, and I hated it. I thought it was the worst medium to work in and my issue wass that we had to shoot inanimate objects, and I hated that. All I wanted to do was shoot people I was that was my passion at the time or so I thought so I started taking pictures of pictures of people so I would take a picture of a person, print it and take a picture of the inanimate object, you know. I got in trouble for that I would take pictures of people's hands and arms got in trouble for that and it just became this thing where I was clearly not going to do well in the class I gotta be, but that was the lowest grade they were allowed to give in that class, so so I failed for all intents and purposes s o I didn't enjoy it I left feeling like, gosh, you know, photography is not for me, I can't tell the stories that I want to tell, so I went into filmmaking and I took a class in high school loved it just really enjoyed working with video, so I went into college and studied filmmaking and I also studied english, so by doing that, I was really well prepared to tell stories. That was what my aim wass but I graduated from college and didn't really have a very good video to show off it didn't really tell much of a story, it was very experimental s oh, from that point on, I said, you know what? I'm graduated now I don't have anybody telling me what I can or can't do in school, so I'm picking up my camera again and I'm going to start photography my way so that was in december two thousand eight that I first picked up my camera for for real this time and at that point I just started taking the pictures that I wanted to take with no restrictions and so that's kind of like what you see up here this is one of my very, very early pictures within about the first month of starting photography and I'm covered in chocolate sauce which sounds like, you know really fun thing to do and it was until I got chocolate all over my dead on my floor in the bathtub and all that but this is the kind of stuff that I was doing I was working with a blank wall I didn't have anything at my disposal I didn't have models I didn't have lights all I had was apparently a bottle of chocolate sauce and myself so I took what I had I used it I did what I could with it then I started playing with light I started playing with poses I started playing with props and I said, you know what? I'm not making enough money I don't have any resource is to build an elaborate image so I'm going to work with what I have so this was two thousand nine for me and I just want to take you through my portfolio of a little bit here so these are some of the images I was doing I was trying to play with gravity I was trying to get really excited about my blank space my one room and another funny story about where I was living was that I actually didn't have a big enough apartment where I could pull my camera back and see my whole body in the picture so that's, how tiny my apartment was, it was a bed and a desk and nothing else on dh, so I started getting a little bit craft fti with how I constructed my images. I started taking a picture of my upper body and then tilting my camera down and taking a picture of my lower body, and then I couldn't composite the two together, and then it looked like I had a bigger apartment that I did so that's how I started image compositing, an image manipulation and things like that I started venturing out of my apartment, I started going into places that I felt secure in, but we're still interesting to me. This was the parking garage of the movie production company that I worked for. I was a receptionist there, and I waited until everybody had left laid down on the floor and then a car came in and I almost got run over, but that's kind of the fun for me of photography is not knowing what's going to happen going out on your own, being able to do the shoot, you know, with a little tunnel budget, but you have the most amazing experiences because of it here again laying dead I told you I like dead people so I'm laying here in an abandoned water tower on a on a mountain it was really incredible there was a rattlesnake in there so I didn't know until I left and this is the kind of thing that I was doing that first year playing dead trying out different spaces really just trying to find my voice is the photographer there's trashcan very partial the trash cans I don't know what it is but I just love them so I played a lot with trash cans there it is again brought that same trash can inside so you can see that my locations aren't elaborate it's whatever I had around me, whatever props I could find and then there's the oven so I decided well, you know what? I'm not a model certainly not I'm very short um I'm very compact, so why not get into places that regular models can't get into right? So I found my oven open the door stuck myself inside the whole photo shoot was actually out of focus so I had to go do it again which was kind of a mess on di did some other things too like I stuck myself in the freezer that wasn't easy to do eve there had to get my husband to sort of lift up and then push me in there so I started doing things like that and then I started to play with image manipulation a little bit more so this is the kind of space that I was working in and when I shot this picture this is the before picture and what this is just the on ly space in my apartment that I could've possibly shot in so you conceive my bed in the corner that I couldn't get out of the shot my desk is at the other end and that is literally the only space I had so I would sit against my wall I would do things with that same blank wall as many times as I could and as many different ways as I could, so there we have a shot of my hairs, then I could put that final image together and I'm going to be showing tons of before and after pictures as well. So this is just the tip of the iceberg, but I wanted to show you what I was working with. You can also see that I'm sitting on a sheet and the reason is that I knew that I wanted to make it look like a ceiling like a wall intersection instead of using a floor with with wood on it, I used a sheet so these are the types of images that I was just loving doing, but at a certain point I really wanted to branch out from there and try something different so two thousand ten came around and that's when I started doing a little more of the trick imagery, levitation, things like that and I was experimenting with new places, so I went to this abandoned warehouse, this was shot for a ballet company, and I decided, you know what? I'm just going to try something totally different, totally new and this pond out of them wanting underwater images, but their competition already had underwater images, so I said, okay, that I'll make it look like it's underwater, but it won't be so I started creating pictures like this. Now this picture is very interesting because a lot of times people ask me, you know, do your models just jumping and fall on the ground, and the answer is only like five percent of the time does that happen? I try not to let that happen too often I've learned my lesson, certainly from doing it myself. So this is one of those pictures, though, where I had my remote on a two second timer, I went running and then which jumped, hit the wall and clicked hopefully a third rate time s o this is what I don't recommend doing when doing images like this, but it's still really fun, really awesome, a good story, and I had about twenty five tourists doing video taking pictures of this event because they thought that I was like an attraction for the location that I was that you know, I was in a full dress twirling around and I don't think I disappointed them though, so this was my apartment again after moving slightly bigger space so I could spread out, you know, do something with my whole body in the picture little easier again playing with levitation, starting to get into more of my style with the natural light moving into outdoor spaces. This is the kind of thing that I'm most comfortable with now, so it's really interesting how you know I could start in my little apartment I was so terrified to go outside I have refused to use natural light aside from window light and then now that's all I d'oh so it's really interesting how you can grow is an artist if you keep pushing yourself and keep doing things that scare you, I started using different camera angles, different techniques that I hadn't thought of before. So this is the before image there and these are all pictures that I shot by myself. You know, I've never had an assistant I never had anybody no holding my camera bag or taking the picture for me it's all just me going out by myself being alone and, you know, doing what I could with it so for this image in particular I had my camera within eighteen millimeter kit lens on it how did eighteen millimeters just shot straight down and then I was sitting in water so then my dress would fluff up and it's things like that were you know how'd I tried it on land the dress wouldn't have looked very interesting but because I sat in the water it did so I started learning little things like that what can I do? What resource is do I have available that I can use to make my photography a little more interesting so here we have two thousand eleven and really a moving into the dreamy aspect that I love so much the fairy tales and things like that so in two thousand eleven I played with clouds a lot I started gathering stock images of clouds on buy stock images I don't mean pictures that I found on the internet I went out and I take pictures of clouds every day that I can my friends always text me and they say there are clouds today and then I run outside and I gather them up and I have about five hundred of them now saved up for different pictures that I can use them for um I started shooting nudes and so this is the kind of thing that I was really interested in at the time having body contortions and figuring out how light would reflect off of skin things like that and then I loved playing with surrealism, and I still do it something that I find just infinitely fascinating. The idea that you can have such a juxtaposition in an image and play that against each other. That's really? What creates us two real image and that really lends itself to the final category. This image was done again, trying a new technique, trying to push myself and do something a little bit different. So for this image in particular, I took a picture of a key, photographed it about fifty times, put those fifty pictures into photo shop and then duplicated those keys until I had a thousand of them. I cut them out, and then I sort of constructed the dress out of all of these cut out keys. So this is the kind of thing that's really, really fun to dio and really challenging at the same time. You know, my computer crashed about one hundred times. I have since upgraded, thank goodness and do a new computer. But this is the kind of thing that inspires me. You know, I didn't have to go out and buy a thousand keys, and kans struck to dress. I could do it in photo shop, I loved playing with clouds again, these are constructed clouds so not really but it's just done with cem pillow batting in this case fake snow because I live in l a so you can always find fake snow there on dh it's just the fluff that you would find inside of a pillow sort of pull it apart make it look fluffy, hold it up in the air and there you go. You have a cloud so things like this excitement beyond belief. I started moving into some underwater work underwater is a huge passion of mine. I love that space because it's something completely different it's a space where you can't naturally exist. So that's exciting to me. And then I started playing with fabrics, and this image for me was a real turning point in my career because I am playing with the idea that you don't have to have money to do a photo shoot. So I went out and bought a two dollar piece of fabric, and I used that singular piece of fabric to create a dress, just like the key image. So here's, another picture of that I'm literally just taking that fabric, throwing it out in front of me. And then trying to trying to put it together in photo shop. Now the reason why this works is because I knew beforehand what I was going to be doing so if I had gone in to take this picture and I didn't know exactly what I wanted the picture to look like, I wouldn't have known what to take pictures off and that's where image compositing and even a lot of fine art photography it comes in handy if you know what you're going to shoot, so if you're shooting with intent, you know why you're taking that picture? Then your pictures are going to look a lot more purposeful and that's going to translate to the viewer. So here we have two thousand twelve I shot this image out of an airplane window obviously not the whole thing I didn't throw myself out of the airplane or anything like that, but I used image compositing and in this case I'm trying to figure out what backgrounds will match, how I can get the perspective to be the same things like that and that's what we're going to go over when we get into the image compositing portion of this workshop so I'm trying to get in two thousand twelve into more elaborate scenes I'm trying to work with spaces that I've never worked with before places that aren't easily accessible like clouds in the sky being underground things like that and then this is another one of those images where I photographed the leaves individually and then compiled them together to create the dress so in this case I shot the background out of a car window just driving through my hometown of lancaster, pennsylvania shooting out the car window and I got this amazing beautiful scene of a farm and then I thought what can I put into that space? So this is something very rare for me it's not very often that I will composite a person into an image later I tried to shoot everything on location that way the lighting is the same the camera angles the same you're going to be very consistent again with that dress technique taking a picture of paper airplane layering it many, many times putting it all over the dress and then creating this elaborate scene so there are a couple of things that are going into this elaborate image and that is the construction of the dress paying attention toe having a really interesting background instead of having it be so neutral so I have these clouds with a burst of light and the color's putting an airplane in the background and that really solidifies the concept for me is having that little airplane in the background so because I have that in there you have the connection between an actual airplane in flight and then the girl covered in the paper airplanes wanting to fly this was another very elaborate shot that I did what I had to shoot this in several different parts so I shot the ship in one location because I couldn't transport it I shot the rope on the scene with the model in the ocean I shot underwater at a different location I shot the clouds at a different spot but it's all about knowing what kind of lighting and what kind of camera angle you need to capture so here we have this year and this is really the direction that I'm headed in now I worked with a designer on this dress I had it all sketched up as best I could I'll show you my sketchbook later it's really horrendous but I did the best I could we met she made this amazing dress for me and I was able to construct this image by using a smoke bomb but I'm not supposed to say bomb I think smoke emitter and we're going to be using one of those later so using that using birds using another sky that I had and then going out to the desert and shooting on location and here again it's the same sort of thing where I have a dress made for this particular image made out of sticks and I had to know exactly what the end result was going to look like in order to get this picture and knowing exactly what needed to be photographed here we have again in their elaborate scene, having to know what it's going to look like. So, in this case, I shot that room in london during a workshop that I was teaching there, I shot the rest of it on location in the snow. That's, really important to me is being with the scene that way, I, as a character khun khun, get into character whoever's modeling khun get into character, even though it's rather torturously at times, but it's kind of a fun story anyway. So that's, why we're going to ever so slightly torture our models over the next three days. All right, so that is an overview of my portfolio, and I just wanted to share that with you, just to give you an idea of where I'm coming from. So that when I say really ridiculous, weird things, you're going to understand why.

Class Description

Forget flashy studios and expensive props. Join award-winning photographer Brooke Shaden to learn inexpensive ways to create elaborate, gallery-style works of art from scratch.

This fine art portrait photography course is dedicated to teaching you how to add fine art sensibility to your portfolio. Through the use of her creative techniques, Brooke shows you how to transform mundane images into dramatic, eye-catching works of art. Intended for motivated beginners and experienced pros alike, this course walks you through everything you need to know to create jaw-dropping fine art portraits and have them hanging on gallery walls in no time. After taking this course with Brooke, you will have mastered new, innovative lighting techniques, Photoshop editing, pitching your images to a gallery rep, and much more.

This class is part of the Fine Art Photography courses


Gallagher Green

I started photography nearly three years ago, and came across Brooke's work a little over a year ago, and loved it. I have been leaning more into Fine Art ever since. I was gifted this course by a friend, and it is outstanding in everyway! Not only does Brooke do a great job in this in every way. But the Creating Live crew does a wonderful job, and the filming is done very well! Even though this was a gift, I am so impressed that I will definitely buy more Creating Live courses in the future, they are worth every cent!!!