How to Find Inspiration


Fine Art Portraits


Lesson Info

How to Find Inspiration

So I want to get into some inspiration exercises and inspiration exercises to me that's what keeps me going that's, what makes me excited is, you know, figuring out what makes me inspired and being able to harness that, not just saying, I'm going to wait around for inspiration, I know that I could be constantly inspired, and I am constantly inspired and it's not like I'm bragging, saying, oh, my gosh, always inspired because I'm so awesome that's not it at all. The fact is that anybody can be in spired any time and it's just all about knowing what inspires you and then chasing it. You know, if you don't have the motivation to chase that inspiration, you're probably never going to be inspired, so the longer you wait for inspiration, the longer you wait for success, I fully believe this. The fact is that if you want success and you're not inspired, how were you going to get it? There's no way you have to know what you want and you have to be able to find it. So knowing what you want is t...

he important part and that's why I'm going to show you guys a few different inspiration exercises that I do on a regular basis, so these aren't just things that I'm saying, you know, this probably will help you, but I've never done it you know, these are things that I do at least once a month to just sort of jog my memory, you know, remember what makes me inspired creativity is not reserved for a select few. This is something that I hear constantly people write to me, people say to me in person, well, I'm just not a creative person, so I can't be inspired and I think that's a bunch of crap, I hate hearing it, I want to shake people that say that so if you're thinking it right now, stop thinking it for a moment just allow yourself to think that your creative because sometimes that's the hardest part is, you know, just admitting that you can be a creative person there's sort of a road block that comes up in your mind when you haven't done anything creative, you say, well, then I'm just not creative. Well, the fact is, you just haven't done anything creative, it doesn't mean anything. All it means is that you're not in tune yet with what is inspires you so it's available for anyone who has the courage to take it. And I really mean that the courage, because it's not always easy to find inspiration and to act on that inspiration because we all the fear of failure, right and it's all about? Well, you know, I really want to do it, but what if somebody else has done it? Or what if I can't pull it off? Well, who cares? It's your idea, if you don't pull it off the first time, do it again, do it a third time, do it a fourth time. I have done some shoots up to five times until I get it right and that's what it takes some time, you know, nobody gets a good shot the first time when they're they're taking their very first picture, it takes practice. All right? So I want to talk about how you read an image, and this is really the core of how I find inspiration. So when I'm talking about reading an image, I'm really relating this back to my english background loving literature, things like that, you know, I was always the person that would, you know, pool random meanings from books, even though nobody else saw those meanings and symbolism in the book and that's because I just love to find inspiration wherever I can it might not actually be there it might not be intended to be there from the author but I'm going to find it and I'm going to write about it and I'm going to draw my own conclusions from it so these air the themes, the settings, the wardrobe, the props, the colors this is what I'm thinking about when I create an image, so I'm thinking about color very, very specifically on thinking about props I'm thinking about the wardrobe I'm thinking about what kind of locations I'm going to use and obviously the themes so these are the things that I'm going to break down and show you how I use thes categories to find inspiration. So what I dio as I start with a single category, I'll try color first and I write down any words that come to my mind for thirty seconds to a minute and I'm just writing down completely random colors it might not be what I like to shoot it might not be colors that I enjoy, but I'm writing it down whatever comes to my mind because if you think about it whatever is in your mind you know that's on your mind for a reason so get in touch with that write it all out see where your minds at and then from there take that his inspiration see if you can challenge yourself so explain this more as we go, but I do the same for props so here I have rope leaves cat cats are great props if you've never tried before my cats especially they hate me, but they love me s o they pose for about five minutes and then they're done wigs, boats I mean, whatever you want to be inspired by whatever prop you can think of and I have a tendency to stare around the room and say, okay, I see a chair and a piece of luggage and then I'll write all that stuff down, whatever it is, it doesn't matter there are no rules. Wardrobe, antique dress, nightgown boots, letterman jacket cloak why I wrote letterman jacket down, I don't no, I would never ever photograph that, but you never know what that's going to inspire, you know, maybe I see the word jacket written down and I think, oh, well, maybe I'd like tio you no have ah big coat in a winter storm or no, what can you do with that to find inspiration and setting forest hills restaurant hotel bedroom? Now I'm writing down these locations and I might not have any access to them, you know, I might say, well, I don't know of a restaurant that I can go to a photo shoot in, who cares that doesn't mean that you can't find one that doesn't mean that one isn't available to you. I try never to limit myself by what I have available, so, you know, I might be looking around and say, well, I can shoot my bedroom, and I know that I have this dress that I could use, yeah, I could do that, and that could be fun for a little while, but if that's all you ever do, then you're just going to hit a road block and you're never going to move past it, so try to challenge yourself, try to find different locations and things that you khun you know, be freshly inspired by and then theme I'm I'm very predictable with my themes at this point, I know what I like, so I'm writing down things like fairy tales. Alison wonderland good versus evil, modern woman that's not one of my themes, I just wrote it down because I thought of it, who knows what I could do it? That s o you just saw my portfolio, you can probably guess that I would never photographed a modern woman, but that doesn't mean that I can take somebody and put her in the most modern headpiece or hat that's available, and then mix that with something old who knows what I could do with it? So what I do is I have those categories written out I have all of my random words written down and then I go through and I circle one word from each category whichever one excites me the most it's not necessarily what goes together it doesn't have to be what what I love to shoot but it's the thing that I am drawn to the most on that particular day so last time I did this exercise which was just two months ago this is what I wrote down I had purple as my color I wrote down my cat as my prop because I love using my calf little fiona you'll see her in a second I chose a night gown because I was really excited to do something that was sort of old and vintage and something that would just call upon innocence and childhood um my bedroom I used is a setting and then my theme was alice in wonderland so this is how I put that together a girl in a purple nightgown walking on the ceiling of her bedroom with her orange cat as though she has fallen down the rabbit hole so you can see here that I have all of my elements put into a sentence I have purple which is the nightgown I've got the bedroom that's my location I have my cat which is my prop and then the rabbit hole which is the alice in wonderland theme now think about it what did I have to do here? Nothing almost I mean I almost did nothing to come up with this idea. All I had to do was plug in a few key words so all I had to do was say it's going to be a girl easy enough right? All I had to do was say that it's going to be my orange cat I had to say you know basically what pose she was going to be in and I had everything else worked out and that's why this is such a great exercise because it's foolproof it's like all you have to do is write down five different words put them together in any way that you want and then boom you have an idea so this is the image that resulted from that so we've got the purple nightgown that you can see we have my orange cat I'm walking on the ceiling so then I have that alison wonderland theme and I'm in my bedroom and that's all that I needed to create this image now of course that's not all I needed I had to know the technicals and push myself passed certain limitations that I had and I learned a lot doing this image I learned about perspective issues and things like that so once the image was finished I could look back on this and say, you know what that really was pretty simple I had that inspiration within five minutes of wanting to come up with an idea, so this is basically what you khun d'oh to come up with an idea right down the five categories and then circle one word from each of the brainstorm sessions that you've had. Now this only takes me I do about thirty seconds per category, so when I'm doing this, I I really am just thinking, well, um, I have my categories, I've got all my words written down five minutes later, boom idea, so I want to do a little challenge here, so I'm going to force you guys to spend my color. Well, do we have that color wheel around anywhere? All right, so now let me talk a little bit about color because color to me is one of the most important things in an image won't stand up here, so when I'm thinking about color, I am thinking about what that means to me and what that means to other people. So good point of how this is so important is I was just in india in january, and so I was teaching to a very different culture of showing my portfolio, and, you know, we're sort of talking about color a little bit what that means. And we came across an image one that I showed a little bit earlier where it's a self portrait I am laying on a bed half inside a room and half in the snow and these girls saw that image and they said oh it's so sad it's about death and I said no it's about dreams it was happy I thought there's a very happy picture and they said no no we bury our dead and white dresses so does this is a very sad image and it just made me realize how little I know about other cultures sometimes and you never know what another person is going to perceive from the image so thinking about color and trying to remember that everybody sees color in a different way that's so important so when I'm thinking about color I'm seeing the color red and I'm thinking blood you know I'm going instantly to the death right somebody else might think about passion and love and happiness I don't not that I'm not in love I am but but that's not what I think about so when I'm using red I'm very intentionally using it to be blood to be a symbolism of blood now somebody else might read that and think power and that's good too that's also what I'm going for so you have of us been well thank you thanks ok so I'm going to pass this around I'm going to challenge you to pick a color. Now whoever gets pink? Yes, I'm very sorry for you, but you can call it purple if you want. So that's how we're gonna do this and I am just going to start passing this around so go ahead and spin. I'll hold it for you white's. That's a good one. All right, wait. Get green. I read you guys are lame spinners. Come on. There you go, white good. You guys compare up good one. I know proud green. Awesome. I'll spend it to what the heck? Okay, I'll try to incorporate this somehow over the next three days. Yellow that's. Not an easy one. Darn! I was opening for red but that's, the whole point of this is to challenge you. You know, if I had gotten green, I never use green. Okay? That's kind of ironic because there's green in this picture is right now. But aside from that, I rarely use green in my pictures. So that would have been a struggle for me because I don't like how green looks in a picture. Typically. In fact, when I go out and I should grass or leave, I changed the color of the grass and leaves because I don't like it. But thinking of color in a way that is foreign to you is really great to dio, so if you don't like the color you got, you know, maybe pink means happiness and hearts to you. Well, maybe you can translate that and photograph a couple, you know, photographed to people, they don't have to be in love, it could just inspire this whole shoot with two two people maybe, um I don't know embracing each other in some way, so use your color to be challenged and you know, if you are at home and you weren't able to spend the wheel, pick a random color, pick something that's, maybe the opposite of your favorite color, why not? And try that use it to be inspired. So trying a new technique, it's all about trying something that scares you and for me, I have a lot of fears. I have always had a lot of fears I'm scared of the ocean specifically I'm scared of wales. I can't tell you why I know that they're friendly I don't believe it, I think it's a conspiracy personally, but yeah, I'm really scared of whales so shooting in the ocean is something that always terrifies me but it's something that's really good to dio brooke, I just want to say yeah, it's okay yes, because I have a whale phobias ugo met anybody else with a whale food we are not alone I mean about it and I was like that's really odd so I so I have to face that fear but yeah, we'll go together okay, well going early all wanting you to work okay? Here's something but no, I mean, I see like pictures of whales like murals and stuff and my heart starts to flutter and I think this all boils down to one time I fell asleep teo planet earth and there was a whale segment on and I woke up like freaking out sweating and yelling because there were whale noises going on in my dreams it's really bad okay, I'm going to move on from that eso underwater shooting is something that I challenged myself to dio and this is something that just I was really scared to do it not only because I'm scared of the water but because I was scared of my camera breaking. You know, I had just a little camera bag that's like a glorified ziploc bag to put my camera in and I didn't know how it was gonna work out I didn't know the principles of shooting underwater I knew nothing but I knew that other people did it so it has to be ok to dio so why not try it levitation photography was something else that I tried that I didn't know how to do didn't know if it would work really knew nothing about it, but it looked really cool thought it'd be fun and that's kind of where inspiration starts, you know, what do you want to dio? There are so many things that we want to do, and we just don't think we can do it, so we don't even consider it is inspiration, so the fear really is wasting time. You know it, nobody wants to spend their time on something that's not going to work out it's just a fact, I don't want to do it, you don't want to do it, but the fact of it is that if you d'oh, you're gonna learn something, so we create the same pictures over and over it's just a habit that we have, you know, we we tend tio out for me, for example, I tend to use the same blank wall over and over and over again, and I'm using that blank wall because it's what I know it's what I'm comfortable with, but then my images become repetitive. You know, I used the same spot in the woods because it's right down the street from my apartment so why not go down there because why drive an hour if I don't have tio things like that and and that's where we get stuck that's when photography isn't fun anymore because we're doing the same thing over and over again and you know, it's interesting because me, I'm doing fine art photography so I don't have a client you know, I'm not I don't have anybody saying you have to do this, you have to do that so it's really interesting that I get stuck in this way, you know, not being able to find ideas going to the same locations over and over again because I have that control over myself but that's also where the problem comes in is when you give yourself that control to be able to shoot what you want that's when the roadblock comes up because you don't have anybody saying okay, you need to do this it's up to you to force yourself to do it so repetition causes lack of growth lack of inspiration and this is what I want to try to avoid as much as possible and so that's why I want to get into some more inspiration exercises so choose a technique that you've never done before there are so many of them for example, right before I flew to seattle everyone be very proud of me that knows me I had lights set up in my room like actual grown up lights because I I use two hundred watt bulbs with like a paper lanterns wrapped around them usually as my lighting and so I've upgraded and these lights actually flash you know so so I started using those I don't know how to use them still I mean I was just so excited when I got my camera to click and it would flash and that was amazing to me so I'm going to keep working with it but I'm just trying to challenge myself I don't think my style is going to change I don't think that I want teo you know, become a flash photographer and something called flash photographers I don't know so I don't I don't think I'm ever going to work with flash per se, but it could be really fun who knows where it's going to take me? I'm already envisioning going out in the woods with it and having a spotlight on somebody so we'll see so lighting camera settings, photo shop these are the things that I'm looking out to find new techniques. So for example in photo shop I showed you that I tried that technique where I was layering small objects on to make a dress something I'd never done before didn't know if it was possible tried it out and it worked camera settings that's another thing that I try to play with a little bit. So I shot an image recently in black and white mode on the camera, you know, and I just went for it. Now I typically wouldn't do that because I want full control, but if you're just practicing, why not? So the worst case scenario is that you learn something and that is so true, I mean, if you fail. So what? I mean, why even call it failure, right there's no such thing, it's just you not having something turn out as you expected. And just because it's, not as you expected doesn't mean that it's not amazing, even if it's not amazing, which happens all the time to me, I still learn something, and I consider that even better than getting a great image from it, the best case scenario is that you create something awesome, so if you don't even try, then you're never going to create something awesome and we all want to do that. I think hopefully that's why we're here, I want to talk a little bit about everyday objects because this is something that I just love. I love staring at an object and getting inspiration from it, so one time the first time that I did this, I sat on my floor and I started a tissue box and I just stared at that tissue box for an hour I wrote little notes I just kept staring at it and then my husband said what are you doing staring at a tissue box? And I said it's inspirational and he just said okay, god walked away but it was to me and I was really proud that I was able to find inspiration in something that is very nearly inspiration list so it's a tissue box you know what can you get from a tissue box? Well, I started analyzing and I sort of picking it apart and what I realized was that you know there's a lot more to it than it just being a tissue box it is a box which means that it houses tissues and not got me thinking about a home you know, a boxes is basically just a home where you can feel safe and secure the tissues that air inside of it are like blankets something that you would use when you're sick used tissues when you're sick use a blanket when you're sick. I came up with so many ideas based around the idea of what is home you know, what makes you feel comforted things like that all from staring at a tissue box so I do the same thing with all sorts of objects and it's all about learning to see old things in new ways you know if you can do that if you can see something in a different way well then my gosh the possibilities are endless right? You can look at any object around you I mean we could do it right here we could pick out this amazing lounge or a suitcase or anything and we could find something to be inspired by everything in the world is inspiring and it's up to you to see it that way not how I see everything you know if you look at the world and you say well I have to go find those few things that are inspirational might never find them but if you look at everything and say there is potential here to be inspiring then you can be inspired by it you just have to pull it so this is sort of a cliche example but inspiration is sort of like a garden and it really is because if you're going to let it die if you're not going to hone it and really figure out what makes you tick then you're never going to have inspiration it's just going to die off and you're not gonna be able to get it back so let's talk about umbrella these umbrellas all the time it's one of my favorite things I have an umbrella here today that we're going to be using it's not as fancy as this one but that's okay we'll make it look awesome so this is what I started thinking about an umbrella protection shelter, security. Um, fear perhaps fear of the rain and then being prepared. So these were all the things that I thought of when I sat and stared an umbrella, and I'm sure that I could have gone further with it too. So going back to this umbrella, what we have basically is an object that anybody can use it's very it's. Everybody knows what an umbrella is. Why not try touching it, figuring out what color it is? Why is it that color? What does that mean to you? What is the handle made of? How does it pop open? Is that startling to you? It is to me that's a little weird, I guess so, let's, talk about a chair and I just want to hear a couple things from you. Lovely people hear about what a chair means to you. So just first thing I'll repeat what you say so we don't to pass the mic around. But what do you think of when you think of a chair relaxing, comfort, rocking your babies? Yes, exactly. So there are all these personal connections to chairs when I think about chairs, I think about my grandfather when I was growing up, sitting in his lounge chair, watching golf and foot paul and you know, being a man and that's my association with chair the first thing I think of and I bet that if you guys think about your childhood or something significant moment in your life you're going to think about another chair that means something to you but then we can go further and talk about you know, what is the chair made of what is it shaped like what? The different types of chairs how can you sit in the chair it's there's so many different things that you can think of with a chair and you're all sitting in one right now so maybe this will be the chair that you remember for the rest of your life who knows? Okay, so there's the literal interpretation of a chair right there's what it actually is the texture of it, the shape of it the size, the color, the feel of it you know, what do you feel when you feel you're chair? So you're sitting in chairs right now that have metal bars it's probably cold sleep get shiny it's like a mirror so many things that I'm not going to go into all of the thoughts in my head right now, but there are a lot of them, so then we have the personal associations, memories, different uses, different types of chairs, things like that things that you personally associate with a chair and then we have the metaphorical, which is comparison and symbolism. So what a chair could be, what it has the potential to be, what you can relate that to. So with everyday objects this is what I love to do. I love to stare it things so I will still stared a wall all stare at an air conditioning unit. I mean, like anything. And I find inspiration in it. So I try to write down all of the potential meanings that it could have. You know, a chair doesn't naturally have a meaning, but you can put a meaning into it. You can pull inspiration from that and then always remember that it could be literal, metaphorical or personal. And then how can it inspire you? You know, we're all going to be inspired by something different. I was inspired by a chair to create that image that you just saw where I was all topsy turvy upside down on the chair, you might use a chair with somebody sitting in it. You might use a chair with it being thrown in the air. Who knows? It all means something different. So you have to learn how to see old things in new ways I think it's so incredibly important now, this is probably one of the hardest exercises to dio because it's all about critiquing yourself, so figuring out where favorite images and what your least favorite images, so if you could go back to your whole portfolio and pick out the picture, that is just the most inspirational to you, what would that be? It was okay to be inspired by yourself, right? It's not like I have to find other people as inspiration all the time. So I do this exercise about once every three months, about four times a year or so, just to sort of get back on track that way, I'm not creating images that I'm constantly disappointed by. Let me show you what I mean, this particular picture is one of my favorite pictures of mine and it's okay to say that, you know, I'm not being a narcissist because I say that I like this picture, I'm creating pictures because I likethe um and as it used to be doing, too, there are so many people who are so self deprecating about the topic of their own work that doesn't really do anything for anybody. You know, if you say something negative about your own photos and you're basically putting that seed in somebody else's head, that they're going to think you have bad photos, so I try to embrace what I do, the failures and some of the good stuff, too. So these air all of the reasons why I like this picture so I like the rich color that it has I like the interesting prop that I use so I have this antique book that I just loved the intricate edit that was something that excited me the fact that it was long time in photo shop another interesting thing about this picture is that I shot it really close up to the original picture was just her little upper body here and then I had to take seven other pictures to put her body together as a result, I can print the image really large and we're going to get into that later so I'm sorry if I confuse do about that s o it has a dark background I love dark backgrounds, it just makes the subject pop so I am always looking for as dark a background as I can get that's what I love diffuse light I always shooting diffuse light this is why I am very inflated afraid of my flash photography you know it's like really direct and I don't have a soft box yet, but I'm working on it. I have a sheet right now over my lamp so we'll see how that goes but but yet diffuse light I love it it's something that's very magical, very dreamy to mean we're in the forest love the forest fairy tale you know it has that vibe with it with the eyeglass and things like that and then it's very antique looking so this is my least favorite photo and I'm going to list all the reasons why now? First of all, it was rushed so that's one of the reasons why it wasn't a favorite of mine this was actually done on a trip to the sultan c, which is a really cool place but not so cool if you get your car stuck in the sand as I did so I was driving we decided hey let's, go down to the beach with our car that we bought three days ago and then we got it stuck in the sand the tow trucks couldn't help us it was a very long six hour ordeal, so at the very end of it I said I'm getting a picture out of this at least so I turned my car headlights on it was pitch black outside and I did this picture and I didn't really rush they didn't have a story really in mind. I just threw on whatever I hadn't did it, so I didn't like that was over processed because I went in photo shop and I thought, well, I didn't really know what I was doing, so I'm just gonna try to make it work in editing and it didn't really work for me so I didn't like the pastel colors I love rich colors, there's a lack of story, harsh lighting, it was blurred, it was rushed, so there are a lot of things that I wasn't liking about it that's not to say that I will never again use harsh lighting, you know, I'm probably try it again there sometimes when I really like it, like if there's like a skylight or something like that and there's that overhead lighting, I love that, but this kind of light probably I'm not going to invest too much time and using my car headlights anymore, so I encourage you to think about what your favorite picture is and what your least favorite picture is, and it doesn't have to be, you know, what was most popular online or what got the best response, you know, it's just whatever excites you when looking at it, you think, oh yeah, I want to go shoot that again because it was so much fun. That's what I think about when I am creating my images, you know which picture just excited me so much that I would go shoot again tomorrow and again the next day because I loved doing it, so if you have a lot of different portfolios, then I suggest that you just choose one to focus on to do this exercise because if you have, you know wedding photography, senior portrait photography, fine art photography and you're trying to pick out your favorite and least favorite images from all of those it's going to get a little overwhelming and it won't really make sense in the end so once you write down all of the reasons why you like the picture well then that's when you can take that information and use it for the future so if you know why you like a picture all of those elements really broken down specifically then you can take those and use them in the future you know? You can say well, okay, I like a dark back background I know this about myself, so instead of using the exact same dark background and going to that same spot in the woods, I'm going to try to find different locations that have the same field. So for example, I recently climbed down into my local sewer and I started shooting and there okay, that was weird. So my sewer it's like a tunnel that goes underneath the highway and their sewage that runs into it obviously so I went down in there and it had a nice dark background that sort of a curving tunnel and I started using that because it's beautiful natural light coming in from the front and then a dark background so I have been just loving playing with that and I'll try to show you a little bit later which image I shot recently in the sewer maybe you can guess, but probably not okay all right, so the artist who thinks negatively about his or her work invites others to think negatively about it as well, and I can't stress this enough I mean, I feel like I want to talk about it all day to everybody in the world because if you're saying bad things about yourself and other people are going to say bad things about you as well, and if you believe in what you do, then other people are going to believe in that, so don't let your weakest work to find you. We have this tendency to create a portfolio, you know, we have all these images packed into it, and we don't like half of them and then we say, well on the bad photographer because I have all these bad pictures. Well, what about that one amazing picture that you have? You know, we forget about that. We're all good photographers, we can all take a good picture and it's all about being inspired to do so and learning how to view your own work if you're looking at your bad work and you're saying, you know what this work is really where I'm at right now don't let it be creating new picture put more work into it, find inspiration, do something that excites you for yourself not for anybody else so be inspired by what you've done right rather than being discouraged by what you've done wrong and I really I can't stress this one enough either it's all about learning how to see yourself in a positive way and a lot of people confuse this with being arrogant or being self centered or being narcissistic about your work and I don't see it that way at all it's not like I'm jumping up here saying I'm the best photographer in the world aren't I so amazing? I don't think that you know it's all personal I don't think there's anybody out there who's going to say, oh yeah brooke you're the best photographer in the world you've got everybody be no, but that doesn't mean that I don't like what I do, you know, that doesn't mean that I'm going to be self deprecating about my work I take pictures because I love taking those pictures all right? So let's talk a little bit about style, shall we? Okay, so how do you currently define your style? Everybody has one, years might be all over the place, but that doesn't mean that you can't define it right? So how do you want to define your photography that's the big thing there is how your pictures currently look and how you want them to look, and if you're not thinking about these things, then you're probably not moving forward at a very rapid rate. So if you don't know what you're aiming for, what you're trying to achieve, then how are we ever going to get to that point where you're happy with your work? So let's, talk a little bit about how you would define my photography, so I'm testing you because we've just been through my portfolio, you know what my work looks like, so just throw out a couple words at me at what you would say defines my portfolio not a good enough fun. What did you said? I said, what? That wasn't an answer to the question that was an answer to the question, like, when I look at your images, that's, the first thing that comes to my mind makes unlike what, like, what was she thinking? How did she do it? Why? And I stare and I that's all I can think of, I try to make it a story in my head, yeah, but I just go what? I love it, this is anybody else, I would say fantasy surreal with the way you've been talking just right right now, I'm like, oh, my gosh I I've I love editing as much a shooting I mean, I could sit behind a computer all day and so I'm like, oh my god, there is someone that likes to shoot word stuff and I'm like thank you you know because I'm like it just kind of validates like what I want to dio so surrealism I wonder what your fantasy is awesome I would like to share some people online yeah, they have comments as well. So crazy light said zombie inspired awesome mimi bey said mystical morbid is another one from crazy light emotion ethereal from vignette studio awesome wonderful I also see celestial and dramatic well, I've never heard that one I like I'm going to embrace that and take inspiration from the because I love that word anybody else? Um I always it's like touching another reality like whenever I look at it I almost you can feel the wind you can feel the air around it is always when I get first totally when I first looked at it I thought that was really scary right and buy it the more I looked, the more it cannot mind all the other possibilities up often just being scared off it yeah so I wouldn't have found my living room too oh my gosh that's pretty amazing just the way you inter interpret as you said thank you so let me show you what my style terms are. These are the words that I personally used to define my style and the's air the words that I hope to hear back when I ask you what what is my style if you're saying words that are really off base, like if somebody was, like, happy, joyous, you know, then I'd be like, maybe I'm doing something wrong because that's not what I'm trying to dio so these are some words that I used to define my style dark fairytale square format being very literal, every picture of mine is a square painterly. I have a very painterly aesthetic and whimsical, and so this is really what you guys were saying and everybody online to it's it's a certain look that I'm going for and I am very specific about what that look is and being able to know what that look is before you shoot is very important. So these are my style goal lt's different than my style terms. So this is what I am going teo to try to work towards, you know? So I've got intricate detail, something that I'm working towards this year trying to get more elaborate sets, I want to use more of an antique look, not only in my sets, but in the colors that I'm using I love motion so I'm trying to incorporate more motion or more logical motion into my images and then I really want identifiable characters characters that have a complete backstory that are just vibrant and you understand who they are when you see the picture so you need to define your photography before somebody else to find it for you extremely important because if you're putting your work out there you don't really know what you're doing other people are going to put a label on it it's what we do we label other people we judge other people whether it's good or bad we still do it so if you're not understanding what you're photography's like that other people are just going to wrap it up in a bow and say this is what you do and you're going to get to find by that I meet people all the time who say well I shoot weddings but I really want to shoot fine art so then I say well then why don't you shoot fine art and they say because I shoot weddings what a terrible reason to not shoot fine art right so it's like you know if you know what you want to do then you have to start doing it and put that portfolio to get together and put that out there if you're not doing that nobody's going to know what's in your head you know if you leave it trapped inside there so I'm gonna talk about your style terms as well, so I'm not going to necessarily have you shot them out or anything, but definitely be thinking about this, you know, if you had to write down five words that described your style currently, what would those be? And like I said before, pick a portfolio. If you do weddings and sing your portrait's and fine art, choose one to focus on and then figure out what words define your style, and it could be stuff that you like and stuff that you don't like, you know, maybe you have you have terrible lighting in your pictures you might write down, I have terrible lighting in my pictures is it might not be something that you want, but it's something that defines you, hopefully it's not. I have faith, though, that nobody's going to write that down, but just an example so it could be lighting. It could be theme it could be technique in motion, mood, thes air, all of the things that I try to consider when I'm figuring out what my style is, and then style goals. So five words that you want to describe your style, thes air the things that you are working towards, the things that are not currently part of your style, but you want them to be and, like I said before, same categories lighting, theme, technique, emotion, mood, things like that that's what I'm trying to work towards figuring out what khun take my photography to the next level. So going into theme specifically, this is one of those categories that just it works every time for me. I have a list of themes that I am constantly interested in. It has barely changed since day one of my photography and that's also something that I didn't really talk about too much it's really important to mention is that I never experimented with photography, you know? I didn't pick up my camera, take pictures of model shoots, a fashion shoot, some still life shoots him nature, I never did that I picked up my camera solely because I had ideas. So for me, photography, I never even liked photography that much, you know? It was just it was all about having ideas that I wanted to get out in the world somehow. So a camera let me do that. So when I'm picking up my camera, it's, because I have an idea and that's why we're how we're going to be working throughout this workshop, you're not going to pick up your camera, and thus you know why you're picking up your camera. So figure out what your interests are and then to find them it's really simple you know if you were to read a book what kind of book would you like it to be? What genre if you were to watch a movie what genre of movie would you like things like that just what are your interests? I love nature I love hiking so I shoot in nature you know really simple stuff like that so these from some of my themes that I have beauty in darkness something that I love playing with I love photographing a really dark or really cryptic scene with something beautiful in it or really beautiful scene with something dark innit? Life versus death I have so with life versus death could be anything could be literally a dead person in the picture as I showed you before but with something growing around the maybe the suggestion of life fairy tales rebirth rebirth has been number one for me day one first picture I ever created was all about rebirth and I play with that constantly human form and nature so these air my themes that I love to go back teo and if you have that theme list if you know what you love and you can always go back to this I can go back to this and say well, let's pick one today a random theme that we can you know center on maybe its rebirth well my gosh there's so much stuff we could do with that right we could have a girl wait I was just going to get really growth so I'm not going to say anything really growth but okay well do human form in nature so you know you could shoot a nude out in nature that's one really simple thing that you could do with that theme you could bring nature inside and you could like we're doing today we have a lot of sticks on set today so you can bring nature inside so many things that you could do with themes so your themes what ideas interest you what subjects what characters, what settings things like that that is what I am focusing on characters especially I love to see where a character fits in with the theme things like that when I say settings I don't mean camera settings I mean locations but I see how confusing that can be now okay, so I tend to write down a list of three things three different themes that I could go back to and I do this periodically so in case I have you know, gone off the deep end and I you know, wrote down like I don't know trying to think of something really modern that I would never write down as a theme but I can't think of one right now but I don't know if I wrote down like reclining chair as a theme that would be really ridiculous and I would know that I probably have to redefine what I'm trying to do with my photography so write down themes they will probably be all connected to each other where one overlaps with the other and that's a great thing because that means that you're very cohesive in your style okay so if you have themes you have a ready made list of ideas it's just a fact you already have things to go back to your not really going to lose your way in terms of where you should go shooting or the types of locations the types of models props things like that so defining yourself very important so if you could assign one sentence to your photography life what would it be? This is one of my favorite things to dio because I like writing so this is really exciting so what I do is I think about movie taglines you know like on a poster they have one line written that's supposed to define the movie and that's how you know what it's about I do that for my photography so I look at my photography and if it were a slide show a movie whatever what would the theme be? What would that one sentence be that defines what I d'oh so let's talk about some famous taglines because there are so many amazing things so some famous taglines his story will touch you even though he can't mrs edward scissorhands so you read that you know what that's about it's about a man who's very loving who for some reason can't be loving and that's what the movie's about it's a really amazing tagline it's one of my favorite movies and the kind of a movie that is inspirational and how well it can be defined because it's specific so if your photography can be specific, other people will know you for what you d'oh instead of being all over the place the longer you wait the harder it gets that's the forty year old virgin and again ah very clear indication of what the movie's about I'll leave it at that all right one man struggled to take it easy that's ferris bueller's day off so again same thing you know that it's about somebody who's really lazy and that's it all right family isn't a word it's a sentence and that's the royal tenant bombs I love that one too but I've never seen the movie but I know exactly what it's about in my favorite movie pan's labyrinth what happens when make believe believes it's real that one is so powerful to me it's the kind of thing that I wish that I could steal and put on my own photography is my own tagline but I can't so I won't so I will show you what mine is creating beauty in darkness that is my personal tagline that I really like to use for my photography you might not agree and that's fine if you don't agree but that's my goal and that's how I see my own photography of course I could ask all you guys to come up with some things for me it might be different might be really similar I know that you would say that it's scary and probably add that in and that's cool too but this is how I see my photography and that's what I'm working towards so defining yourself I really encourage everybody to come up with the sentence a single sentence that defines your photography if you can do that then you can create images that are specific that constantly fit into your portfolio I talked to people all the time who create images that just don't quite work because they're not fitting in with the theme or the setting is wrong or something but if you have that one sentence to work towards along with your themes you're in a good place all right? So just a couple more things here memories I love working with memories because a memory is a story and if you can detach yourself from that memory and see it that way you know write it out like it's an actual story but then you have an amazing tool at your hands because you can take any memory and put it into an image an example of this for me my very first picture that I ever took was sort of a clone shot where I was in the picture twice and I was handing a ball of light to my other self and in this picture I was very inspired by my grandmother when I was little she used to read me a prayer if I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take and I thought a lot about that and it used to scare me a lot as a kid that prayer because I thought, oh my gosh, a terrifying thing and it really jostled me and so you know, being all grown up I decided that I would do a picture inspired by that so I had, you know, one of myself handing my soul to the other one and that's sort of how interpreted that memory so think of your most vivid memory and write it like a story and everybody can do this enough. The amazing thing is that we all have things in our life that are good that our bad, happy, joyous, sad no matter what it is, you can turn that into something amazing and then I wouldn't talk about phoning a friend because we all need to do that from time to time. The reason is because we can't hold ourselves accountable for anything some of us can it's a really awesome thing to be able to dio so finding a partner is a great thing for inspiration if you can find somebody to banter with teo you know go back and forth and really have that connection in photography that's what I love and that's why it's so awesome that creative life has the chat rooms and all that stuff because you confined people so easily in there that you can partner up with throw ideas out of each other and challenge each other now what I like to dio and since we have six people here it's perfect um and you guys can just throw out words in the chat room too so just think of a single word whatever that word is don't say any bad words ok? And turn to the person next to you and just tell them that word so tell each other what your word is so my word is trash can yeah, okay. And so let's hear some of the words all you can pass the mic around that's awesome uh mine is light mine was spiritual love frighten soft blur awesome. So whatever word you heard be inspired by that and it could be really hard I mean especially because one time somebody said but to me and I was like really but then again I like shooting nude so it was okay but but in any case, there are a lot of different meanings that you can pull from a single word and it's not like you have to take it literally, you know, if somebody said airplane, you don't have to go get on airplane and take a picture of an airplane, you can take a picture of the idea of flight or clouds or anything that reminds you of that one word. So that's, why I love to do that so we don't to do it alone and that's the amazing thing about photography is that it's a global event, everybody has a camera no matter what and it's so easy to get your friends involved, I do it all the time. I mean, a lot of my friends are not photographers, but I forced them to be anyways and we challenge each other and that's the most amazing thing, so if you can't hold yourself accountable, then let somebody else do it for you that's what I always say, whenever I have something that I absolutely have to dio I forced my husband to hold me accountable, which is very good at sometimes you bake cookies and then I get a cookie if I do something that I'm supposed to dio because I'm just like a dog, apparently, but but know I love little rewards like that and if somebody else is expecting something from you, well, then you're much more likely to do it on my right. So that's the great thing about having somebody help out a little bit the point is this your future is worth investing in it's just a fact, you know, everybody wants to go somewhere, be someone special, do something that excites them, and if you don't think that you're worth it, then you're never going to get there and that is such a disservice not only to yourself but to everybody else in your life because the happier you are, the happier everybody else's when inspiration with inspiration comes motivation, action and results and this is something that I forget sometimes you know that you have to be inspired to go out and do something you know you're never going to go take that picture if you're not inspired to do so or you might be motivated by money or or a client or something like that. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting pictures that you're personally inspired by and that's what I want I mean that's what I want from all of you guys that what I want to do in the next three days is to take pictures that excite me, that I'm proud of that I can, you know, passed down from generation to generation that I can put on the internet and say, hey, guys, I'm proud of this, you know, I'm never going to put a picture on the internet and say, well, I took this the other day, but I don't like it, but I'm sharing it. Anyways, I'm not going to do that. I want to tell people that I am proud of what I do and not because I'm full of myself from in tow, you know what I'm doing specifically, but I'm just saying, you know, I put the time and I found my inspiration, I did something that excites me, and I hope that it excites you, too. So if I can say that I lived in inspired life, I will have lived the best life possible, and that is the core for me, you know, if I could be inspired if I can go throughout life, not make any money, not to anything successful, but still be inspired. That is all that I'm looking for, that's all that I want. All right, so do we have any questions? Why this we do? Good first, can I just share a little quote that I saw you in the chat rooms? Shade k says in the last twenty minutes, I've had more ideas than I've had in the last four months, awesome. And it was really nice yeah passions in the studio audience we can start with I was I was going to say like the exact same thing or so many professional photographer said of come on creative live that say you know how you get inspired but your formula your I'm a little blown away oh so glad I was well I have so many ideas for images and not only do it if I ideas for images but I know where to go and get ideas for images which is what I struggled with all along yeah looking I'm sitting here waiting to be inspired instead of pulling it out yeah so that was really amazing wonderful thank you anyone else? We have questions from the internet yeah um so by chance also are also joyce is their name that says do you ever get tired of your theme and feel like you need to stick with that theme because it defines your work that's a great question because that it happens yes, I mean, every once in a while I'll do something totally weird and out there that doesn't really fit and when that happens that's when I read to find what I want to be doing so I say, you know, is this a one time thing that was really fun that I want to try or is it something that I'm going to grow tired of really fast but the other thing is that I personally am a little bit strange in the way that I have very specific interest I know what I like I go for that, you know, I'm not really messing around with all these different, you know, ideas of inspiration very specifically inspired so I don't have that problem too often, but when people dio I encourage you to take those two forms of inspiration and maybe make two portfolios around them, you know, maybe you have this this really dark side where you're creating these images that really are personally fulfilling then maybe you want to do some happy stuff sometimes and it's not going to fit together it will never gel it will never be a single portfolio and that's fine, you know, photography is all about what you love, so why not create the pictures that you love and then categorize them appropriately? I don't have a question from pam hawkins, who is from newton newjersey and she asked, do you think you can still define your style if you only shoot product or like styled table does? Absolutely are you kidding? I love that because you have so many things to think about, you know, for example, you could shoot that kind of style have it be very, very rustic, you know, lots of wooden tables and flour on the table and fruit in the background and it could look like a still life could look like a painting you could have something really sleek, really modern, lots of reflections, really harsh light, and those are two completely different styles and it's going to define what you do, make that so specific for your client, which is what they want. So, um, somebody else in the chat room is asking, what if you can't figure out your five words that describes your style? So can you also phone a friend for this? Yes, definitely. I mean, I think that's a great thing to do anyways because you might be stuck in a bubble of what you think you're like, you know, or where you want to go, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily correct, you know, I might have the skewed view of my work where I'm saying, oh, yeah, it's very fairytale, then everybody else is like it's, just scary like you're wrong and you never know. So I mean that's, why I loved to, like, ask everybody, what do you think my style is? And and if we're on point that's great, and if not, then I need to figure out who is more correct in this situation and how can I skew that to be how I want it to be question from adrian far from england and we'll be getting a lot of questions from adrian I think over the next three days he asked when when you're trying to establish your style at the beginning how do you know that you finally found it or does your look continued to evolve? Definitely evolves I mean that's why another reason why? I wanted to show all of my images from two thousand nine to two thousand thirteen because they've definitely evolved and the funny thing is that I mean I have people say to me you're a different photographer from day one till now then I have other people say you haven't changed a bit from day one until now it's all personal perception, I guess but no, I think that your work should evolve and you should keep changing and growing with it because if you're not creating what excites you then why created all I mean there's just no point to it so you know keep keep growing keep changing and allow yourself to be molded into whatever you want to be. I don't think there's any problem with that and there's always re branding which we're going to talk about later all right? So so many good questions coming in keep him coming everybody we'll try to get to as many as we can but they really are pouring in, which is awesome fashion tv and singapore, who is a regular hello, says brooke, do you always shoot with post production in mind? Or, uh, would you get it right and cam and only tweet colors in contrast slightly and posts? Okay, that's a great question because I didn't really hit on my process, which I will in the next segment as well, but my process is to think all the way through the post processing, so when I am creating an image before even take a picture, I already know what I want to do to it in a photo shop. So there are certainly times where I take a picture. I do always try to get it as perfect as I can in camera, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to great lengths to do so, so I'm not going to, you know, bring twenty lights into the set and light everything perfectly and things like that. So when I'm working with a space, I'm thinking first and foremost aboutthe lighting is the lighting, you know, exactly how I wanted or will I have to manipulate it later? And can I manipulate it later? Is that the kind of light that's going to work for that? I'm thinking about the colors, and often times I will think about what I want to change instead of what I want to keep, so if I'm shooting green grass, I'm going to change that green grass. If I'm shooting a red dress, I'm going to make that dress more red. There are images where I've changed lots of colors completely, so I know beforehand, yes, that was the long answer to a very short question. So you talked a little bit about fear before, and I'm hoping that we're going to get more into fear. We certainly ok, good. So kid of oz had asked defined photos, which have elements that you fear, like the ocean, for example, do you find them more personal than others? Or do you think they're better than ones where fear is not involved? You know, if that's a really good question, because I do, I they're more personal to me? Absolutely. One of my favorite pictures that I've done recently is one that I showed earlier, where there's a ship in the air and the girl coming out of the ocean holding the rope, and I love that image because it was so scary to dio I had my underwater housing on the camera had to lay down in the ocean and you know, click when the wave was coming at me and then just let it pummel me, and then I had to get back up and reset, and that was terrifying I mean, I was shaking and I was it was a great thing to do because I pushed myself, and now when I look at that picture, I remembered just how terrifying it was, but how amazing it felt to come out of it. So, yeah, I think they're much more powerful to me personally, I think that it pushes me and it's something that I'm really getting into a lot more this year is very specifically defining my fears and then doing a picture centered around that. So the only question in the audience I just make sure you use it like, um, brooke, I just wanted, like, what you're talking about and doing all this is inspired me so much because I love photo shop so much, I want to ask you a question, this photo, I do not have all my portfolio because I've always been told get it right in camera and just, you know, post a little bit, I had this vision, I put this model out in the desert and live in las vegas about twenty five yards of gold material, and I wrapped around it and I had someone hold the material it didn't come out quite the way I wanted to you can see the guy holding of course you know, but I took this material and I just photo shopped and it's like this huge gold yeah it's gorgeous I don't have it on my portfolio because I'm afraid I guess I'm afraid of people saying that's photoshopped so then you say that's the art? Who cares it's so that I guess that's what I'm trying to say is like, is that just a fear I need to get over because I mean it's a gorgeous photo and even some people to say you photoshopped that I thought it was material, it is material I knew what I have envisioned, it just didn't come out that well think of it this way you think that you know, digital manipulation that's art, right? Okay, so if you think that that's art and you're not putting it out there for fear of what other people will say, then you're just playing into that idea that it's not art and we need to do as much as we can to say you know what? Yeah it's photoshopped who cares it's still amazing, you know I put effort into it this is my kind of art take it or leave it and the more that we do that the more it's going to be accepted

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!!!