Shoot: Senior Portrait with Bird's Nests


Fine Art Portraits


Lesson Info

Shoot: Senior Portrait with Bird's Nests

The next set up we're going to be doing something really simple something that's actually really practical for us a senior portrait shoot so I'm bringing in my black fabric here thankyou and tape and this is how I shot for at least a year and I still do this from time to time I buy inexpensive things like this curtain that I got the other day and I'm taping it to the wall and that is all that I'm doing I'm not worrying about a big backdrop, a stand and expensive you know, piece of fabric I am getting something cheap so that said, I'm going to start taping this to the wall without my remote and I'm going to need a stool to do this because I am way too short thinks all right now one thing to note is that this is wrinkled and everybody came to me this morning and they said, are you sure you don't want to see esteem it? And I said no because I want to show you how to get rid of the wrinkles and photo shop so I am not worrying about that right now I'm not worried about the wrinkles now if i...

t was really, really bad, I might try to iron it, but I do anything in my power to not iron things, so if I don't have to, I can't tear this tape that I want thank you I was so weak and so weak all right so I am going to hang this and it doesn't need to be a big sheet for this again shooting her waist up so I'm not too worried about you know having the whole thing covering behind her and the great thing about using a backdrop like this that's a solid color is that if it's not covering the whole entire space that you wanted to cover its super super simple and photoshopped toe add that in and make it look like the background is bigger than it wass so I'll be showing that as well tomorrow oh thank you you're tall all right I'll get up on the second second rung okay so I am just going to tape this generally where I think it needs to go just like this could somebody grab the other side and taped that are you tall enough yeah okay you might have to crouch we'll see there's only so much we can do for you for you tall people okay so that should hold for right now if not whatever it'll fall on her head and it's like these fabric it's okay um and then we'll re tape it but that should do thank you okay so I'm going to have you come back in here and what we're going to do for this section is I'm going to do something nice and soft rather than having it be this you know, big elaborate thing where there's? Lots of compositing involved. I don't really need to do that all the time. I just need to work with really cool props. So let me mosey on over here, grab my props. So what I have here is a bird's nest. Two of them, actually, that I made the other day with my friend. So what this is we got it from michael's craft store. Just any craft store will have this kind of thing. What we did was we got the moss. And instead of using anything to support it, we actually just crinkled the moss up, and it sort of stuck together really? Naturally. And then we just stuck some hot glue inside just to hold it together. So the moss was something like three dollars, not expensive at all. And then these eggs are glued in. But you can kind of see here that we have these styrofoam eggs it's, just styrofoam that shaped into an egg. Nothing. Nothing more than that. That was sixty nine cents. And then we got a little bit of blue paint and painted it that's. All we had to do was so simple, it took us about twenty minutes or so to do all of this, so not a big deal. Now the reason why I have two of them is because I want to make this shot interesting I don't want it to be a really boring shot, even though it's going to be a simple picture, I want to make it as interesting as possible, so what I'm going to dio is give her this bird's nest toehold and I'm going to pin this in her hair. So do we have any bobby pins or something? So I'm going to have it just sort of sitting in her hair not right on top because that might look a little silly, but I want to make it look nice and elegant because think about it. If this is a senior portrait session, you know, if you really have to give pictures to a client and make them like them instead of being scared of them are thinking that they look weird, then you want to make it look nice and well put together, so I'm just going to pin it to the side of her head like this and make it look like a cute little hat that she's wearing, so I'm just gonna grab these bobby pins and stick him in thank you so much, okay already do you like my long does my mom's, a hairdresser? And I love her, and so I'm going to say hello to my mom, all right? Um I'm not good at stuff like this if I hurt you I'm sorry I have a tough head. Okay, good. The hair gene did not get passed down to the next generation at all but hurt? No. Okay, good. You look beautiful. Okay, so I'm going to grab my camera now. This is not something that I need to shoot with, uh, with the tripod, so I'm just gonna make an attempt to pop it off. There we go. I'm moving up in the world again, okay? And I'm going to come right in front of her to shoot this one. All right, so if I could have you just moved to the center and then walk away from the backdrop a bit so I don't want her shadow hitting the backdrop. That's the only thing that I'm really thinking about right now in terms of where I'm placing her so she's in a great spot and I am taking my setting off with my remote setting so that I don't have to wait ten seconds to take her picture flipping toe auto focus always have to remember to flip back after you're in manual ralston the parents will be really upset with you, okay? And now I'm just getting focused on her face and there we go taking a shot now this is definitely a little underexposed for a picture like this, I would brighten it up quite a bit because I do want to see her face in the detail in her hair and things like that so I'm going to go ahead and actually, uh stopped down with my f stop here quit a little bit, okay um taking my eyes so two, eight hundred and then taking another shot and you can see I haven't really given her any direction yet all I'm doing is just telling her, you know, I'm doing my camera settings that's it so I'm not worried about, you know, getting the perfect shot of the model yet that's not my concern, so they're a couple of things that I'm thinking about when I'm looking at this picture I love how the birds nest is placed in her hair I think it looks really elegant really cute, but I want to mess with everything else right now so I'm gonna come in and when you hold that bird's nest, tilt it down a little bit so that I can see it that's just great and hold it very delicately and then pull your elbows away from your just like that that keep your shoulders back good and stand up straight nice and now I'm just going to tuck this hair back behind her ear because I want to see her face and that's where the light's coming from good. And now we're going to do one shot where you're looking down just with your eyes. Good. Perfect. So I like how she's holding the bird's nest now it looks very delicate sort of like a child handing over the bird's nest, so that looks really good to me, but I'm definitely gonna have her look up, but I don't really like when people engage with the camera too much, so I'm going to have her look out to where the light sources that's good, you can turn your head a bit that's perfect, great. Okay, wonderful. So I'm just going to move the hair back off of her shoulder and I'm going to make sure to see a little bit more of that because I want to see her neck as much as possible. Good side as well. All right, does anybody have a brush that we could use? Some sure somebody does not urgent, but I'm going to play with her hair a little bit because I want to create a character out of this, so I'm going to take one more shot with the next showing, so if you could sort of lift up at the chin and then tilt your head good and then look out that way, perfect, good. All right now the one thing that I'm noticing is that I personally am seeing too much of the white of the eye and I don't like that so we're going to cheat her instead of looking directly at the window I'm gonna have you look right here, okay? Perfect and we're still getting the catch lights in the eye which is really nice good and I like that shot a lot so that's probably where I would stop at that point in terms of you know, getting a picture that I am happy with it tells the story because I really like the way that she's looking you can see the brown of her eye your eyes are brown, right? Yeah okay theo brown of her eye but I want to take this one step further so I'm going to grab this brush that so perfectly came at the right time to ask you a quick question yes please d'oh um so you actually started going into this a little bit but fashion tv from singapore says brook eyes in your images are often looking off camera in your opinion, what elements do you get in such images compared tto ones with eyes looking straight to the camera? Great question eso when you have somebody looking directly at the camera they're looking at the viewer of the image and it's confronting that person and it's almost like saying we're two people meeting that sounds a little strange to put it that way but if you have somebody looking off camera it's like you're catching them in a moment like you're actually seeing a character instead of somebody who is knowingly modelling for a picture so I love create characters and so I tend to not have them connecting if I do it has to be a really good reason and so I have a few pictures where the subject's looking straight into the camera but it's always for a larger purpose not just to have them connecting awesome thank you so I'm gonna tease her hair she might not like me for this but it's going to make a really good picture in the uk I guess it's called back combing, which makes a lot more sense than teasing so I'm just going to tease her hair and the reason why I'm doing this you have really soft hair by the way so I'm doing this because we have this bird theme you know, there's a nest it looks really cool and so why not keep going with that with the character? You know why stop there? Why not make something really awesome? So I am just sorry am I hurting? You know you're ok, I'm just going at it here um I tease my hair all the time for pictures and I regret it every single time it takes days to get out so I also don't brush my hair so that's another issue but that's that's for another day okay, all right and I think that looks nice so we're just adding some volume I'm just going to do a little bit on this side and try not to mess with our nest there we go, okay? And I'm gonna take one more shot, so same pose and everything, but this time your hair looks really cool. Not that I didn't before, but okay, there we go. Perfect. Now tilt that nest towards me a little bit more great. Now, can you bring your shoulders back a little? Great. Wonderful. So it's really amazing to me how much more of a character we just created by just teasing her hair, you know, by making it not look like she just sort of, you know, I was standing like a normal person with her harold done all pretty this time. She has her hair, you know, a little bit messy and I loved that little piece on her forehead because it looked really like a cute little detail that I loved. Okay, so any questions about what we just did, okay, I think they're still coming in too, but go ahead when you first you know, started thinking of the shoot in your head what was the inspiration behind it like what's the story that you're leading into that you're trying to cause you said have a plan and then she s so I know you have a plan what is that's a great question eso when I started this segment when I started thinking about it you know my goal was to do a senior portrait but one that was very artistic one that was more fine art inspired instead of capturing you know, happy person who's graduating high school you know, I want to capture the character so I started thinking about leaving the nest and transitioning into a new part of your life and so that's where the bird nous came into play so it's sort of like, you know you khun give you know the subject and the parents this kind of image where it's symbolic and that will be obvious to them if you explain it but you're also bringing in props and something exciting and turning you know their daughter into a character instead of just you know, the normal happy pictures which is fantastic and I wish that I could take pictures like that but I don't seem to have a knack for that so I do this yeah, okay good there's quite a few questions about shooting distance from the wall that you're shooting are you intentionally putting her at a certain distance? Are you thinking about that yeah, so I wanted to put her at a distance in which her shadow would not hit the background just so that I can have a really smooth, nice background in the end. So that was my main motivation about pulling her away, but I also wanted to have a little bit of ah, you know, a blurred background. So in that case, I decided, you know, pull away from the wall little bit that way, she isn't super and focus with the decreases in the fabric in case we can't get rid of them for some reason or something like that. Those are my two motivations. I probably would have pulled her away, even maur if we had a bigger backdrop to work with, but I bought a single burton for some reason, so so that's why we did that, but that's? Why I also recommend bed sheets instead of curtains and that's what we're going to use next. The only other question that came up from michael, eighty, was about shooting her dark hair on a dark background. You need that separation or you're not really worried about that separate, so I'm not worried because I'm shooting. To wear I see detail in her hair if I can see detail that I can preserve that detail and I can make the background darker so while they might be competing right now they don't always have to be competing later on when we're getting into the editing and post processing so that's kind of where my mind is that it's a great question so yeah I might have had you know, a lighter background in here or dyed her hair blonde I don't know but but yeah I think that that having that separation is good but also knowing if you can achieve it leader is also really good go and just another a really quick one from self squirrel in the chat rooms uh they say brooke, do you always take horizontal shots intentionally or do you also shoot kind of portrait I do both and I'll let you know the reason why so that this one I know I'm going to crop this this is a crop shop for me I'm not worrying about how my cameras being held and it's just easier to hold it horizontally but if I am doing a shot where I'm expanding the frame like we talked about that's what I'm very very focused on how my camera's orientated because oriented orientated yeah anyways so if I were going to take a shot of her where I'm going to expand the frame I'm going to back up and then get her whole body in the shot, and so I'll just take the shot really quick so you can see what I'm talking about, just getting focus again so I would shoot her whole body she's really tall, she's, vertical in the frame so I'm shooting it. So then her whole body's in my picture and then I can then take pictures to either side, and then that way I can composite it to make a square because my goal was always to make a square. Now, if I were to hold my camera horizontally here, you know, depending on how much space you have, I could shoot it like that and then have to shoot her bottom half not a lot harder tohave to put into, you know, photo, shop and put together than if I were to shoot it vertically and just have to blend the background together. So if the subject is vertical in my picture and I have to get their whole body and I want to expand the frame, that is when I would shoot portrait style and if they're laying horizontally or there's more going on horizontally, I will shoot landscape style and then expand from there.

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!!!