“Supernova”, self-portrait, September 2018

A couple of years ago I started a video series called White Wall Wednesday.

The mission: Prove that you can create beautiful imagery with no budget.

The motivation: I started with no budget and no resources. I wanted to go back to basics.

The result: Lots of messages from people saying that they were inspired to create with what little they had.

If you know me, you know my mission in life is to inspire in any way possible, and preferably through action. By showing what is possible with a white wall, some bed sheets, and an overactive imagination, my aim was to lead the way to accessible creativity.

What is accessible creativity, and why promote it?

Artists kind of have a bad rep. And, I sort of get it. Artists are known for being mysterious and keeping a tight lock on their secrets. Why would we want creativity to be accessible if that’s how we make our money?

If that’s your opinion, you are entirely entitled to it. And I am entitled to disagree, respectfully.

I believe that, while it can be intimidating to give tools to create art for fear of copying or putting yourself out of business, I don’t think that is usually what ends up happening.

When we give more tools to more people to be more creative, we build a more interesting, inclusive, and ingenious world. What if the building blocks of our interactions and experiences was creativity, and what if more people felt they could express themselves emotionally through art? I personally think it would make for a much richer experience.

But that’s just me. And well, this blog is me. So, queue White Wall Wednesday.

If I can create a video series that promotes accessible creativity, I’m all for that.

White Wall Wednesday gives ideas and concrete tips about how to create with less, plus a big splash of joy in every episode. Because I love what I do, and I love it so much that I want to infect you with my happiness.

In a nice way, of course.

I also offer up White Wall Wednesday as a challenge. Follow along, and create your own White Wall Wednesday. If you want to show this community what you’re making, you can do so in a couple ways.

First, share a link in the comments of my blog or in the comments on YouTube.

Second, use the hashtag #WhiteWallWednesday and I’ll be sure to give that search a go once a week to check out the creations.

And finally, I’d really appreciate you sharing this video and this series. As time goes on I’ll share more and more about my process, how creating simply can be impactful, and give you weekly doses of encouragement to keep going in your craft, no matter what seems to be stacked against you.

This video is more of an introduction. The following weeks will get juicier.

Slurp.

 

  • September 5, 2018 - 7:04 am

    Stacy Honda - I love White Wall Wednesday! I’m so glad you brought it back : ) Thank you so much for sharing!!ReplyCancel

    • September 5, 2018 - 7:07 am

      brookeshaden - Thanks Stacy! I’m so glad you like it!ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 7:27 am

    Gallagher Green - Wonderful, I have always loved the White Wall Wednesdays!
    I doubt I will be making any photos this month though, I am very busy getting ready for this big art conference out in California on the 4th of next month. 😉 LOL
    Can’t wait for next weeks video! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • September 5, 2018 - 7:35 am

      brookeshaden - THAT’S HOW I FEEL XDReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 7:40 am

    Julie - Brooke, thank you for bringing back WhWW. I love the concept and creativity that goes with the series. You are not only inspirational with what you create but motivational by giving others some tools and permission to follow suit. I’m a true believer that what we put out in the universe comes back to us; my hope is yours always comes back 100 fold. Oh, so will I create, yes, once I wrap my head around the how.ReplyCancel

    • September 5, 2018 - 7:42 am

      brookeshaden - That is the most lovely thing to say and I’m so grateful you’re here!ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 7:45 am

    Susan - I love this! I love how you give actual tips and examples to people so we can create with little material. You actually do it and show us it is possible, this gives me hope and reassurance.
    I’ve always felt less of a creator because I do work with white walls (pink walls too, sometimes there is no white wall available!) and no studio lights or pro material. I have my lame camera, my bedroom, and an isothermal silver cardboard I found in the basement to reflect light… I create my self-portraits with that (you can see them on my IG if you want : http://instagram.com/perrotinsusan/) and they are not very successful… but this is what I love to do so I keep going and hopefully one day more people will appreciate it.
    Thank you for your videos and other tips and stories, you are very helpful!ReplyCancel

    • September 5, 2018 - 7:49 am

      brookeshaden - Susan, thank you so much for sharing! I LOVE your self-portraits. They are refreshing and I really enjoy them. Happy to know you’re on the white (or pink or silver) wall train!!ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 8:20 am

    Linda Solomon - Yes I have almost every day I tell myself I don’t have…so I can’t possibly make a photo… thank you so much for the push and the encouragement.ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 8:38 am

    Anna | Photo Thrive - I love this so much Brooke! White Wall Wednesday really helped me to begin creating! Because of it, I am where I am now – working towards a portfolio of at least 20 images and working towards art being my career 🙂 I love that you share your tools and of yourself. I could never be you, but what I learn from you I can use to be a closer “me” 🙂

    Here are some of mine (White wall/bedsheet)

    The one that kickstarted it all:
    http://www.adbrucephotos.com/art-reach-for-the-stars/

    The rest that followed 🙂
    http://www.adbrucephotos.com/love-thyself/
    http://www.adbrucephotos.com/in-fear-there-is-temptation/
    http://www.adbrucephotos.com/coffee-is-life/
    http://www.adbrucephotos.com/head-in-the-clouds/
    http://www.adbrucephotos.com/up-in-smoke/
    http://www.adbrucephotos.com/memories-of-winter/ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 4:39 pm

    Angela Marvel - Love this, so happy you brought it back. Perfect timing with summer ending. Inspires me to create even on colder or rainy days!ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 7:14 pm

    Vicki Kurasz - I find myself giggling. You burn a lot of calories when you shoot! I love hair tosses and you got some awesome hair toss shots. Hope you use them in another photo.ReplyCancel

  • September 5, 2018 - 9:13 pm

    Kesha Broden - I don’t get it. You were just getting interesting. It feels like a huge backward stepReplyCancel

  • September 6, 2018 - 12:19 am

    Norma - Hi Brooke,
    I have followed your work for a while now and am very inspired by you like many others. There’s is something that I often wandered about so I decided just to ask you: why are you never nude, in images like below. Is that a shy thing? An American thing? You suggest with the plain tight clothes that you are but you can always see that you’re dressed. Never thought about leaving them out? I mean, it is nothing erotical but just an esthetic thing in my opinion. Hope you are not offended by my question.
    hug NormaReplyCancel

    • September 6, 2018 - 12:20 am

      Norma - sorry, I meant ‘the image above’ ; )ReplyCancel

  • September 7, 2018 - 5:08 pm

    Danya Kurka - Hi Brooke! I thank you so much for being so inspirational. I found your class on Creativelive about 6 months ago and have followed you ever since. I have felt.. No I wont lie I feel I will never be good enough..creative enough.. shoot even pretty enough to be successful…Wait! for every negative though I have had you have had an inspirational answer to my plight. I need to just do it to drop that fear on the ground and create it if that’s what I am right now.. So yes that is what I am going to do. I have been on this journey for about 4 years trying to find what is I am good at.. really I guess trying to find who I am I guess. If you look at my social mediahttps://instagram.com/jeweledfernphotography/ my creative journey it’s all over the place!! LOL But I think I have found home and I just need to get comfortable with it, comfortable with myself I think is my first hurdle. Without continuing to ramble.. I cant begin to tell you how much you have inspired and encouraged me and If I could just find a way to have more time to learn Photoshop skills better things might fall into place. I look forward to watching you and anticipate your words of encouragement and and hope someday to be an encouragement and creative force for others like you are to me. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • September 10, 2018 - 5:41 pm

    Virgi - When I was young I often dreamed of flying. This image is how I came down for landing. It used to be scary to land but nowadays there is no fear. I often wonder what these dreams mean for me. My last dream of flying was the first one I had of night flying so I am moved with so many feels seeing this.

    The tips are great as usual. I really like the post!ReplyCancel

  • September 11, 2018 - 7:07 am

    Angélica - Muchas felicidades eres muy talentosa me identifiqué mucho con tu trabajo, es extraordinario. saludos desde MéxicoReplyCancel

  • September 12, 2018 - 5:57 pm

    Darcy Berg - Thank you for sharing your creativity. You are an inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • September 20, 2018 - 5:45 am

    Heino - Thank you Brooke for the great suggestions. I will be doing a White Wall photo shoot next week.ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2018 - 12:23 pm

    asia - hi Miss Shaden!i need ur help as my friend is a fine art student and is given a topic of BrookeShaden. your inspirations.. what brought you to the art and all about you… i saw your wikipedia but i couldnot find your inspirations there… i’ll be very gratefull if u’ll help me out…ReplyCancel

NARRATIVE.
STORY.
TRUTH & LIES.

These words are ringing in my head today.

When I was younger, my story went like this:

My sister was very good at art. Taking nude charcoal drawing classes when she was barely a teenager, creating pottery, and painting. I watched her excel at this, and silently, I decided I was not good at art. I let myself be “good” at other things – writing, for example, which I had never known to be an art form. These things don’t always occur to young people. I took a photography class, and I was the worst at it. I tried hard, and it didn’t help.

And so the narrative grew and grew until, without ever realizing it, I had decided I would never paint or sculpt or draw. I decided I could not. I was beyond help or skill or talent. Learning was not for me.

I regained my confidence as an artist when I pursued film-making. And then again when I became a photographer. But, in some way, those mediums were distinctly different from the raw talent of handmade art.

Up until two weeks ago, I would have continued to tell you that I can’t draw, that I can’t sculpt, that I can’t paint.

In fact, not a month ago I sat with my sister playing with Play Doh. Fast as lightning she made a fish, and then a dinosaur, and so on, until she demonstrated how quickly and easily her brain works in 3D, how she can collect the likeness of reality into clay.

I sat staring at my whale flattened to the table, entirely 2D, and not realistic in the slightest, and that feeling came back to me from childhood. And I joked that I was bad at this, and we all laughed as we do, and I moved on.

But a few weeks ago I saw a class pop up in my email from my local art center.

Ceramics for Beginners.

I clicked it, left it up in my browser for days, debating.

And then I enrolled. Without hesitation or further thought.

And I went to my first class. It was terrifying.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story. I tell it better in my video. I hope you’ll watch and let me know what you think on this idea of labels and how destructive they can be. I think it’s an important video to watch to…

Take control back of your narrative.
&
Cultivate a positive story for your life.

In the comments (either here or on YouTube), let me know…

What is the narrative that you need to change?

  • August 20, 2018 - 6:42 am

    Julie - I was just about to sit down to do my morning pages when I felt inspired to look at my emails; and there you were, of course, it’s Monday. So, I thought I’d watch your video then do my morning pages. Wow, I needed to hear what you had to say to me. I’ve recently completed a series called Dream Life, and while doing this series, I’ve been reminded of truths I’ve learned years back regarding the 4 Agreements, my paradigm, and most recently, as you stated, “What is the narrative I’ve been telling myself?”. I’ve been listening to a narrative that truly has been a part of my paradigm, a lie of sorts. One of my most glaring narratives is: I need to please others, but I’m not good enough. I totally believe I was led to watch your video before I started my morning pages and meditation. I’ve got a lot to think about, Brooke, and I thank you for fanning the flame.ReplyCancel

    • August 20, 2018 - 6:44 am

      brookeshaden - Julie, isn’t it beautiful when the honesty of our narrative reveals itself? I’m so glad that we could connect on this and I hope that clarity comes with your meditation this morning.ReplyCancel

  • August 20, 2018 - 6:49 am

    janeane Sanborn - My sad little narrative on bad days goes something like this: I am not lovable and I will never be great at anything.

    In the last few years I have gotten control of it – I accept this is my damaged spot, my hard wiring gone bad and probably not going to change but I can manage it. I manage it through my very strong desire to create. I am so grateful that I am such a stubborn soul or to re-phrase, I got a lot of persistence. This carries me a long way in my creations! Thank you Brooke for being an inspiration in my life!ReplyCancel

    • August 20, 2018 - 7:07 am

      brookeshaden - For what it’s worth, I value you very, very much and I’m so glad you’re in my life Janeane <3ReplyCancel

  • August 20, 2018 - 6:54 am

    Stacy Honda - HI Brooke! Thank you so much for sharing.I love that you post on Mondays. It’s something to look forward to at the start of the week. I did the same thing to myself! My brother is an incredible artist. His drawings and paintings are so amazing. I would draw quite a bit when I was younger, but then I would compare myself to my brother. I decided that I wasn’t the artist, he was. Later on I felt compelled to paint. What I created was so different from my brother, that I realized that, sure I can’t do what he does, but I can do what I do. And then finding photography opened up another world.

    Now I guess the narrative that stops me is that I don’t spend enough time creating and I don’t produce enough to be an artist, and I don’t have time to be an artist. Even though in my heart I feel like one and there’s so much I want to do. It may just be an excuse because I don’t feel like I’m good enough to ever actually do anything with it besides post on Flickr.ReplyCancel

    • August 20, 2018 - 7:08 am

      brookeshaden - I totally hear you. I’ve had the same story going on in my head this past year. I haven’t produced very much that I love and that constant voice telling me to do more is always there. You and I should definitely chat sometime about this more <3ReplyCancel

  • August 20, 2018 - 7:31 am

    JOHN - I’m a fine art photographer and have been for many years using mainly processes from the 1800’s.

    A couple of years ago I had a chance to take a week of Russian icon painting taught by a couple from Russia who toured the US each year for 3 weeks.
    Boy – what a change – grinding your pigments – using egg tempura etc.

    I was the worst in the class but started getting better on the 4th day. It was an interesting experience. I think everyone should try something new every now and then – makes life interesting.ReplyCancel

    • August 20, 2018 - 7:34 am

      brookeshaden - Change certainly does make life interesting. I really like knowing that you persevered with the new technique. It sounds incredible!ReplyCancel

  • August 20, 2018 - 8:18 am

    Gallagher Green - For a first sculpture, I thought the hand looked really good! Getting your mind to work in a 3D plane in very hard, and takes a lot of practice, I hope you continue with your sculpture. I bet your sister was very proud of you when you signed up for this class.:)
    When it comes to art and most other things in life, I have never let myself believe that I can’t do it. But there is one thing. I have never been a flexible person, not like insanely bad. But I could never do a backbend as a little kid, and I have never liked people saying “you’re just not a flexible person” (Mostly my dumb sister.) So just yesterday I started yoga, and now at the age of 30, my goal is a backbend. If I don’t show up at PPC I snapped in two and died! LOLReplyCancel

    • August 20, 2018 - 2:16 pm

      Anna - LOL!!! You’re never too old! 30 is young! I cannot wait for you to demo your backbend at PPC! 😀ReplyCancel

      • August 20, 2018 - 9:14 pm

        Gallagher Green - LOL Maybe PPC in a few years, I don’t think it is going to be a quick process! LOL
        Thank you though. ReplyCancel

  • August 20, 2018 - 2:15 pm

    Anna | Photo Thrive - Those labels!!! The one I am working to break out of is the “I am not good enough” label. I am feeling further out of that tunnel than I have ever been. It’s funny you took a ceramics class because before you even posted that on social media, I had it in my mind too to take one. I love the hand you made. It looks quite amazing actually. I hope to see it in one of your portraits. This video definitely has a great message that needs to be shared more often!ReplyCancel

  • August 20, 2018 - 2:24 pm

    Michaela Jung-Vogelwiesche - I love this theme! To be honest I am quite confident in my skills and I can’t remember a time when my fear of “not being able to do something” held me back. In my belief hard work beats talent – every single time! And that means you are able to learn everything you want to if you just put in the time and passion. Trying out new things is the only way to realize if you love or hate something. And learning new skills makes you and your art grow. Just go and do it! But there is one story circling in my life over and over again – and that is the story of “not being good enough”. I am a perfectionist and I have a hard time to let this go. My perfectionism never held me back from learning new things and dabbling in all kinds of creative work. But it held me back from sharing my work and thoughts for a very long time. This perfectionims paired with my introversion is like “shut the doors and let nobody in”. But I am slowly learning to let this go and I am more and more opening up to share my work, my thoughts and my process. And I thank you, Brooke, for inspiring me to do so with every single Blogpost, Video, Insta-Post and just everything you do. You teach me to be vulnerable. And I love you for being so open and honest about your own artistic work! <3ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2018 - 1:05 am

    Marietjie du Toit - This is a wonderful post. It is like a reflection of all the things I tell myself. Since I was little I believed that I will never be able to create art. I am constantly told that digital art is not an art form; since it is technology based and does not show “the raw talent of handmade art.” My mother was a painter and could work in different mediums and I still believe that I will never be able to do that. I hear things such as; ” One day, you should try to create real art.”

    As I became older I had the constant urge to create beautiful things, mostly images through digital art. I have learned so much over the last couple of years since my children have left the nest and I love it, but I am still “hiding” most of it. Scared to expose myself and scared to hear that it is not good enough.
    Thank you for sharing your story and for inspiring so many people to live a creative life. Maybe it is time to let go of the labels.ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2018 - 7:44 am

    Cindee - Wow! Labels–that’s all the college courses want to do–pigeon hole what type of artist you are. I keep being told I need to narrow my field “You can’t be successful with more than one genre”.
    Then there’s my mothers voice always present in my head, “Don’t be prideful” “Don’t brag” “Stop being a showoff” this voice keeps me from showing my work, from seeking others opinions. To top it off I have my voice circling around and around telling me “your not good enough” “their work is so much better than yours” “you need to learn how to do this better before you show it” “your not a real artist”. I fight these off as much as possible. I started forcing myself to introduce myself as a PHOTOGRAPHER. I hope to become confident enough to add the FINE ART into the sentence sometime soon. And there I go hoping to have a label applied to myself that then says I am good enough.ReplyCancel

  • August 22, 2018 - 11:20 am

    Brooke Vega - I feel like I let labels dictate the course of most of my life. I always felt like I had something to prove. I always imagined that I was “special” and would turn out to be something extraordinary. It took a long time for me to realize that I also held a corollary belief: if I wasn’t doing something extraordinary, I was not special. Subconscious though it was, that fear drove so many of my actions. My dad used to tell me that he admired Michael Jordan because he was born with enormous natural talent, so much so that he could probably have coasted through life, but that he chose to work hard anyway. That’s how I wanted to be. A born prodigy with an unassailable work ethic. So I got perfect grades, went to college with a scholarship, got a high-paying job in corporate America. That was the easiest way to exceed people’s expectations, to impress them, to provide evidence that I could be highly successful. I became terrified of failing because I thought it would prove the opposite. In the past year I wrote a book and began experimenting with all kinds of creative work, but I still struggle to answer the question “What do you do?” It’s been the bravest year of my life, but there is no label for it that makes me feel “good enough,” let alone special.ReplyCancel

  • August 27, 2018 - 8:27 am

    Su Hall - It’s too bad that the MyBlueprint site requires a credit card just for their trial!ReplyCancel

See how these 3 images were edited in my new video!

In the photo world, there seems to always be a debate about technique vs. concept. Some people feel passionately about technique and are very technically minded. Some people focus on the concept and say to heck with the technique. I fall into the latter category, if any, but that doesn’t mean that I dismiss technique altogether. In fact, for a while there I was so far on the side of dismissing technique that I had to pull myself back, and one big thing did that for me:

Portfolio reviews and competitions. I review a lot of portfolios, and I noticed two things.

  1. A lot of people have great technique but not-so-great ideas, and…
  2. A lot of other people have great ideas and not-so-great technique.

It really does take both. If your technique is flawed, the concept won’t really matter. The viewer just won’t get past the technique.

I’ve always been a believer in editing a picture until it looks and feels right; that doesn’t mean I’ve always followed through with that. I’ve certainly posted pictures online that could have been better, but impatience got the better of me. I’ve shot pictures in poor light or of bad quality simply because it was easier or faster.

But over time, I’ve come to appreciate pairing good technique with good ideas. The combination is the only thing that will propel my career. So, today I’m focusing on technique!

I won’t go into too much detail here because the video is lengthy and really shows in detail what my editing techniques are like. This isn’t a how-to, per se, but it is a comprehensive look at how my images are edited.

In this video, I…

  • Pull back the Photoshop layers to glimpse at the original images before editing.
  • Take a look at what my SOOC (straight out of camera) pictures were like, what decisions went into the edit, and how they ended up the way they did.
  • See how I made stuffing come out of my back, created a long, swirly dress out of a bed sheet, and changed a nearly white dress to deep red.

And more, of course.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse inside. And tell me…

What technique from the video did you like best?

What is your favorite technique in your craft?


These images are available as limited edition, fine art prints on thick, matte fine art paper. Each print is proofed and signed by me, as well as numbered. Print prices begin at $450 for my small size. A number of galleries carry my work, and if you are interested in owning a piece, get in touch with the gallery nearest you: http://www.brookeshaden.com/prints

If you would like to see how I edit more in depth, check out one of my Creative Live classes for hours upon hours of photo, editing, business, and inspiration education: http://www.brookeshaden.com/classes

  • August 13, 2018 - 6:59 am

    Gallagher Green - That chateau image has always been one of my all time favorites, I love it!
    I like how easy you manipulate the colors and light, I have a bugger of a time with that. I have been working on this photo “Inner Demon” ( https://flic.kr/p/28XPXLj ) for a long time now, and the lighting and colors have been a pain. Still not happy with it. It is a white wall photo, and I built the stone room using textures. It is a good example of, I love the idea but my technique isn’t good enough yet. This photo pushed my skills.
    I need to rewatch your videos of color matching and light, I think I am over thinking some of this stuff. And yours always come out looking great! 🙂

    P.S.
    Loved you behind the scenes on Instagram yesterday, it looked like so much fun! 😀ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2018 - 9:07 am

    Anna | Photo Thrive - Another great post, Brooke! I agree about concept and technique. In school, we learned so much about planning our EVERY.SINGLE.ASPECT of our photographs. Everything was questioned during critique from the exposure, to depth of field to objects in the image to color choice. It was a great way of getting us to ANALYZE and think about our work.

    WHAT TECHNIQUE FROM THE VIDEO DID YOU LIKE BEST?
    Making the white dress RED. Life changing. I have so many white dresses haha.

    WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TECHNIQUE IN YOUR CRAFT?
    Replacing my subject into new settings – being able to shoot the person in one space and moving them onto a different backdrop.

    Thank you for another awesome week!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2018 - 10:04 am

    Jen Kiaba - Thank you for making these videos. They are such a wonderful way to start the week, and always leave me feeling filled up with inspiration <3ReplyCancel

    • August 14, 2018 - 9:28 am

      Gallagher Green - You are right there, it is a great way to start the week! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2018 - 1:12 pm

    Bernadette - Thanks for sharing your unique vision and passion. It’s inspiring to see how different artists work. I’m striving to learn photoshop as I go and I liked how you pulled the power of colour and light to emphasize your focus.ReplyCancel

This is the image I began creating in the video below!

How, I asked myself, is it relevant to share what my days are like as an artist when everyone is different? The answer came simply: If I share how I structure my time, it might help someone else to shape their routine as well.

Comment below how you would categorize yourself:

A – Creativity is your hobby
B – Creativity is your dream career
C – Creativity is your career

Meaning, do you practice creativity for fun? Would you like to turn your passion into a career? Or, do you already make a living from something creative?

I started out with photography as my hobby. A few months later, I really wished it could be my career. And then a year after that, it was!

I’ve been working as a full-time artist (meaning that I make my living from my photography and related items) for the past 8 years. I make my living via the following avenues: print sales, image licensing sales, lecturing/teaching, and commissioned images.

Favorite quotes from the video:

“It takes being creative about how you are disciplined
and being disciplined about your creativity.”

“It takes a lot of good days to make a great career.”

Since so many of us in this community are interested in how to maximize our creative time (at the least), or to make our creative time into our full time work, I thought it would be great to share what my day is like as an artist.

For me? 50% admin, 50% creativity. Look at the to-do list I managed to complete on the day I filmed this video:


BROOKE'S TO DO LIST

Film a day in the life video
Update my CV
Write TLS email
Release blog/video/newsletter
Update licensed images list
Write pitch for grant
Yoga
Novel outline
Reading
Photo shoot
Clear emails
Build registration system
Build prop


 

The only thing I didn’t finish was that last item. And, I finished by 4pm and had the whole evening for cooking and personal time.

What’s that? You hate admin work? You thought creatives only created?

Oh. Ohhhh. Let’s chat.

I believe that the most successful creative people you see, at least for the most part, have a really awesome mind for business. Take my BFF Lindsay Adler. If ever you have wanted to meet an insanely creative person who is equally, if not more, savvy in business – you’ve found your girl. Take note. (No, seriously, take notes.)

I’m not that great at it. Not Lindsay Adler great. But, I don’t strive to be. I am extremely motivated in business as well as creativity. I strive for a solid, happy medium between the two.

I get equally excited about a career move or endeavor as I do a photo shoot. And that is, in part, what I attribute any success I’ve had to.

Be it my 24 hour email policy, the contracts I’ve hand-written, the outreach I’ve done for opportunities, or my willingness to fail – I always put myself out there and give my business 100%.

Again, I’m still not the best at it. But I have managed to build a business for 8 solid years that has supported my lifestyle. I’m really proud of that.

Come with me behind the scenes in this video. It’s an in-depth look at my life with the curtain pulled back. What it’s like to go from hour to hour in the life of a working artist.

And please, tell me your top tips for maintaining creativity in your everyday life. I am always looking to improve!

And remember to share:

A – Creativity is your hobby
B – Creativity is your dream career
C – Creativity is your career

  • August 6, 2018 - 6:42 am

    Jen Kiaba - Thank you so much for this. It really resonated so deeply with me on a lot of levels. Your being so honest with the fine art community is so helpful. For me personally, it really helps me re-orient myself when I’m floundering or getting frustrated with myself. So a thousand times over, thank you!ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2018 - 6:43 am

      brookeshaden - I am so glad to know it was helpful! I felt a little silly when I was filming, wondering if it would be helpful or boring, haha! Lots of hugs Jen 🙂ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2018 - 6:44 am

    Gallagher Green - First of all, when you watch those lectures do you also get a craving for Gummy Bears? I do! LOL And “Death’s End” is so great, and you are getting close to the end! Please, please say what you thought of it when you are done. I love hearing peoples thoughts on it, I really loved it.
    Great video, I have a hard time sticking to my schedules. I know I just need to work at it more, I should write one up tonight.
    Great post, thanks! 🙂
    P.S.
    I finished my short story, and it will be ready to publish within a week or two! 😀ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2018 - 6:46 am

      brookeshaden - That’s fantastic about your short story!! As for Death’s End, I did finish! I LOVED IT. What a trilogy. The Dark Forest was my favorite concept, so I loved book 2, but book 3 was more fast-paced and THE UNIVERSE IS A PAINTING. Okay, yes, I loved it. I’ve since moved on to a book that feels very disappointing after that 😀ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2018 - 7:26 am

    Tom Miles - I am a definite B! I so wish I could make creativity my business. I feel like after reading this, it’s woken me up to realising that I need to strive to improve my business mind. I motivate myself to create regularly to maintain creativity in my life; I am doing a project I created called a 183 project, where I create a photo every other day for a whole year, to express how I am feeling around that time. I like to find inspiration wherever I go, aswell as channeling how I am feeling to create personally fulfilling work that helps me express where I am in life and with the hopes of helping others find their light. ♥️ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2018 - 7:36 am

      brookeshaden - Aww I love that idea Tom!!ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2018 - 7:47 am

    Alissa - This was really great Brooke. I struggle with organizing my day, staying on task and also making enough time for family. I like how you have a structure, but it isn’t rigid. You pay attention to how you are feeling and work with it. I will have to give this method a try. I went to school for fine art photography but spent the last 10 years in a different field, I was in denial of where my passions were. I am happy to say that as if this year C- Creativity is my career! Thank you for being so open and honest with your process.ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2018 - 7:52 am

      brookeshaden - Aww I’m so happy to hear you’re back to what you love!!ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2018 - 7:56 am

    Sofi J - Thank you so much for making this video. It inspired me to organize my days!
    I am an artist (model/photographer) who dreams of making my art, my career.ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2018 - 8:32 am

    Pete DeMarco - I’ve been going back and forth about where to focus my effort in the morning – admin or creative stuff. Like you I have more energy in the morning. But I feel like I’ve drained my “creative energy well” for the day if I do a bunch of admin/marketing stuff in the morning.

    Have you ever experimented with doing the creative stuff first? Wouldn’t it be better to create our art during our peak performance time?

    Just curious to hear if you’ve ever encountered this.ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2018 - 8:34 am

      brookeshaden - That’s a great observation and comment Pete. I have tried being creative in the mornings, and it goes great. I have done a photo a day project where I’d wake up early and shoot and edit. BUT, for me, I’m ALWAYS excited to create. No matter what time or what my energy is like. I just love it. So, if I do it in the morning, I have zero energy to do my admin stuff. When I was doing my schedule opposite (which I did for years), I simply never got any admin work done. Or, I absolutely hated doing it and had to slog through it. For me, this is the only way that works.

      That said, I do take a “muse day” every Wednesday in which I only do things that inspire me, no admin work at all. And I largely take weekends off, too. So, I do have mornings of pure creativity regularly.ReplyCancel

      • August 6, 2018 - 8:13 pm

        Pete DeMarco - That makes sense. I’m flipping my schedule and will give it a try. I’d be interested in hearing more about your muse day if you ever make a video or post about it. Thanks for sharing Brooke!ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2018 - 12:26 pm

    Anna Bruce - I am B going on C. I am not sure if I maintain creativity in my life everyday since I am currently working on some personal issues but I look at objects with the attitude of “what could I do with you?”. Driving, for some reason, also inspires new ideas – which is great and not so great at the same time.

    Thank you for sharing a look into your life. I always appreciate the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. That is why I love your instagram stories and instagram stories in general. Keep being awesome <3ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2018 - 1:01 pm

      brookeshaden - I’m so happy to be watching that shift from B to C 🙂ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2018 - 12:42 pm

    Chrystal kelly - Hi Brooke. What a awesomely motivating and positive video. I am in between B and C. Because I am trying to be a full time artist but have had such a hard time with the business end of things that sometimes it takes a toll on my creativity. I also have a hard time prioritizing my needs when in all honesty it is easier to prioritize the needs of everyone else. It’s resistance I know. A pushing and pulling that I allow in because of fear. I’m in the process of working through these things using mindfulness meditation. And your videos have been very helpful. Thank you. I’m currently working on my first emerging artist grant, and I know that even if I don’t get it the experience of trying and following through will be positive.ReplyCancel

    • August 6, 2018 - 1:02 pm

      brookeshaden - Chrystal, that is fantastic that you are pursuing grants. I hope only amazing things come from that. Well done!!ReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2018 - 6:17 am

    Alice Saga - hey:))) i loved this little film of your day, i love all that you do and give to us. such talent. i would say that i am both dreaming and living the artist life. i am sort of inbetween since i have not been well for a few years. i was made homeless in november of 2016 for a couple of months, it happened because of mental illness and then my recurring eating disorder came back in a sadness way. now august 2018, i am building up my life again with the help of wonderful support systems build by the community here in epping england where i currently live.

    so brooke such a positive influence you are for me. you are one of my 5 people:)))

    love
    aliceReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2018 - 8:47 am

    John Apodaca - I would have to say a hobby. My hopes for it to go further is slowly dying. Even though me and my wife have a website to advertise our photography, no real business has come through. My motivation is low when it comes to my work as it seems the following is not there. I am very proud of my work and yet others are not interested enough to commission or purchase my work. Many people like what we do but will not take it further than that. I loved this video and see how some structure can keep you going. You once said that (there’s someone out there who will appreciate your work) and I believe that. From the business end of it, it would be great if someone would take it the next step. Thanks for sharing the video. It really was nice. My wife LOVED it! It motivated her to a whole new level of planning out her day-month, including color coded marks for easy referencing. She took the video and made it her own! We really appreciate you heart for this community. Thanks!ReplyCancel

Freedom. What a huge topic. Working with refugees this year opened my eyes to so much. I began to question if I actually understood what freedom means. If I have never fought for it, know nothing else but it, am of a color that in my country means no discrimination, have never had to flee because of someone challenging my rights…do I understand freedom?

I’m not ready to answer that question. I may never be.

Instead, I’m inspired to get to know what freedom means to other people.
I’m inspired to celebrate the freedom I do have. This video has such a sense of freedom to it.

It allows me to help others in ways I may not otherwise be able to do. In my world, art is freedom. Creating is control. That is why I am so passionate about giving tools to create to people who may not otherwise get them. That is why I started The Light Space. That is why I started teaching self-expression workshops (called If I Could Fly) to underprivileged groups. Why I am inspired to continue working on behalf of people around the world to give a voice to those who feel silenced.

Because when we can create freely, we can express ourselves freely.

My video this week brings the idea of freedom to life. On any given day I can wake up, get in my car (that I can afford), drive to a beautiful location (that I am allowed to create openly in), take pictures of myself dressed however I see fit (because I live in a country where, as a woman, I can make those decisions without fear), and share online without worry of what people think.

What a LIFE.
Seriously, what a life.

I take this for granted. I want to take the freedoms I am given with a full heart and a serving of gusto. I want to take them by the horns and blast full steam ahead, because if I gave these same freedoms to some of the people I have met in my travels, they would do so, so much.

Which do you prefer?
Monochrome or Color?


I had a meeting with The Light Space teacher in Greece this week. The Light Space is a photography school for underprivileged groups that I started alongside Laura Price of Blossomy. We began in India and now have chapters in Thailand and Greece. Our Thai chapter serves anti-trafficking organizations in the area, teaching photography so that they may create better images for press and fundraising. Our Greek chapter serves refugees.

During my meeting with Olga in Greece, she told me about how one of the students got approval to move to Sweden. Many of the refugees in Greece are there for a safe haven but are looking to relocate somewhere permanently. It is a joyous thing when they are able to move on.

Olga told me our student moving to Sweden wanted to take a camera with her to continue her photography journey, but we couldn’t let her take one of the school cameras. I’m sending her one of my older cameras to her new home in Sweden so that she can continue her artistic life there.

When I agreed to be sponsored by Sony, it was only after a big condition – that they provide cameras to my schools in various countries as I continue to run The Light Space program. They agreed happily, and so raised my respect for a big company that didn’t have to agree to anything of the sort.

Another big factor has come into play. Because a perk of sponsorship is getting new equipment so that I have the latest to shoot with, that means I can give my older cameras to graduating students of The Light Space to further support their dreams of becoming photographers. The camera I’m sending to Sweden will be my third personal camera donation to a graduating student of TLS.

Which brings me to this: If you have a camera you want to donate to a graduating student of TLS, please let me know in the comments or email me. Because the students often move away from the TLS headquarters after graduation, they can lose access to cameras. Giving a camera to a graduate of our program ensures that they can continue to express themselves through a medium they have come to love. Plus your camera is going into a specific person’s hands, and you know it is going to be thoroughly loved.

If you feel in any way moved by the work I’m doing with The Light Space, you can donate here.


Finally, congratulations to Ale Fragoso for winning the free mentoring space this month! Signups for mentoring will take place on August 1st, 2018.

  • July 30, 2018 - 6:51 am

    Gallagher Green - Great video, it looked like a heck of a hike and climb! But well worth it.
    I know I take way too much for granted, in the same ways you mentioned.
    I am still using the first camera that I started with, and although it has served me very well it’s a T3i which is a big step back from those Sonys. LOL
    I do have a quick mount for a tripod that is new and never used, I ordered the wrong size like an idiot. Does TLS have a use for something like that or is it not worth the trouble? If not that is fine by me, I will just take it to PPC and give it to someone there.
    p.s.
    Have you ever tried peanut powder in your banana ice cream, it is wonderful! 😀ReplyCancel

    • July 30, 2018 - 7:00 am

      brookeshaden - It’s funny, it wasn’t a HUGE mountain, but it it was steep. And trying to film myself at the same time proved…troublesome 😀 haha! I loved it though. Peanut powder?! Never considered that! On it!ReplyCancel

      • July 30, 2018 - 11:04 am

        Gallagher Green - Sounds like it is time to get a little drone to follow you. 😉
        And everything is better with peanut butter! LOLReplyCancel

  • July 30, 2018 - 6:55 am

    Bart - Freedom? I don’t think I know more about it than you do and I may be old enough to be your father. I guess I can only answer the question in the negative. That is what freedoms are withheld from us is a better question because that gives an outline of freedom. For example if you got up naked this morning, took your camera and walked to the local coffee shop. You want a coffee, a scone and you want to photograph what is going on around you. Could you do that?
    I’m not talking about your personal feelings of modesty, but rather the social restrictions and the laws that created them. Even if you worn shorts and a tee shirt you might be barred from entering the shop because you are barefoot. If we were truly free, no one would say anything or do anything. In a truly free society freedom means few laws and the citizens are self governing. You could walk to coffee shop dressed or undressed as you see fit. I’m not sure if I should write more. This is a subject that gets very deep in a hurry and I may have colored over the line already. I’d to know what you think.
    I love your photos and perhaps I could send you a few of mine.ReplyCancel

    • July 30, 2018 - 6:59 am

      brookeshaden - Hi Bart! I see where you’re coming from and it’s true – total freedom is so far from where we are. But, from my perspective, after working with so many people who cannot, for fear of political or social persecution, do so many things that I can, I tend to celebrate what I can do. Especially after going on a photo shoot so easily without having to worry about any of that. There is more work to do, yes, and so much to celebrate at the same time.ReplyCancel

  • July 30, 2018 - 10:23 am

    cindee - Freedom is fleeting. What a strong topic for a creative space. I worked as a prison guard for 25 years and we officers would discuss who had lost more of their freedoms, the prisoners or us. We gave up our right to speak our minds, to religious worship, time with our families (being ordered over to a second shift) our freedom of movement, we could not leave when ordered over at least not if you wanted to keep your job. Now that I’m retired and living in my fifth wheel trailer as a camp host I am for the first time in my life truly feeling free. If I don’t like where I am I can just pack up and move. I work when I feel like it and not when I don’t. I am working to hone my craft and watching your tutorials has been a great help. Thank you for all you do to help others make their work the best it can be.ReplyCancel

  • July 30, 2018 - 4:09 pm

    Steph - That was so incredible and inspiring to watch! Thank you for always inspiring passion !!ReplyCancel

  • July 30, 2018 - 7:00 pm

    Vicki Kurasz - First, I love the colored one. But I love color….lots of color. 🙂

    2nd, What kind of cameras are you looking for? I will see if any of the board members have any. Just DSLRs? SLRs? Pocket cameras? Also, if I collect any, how do I get them to you?ReplyCancel

    • July 31, 2018 - 5:59 am

      brookeshaden - Oh thank you Vicki! As for cameras, only DSLR with a lens to go with it. Hopefully newer as in from the last 5 years, but we’re open to anything. Laptops also! I’ll send you a mailing address should you have anything to send – just email! 🙂ReplyCancel

      • August 7, 2018 - 5:02 am

        Vicki Kurasz - Thank you so much, for everything.ReplyCancel

  • July 30, 2018 - 10:17 pm

    John - To me, the color image has more depth, giving me a greater feeling of openness and, therefore freedom. Its color palette grades from dark, warm reds in the foreground to cool and light-feeling blues in the sky, adding to my sense of openness and freedom as I move thru the image, from its base upwards through the model and soaring birds.

    Freedom, at the most personal of levels… mine… has been a wonderful gift my whole life. Other than not being able to walk nude into most coffee shops (I wouldn’t anyway…;-)), I really have not felt denied any sense of freedom of movement throughout most of the United States and Canada. When I am rightly denied freedom of movement onto an individual’s or corporation’s private property I sometimes feel saddened because the lands I would most like access to are some very beautiful and remote landscapes – expansive range lands and forests. But I am also heartened that we citizens of this great land are the guardians to our national heritage of public lands were all are welcome… with rules, of course, designed to protect those treasured lands that many of us wish to visit and enjoy. I’ll take public land use management visitor rules any day over signs saying “Private Property. No Trespassing.” So, in the end, my “lack of freedom” to encroach upon another’s private property is a very minor nuisance when compared to the wonderful freedom to explore and enjoy almost all of these United States… also without fear of harm in most situations.

    Almost daily I sense the lack of even this most basic of freedoms… that of unrestricted movement… that many people in many parts of our world will never experience and I’m saddened for them and their situtions. Add to it, tribal and national conflicts, human traffiking, economic poverty,etc and it’s difficult for me to fathom how anyone could live in those conditions, and even more how could anyone ever impose those conditions upon others.

    While we discuss real, to us, inhibitions to our personal freedoms, even the worst of conditions we experience will most likely be better than the best of conditions millions of others will ever see. I’m happy for me… us…. and saddened for so many others in this world.

    I’ve also enjoyed the freedom of expression and free choice, and I greatly appreciate that. Starting with my parents who always supported my interests without ever telling me what/who I needed to be, and now into the gracefully greyed hair stage of life I have always had, and appreciated, the freedom to determine my own destiny. As with what I’ve written above, I treasure this freedom, wish it for all and am saddened for those who will never taste this most precious of gifts.ReplyCancel

  • July 31, 2018 - 3:19 pm

    Paul Shoe - I love your art, I really wanna get into the fine art photography world and I would love to learn about your technique. I would like to take one of your mentoring courses.
    Thanks,
    PaulReplyCancel

  • August 7, 2018 - 6:31 am

    Alice Saga - i adore the color one:)))))ReplyCancel