Promoting Passion Video Blog: Create No Matter What

Promoting Passion Video Blog: Create No Matter What

“Don’t let what you don’t have stop you from what you could create.”

How often are we plagued with the repetitive thought that we cannot create unless we have something more to create with. A better camera, a new tripod, that awesome speed-light, or just a bigger budget entirely? There are amazing photographers out there who are able to spend a lot of cash for every photo they create, and that is a really wonderful thing to have at your disposal. I am not one of those artists, and to be honest, I get a lot of pleasure from that fact.

One of the things that inspires me more than anything is creating from nothing. I love to give myself a strict budget and see what I can do within those confines. Case in point, this picture was less than $10 total (In case you were wondering how much yarn you’ll need to cover a tree and a human for a pretty creepy photo shoot). Sometimes I challenge myself to shoot inside my house (I’ll be sharing that picture later this week!) or to use a household object as a prop. Self-portraiture is a perfect example of how you can shoot on the cheap, assuming you don’t feel the need to pay yourself and exorbitant amount for modeling. >..<

I still have moments where I feel that my work could be better (re: more personally fulfilling) if I had a grand location or prop or dress, but those instances are few and far between. And when I do have that craving, I get a bunch of photographers together to pay for the scene so we can all benefit and all afford it…because what better way is there to spend your time as a creative than geeking out with other creatives about that AMAZING ABANDONED CHURCH or thatย one of a kind carousel horse, or or or you get the picture.

Never let your budget or access to locations andย props hold you back. There is always something to be done with your unique imagination and the world you have before your eyes. There is always magic to be created.

Brooke Shaden Photography

Share with me your images created on a budget. Have you used really inexpensive props to create an image, or perhaps an unlikely location? Let’s inspire each other with the creative thinking that a tiny budget requires. Our images are our imaginations, and with that, anything is possible.

Brooke Shaden Photography

For these images I was smitten not only with the inspiration of creating something from nothing, but also by the concept behind it. Life giving life, or perhaps life taking life…whichever way you choose to see it. Red is such a powerful color because it can symbolize power, life, death, blood, etc. It is truly one of those emotional symbols in an image that makes me feel something instantly. A girl giving a tree her life-blood, or both of them sharing. Life giving life. Life taking life. Life-blood.


86 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Video Blog: Create No Matter What

  1. Hello Brooke. This is the image that I created on a budget the title of this image is “rebirth”, I only paid for the snack of the little girl in the image and the location was just at the backyard of my friend which is totally free ๐Ÿ˜€
    I have been creating these kind of images about 8 months now and the people still do not accept these kind of images in my country but I always been inspired by you and to follow the passion within me. I have always been inspired with your quote “If we understand that our own opinions should be held at a higher standardโ€ฆthen we might be able to break free of those things that hold us back in creating our art.” thank you for the inspiration…

    1. Hi Dan!

      Your image is breathtaking. I really like the spotted light and the circular motion of it. I love that quote – it is so true – there may always be a feeling of adversity when our passion is not accepted, but that doesn’t mean it has to tear down our ability to create. Keep on going, you are doing beautiful work.

  2. That was so much fun to watch……an intriguing & amazing image on a budget which is within everyone’s reach. I see some photography teams and the places they travel to and the vast amounts of money it must cost, and although the images are impressive I sometimes feel given the level of expense and fabulous locations and top models how could they fail to get impressive images! This image is just as amazing to look at and done with so much fun and laughter, truly inspiring to all wanting to achieve amazing, fab results based more on imagination and creativity than budget. Oh remind me to buy you a new scissors lol

    1. Ahhhh you are the greatest! Yes to new scissors ๐Ÿ˜› haha! They are now full of red yarn fuzzies! I truly ADORE looking at works that had huge budgets because they often are so impressive, but at the same time I get so much pleasure from creating the way I do that I find fulfillment in that. Sending lots of inspiring days ahead your way…though I have a feeling you’ve got that covered ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. It’s so amazing ! Really, it’s so great, so lifefull (i’m french, sorry for my bad english) ! This picture and all this work, with your smile… Wouah ! Thank you for your happiness, you two !

  4. That was SO much fun to watch, I caught myself giggling by the end when you were cutting the yarn off her neck haha. It seems like so much fun!

    Red has always been my favorite color, and it’s so amazing to see how you play with it in your images. You’re right, it can symbolize so many different things.
    The images are beautiful! My favorite one is the second. I love her pose in that image, and also the way the yarn looks more loose, as if she’s breaking free but still holding on to what’s giving her life/what she’s giving life to. It’s amazing how each one of these can be interpreted differently.

    I almost always use inexpensive props, and most of the time I use stuff that I find lying around. For my newest image, I used some fake flowers that my mom was going to throw away :p

    1. Beautiful Amani!! I love YOUR use of red too! Isn’t it so fun to “repurpose” things that others might throw away? I love rooting through trash cans for that very reason ๐Ÿ˜›

  5. Weird only half of my comment sent ๐Ÿ™
    I had said… There is nothing more fulfilling to me than creating with a friend, at the end not only do you have fun memories, but you have a piece of art that is part of both of you. I was feeling super inspired last week and had a friend come over to just see what we came up with. I created this image with ZERO dollars and I’m so proud of it ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. INCREDIBLE Robert. But really now, I think you’re being a bit greedy stealing all the talent in the WHOLE WORLD. You are amazing.

  6. Sadly, I absolutely can’t afford to spend money to buy props for my pictures ๐Ÿ™
    Even though I love props, even though I know my pictures are better when I use some… Very often, I just have to hope that the model, the pose, the location will be enough.

    Nevertheless, I went through my gallery, and found these 3 pictures, created with absolutely unexpensive props: (I only used some beautiful papers I had bought years ago) (I used my fiancรฉ’s mom Xmas decoration – she’s kind enough to let me use them for free!) (I bought the ribbon, it wasn’t particularly cheap – for a ribbon, I mean – but it wasn’t ::that:: expensive)

    Sometimes, I feel that my work would be better if I had more money to spend for it… but creating something out of barely nothing is a great challenge too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your pictures are wonderful, kudos to your model Kelly, I bet this wasn’t easy..!

    1. Thanks Ninon! And I hear that – I don’t have a budget for props most of the time too. But hey, that’s the fun of life! Creating something out of nothing. That is how we have to live personally too, knowing that we might be the only one who will forge our path. I think ALL of your images are powerful, personally!

  7. I’m sure you won’t believe it, but i planned a photo very similar to theese, with yarn and nature :O
    I think I won’t do it anymore, because i feel very awkward after seeing this ๐Ÿ˜€
    Anyway, i still love your works ๐Ÿ™‚ :3

    1. Giulia…PLEASE do it!!!! You have no idea how many times that has happened to me, and I started to doubt my vision. What if I can’t do as good a job as they did? What if people will think I’m copying? Well trust me, you have my permission and in fact my applause! I hope you go through with it! And then share it here so I can see ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Brooke,
    Loved watching this video. Meeting the challenges of creating with a budget – the fun and inspirations that develop – seem to transform into a little spark of magic in the final image. The loose yarn here lends itself to the idea that she is still open to furthering who sheโ€ฆ is even within her already well designed self. Awesome!

    I’m not sure how to include my image here in the comment box. If ‘Twlight Visitor” does come through, it was taken with a bolt of fabric a few clothes pins, a friend to pose and a photo from a year earlier for this spirt to revisit.

    p.s. looking forward to Pasadena!

    1. Denise, you are great!! I love that interpretation very much. I couldn’t see the pic but if you just paste a link to it here, I’d be very excited to click! Yes so excited for Pasadena!!! I wish it was next weekend already! ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Thank you Brooke, I’m obviously ‘tech challenged’ as I couldn’t get a link to work. LOL

      Howeverโ€ฆif you have the time and inclination, it is on my Facebook page – in fact it mentions you. Facebook: Denise Neale Jensen

  9. You and your work is truly inspiring. I love how you don’t wait for images to come to you but actively create them with what you have. Love these weekly doses of inspirations. Thank you

    In terms of shooting on a budget, the main camera that I use is a $20 Holga Pinhole camera that I found on amazon. It forces me to see the world in such a different way.

    1. Wow Jon, that is incredible. Your portfolio is unique and beautiful and a really interesting perspective on the world. Thank you for sharing the inspiration with me today!

  10. I Love the second image. The one with Kelly’s hand up? Very nice. Was going to post one for you but…..I can’t figure out how:(

    1. Thank you Tom! If you reply here and just paste a link I’ll be able to click through. Would love to see! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I am all about shooting a budget. Most of my props are free or found at goodwill for incredibly cheap. Case in point, one of my recent favorite images cost nothing more than a sheet I already had and a tiny bit of gas to drive me to the nearest nature preserve:

    Thank you for continuing to share yourself with us. The second image really speaks to me. I’ve worked with red yarn before but nothing like the scale of this. You’re truly amazing and inspiring ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. My 1 1/2 year old watched this with me and he kept saying “Whoa! Whoa!” I think that means these are golden! I too loved watching this. I’m an avid knitter/crocheter so I love yarn! And I love the symbolism of the yarn itself, not just that it’s red, but that it can be a plant/animal based fiber and is used for the making of fabrics which are used to make clothing which are used as an outward representation of who we are as an individual. So to me it represents an actual giving of the tree to the young woman so she can become who she wants to be. I love this little series you’ve created.

    1. Awww Melanie that is awesome! Somehow there is nothing like validation from a 2 year old ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you so much for contributing such an amazing interpretation. You inspire me.

  13. Hi Brooke!

    I am just smitten with your ideas on creativity and your passion to empower others to get out and create. In fact, you inspired me to carry out a photo that has been in my mind for a few months now, and I certainly don’t have a large budget to work with. I loved this video and your reasoning behind the red yarn!

    The theme of my photo is “joy”. The kite was ordered off of Amazon for about $17 and the flowers I bought to create her dress and flower crown costed about $20. Not too bad! I couldn’t post the photo in the comments so I have included a link to my blog which I just posted it on. And just as a heads up, I gushed a bit about how much of a fan I am of yours.

    So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your passion and your willingness to share and inspire. I can’t wait to create more, and I’m so happy I found your blog!

    <3 Lauren

    1. Lauren, you are SO lovely! Your picture inspires me so much. Makes me want to get a kite and have some photo fun with it! And I love how different it is – unique and bright and joyful. I love that. Thank you so much for sharing it, and for being so kind!

  14. I have enjoyed watching and reading your blog posts for ages, and I love this post so much. It is so wonderful to be able to take pride in creating from nothing, and I find it exhilarating to look at a photograph created with only $3.

    Recently, I shot with a few of my friends, and the entire budget of the shoot was $10. My friend did hair and makeup, my other friend modeled, wearing one of my old dresses, and I had a couple others assist me. I was thrilled with how they came out, and I wanted to share them with you!

    1. Izzy, thank you so much for being so kind ๐Ÿ™‚ I can completely see why you liked those images! Thank you for sharing them. They are colorful and peaceful and really sing to my heart.

    1. Ahh yes those are all my best friends! I got a piece of fabric for 50c recently and it has been used about 5 times now! And I love the idea of adding to it, and not just using one piece!

  15. Also, two quick questions, and one other thing I’d like to say. If you wouldn’t mind sharing ๐Ÿ™‚
    Where are you located out of? I love the forests that you shoot in.
    Also, where do you find the stunning dresses that your models are wearing? They are beautiful!

    This recently came up, and when I was discussing this with someone, I thought of you. Several people asked me what type of camera I have. This led me to respond with several paragraphs of a response…oops

    There are photographers that are able to create stunning photographs with next to nothing. They are able to create unbelievable images because of their imagination and talent, not because of their equipment. The type of camera someone uses doesn’t define the quality of their photos. Anyone can go and buy a $5000 camera and take terrible photos with it. The content of a photograph depends on the photographer, not the camera you use. Sure, some cameras take better pictures then others, but buying the same camera as someone you know that has great photos doesn’t mean you will as well. Especially with conceptual and surreal photography where a photographer has their own idea and vision for what they want the composition of the photo to be. I also dislike when people tell me that the model in my photo is so gorgeous. The appearance of the model doesn’t make or break the photo. Yes, my models are stunning but someone can take a photo of the prettiest girl in the world and make her look ugly. It’s all about the composition of the photo, and I think that those who base photographic talent on equipment are misinformed, and haven’t yet discovered the true essence of photograph. That’s all:)

    1. I shoot everywhere and anywhere especially when I travel ๐Ÿ™‚ I get dresses from those same places – vintage stores, thrift stores (love goodwill and salvation army) and sometimes online at places like Ebay and Etsy!

    1. Oh wow Tom this is so unique. I really like how painterly it looks because of that even yet vibrant light and the color palette.

    1. Hi Denise! Yes wonderful! I am so happy to see ๐Ÿ™‚ I love how vibrant the red is (can you tell that’s a favorite of mine?!) and her pose is so emotional. Thank you for sending!

    1. I LOVE that image, it is one of my favorites from your portfolio! Absolutely stunning, and it looks like a high-production image which is even neater!

  16. My fabric is always repurposed into dresses, capes, etc. An old Halloween costume made years ago has been a favorite piece of clothing. When I do purchase a prop, I go to Hobby Lobby and use a 40% off 1 item coupon to buy things for just a few dollars.

    1. Yes! That is the way to go! I always forget my coupons and then beg the store clerks ๐Ÿ˜› haha! You are so crafty, I think it is fabulous.

    2. If you haven’t lost your smart phone, you can actually look up “Hobby Lobby coupon” when you’re at the store and it will pop right up! The cashier will just look at it and give you the discount. Plus, a big FYI, the clerk told me last time that things go on sale every other week. So if it’s not on sale that week, it should be the next. ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Create with little money … How I understand that! Sometimes it’s hard, but when we reached the result we want, it is quite gratifying. Loved the video … Loved the result that gave these beautiful photos. And you created, like that, in a simple way and without fear. Awesome. I also loved that detail of affection that you gave at the model with that kiss… You are so great.

    1. It can be difficult sometimes to not envy those amazing locations and huge props, but at the same time, it forces us to see life as a whole in a more inspired way. How amazing! Thank you for your kind words!

  18. Wow Brooke, I absolutely love the photos from this shoot! They are one of a kind, well done! I really love the poses!

    Thank you so much for sharing, very inspiring! I had a failed self portrait shoot tonight which you have now inspired me to definitely try again tomorrow!

    A lot of my photos are created on a small budget as I just can’t afford fancy props, I’m still searching charity shops for clothes to use! But here is my newest photo, I build the nest myself, most of the branches were dead branches I picked up in the forest, but I also had some decoration branches in my room that I bought from ikea for ยฃ6 and the flowers I used to decorate the nest are artificial and they were on sale in ikea, I got so many different bunches for like 20p ๐Ÿ˜€ the eggs were ยฃ1 which I then painted, the other bits of material are from my crafts cupboard ๐Ÿ™‚ here is the finished photo;

    I am currently staying in my grandas house at the moment while visiting England and his house reminds me of those old kinda houses, like nothing is modern in it, and I love that about it, so I shot a self portrait in the room I am staying in using the flash from my phone to create shadows on the walls, it didn’t quite work out how I wanted, I like it but I know it could be better and I’m tired now but I’m going to try again tomorrow!

    Thank you again!

    1. I’m so glad you’re going to try the shoot out again! The picture you linked to is so beautiful. The colors, the composition, it is all so delicate and I can’t stop staring! I never would have guessed you made part of those eggs!

  19. Hi Brooke!! These are absolutely beautiful. I can’t thank you enough for inspiring me to create from my heart. I recently read your book and it is so helpful and amazing โ˜บ Hoping that maybe I will be able to do a workshop with you once day! This is an image I created right outside my back door with just a white sheet to protect me some from the elements. It was a bit chilly but definitely expresses how I have been feeling this winter.

    1. Hillary that is really amazing – your picture is spot on for me with the emotion and I like that unique composition! You are so kind, I thank you so much for brightening my day! I do hope to meet you someday in person!

  20. I love this Brooke! I am a single mom barely getting out of the house so pretty much all my images are created on a budget :D. I have learnt a lot about compositing since I always cut out my model (which is me) into a background that I sometimes have the time to shoot. But I love the whole process. And you are an endless inspiration. Maybe I’ll share an image later, I am at work right now. Autumn leaves is an amazing prop that you can pick and then dry and use over and over for example.

    1. I think that is so awesome that you have all of that responsibility yet you still create and put your creative voice into the world. That is really special and I hope sometime you’ll show us here!

      Leaves are my favorite prop ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I love all your work and I love watching your videos. My budget is generally around zero and it is a challenge to create something out of next to nothing. The last shoot I did was based upon the film “Quest for Fire” I looked all over for a suitable outfit for the model but couldn’t find one so I made it myself (First time Ive made anything). There was such satisfaction in making it without sewing myself to the material, putting in a zip and it not falling apart on the shoot.

    Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration.

    1. That is really amazing that you just took a stab at sewing and creating an outfit. I tried once and I only had to make a cloak, and it nearly fell apart on the set! haha! We do our best ๐Ÿ™‚ That is wonderful of you though – keep creating!

  22. Oh, I always pay myself an exorbitant amount for modelling ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Brooke, I love this collection. These 3 images work so well together! Huge kudos to you and especially Kelly for the commitment in creating this. Loved the video and I have no doubt you ladies had so much fun creating these. The colours and symbolism is powerfulโ€ฆ to me it is as if the tree and the character are giving each other life and that their spirits are connected <3

    There are many photographers whose work I follow and loveโ€ฆ but it has always been your gallery that speaks to my heart and soul for exactly the reason you have described in your blog. For me, there is something extra magical about working in this wayโ€ฆ It is the way that I have always worked, simply as I knew no other way to work. Finding your gallery was a huge revelation for me and why your work resonates so much to me.

    I love using simple props and settings for my images. Either just with simple items used as props found around the house (or garage!) or finding items to use on location, like branches. My latest image was also created with using simple props from around the house, i.e. three large sea shells – two were dived out by my brother and the one has been in our family for decades. Luckily though I have a number of interesting items around the house to useโ€ฆ the other day I dragged a massive crossbow down to the beach to create an image (still in my โ€œto be processedโ€ folder) and I have an anchor that I need to also lug down there for a future shoot, but you can see my image with the sea shells here:

    1. Kelly is an amazing person and she always puts up with whatever strange antics I throw at her. I don’t usually get out of it without a little eye roll, but I let her have it ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thank you for being SO kind…you have no idea how you lift my days and make them so much better. Thank you for always being that source of inspiration for me.

      Your image, as with all of your images, make me think and feel. They transport me to a place that I wish I could experience. I want to be that character. What an amazing gift!

  23. Hi Brooke! This series may be one of my favorites of yours: the themes and colors are just stunning. I love following your photography! Your work is so passionate and beautiful. You were truly the person who inspired me to begin photography! Thank you so much for that, it has been a life-changing artistic journey already!

    For this image I knew I wanted a long white dress, but I was having trouble finding anything within my budget, so I decided to use a white sheet and a t-shirt to create the dress myself, which ended up being so much more fun ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Helen, you are so kind!! Thank you for brightening my day! I think what you did with her costume is so unique! I love how you took things that you already had and repurposed them. That is great!!

    1. I can’t remember now how many yards were in each package, but we used 4 normal sized packages of yarn ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Brooke – Today was a hard day for me for a few reasons and I saw your post and once again you have pushed me and inspired me… and REMINDED me how important it is to stay true to yourself. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much your friendship and guidance means to me, even from miles away. You’re truly amazing.

  25. Hi Brooke! Thanks so much for your inspiring words and photographs. I started photography on a budget and really believe it doesn’t take a lot of money to make awesome photos. Start simple and have fun! I got this dress for Halloween years ago on ebay for about $20 and the wig was probably about $10. Thanks for checking out my photo! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. These kinds of messages make me so happy. I really envy my best friend who does fashion photography and he has hair stylists and make up artists every shoot. But I’m happy enough to have control over all those aspects to make the image truly my own. And it’s so much more fun to buy yards of plain fabric and drape a subject to create whatever I want like this:

    Thank you for the invigorating message. It’s giving me some much needed motivation to shoot more this week. โ™ฅ

  27. Thank you so much for sharing your passion with us. You are a huge inspiration for me. The little french girl I am is like a kid who just discovered a treasure : your art, your world. A world which is full of magic where everything is possible and in which you’re inviting us. And I love it.
    Moreover your words are so powerful ! After watching your videos, I always feel invincible. You give me hope and courage. Even though I know my work is bad, I will continue to take photos because I love it and I want to improve myself. It makes me feel free and I’ve the impression to grow up more and more.
    I wish I could meet you and thank you personnaly (it’s one of my dreams, but as you said, all of our dreams can come true ! ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I hope you’ll come to Paris one day.

    This is one of my humble pictures : I only chose some socks in my closet and shot myself in front of my biiig window. As I had no tripod, I put books and school files in a pile to support my camera. That’s it !!A-chacun-ses-chaussettes/zoom/cc6m/i317lc

    Thank you for all Brooke ! I wish all your dreams will come true !

  28. I’m so happy I watched this video, I feel like its incredibly easy to get sucked into planning wardrobe and props. I often put shoots on hold just to save up a budget. I watched this and whipped up some props from what I have already have.

    Thanks for putting education out there. And hopefully I’ll be able to attend your late night in Iowa this summer.

    Heres my shot from nothing:

  29. Hey Brooke!

    I created this photo a while ago but since you were talking about photos on a budget I thought I’d share this one. It was really challanging because I’m the person in the photo so I could hardly see anything with th bandage wrapped around my head haha. I got three 4.5m long bandages for under $10.00

    Also I love reading your blog! You are such an inspiration!

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