Promoting Passion Video Blog: Shooting with a Bed Sheet

Promoting Passion Video Blog: Shooting with a Bed Sheet

This week on the Promoting Passion video blog I get to explore a much sought after location with one of my favorite models, Jen Brook. We spent an entire weekend shooting while I was hosting a retreat, but when that was all over we still couldn’t get enough. So, while driving away from the retreat, we made a B-line over to this location that a couple of my friends helped me locate.

It was stunning, and I had an idea for it a while before I ever got there. However, I didn’t know I was going that day, and I ended up having to use whatever I happened to have with me. Unsure of what the angle restrictions would be, I decided to scope things out and then start shooting when the sun went down. On the beach, that always leaves very little time to shoot given that the horizon line is not obstructed by anything; so essentially, once the sun goes down, you only have minutes to get the shot.

There were also many other photographers there shooting everything from fashion to engagement shoots, so the advantage to shooting later was that the moment I pulled my camera out, everyone else was packing theirs in. I had the whole place to myself for a blissful 20 minutes.

After creating the image of the tower, I decided to shoot a sequel…a fairytale gone wrong, in which she ends up on the ground after jumping from the tower. In the first image I had imagined a fairytale character trapped in the tower, so she fashions herself a dress from her bed sheet and uses a rope to jump/fly/float down to the bottom.

It was incredibly inspiring to use props that I happened to have on hand. Rope and a bed sheet were all that I had in the car, so I used what I had to create. The bed sheet truly made the perfect dress for my vision and I was so thrilled that I didn’t feel held back in any way by not having expensive props. I hope you enjoy the resulting images!


Do you ever shoot with whatever you have laying around? Do you ever challenge yourself to shoot minimally and see what your imagination does? I challenge you!


30 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Video Blog: Shooting with a Bed Sheet

  1. I wold love to be that free and imaginative. To take what is on hand and just make a story. My problem is my imagination runs away with me and I get lost in the details, “OMG, if I had xxx, it would be so perfect!” Then I find I box myself in with the constraints of my detailed vision that I never end up getting it done. Sometimes I wonder if I subconsciously do that to myself to give myself an excuse not to take that risk. These are emotions and whatnot I have been mulling over and exploring for a while now. I just need to learn to be more like you and just LEAP! You are inspiring as always and reading your blog and following your work fills my creative cup every day!

    1. Yes Mary I agree that often not doing a shoot for lack of this or that can be an excuse. We make ourselves believe that we need more so that if what we create doesn’t work, it will be the fault of something else. I do this to myself sometimes and I always kick myself. Now some images really are better saved for having the exact right things, but so often creating an image is about personal exploration and adventure, and I love the freedom of that. Thank you for being here – your support truly brightens my days. I am so grateful for you.

    2. Mary: I think you just ‘hit the nail on the head’ for me with your statement, “if I subconsciously do that to myself to give myself and excuse not to take that risk.” I am trying, with great difficulty I might add, to remove the dross from my head and follow my vision. Thanks, Mary, for your insights.

  2. Absolutely stunning shots! I have been in love with that location since seeing for the first time about a year ago in another photographer’s work. Would love to visit and shoot there.

    I am constantly amazed at your drive to put your vision to image. It is so inspiring!

  3. These are great! So cool that you literally just shot with what you had! I have never done that, never even thought to, but if I were in that exact moment with THAT location I would totally have done something. Its so gorgeous and so is the model!

    1. It is so much fun to just let loose and realize that it is all a learning process, so you might as well just use what’s available 🙂 I love it! Perhaps you’ll feel inspired to try it out? Super fun!

  4. My best work often happens when we have a long walk to a location and I’m forced to bring only what we can carry. It is very liberating to have only what is on hand to compose an image.

  5. recently I too have been making dresses out of bed sheets, but typically I make it over their clothes and edit different arms in XD I wish I had more antique dresses to be honest :L

    1. Ahhh that is so awesome Thomas! Maybe we’ll do an antique dress exchange or something fun like that 🙂

  6. I love this challenge! Thank you! Something to always keep in the back of my mind ~ the option to get out of the car and just do it. Only just recently have I begun to scout the neighborhood for locations (*very* new to conceptual photography); I can’t wait until the weather gets warmer. With all the hiking trails and historic buildings in our area, I know I’ll discover lots of treasures!

    Looking forward to your CreativeLive workshop later this week!

    1. I’m so glad that you like it Elisabeth! If you do create something share it with us 🙂 I love that you are scouting your area. I remember the first time I started shooting outdoors, and how exciting it was to walk my neighborhood and notice all the nooks and crannies that I never saw before. So many possibilities in everything, and that is the beauty of realizing that we can create anything.

      Thanks in advance for watching cL! I hope I do ya proud and that you learn lots!

  7. Oh I love this image! It totally made my day <3 Ha! And just yesterday I commented on your image “Fallen from Flight” that I loved the fact that you created it just by wrapping a piece of material around your model and used a simple prop such as a rope. Yet both these images are stunningly beautiful and rich with story. A few weeks ago I did two sessions with some friends of mine with almost the same thought… to use a simple prop (in my case a piece of chain), the same location and just a piece of material as a wardrobe. The one day my friends modeled for me and we created two images that look completely different, with completely different stories. Then next day we were at the beach and we again used the same piece of material in the same location. I did a self-portrait and one of my friends modeled for me to create another image… it was exactly this challenge that I wanted to set for myself – create images out of almost nothing 😉 It was so much fun! I look forward to working on the images and releasing them soon <3

    1. Awww you are so sweet! They were mega fun to create and I feel newly inspired!

      Pleaseeeee please send me the images when you finish! I am dying to see what was created. I would love to take a peak into your imagination 🙂

    1. It is near Laguna Beach…I can’t remember the exact location. I was on the phone with 2 different friends the whole time shouting directions at me 😛 But it wasn’t hard to access at all, and was very popular for shooting, so I’m sure its Google-able!

  8. What is the name of the lighthouse? This image is stunning! I love it so much. & I almost always use bed sheets as dresses:) Nearly all of my costumes are makeshift.

    1. I wish I knew! Somewhere near Laguna Beach..I’m terrible! I love that you embrace that part of creativity – the I CAN DO ANYTHING! part 🙂

  9. We have a number of lighthouses on the Outer Banks….I need to start shooting there….Never thought of using bedsheets…

  10. Ah, I can’t believe I’ve missed this! I love these pictures so much, and I never would’ve guessed that that’s a bed sheet!

    A few weeks ago I shot something with a bed sheet, but only because I didn’t have a white dress. This is it
    It was freezing and the water was soo gross and slimy haha but it was fun to shoot 😀

  11. I’m in awe and intrigued by your photos they are beyond beautiful.
    I would like to take your ideas and apply them to “everyday” women. In most of your photos the models are thin, beautiful and have long hair… question is how would you photograph an older, overweight woman with short hair? This is by no means a criticism….I have an interest in photographing cancer survivors, who I believe are beautiful beyond the visual…but would love to have the skill sets and knowledge to make them feel beautiful during a difficult transition in their lives.

  12. Brooke,

    I have been just getting into compositing a little and one thing that I see you do a lot and that I wish I could do better is fixing the hems of skirts so that they flow. You did it here and it looks amazing. Do you have any videos you can recommend to help me lean how to do this better?

  13. I just wanted to say, I watched your CreativeLive workshop this weekend, and i purchased it! I had to! You are SUCH an inspiration to me when i need it most, which is a lot of the time lately. I am having trouble discovering my style, who i am, and what i want to say and put out into the world. However, reading your Inspiration in Photography book(which i finished about a month ago, AMAZING!), watching your CreativeLive workshop, and following this blog, you provide me with the encouragement and inspiration that i need. You say that your goal in your life is to be inspiring to other people. Well, KNOW that you and your message are inspiring to me everyday. I am so thankful to have randomly stumbled across your book in Barnes and Nobles a few months ago. It has changed my life for the better! Thank you!!!!! 😀

  14. My husband is originally from Laguna so I know exactly where this is. It is very inspiring to see it now trough your lens. I adore all the images you have with ropes, such strong meanings.

  15. Just recently stumbled on your work. I am an intermediate beginner, I would say. And fine art photography is not where I plan to go, but I am absolutely fascinated by your process. I’ve been in a rut lately and have had no motivation to shoot. Just haven’t been inspired til I saw your work. I love it! Your images draw me in, story wise and technically. Amazing! Thank you! I think you’ve really helped me to see I need to look elsewhere for inspiration! Such a breath of fresh air, I realize looking at the same backlit, lifestyle, mom-with-a-camera images just wasn’t getting my creative juices flowing any longer. I think I’m heading out to an art museum here soon. As a side note, I live on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. There are tons of old buildings and settings you would love!

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