Promoting Passion Week 58: Start to Finish

Promoting Passion Week 58: Start to Finish

Getting to know your process is so key in understand how and why you create. After all, the finished picture is a representation of all the time and energy you put into creating it. It stands for more than the finished concept; it stands for your process. For me, a lot of great images are ones where the process is not wholly apparent, where you look and wonder how they achieved a certain look. Whether it is a Gregory Crewdson piece that has me wondering about the set that must have been built, or Jamie Baldridge image that has me wondering what is real and what is not, the process often plays a question in the final image.

In my personal journey of discovering how I like to create, I formed habits and practices that not only allow me to achieve certain looks, but more importantly dictate how happy I am going to be shooting something. If I can be in nature, I am having a good day! So when I create, I love to be in nature, shooting as much as possible on location. I love having all of the details written out beforehand so that when I create, I know exactly what needs to happen. I would say, with some confidence, that patience is not my strongest virtue. So to be able to go on location and shoot what is needed, efficiently, is a great joy to me.

I have 3 more images from this shoot that I am currently editing, but wanted to share with you, start to finish, how this image was created. It is part of a larger series that I’m still shooting this week, but it is a good representation of the intentions of the series as well as technically how they will be put together. This video explains it all.

I’d love to hear from you about a couple of things! First, what is your typical process like? Do you have a must-not-skip step? Or something that makes your process unique? And are you working on a series, or perhaps brainstorming one now? I look forward to being inspired by you!

Model: Kyna Lian

Assistant: Kelly McGrady

Music by Cyra Morgan “Hummingbird”, licensed from SongFreedom.

24 thoughts on “Promoting Passion Week 58: Start to Finish

  1. Fantastic and inspiring as usual my friend. You have so much joy resonating from you and seeing you in your bliss is contagious. Thank you for being you and for sharing it with the world.

    I have to ask, who sings the song on the video? I am in love with it!

  2. Thanks to your inspirations, I am developing a series based on my friend who has a “monarch butterfly nursery”. The series will include a painting of a monarch, using egg tempera and gilding. The remainder of the series will be photos and composites. Excited!

  3. A very beautiful idea!! <3 I think I actually like the two pics just below the video best! The colours are lovely, it looks so natural.

    You asked for processes…I'm new to photography, so I need to plan a lot. I scribble down things and think of pictures I might take. Ideas often come from words to me, like the word tulipomania. I LOVE the word. And the flowers of course. Tulips have this dancy kind of thing about them, don't they? So I tried to get this idea into pictures. Tulips move when you watch them, sometimes they let a leave drop or they lift their heads when you give them water. So inspiring!! So I write things like this around my chosen word like a semantic cloud. And then I see what I need. I don't have many technical skills, technique follows my idea I guess. πŸ˜‰ So I look what I need and get the setting put up. The tulipomania happened in my living room because it was freezing outside.
    Colours are also very important before the shooting. I need to know what colours I will be working with. I chose gold and yellow for the tulipomania. And blue-ish white.
    Also: What happens with the character. Is it important to see the face? Or is it more about movements? This all is fix before I start. It's a lovely process. During the shooting I might change something or try out different kind of things. But it's mainly all in my head before the picture is in the camera. πŸ™‚

    Have a lovely day, Brooke! Thank you for your inspiring postings.

  4. Oh, Brooke, watching you create is mesmerizing. That is a beautiful image. I actually have been working on a series of pieces inspired by Maxfield Parrish using some architectural models that I found. I have three of hem on my facebook page:
    (In Her Element, Rhapsody, and The Staircase)

    I find that when I started creating, I would think it terms of one image that would tell a whole story. And while I still want all my images to be able to stand on their own, I do find that I am thinking more of collections that tell a story together. I have already have the idea for my next series based on a prop, and am brain storming ideas for poses and costumes.

  5. Hey Brooke! That’s such a great idea about looking through all your old work and seeing what things you like the most and creating more of the kind of work that speaks to you. I’m going to have to try that myself!
    As far a series go I have two I’m currently working on, but the one I’m currently most passionate about is my “Dust to Dust” series in which I create images of people turning into smoke. It’s kinda dark and scary but also beautiful in a strange way. I’m attempting to pose lots of questions. What’s happening? Why is it happening? Does it hurt? Is someone doing this to them? When they are completely smoke are they gone forever or perhaps transported to somewhere else? A lot of the themes running through my head when I create them are about death and what happens.

    You can see the series so far, here….

  6. So beautiful!! I have a secret project I am working on but every day I question myself..I’m not that good..why try? Thank you for the inspiration. Today I decide to try. πŸ™‚

  7. Oh my gosh, did I giggle to myself… Snap!!! Noticed a few seconds when you were working with an old phone as a prop… I have almost the exact same prop. I’ve used it in an image waiting in my files for processing.

    I’m working on a series of characters… The Knight (inspired partly by Lord of the Rings & partly by Game of Thrones) – I have shot these and processing them currently, then The Magician, The Warrior, The Viking and The Highlander… Got the models and some of the wardrobe ready, so working on getting these done throughout this year. Interesting part is the these will all be male models πŸ˜‰

  8. Thank you for sharing your process! I love being able to see how someone’s mind works when they are creating.

    My process is similar to yours. I find my inspiration for a photo, I map out that image through drawings and notes, I go out and shoot all of those elements on location if I can (I’m terrible at matching light in PS), shoot any elements later that I couldn’t, and then piece them all together. I like to work during magic hour as well. My magic hour, though, because I have kids, is usually in the early morning while everyone is still somewhat groggy from waking and my husband is home to help. I like to use locations that aren’t overly busy in the background but have ventured a little from that in order to test my creativity and problem solving.

    For this most recent series that I am working on my mode in getting inspiration is somewhat different than what I usually do. In my regular practices I wait for an image to pop into my head; an image I wasn’t necessarily seeking after. For this series that I’m calling “The Living Word” I am taking inspiration from scriptures that I read. I don’t always come away with an image whenever I read, but sometimes a verse or phrase gets stuck in my head and the more I ponder over it eventually it manifests itself into an image and I find it actually helps me understand what I read. It not only forces my creativity but I feel this series is helping me become a better person as I am contemplating more in my faith. If you’re interested you can view these images on my site:

  9. I only have a single word to describe what I just saw: Magical! Stunning! OK! Two words! πŸ˜€ It’s beautiful, Brooke! Congratulations! Once more, love the color palette. My initial process was to shoot and then think of the story to the image. But now, I think first, then I draw and only then I’ll shoot and edit. And that’s what I did in my last work. By the way! I hope to post, on Wednesday, the video Before & After that I did. The image has the title “we walk together” and was made for the contest of our dear Amani. And I must say, it was a great honor for me to edit a photo of Amani. I still work on my serious of sins, but I have others in brainstorming and that has to do with a text that I wrote 15 years ago. And I will end with this text.

    β€œDreaming. I will want always to dream. Living without dreaming is like having the eyes closed without trying to open them. Dreaming, allows a wish come true. It’s the constantly searching for a world that does not exist. Dreaming! Represents a figure with feelings and human actions, where the real dream has the shape that we want to. Let’s dream.”

    It was not easy to translate! I hope that makes sense! I wish you well and a lot of inspiration for you. <3

  10. How I love that birds nest, just wonderful! I managed to get myself out of my depression and start shooting again and I am so happy about that.

    My process is that I shoot the subject inside my house against a neutral backdrop and composite it with the background which is shot separately at another occasion. I feel free in that process since I can shoot whenever I have the time and urge. It is easier for me to do that than to plan a full photo shoot outside (which I am so doing some day, it looks like so much fun!). I usually use artificial lighting. The compositing is something that I really enjoy, photoshop is so much fun.

    Right now I am working on a series about the creatures/souls that I imagine are living in my basement. Some kind of restless souls, that are trapped down there. They are peaceful but kind of creepy, wandering around. The basement symbolizes my mind and the creatures my thoughts/memories. I think we all have memories that we wish weren’t there but still they define us in some way. Those memories that haunts us and will never be forgotten. I have had fantasies about these souls for a long time, so much that I have to work up the courage to go down and shoot the backgrounds without being afraid meeting them down there ;).

  11. Love this image so much Brooke!!! And it is so inspiring to see your process, it seems similar to mine =)
    My process is having a book with me at all times and writing and drawing ideas down as they seem to hit me at the oddest times, lol. I am working on a series right now, have 4 down of 10 that I would like to have and it is all about light and dark, sadness and hope. I didn’t realize it was a series until I looked at all the images and they all had a theme and tone, and all the ones I want to photograph, have the same theme. Seems this series is a lot about me and what I have gone through in my life, very healing while I am creating it.
    I can’t wait to see what you create next!
    Nikki =)

  12. Hey Brooke

    I love this video, the lighting, flow and peacefulness of it is beautiful. Your final image is exquisite as always, truly convaying your theme and concept. I’ve also had a bird theme recently where I photographed an image based around a canary (me in a yellow dress sat in a tree) and it’s symbolism of bring spiritual lightness and joy into your life.

  13. I love love love this image and I can’t wait to see the rest from this series!
    I’m still afraid of starting a series but I have an idea for one that I really want to do, and hopefully will soon. A while back I created an image called Words Unspoken, and that got me thinking about a song by Linkin Park called Roads Untraveled and how it would be fun to take some of the lyrics and turn them into pictures (“sights unseen”, “roads untraveled”, and add a few more of my own), then I’d call that series something like “Undone”. This is something I’m still thinking about and brainstorming ideas for, I don’t think I even wrote it down in my book yet.

  14. I love the concept of this series! Also something that i find popping up in most of my work, human relationship with nature πŸ˜‰ Currently I’m also still in the planning stages of a new series, called ‘Sanctuary Valley’… It is mainly about the place I live in, it has forest, sea, lagoon, all so beautiful and serene, feels so safe… But, all the shooting still needs to happen! Thank you for sharing this start to finish video Brooke! Amazing to see you working!

  15. I am so happy & thankful, that I have found you in the worldwideweb. Again you give more then we may expect. A big thank you from deep of my heart!
    And hello to Kelly, nice to see on the picture!
    Oh, I am just starting with those art pictures. I am not using any sketchbook, the ideas resp. the themes suddenly appear in my head, then I have to look for locations, dresses etc to bring my vision to life. Maybe I should try to fix it in a sketchbook, because sometimes I have more than one vision at the same time…..
    Kindest regards, Delesa

  16. Hey Brooke
    you are so inspiring. I bought your online classes and open up my mind about where to go with my photography. Now i know what to do. I really appreciate and thank you for sharing every moment of your passion.

    Thank you…

  17. Hey Brooke
    you are so inspiring. I bought your online classes and open up my mind about where to go with my photography. Now i know what to do. I really appreciate and thank you for sharing every moment of your passion.

    Thank you…

  18. hi brooke! i really admire your work, i’m argentinian and I speak a little of english, so that is a big problem to interpret the videos even your blog, which is not even allow me to translate because that option is blocked . I was wondering if you could do everything possible to reach another public speaking he admires you as I do . Best regards .

  19. Simply beautiful, pure and inspiring.
    I shall be spending my weekend watching all your videos, with the intention to start my own project, maybe something to do with ‘age & ageing’ as At 46 I am now grey and have stopped dying. The social implications , acceptance etc)…..
    Who knows what, but thank you for inspiring me and I look forward to this next journey.
    Pip x

  20. Before I watch the video I saw something different in this image. I saw it as a metaphor for what you do: raising a character up so that nothing is impossible. Here the bluebird waiting to be put in her nest.

    I’m still finding my way but typically my process is backwards at the moment. I go out with my camera and just let the photos happen. Often I find my theme while shooting, but more it happens when editing. One thing I want to try more of is planning and compositing, and I have lots of tips from you to help me πŸ™‚

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