Brooke Shaden is a very different kind of woman. That much is obvious as soon as you see her. She’s clearly a soft-spoken, dreamy girl—right?

What becomes clearer as you listen and watch her work, as I did during her recent workshops on creating fine art portraits and on “Creating Impact in a Dull Space” is the clarity of vision, not to mention some hard-core technical skill that belies her soft presence.

Shaden has created a distinctive brand and look with her fine art portrait photography. She has something to teach, and she is willing to share it with the rest of us. Looking at her photographs, you can’t mistake them with anyone else’s work.

Shaden creates fantasy worlds and uses herself or friends as models in each one. She creates as much as possible in-camera, and then brings formidable postediting skills to the finishing of each piece, until her signature look is created.

This is one profile in a series about photographers to follow in 2014. These are people who are doing groundbreaking photographic work and who teach the rest of us how to do it too. They fit the PhotographyTricks motto: spreading passion for life through photography.