Comprehensive Photographic Art Nude Course - Shoot then Edit

During April, Lauren and I ran a half day Photographic Art Nude course at WEA college in Sydney. As a follow up to that course, and also a response to some enquiries, we have put together a course that will suit the most people so as to reduce costs. The cost of the WEA course was very cheap and affordable, but unfortunately we just can’t price it the same way. As far as content goes, we think this will work:

Day 1 - 4 hours (afternoon)

 Shooting at a selected location at La Perouse that has great and varied natural light.

  • Genre: Art Nude
  • Lighting: various natural light configurations are possible
  • Working with models and/or non models
  • Developing your creative voice 

Day 2 - 4 hours

Editing and style guidance at an indoor location. You will need a computer with one of these programs installed. We’ll have one computer available at the workshop with both programs installed for demo purposes. If you use a different editing program, let us know.

  •  Lightroom: using LR for cataloguing and editing
  •  Photoshop: editing
  •  Developing your creative voice and style (cont'd)

We’ve left this workshop content fairly open in order to address and accommodate the specific needs and desires of the individual participants. We would really like you to come away from this workshop having learned want you really needed to know. 


  • 2 people  $520 pp
  • 3 people $350 pp
  • 4 people or more : $300 pp

If you are interested, let us know what you think - the next thing we need to do is arrange two dates that will suit; please give us some days that work for you and we can take it from there. Let’s make this happen!

We will both be away early July for our exhibition in Melbourne, and after that, Lauren returns to live in New Zealand. This leaves us only a small window to arrange and run this course before then. 

PS: If the above course content doesn't suit your needs, we are available for private workshops but the cost will be more than quoted above. Let us know if you are interested in this option. 

One of the images from the WEA workshop

Lauren at the La Perouse location

Lauren and Waiton at La Perouse

Waiton and Lauren at La Perouse

What Are You Looking For When You Look Through the Viewfinder?


This article is a snippet from a larger article that explores how to achieve your personal voice as an artistic photographer. The full article is in Vanilla Life Issue #2, which will be out soon - 15% discount for all newsletter subscribers. More specifically it discusses how to find what it is you're looking for when you look through the viewfinder, and then how to go about creating the images that represent whatever it is you are looking for. It's for mature photographers looking to take their work beyond a visual snapshot of reality into a more artistic space and it's based within the context of shooting a muse or model. 

I always think back to something a gallery owner said to me years ago. “Your work is fantastic Mike, technically perfect in every way, but any technically proficient photographer could have taken it - what are you saying with your photographs?” This is a fairly typical comment from a gallery owner/curator, or from any art critic for that matter, and it made me think long and hard (after getting over the initial shock!). Art galleries need to see meaning and depth in work, they care little about aesthetics and beauty if that’s all there is to it.

Whether it’s painting, sculpture or photography, an artist’s personal style revolves around what they feel, how they see, and what they look for - inside themselves and in life. Many think it’s the particular editing style (photography), or colour palette choice (painting) that gives the work it’s final look. That helps, but it’s only a very small component of an artist’s personal style. 

Article continued in Vanilla Life Issue #2, where I provide a 4 step approach to achieving your personal artistic style. Issue #1 is available here - print or digital download versions available.

Personal Mentoring

I am available as a personal mentor to help photographers develop to the next level. You work on your own projects and I provide goals and exercises for you to complete each month. We review the work together and I provide feedback and guidance to the next phase of development. I'm also available for limited time during the mentoring period on an informal basis via email or Facebook messenger. 

References are available from photographers who have been a part of a mentoring program. I do love this style of teaching/tutoring - don't hesitate to drop me a line if you'd like to know more about it.

Just get in touch via the contact page on my website.

A group of happy photographers! The lovely folks who attended the one day Photographic Art Nude course at WEA College in Sydney last month. This course was written and tutored by Lauren Michelle and myself and was the first course of its kind in the country as far as we know.

NO HANDS - The Exhibition

Lauren Michelle and Mike Stacey are excited to bring the multi-media presentation 'NO HANDS' to SOMA Gallery in July 2018.

NO HANDS is an exhibition of photographs, drawings, paintings, poetry, installation artworks and a short film wall projection.

Through various mediums, both artists disentangle the varied emotional states of depression and bring light to the surrounding misconceptions.

We feel the work is powerful, while at the same time being thought provoking and emotionally stimulating. It has all just 'come together' really quickly - like it was meant to happen. 

On show at SOMA Gallery, Melbourne. 11th-21st July 2018. Opening night to be announced!

A Note on the Photography in the Exhibition

A large sector of my current photographic network is centred around model photography, often 'art nude' or 'portraiture'. The stills in the exhibition are neither art nude or model photography. They are probably portraiture - with many being conceptual representations of the theme, and while they are images of Lauren, the intent was not to portray a particular person. It's also not intentionally about 'beauty' - although I see much beauty in all of the work - through all the mediums that we're using. The work has a strong intent and concept underpinning it. We both look forward to sharing this work with you in Melbourne.

Instagrams: @lauren_michelle_artist and @staceymikephoto


And there is another announcement coming soon - for the work we did last year during a road trip to the South Australian desert. Coming soon...

Vanilla Life Magazine Issue #1

The first issue of Vanilla Life is out now.

Quality editorial edgy fashion-nude photography, mostly shot on film, home processed, scanned and edited. The first five have already gone at the introductory price to blog subscribers only. Many images have not been published anywhere before. Grab a print copy or a downloadable one from the following link. 

  • $22.50 for a print copy plus postage (about $13 in Oz)
  • $5.50 for a high res downloadable PDF copy.
  • Or grab both for $22.

Subscribe to this blog at for bargains on Issue #2 of the mag which is almost ready to go to print.

Vanilla Life Magazine, Issue #1. April 2018.

By Mike Stacey in Vanilla Life Magazine

70 pages, published 4/18/2018

Fashion nude and edgy editorial portrait photography by Australian photographer Mike Stacey.

In Future Issues

Much of my editorial style shooting (which is most of what I do) won't be posted on social media. One or two, then the rest published in the mag, or to another mag - which has often been the case in the past. What will be in there? The stuff I shoot of course :) Which ranges from my own style of emotive and artful portraiture shot on film with my established workflow and gear, to nude art, to sensual, erotic; to my style of edgy fashion and story-based shooting (acknowledgements for inspiration to Lindbergh and Tran).

There is a lot of work in my archives that hasn't been published over previous years and even recently. The next post will have some examples.


Loz and I had planned for a big day in a local abandoned building where we’d shot back in 2016. We’d discussed a few of her ideas and as usual I was in the dark a bit! I’ve learnt to not worry about that and just go with it. Her ideas are usually more conceptual than literal. When it comes to shooting something, I tend to be looking for something concrete to latch onto because I'm actually thinking about OK what do I point the camera at; but often the ideas haven’t formed fully until shoot time and that’s fine. Scripting just doesn’t work and never has for us. Best to just have a starting point and start working, letting things evolve organically at the moment of shooting. There will be mistakes, but mistakes is the wrong word, and these are usually left included in the final edit. Perfection takes the edge of things, and pushes things toward a more polished outcome, which is not the goal. My compositions during shooting often don’t adhere to the usual formulas and are deliberately random – whilst still being carefully designed. Things can be ‘wrong’ but they have to be ‘wrong’ in the ‘right’ way.

Lauren painting.

I’ve approached my video work in the same way I approached still photography over 35 years ago. I deliberately didn’t want to learn from someone else how to do it. And I didn’t want all the technical rubbish. I literally started by switching the camera to video mode and shooting. My life has been engineering and maths, this couldn’t be the same, and that approach seems to have worked just fine. My left brain doesn’t work well in creative mode. So the end result is you’ll see sketchy pans, skewed compositions, rough timing and then all the rest in the edit too. That all works perfectly for the kinds of ideas we’ve realised with video.

Apollo, with eyes.

So, this was the chat convo a couple of nights before the shoot:

Loz: "Now I just need a heart hahaha. Got any local butchers that would have an animal heart?"
Me: "Oh dear...
Loz: "Haahahaah".
Me: "Serious though? "
Loz: "Yeah"

So next morning I shopped around for a few hearts, not knowing how they would be used. Didn’t need just one, but a few. Got a 4 pack at Woolies in Katoomba – they looked like hearts too and were a good size so all good. Oh, some gaffa tape was required, so I got that too.

Lauren and Apollo.

So we shot about 4 videos in the end I think (plus stills), HEART being one of them toward the end. All up we were shooting continuously without a break for about 10 hours. Then I lost my phone kind of.

We both ended up both editing and assembling the pieces into the final sequence. I found some cool music for it and voila.

More videos currently on the editing table. Stay tuned…


Please read Lauren's description of the concept behind the film. That's what it's all about and it's a concept that's important. 

Concept: Lauren Michelle
Featuring: Lauren Michelle
Video: Mike Stacey
Edit: Mike Stacey & Lauren Michelle
Music: Ori and Humanfobia - 'Lux Entities Invasion'
Filmed in the Blue Mountains, January 2018

And finally here's some random footage of me shooting Lauren painting and Apollo being cute...