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Fine Art Women's Portraits

Lesson 3 of 17

Posing Methods and Q&A

Jennifer Thoreson

Fine Art Women's Portraits

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

3. Posing Methods and Q&A

Lesson Info

Posing Methods and Q&A

normally I wouldn't do this of course and even in a workshop I haven't had the luxury of the time to do this but when I want to do is just look at these girls are about to photograph and verbalize I guess what I'm saying and what what I would start with and kind of body type and that kind of thing so so you know what's in my mind when I'm thinking or looking at a model somebody asked me tio when I choose a model what am I looking for andi I do I love a good is courageous spirit you know that that's very attractive to me what I'm looking for a model that's not something I can always see in the very beginning but I photographed a model named too narrow last week he was just she just had this she was effort messengers she was energetic um she would leap around when she was on offset or not being photographed she was just full of it you know and I knew you know while I'm not into that in my work I'm not trying to make it look that way I could take that energy and funnel it into something c...

razy and men she was wild could do some crazy stuff with her she's like yeah whatever let's do it so I can see you know when observing her interact with other people the way she is the way she talks tone of voice all that and figure out okay not so much of my trying to make a picture that represents merrill in that way trying to take that energy or what I'm seeing in her and translated that's the word again into my own thing so if you guys would come on over I guess we could just do one at a time we'll start and she's all ready for the next shoot so this is our hair a beautiful hair and makeup which I'm very excited about this look came from a julia margaret cameron inspiration so if you look at julie market campaigns work you'll see these victorian women who have their hair down and its wild and I've always loved it so that's where that came from when we put the crown on they're we have this kind of weight on the head and I really like even down to when I did the guy with the flowers on this on his head I like that idea of wait on the head I think it symbolizes where the springboard is in somebody's life you know that the congress sense of it and so all this focusing on the face and on the head okay so when I look at her and again this is not something I would ever say in front of a model or say to her something else and I wanted to mention before I talk about her is I don't give a model oppose before she's in it before she's over there so I wouldn't say to her okay if you would walk over there and tuck into like a fetal position and you know if I told her that was standing right here the onus is all on her so then when she goes over there and do it she feels full of responsible for that pose where if I put her over there okay and walk on the set for me okay let's just try right there in the middle and are you trying to use words like let's try what if maybe instead of do this make this turn this way what if we tried this so the onus is not on her the whole time it's us working together and if something's not quite right is it I take the responsibility for it so I have a walk go ahead walk onto said I'll say to her and work her I'll start her standing and then slowly work her into that field position which I was looking for I think when you tell somebody what to dio in the very beginning and they don't have any lead up into it you get less than ideal result because they're not seeing what you're seeing they're just trying to interpret something you said four five words so that's one thing to think about I mentioned earlier too that I intend to start with people standing and so when I'm looking at her I know she's she's about five eight right um and all these girls were thin you know so we don't have weight issues or anything like that extra extra anywhere which is just talk about it you know it's something to talk about because I can fold these girls into tiny little balls and there's gonna be a beautiful line in the corps right here I wouldn't do that with somebody who's heavier and people don't like to talk about weight and stuff but you have to deal with it um so we have that five eight she's she's not super tall ok she's tall but and she's taller than it so much is not the teat but I mean like I mentioned ahead models that are six foot tall or something crazy like that so I can use the length of your body observe her she looks more athletic to me do you run or anything yeah not that I'm psychic or something I could just look at a body type and feel like she's got some muscle that we can work with she's she looks strong and I love that that's going to be really fun so with her I might try something where she's balanced on just her hands or we do something where she's balance back here on just your head or something like that and see and I'm not trying to have a beginning but I know she's got some core strength and some arm strength I can actually see little bicep muscles here when I look at her arms her legs are strong so I could even try something which is up on her toes and balanced on her head or something like that I don't know but I wouldn't be afraid to push her strength wise and there was a position and as I'm photographing her I'm gonna watch how flexible she is in the very beginning we'll start with some suffers she's just moving on her feet and I'll start to move record a little bit more if she has strengthened flexibility they were gonna go nuts in the end just really crazy stuff but I can't see in the beginning that we've got some strength to deal with um her arms are about normal length and I talked about the other day that's the girl I could touch your shoulder you know and I do all kinds of crazy stuff with people's arms and stuff I'll probably keep her arms a little bit more simple one because they're not super long they're normal second because their muscular and so that muscular if I tried to press him against too much that kind of thing is good it's going to make a larger line so I'll probably keep alarms were simple just trying to kind of go through what I would be thinking about when I look at her when I start a session okay thank you and we'll photograph for soon it's gonna be fun come on over sorry I didn't say your name earlier um okay so I was wholly different body type right and I almost hesitate to say these things in front of people but these guys are all in this together right um okay so about five eight still write but I look at her and like I said I don't know this but I think that she is going to be more flexible less muscular so I would start with of course standing closes and then move into something where I'm going maybe tuck her into a tiny little ball uh because she's got this little frail lines that are gonna work that way she has a long core that I can I can see that so and she has long arms yeah so this is going to be amazing to work with in the tiny little arms too so their arms are going to make beautiful long mean interesting line so we could do all kinds of things with him her core is also really small and frail looking so those poses where I'm bending somebody like this or like this and arching the back like a mad catz or think she's perfect for that okay where I might not balance her on her head we might we'll see how it goes you know for strength or something I think we've got willowy body to work with totally different body time okay and look how long her naked which is unbelievably beautiful so beautiful so we'll play with that too I mean a profile shot of her and I just have you turned I just looked up for me that's I mean pushed the button right there right she has an incredible look and an interesting face interesting features in her face and a gorgeous long night when you sometimes the simplest answer is the bet just okay we'll see you in just a few minutes and come on over way have three models today so it's gonna be fun amazing hair he was so beautiful so they told me you were seventeen right sixteen okay so I asked actually someone in your mom's here somewhere right hi um this morning you were sitting there and I said um she how will this do you know how old is that model it's just like I'm not sure but I could see I don't know I'm trying to do to be perceptive she's working on her was a biology homework chemistry homework yeah so that youth you know I'm trying to I want to try to use that because it's different and it's interesting so I like to photograph girls that are like fourteen fifteen sixteen there's a really weird tension in that in that time of her life something try to translate that just her age is interesting alone but you're about what five nine yeah um so again just so if you'll turn to the side for me we have yeah she's got these beautiful long arms tiny long arms so I'll be using those a lot and long long legs so I could I could bend her in a chair I could put it on the edge of the chair I could have her stand on the chair and archer back like something like that and she's got a gorgeous frail little line that I can play with proposing we turn back to the front for me also her face isn't all three of these girls have beautiful faces so and I'm not saying people don't have pretty faces but let's just keep it real you know some people have really interesting faces that I'm going to focus I would put her arms up around her face all day long to get that energy right smack on her face and her features so we'll do a lot of this kind of stuff you know directing using the angles to go right back up to the angelic face that she has also I'm kind of interested in this transition from youth to adulthood right so we're gonna play I'll probably play with garments on her there a little bit different um symbols that certain certain like there's all kinds of these big beautiful leaves out there for instance I might take something like that and put it here almost like a shield but she's protecting yourself something like that quiet pictures I see for her more quiet withdrawn balanced theory then with tell me your name I'm so sorry rachel I would I would want to go with rachel the first model that we looked at aa lot mohr energetic and maybe a little bit more of a sexual energy something like that and again were to say that right in front of you but it's what I would do versus her which I would keep you know small it's still in quiet the whole time okay thank you very much okay so I think we're going to spend some time talking and answering some questions that came in before it really has anything of course questions about what we just talked about bring him in and I always say the same thing at the same exact thing you guys have any questions feel free to jump in at any point um anytime during today obviously does anyone have a question because we always have plenty online so you're not required right cannon what do you have to start off with just a question from julie ray photography do always use models or do you also do self portrait it's actually did a whole series of self portrait it's a little thin for five years ago now but it's really hard to turn the camera on yourself yes it is but it's a really interesting exercise to do that because you start to see these really interesting vulnerabilities insecurities show up again and again and again physically and emotionally and so I try to take those things and infuse them into what I was doing and it really made a difference and how sensitive I wass when I was photograph they're people but generally speaking I did try to put myself in the fabric room thing and I just didn't I'm more interested in kind of imparting feelings or using like I use the word surrogate earlier on someone else then I I I think it's too literal in a sense to put my myself in the picture perfect segue way this question from a damian is a photo session emotionally draining for you the model and anyone else home yes yes absolutely always may I'm always emotionally drained in the end you know I feel like I've exhausted everything I've got in there I'm trying really hard to be present like we talked about and when it's over I feel almost ill sometimes like like I'm gonna faint and when I talked to my models don't tell mei often wow that was an emotional experience you made me feel this way or that way or while I was in this suppose I felt this way and it is interesting the here feedback from them but in the end when you see the whole thing fall apart it's like everybody is drained tired yeah how long are is a typical day was it over multiple days for one model one set it depends on the work for women's portrait like this it would be to anywhere from two to three hours yeah if I'm doing like personal work or I like the work I do for composite that's a little bit and can I just ask you to clarify that for people when you talk about when you talk about your fine art woman's portrait ce are those for those that commissioned pieces versus your personal projects right it's both so I had my my like I said two worlds kind of where I photograph a lot of women first of all that's just a passion of mine I love to photograph women so I'll do it as personal work sometimes sometimes it's commissioned sometimes it's like fashion oriented um but that is kind of that life and one section of what ideo and the other section is my my fine artwork I would call it like the fabric room and stuff like that just totally different however I mean I think the language is overlap and you could see that it's the same maker um I do a few commission for to see you but not very many at all in fact cut it way back because trying to focus on this new project that I'm doing um do about three or four year thank you all right well speaking of intensity chris had asked can you clarify talk more about how you build intensity during your suit yeah on dh hopefully when we do this later you'll start to able to see that um the very first thing I start with like I said it a few times a standing post and I'm looking like I'll just look right at you right into her face you know write your eyes and I'll use my hands like literally feel like I'm trying to build like pull air upward you know and when I'm working with a pose and okay you know using certain words like a lot of energy in your core intensity in the body okay and then I'll start to get almost breathless sometimes when I'm working up a pose and then she's kind of going with me and I can see whether it's happening or not um but pose and the very first one is hard to do that there's air quiet and then as I moved through the session and we're doing something a little bit more intense I try to use the correct language that helps intone voice and my own body to energize her I don't know if that makes any sense but I think I like you said we're going to see you yeah and actually a little that'll show up a little bit cool etc another cool do we have any in our studio audience everyone's mesmerized open go ahead uh where exactly do you find your models do you pay them or they friends or all of the above well I don't pay them I haven't paid anybody well some of them are friends some of them I get from if I'm bred sense if I was in colorado which I was last week I would call an agency and she would send me photographs and things like that and I do look for certain features if I'm going to choose a model why I love an innocent face you know kind of a a gn weathered innocent bright wider set eyes you know it's a little bow pink lips things like that I'm really attracted teo as far as a model on photograph abs I like light features blonde hair red hair that kind of thing only because it works so well with the palate that I'm interested in that white palate so I'm going to choose somebody directly that's what I'm laughter but I get model from all kinds of different sources and some of them are people who just want to be photographed and things like that so all kinds another question is from dana ellis do you sketch out the idea first or get an idea and build it on set with the model as you go and we saw you just analyze the models themselves yeah that's a good question so when I made medic which would look that really briefly I had every single image totally sketched out so it was I mean I could I could tell you down to where the thing was going to be plugged into the wall how it was gonna look andi I felt really good about that and I had titles for every single one all that stuff after the crash and burn moment life I find that I don't like to do that anymore so I allow a lot more space for discovery now so I'll start building something and kind of see see what I see in it and let it evolve naturally on its own which I think is a lot harder but the intention is pure and it ends up being a lot more resonant I think in the end if I let it it developed that way and when I photograph women I have no plan I'm just starting with with what I see in the body what I think is possible and when I start experimenting with her I just can't kind of go with that energy but I don't have plan question from mo throw by putting your heart and soul into your art how do you cope with criticism public opinion or does it not matter because you have realized your vision that's good um I've decided that it doesn't matter so the part that does matter is the good part so if somebody see something I met a woman who had a really tough family tragedy a couple years ago I met her in australia and I talked to her for a while after a presentation and I gave and she told me that she saw something in my work that helped her cope with that issue that's what I'm after so if I can get that to happen I'm you know it's worth it's worth everything to help I'm kind of looking for kindred spirits out there like hey does anybody hurt the same way I do hey has anybody ever felt this way and so when someone says yes I have it helps me to I guess feel that I've done what I needed to dio sense if somebody criticizes it it really doesn't bother me which sort of strange it seems like it would but it's the people that get it or that it's not even a sense of getting in but identify with it that make it all worthwhile over you right uh we have a another question from al etc from virginia this is lee when you first found your style in search of photograph women this way how did you market yourself to people who appreciate these kinds of portrait's and maybe I don't know if you were going to talk about this later but maybe a little bit about how you god into the galleries where you do have your yeah um the first thing I did a ce faras getting into galleries was go to photo fasten you sent invention I really quickly but it's a really good one photo lucida in portland there's photo nolan new orleans those are you consider across the table from somebody for I think it's twenty minute session there's curator gallery owners publishers all kinds of people so I took my work the first time and showed it to them the very first reviewer and the very first reviewer I said when it literally took the work and pushed it back in my face and said it's it's it's nothing excuse me uh you know for someone to say it's not you broke my heart it was really hard to hear that you know so that's when I started it had built up a tougher skin since then but the next review of the next review of both it's not our thing at our thing it's it's elementary and then the fourth reviewer on that with pot she said you know this is it this is what we've been looking for and I was like so you just never know you can't let yourself fall apart at that point but um ended up with I don't four five shows out of that that experience from the first work of the baptism work so that's a good idea and I sent some stuff into galleries just on cd a lot of galleries if you look at their websites have a submission period three months out of that a year something like that that's a good time to submit when I found doesn't work is walking into a gallery of work and saying well you look at this or sending work when they say not to doesn't work but those two months have been pretty trying true for me as far as the women's portrait ce I photograph weddings forever so I had a little bit of a client base in there people who wanted maternity core for its beauty portrait people who were getting into their forties fifties and wanted a beauty portrait I had clients already that we're repeat clients that's where that started and then I was able to kind of maneuver that a little bit now if I do a commission portrait it's usually somebody who's calling me from somewhere and travel and go on location to do it but I didn't want very many also it's another part of that equation so I'm not looking for a hundred of these a year I'm looking for three or four so that's it there's not a lot of people who want this thank you it's because I found my little niche that I fit into and people if they do want that that that I'm the person to I thought this was an interesting question I've never quite seen anything like this this is from adrian for in england he's also a regular on creative live and he asked do you ever get tired of looking at your own work from the process of taking a picture editing at sharing it over and over again we look at our own pictures a lot how can we make sure we do not grow tired of them I do you get sick of them I told my fiance the other day I was like I'm sick of myself I'm sick of what I do I'm sick of looking at myself you know it happens but I think that is a really special point because if if you get to the point where you're sick of yourself um that's that little vulnerability you could stick a needle into and make it hurt for a minute and then in my case twice I had to completely start over you know and push the reset button sometimes is a little reset just going ok I'm sick of it what can I do now is that time too it's the decor shindo you're at that point where you're those creative non creative days and you say all right I need to regenerate something's gotta change but I think a lot of people get to this point this point that's the non creative or they're sick of themselves and it just it just stays there for a very very long time because I don't and I'm guilty of this too it takes a lot of energy and a lot of passionate commitment to actually change yourself it's hard and it's hard to recognize that it needs to be done but if you're able to see that and interject something that makes it more interesting it yeah I mean that's how I've gotten to this point and it started to chip away stuff and change myself and narrow my focus from our dark bill what is your creative thought process for selecting your props and your sets and says they certainly are unique and fellini esque yeah um I try as much as I can to use and found objects in the area that we're photographing so here we have lots of brush and that kind of fingers big twig sticks things like that we're gonna use stuff like that just found an inorganic area I'm really interested in this idea of an organic process so I'm not bringing in lights or props or excessive costumes I don't like makeup artists on set things like that nothing I don't love them but a cz muchas aiken so the whole idea is what is absolutely not necessary needs to go so um bringing in a whole suitcase full of things to work with it's distracting to me even if they're really cool I get overwhelmed and I also like the price I get really nervous before I photograph I'm really nervous and sometimes to the point because I'm such an introverted person extremely so that it interferes with how how nice that we're good the portrait there going to be I get so nervous so what I'll do is go around and collect things and call myself and slow myself down my heart I can literally feel my heart beat up in my throat before I photograph somebody and if I walk around and slow myself down start collecting things see something that gives me an idea it's a little little little doses of inspiration it helps me and so when I'm ready to start I can feel that settlement well jen I'm really excited to watch you shoot and watch your process but I will say that I really enjoy this queue in the questions with you you're so articulate you just have such an incredible way of expressing um just your sensitivity and intensity at the same time I just really really appreciate that

Class Description

Are you ready to delve into the magical world of fine art photography? Join innovative and award-winning photographer Jennifer Thoreson for an immersion into everything you need to know to conceptualize, style, and shoot photographs that double as works of art.

Jennifer will share her unique method for turning a natural setting into a fine art studio, including her one-of-a-kind-technique for creating water portraits. You’ll master the essential principles of posing, lighting, styling, and costuming. Jennifer will also cover working effectively with models, communicating your personal vision, and using Photoshop to add a fine-art-style polish to images.

By the end of this course, you’ll be inspired and empowered to bring a new level of artistry to your photographs.


a Creativelive Student

I can't review the course as I haven't seen it yet, but I am buying it. I'm buying it based on the one free session on inspiration. I was so moved by who Jennifer is and her courage and commitment. I want to know her; be her friend, because she is so fearless and courageous. She admits that it took a long time for her to find her path. She reminds us again and again that it is hard -- art is hard. She was inspired by amazing paintings -- I completely understand why they inspired her, and in the direction that they did. I can't wait to watch this whole course, because I can't wait to witness more of Jennifer and her courage, her creativity, and her big lioness heart.

Joshua Pheneger

Jennifer is a talented and genuine artist with a gentle soul. Her perspective on how to approach the creative process and how to "quiet the little voices" and practice quiet observation are very helpful. I have been tremendously inspired by this course and I feel as though I am a better artist for having participated. Thank you for bringing this wonderful artist to the amazing creativeLIVE community.

Laura Arrowsmith

I love her work and her teaching. Her perspective is so beautiful and inspiring. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with her in Colorado this summer and it was a life-changing experience. The location was spectacular. Jennifer is so brilliant, yet so warm and friendly. I really just don't have enough glowing adjectives to describe this event.