Skip to main content

Fine Art Women's Portraits

Lesson 9 of 17

Shoot: Couture Gown in Forest Scene

Jennifer Thoreson

Fine Art Women's Portraits

Jennifer Thoreson

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

9. Shoot: Couture Gown in Forest Scene

Lesson Info

Shoot: Couture Gown in Forest Scene

or just okay so I'm just going to kind of try moving your right a little bit of sea where the light's going toe kind of fall nicely just kind of go this way a bit that's good but the height of the branches probably better that way so let's see if we got shade over there one more step maybe no I'm I'm just staring at you right in the back you up a little bit straight toward the ranch that'll work I think okay can I have you just grab that branch above your head with both hands maybe one on each side yeah let's try overlapping the hands so they're connected there you go yeah so if you could just kind of use that branch too to pull your way and sort of kind of let yourself fall yeah beautiful that's killa um you okay there from woman and tell them I'm at I s o four hundred um at two eight an aperture priorities I'm letting the camera do a lot of the work so I can just kind of rock n roll do use my exposure compensation a lot so it's a nice tour all right so again I'm seeing a square crop ...

all right so really kind of let yourself and your head can go this white beautiful so pretty um while we're waiting so I can't see the back of my camera right now so you guys know what I'm looking over there for an exposure I was going to get a base and then I can rock n roll with her so we talked a lot about kind of introducing um yourself to a model and getting to know them a little bit eso again just like I've done with every other model the photograph I'm just going to start with basic stuff stuff there's a little bit easier on the body before we get really involved or try to twist and turn and balance wait stuff like right now I'm standing about it's amazing tree that I have all kinds of cool ideas for and this is beautiful but I need something calmer today we're going to get to know each other a little bit for a while and you said that you are and you're like fifteen or sixteen right yeah so we talked a little bit about yesterday kind of addressing the idea of youth in that kind of stuff so don't play with that sum I mean she's stunning stunning so that's already in our in our court to play with with this kind of address you don't have to find waistline as much and sometimes I'll go in and halfway put a belt around it or something he's a willowy flowing kind of um gentle lines gentle curves things aren't sharp that kind of stuff is kind of what I'm heading toward so I'm just this graceful swan like woman in the woods sort of thing how we doing over there okay how many questions over there yeah you guys are all hand or do you have a mic okay we got a mite oh did you we have a josh just know mike all right have a good driver mike you like that one I did do you ever make permanent dresses no and that's a good question I don't know how to sew so I'm getting married in a month and I really wish I knew how to uh but I don't so adult yeah thank you okay that'll dio thank you did you have a question yes I did you mentioned exposure compensation was a real good thing but I'm not quite sure what you're doing there sure so if I'm a temperature priority and this works in I think it works and shot a priority to know I never used that um I can pick an aperture it's going to pick the shutter speed for me and there's a little slider appear on my camera that I can see kind of a grid that's minus three stops and plus three stops so I can just buy the touch of a button so if it's a bit hot I could just pull it down half a stop with its poster compensation without actually going in like in manual mode and adjusting and f stop or something like that so it's going to do a lot of the hard work for me and I could just say well it's a bit dark when we pump it up half a stop it quick really quick I wanted not what I was shooting weddings because I needed something fast I didn't have to think about heart and immediately I'm not a very technical person I just this is kind of the worst part for me and I know a lot of people love technique I don't so I get it and I know what I need to know but I make it as easy as possible so I don't have to think about it very much yeah okay let's try this again I am in the woods for reals fabulous okay let's try to line up those hands one more time so they're connecting together yes you kind of peeking through your elbows that's beautiful home a goodness even if I'm going to go ahead and completely overlap the hand so there and the hand that's on top is it possible actually let's reverse them so the other hand's on top we see a few fingers coming around ideally so their hands look really flat I know you need him for weight but if you could turn him as gently as possible when you're pulling yourself and try to loosen him up a little bit yeah so if you use your backhand for the way the front hand could be a little looser beautiful that's great I'm kind of overdue the bed thing as much as you khun is yeah that's cool what about that same idea but the arms so you're kind of if you turn your body that way yeah you make a kind of a bin from the side so I think both hands will go up similarly and you just face your whole body that direction and see where we end up try letting yourself all the bend the other way and see what happens so you're kind of arching your back yeah we're getting there um do I have my assistant somewhere can you just pull her dress the other direction so it gets we get that longer line we could even try just using one hand and let the other one be free and see what happens and you let me know what the limit is if you feel like you're gonna fall try bending the other direction so let yourself go that way with your arm yeah yeah that's gonna be great can you bring your feet up the mountain just a little bit yeah so we're kind of overdoing this and I just need to see a little of the arm there we go question so pretty see if you can yeah really push it that's great chin up just a little bit eyes closed for me are you okay there let's do it one more time and see if we can kind of shove your face into that nook of you're the crook of your arm more time yeah that's gorgeous and the other hand could just be yeah kind of broken doll beautiful okay we're just going to keep working this angle because it's really really pretty let's try both hands one more time go ahead and line them up yeah yeah I didn't like him both around back actually that's pretty so we see your arms can we line up the hand so they're one on top of each other beautiful okay so let's change it up just a touch if you penelope um we're kind of arms this way and face so your profile to me you're going to face out toward the river were whatever that is and kind of go like like a bow this way yeah and then like you're you're kind of your belly go that direction so you become kind of ah a c shape and again if we can pull her dress okay so grab on and go ahead and overlap the hands again and let yourself bow that direction if you can so your head will go through yeah yeah that's gorgeous is there a way to hold your weight with just the left hand and let the right hand fall okay so if you turn your face this is gonna be good once you get in that position kind of turn your face back toward me yeah okay so a moment ago I'm just playing right now just looking we had both hands up there and your your face that I was able to see your face on the other side of your arm so this arm could come back this way quite a bit both of them actually could come yeah that way we can really see your face and then let yourself fall through there it wouldn't get yeah that's a wicked girl yeah I just kind of overdue it as much as you possibly can that's beautiful eyes closed for me good what happens if you let your head fall back all the way that's gorgeous it's going to see a little more your face so that exact thing and try dropping the front arm down yeah second kind of a deadpan arm and the head can come back as far as possible beautiful beautiful amazing things okay let's bring you back this other direction I kind of have you face uphill a little bit I'm doing just experimenting a little bit and I told you yesterday again I wouldn't say this to her in front of her but I'm playing around to see what's possible a little bit the last shot is an experiment I wouldn't actually show her that image I'm trying to feel around a little bit and see kind of how far we can go I guess because we're about to put her in this tree over here so I'm playing displaying a couple of those so I said you really love but I'm just saying with possible okay um let's try both hands up on this kind of reaching forward quite a bit yeah so you can let yourself kind of be at an angle if you can are sure back just a little bit yeah I let your head fall back the other way maybe not even quite so far yeah right about there and as delicate as khun b on that you see the little branches that's coming up above that little tiny one can you kind of gently grab that and turn your hand to the side a little bit yeah if you could reach up even a little further so you're kind of just in your fingertips that's beautiful if you just turn the handle a little bit more yeah beautiful okay and then the head can just kind of gently fall back you could still kind of look toward me a little bit that's gorgeous try pressing those shoulders down as far as they'll go their beautiful heads falling right there beautiful beautiful nothing in there so pretty by an over yes good one more you doing beautiful things eyes closed for one impressing those shoulders way down good okay fall apart a moment we're just um I have something for her toe sit on under there yeah yeah or even I don't know if it's too much of an incline we'll see what happens once you get over there what happens if she stands on it is there a way to make it really secure or is it to incline e it would need to be right under the branch though okay so that's not actually should be right where she standing if you guys trade places yeah yeah I don't know if you don't feel like you could stand on that just tell me well okay that's wicked gorgeous yeah the arms exactly exactly what happens if the arms extend a little bit and you just wrap yourself around yeah like a you're part of the tree if you can let your hips kind of sway to one side and you pick then let your head fall the same way your hips that's beautiful oh my goodness I'm gonna back up a little bit I'm trying to get a little bit longer focal length so the background becomes a little less busy so trying to get seventy millimeters if I can come be friends with you and I can't get quite they're buying get close chin down a tiniest bit more right there just watching from exposure for a moment since we moved or yet to make her glow a little bit more and in regards to all that dappled sunlight I'm really digging it because we talked about how I love light just to kind of fall on people and those little glowing bits are like luxury to me I love them turn up quite a bit now let's see what that looks like kind of like your lean your head back on the branch yeah and I love that she looks like eight feet tall just kind of eerie and beautiful the same just kind of floating try the head maybe going the other direction now so you're kind of bask in your face and that little tree light that's right maybe even more if you just kind of letting let's try one profile so if you look a little bit behind you arms in the same spot yeah and then let your head fall back towards your hand gorges and eyes closed good relax for a moment as best you can up there one day of course I didn't mention was this arc of the branch and I like it so it's one definitive graphic line that I like and I talked to yesterday about background and I'm looking for a blank canvas kind of thing this is not an exception but it's just a variation of that idea because behind her is really kind of there's nothing much and I picked this spot because it can go out of focus back there this one graphic element will look great in a square and it's giving her kind of a leading line and all that kind of stuff if you want to call it that okay um is there I don't want you all if you bring your arms behind your head but behind the branch to yeah like like a little bird so the fingertips going go towards her face like wings you're getting spd exactly exactly that possible on the other side I love that so pretty and let your head I think fall toward this hand kind of like you're gracing your face that the fingertips lovely I think you know just a touch oh my god that's that's beautiful your eyes closed okay another crazy idea what if the branch comes in front of you so you duck your head behind it yeah and if you use it and kind of pull it down somehow and I'm not sure where we're going we're just kind of playing right now yeah you could push down on it like that and use the other arm in a similar way the other arm could even reach out that way maybe you kind of drape itself somehow yeah so what happens now if you just kind of lay your head that's a lovely lovely lovely the hand it's in the front if it just kind of rotates either way yeah that's beautiful right there well your face down toward your hands just a touch if you can kind of really pushing in that direction yeah is it possible to bring this arm up and over and still pushed down on the branch so your hand is kind of up here uh kind of like on your face yeah kind of that's lovely so pretty I love that arm we take this one and somehow intertwine it yeah and then let it come back is it possible to do that so you're kind of tangled in the tree yeah yeah killer eyes closed for just a moment so pretty a minute ago as you were getting into deposition you kind of did this on the branch underneath it so your face was kind of pressing up on the branch so if you bring that ranch on top your head again and then yeah exactly where you're going now yeah yeah so ideally and we have to be careful because of the balance we can make you kind of a c shape so your hip would go that way a little bit in that position yeah let's see if it's possible yeah oh my goodness I love that this hand are you using your right for support okay then let's keep that there the other one can it toe intertwined like it wass yeah and if your head can really drop into your arm that's so beautiful but the head dropped us faras it'll go yes perfect oh my gosh okay fall apart gorgeous let's get her out of harm's way me too actually if there's any questions from the steel yeah go free if you could expand a bit more on the dappled light I've always heard that it should be avoided but you see I'm going for it yeah I mean that's a good point because a lot we'll do avoid it and so I was uh referencing a painter yesterday the name of pino p I n no who is contemporary but he died a few years ago who would paint that way so I would paint a woman in a sunroom and little dappled light was coming through the curtains and just like if you look on her face right now I love that because it's not right and there's little it's just behaving on her and dancing on her face without being manipulated and controlled because a lot of times I think these photographers were so into technique and control of everything that we sometimes forget to look and see that that's really beautiful you know and I don't mind it being a little bit bright or blown out in places I like that idea because it's away if a painter was gonna paint it that's how it would look because that's how it looks when I'm looking at her here instead of forcing and manipulating and that kind of thing and I love all that beautiful lighting that people do but when I'm trying to narrow down on what I love is what's my style I just like life that just behaves on people dress even right now kind of looks like it has a pattern on yeah just from the leaves and like yeah I think to me that's atmospheric so it shows time of day it shows thiss kind of glowing ethereal natural little patterns of these leaves and trees I do think it is dancing just the little patterns and wispy like touches like an angel touching or something it makes me think of that so I dig it and that being said I don't want it to look crazy and blow out all over the place on her face or something but yeah there's quite a few questions about dresses in chat rooms and a question coming from carla do you ever use fans or anything when you have long flowy gowns well not a lot of actual fans because I'm never in the studio but outdoors if we get wind and they're blowing around I'm like happy is is happiest possibly be I don't usually have somebody standing over there doing this sort of thing but I love wind yeah from largo how do you handle color casts when shooting in the woods with so much green color well it's gonna sound like really lazy answer but all my images are black and white so I don't have to worry about it very much if I were going to try to put something color I mean I do use just the auto white balance and then adjust color later and raw but I hardly ever use color and if I d'oh attend to mute it and make it sort of greenish blue anyway good point yeah and let's see will ask one more people jamie photo had asked what do you do with the dress when you're done with it and I know that you probably just we use this just really remembering and is there a specific like amount of fabric that you buy each time that you are looking for fabric or is that just what you find it's like it I get what's on sale but I do love lace into fine and usually get six yards or so when I buy it do you think we could do that one more time and belt your dress so we get a really cool let me grab a piece of ribbon will just wrap it around your waist just is a variation on the gown and what will happen I hope we're going to get a really wicked cool c shape yeah maybe maybe a a little bit higher up empire waist I don't know why I like empire weigh so much I think because I love victorian clothing so much and you see that a lot in the nineteen tens nineteen twenties and we're out here photographing on my own I would spend probably a good forty five minutes in this one spot and just see what's possible in there I do like the backlighting too and that's another thing that attracted me to this spot that's okay murphy show that's fine so the arm that you're using for support can't come out here more so it's a little more yeah and then the other one goes that way I'm gonna get the woods again okay then your face would go under the branch like we tried yes that's so killa I love it so you see that there's apple line on her face when she does that just let your head rest into your arm and then just roll your face upward for me they're gonna use it eyes closed for me well your face upward even more if you can yes so pretty and because of the dappled line I'm checking exposure over there to make sure you were okay but I'm loving that okay can you push yourself that direction anymore yeah just like that beautiful let your head fall into the arm there gorgeous oh my goodness my friend gorgeous okay let's get you out of peril and I do like it better with the way slip away so we will see that gorgeous shape of her little body okay and if there are questions on the dry do sell a dvd of making gowns so there are nine different gown shapes on there and it shows you had alter andy tell them out a little bit you go on my website it's just jennifer hudson fine art dot com and there's this thing on their cold store and you'll see it they're great and jenny I know you have a couple of things on there yeah we're gonna talk about as well today and you could buy the bundle for a little bit cheaper have three dvds on their later when we get into photo shop one of them is overlays and things that I used it and take my photographs so I condemn o that a little bit later thank you okay now we're gonna really put you in crazy places but can I just try you up there and see what happens so since we've been in the woods this is my favorite spot of found because when I crossed this square in a minute it'll be all tree and snow look gorgeous where's hot here so however for this climbing in the woods so pretty okay so the computer monitor is in the picture a little bit okay can I lean you on that nearest right there just let your whole body and head fall that way that's beautiful the hand could just be yeah just kind of weighty and heavy just followed by your sides and a hand on this side of you just rotate it just perfectly beautiful what they had followed her even a little bit more try kind of rotating her head up toward the skye and then letting it fall this way even more your kind of basking in that light I'm just checking yeah that's beautiful so this is ultimate definitely light may I love I love the way that looks just it's falling in nice places so right on the little bit on the gown and that kind of stuff if you turn your back to that um that bit of the tree there huh even a little bit more and try putting the weight of your body kind of on the top of your head if that makes a sense uh so your body can come out kind of arch your back a little bit yeah beautiful try rolling your face up a little bit more I think we'll have it beautiful the hand that I can see if we have just opened it up a little yeah leave the body just like that it's perfect maybe let your head go that way a little bit even a little kind of over exaggerate that so it's kind of falling toward that shoulder yeah gorgeous and I was close for me same thing what happens now if you take that right hand our right arm and put it maybe in the one behind you so I can see the hand yeah and this one can come in this way maybe on this front tree front so what I'm struggling with now just thought processing and looking for our hands so I want to see that we talked a lot about completing lines and stuff so if her hand comes to this front tree as I see it now it's for shortened quite a bit so I lose the length of her arm so I'm just moving through this thing looking for length really um try that this front arm just over your head maybe there yeah and it could just kind of fall over you that's beautiful and just press those shoulders down as far as you can notice with her I haven't asked her to press her shoulders down a lot like yesterday we had one of the girls that I asked her to do that every three seconds you probably heard it over and over she has a very long neck a really long thin neck so while it does help everybody to press his shoulders down and she's just it's kind of working already so but it is something I always look for his length in the torso lengthen the neck and in the limbs okay it's kind of letting your head fall that way into the army let's take this right hand and bring it up over also under the tree the other the other guy over there yeah so they're both up there exactly the kind of touch just one in each other just very gently up there and you can reach him up a little higher there we go good try to kind of over accentuate the back banned for me you can yeah try letting your head fall this way so what I'm seeing in that is a little bit of rhythm so you follow her knee which you can see to our ways then you it goes from the hit this way then this way then her head goes this way and they're armed goes this way so it has a really cool pattern to follow its rhythmic tune up quite a bit kind of just for asking yourself again and eyes closed if it's possible to loosen up that other elbow the left far one is that right the other one I might be saying the wrong arm yeah there we go and we could straighten actually the front arm a little and let it just flop over at the risk beautiful now if you would put the top of your head on the tree again so your way back you know really archer bacchus faras possible you can even get your hips and mom off the trees so you're making a really yeah sharp see beautiful it can that income of even more so you're more yeah if you could roll your face that way just a little bit right there beautiful beautiful the hand that's on the top just if you'll rotate it towards your head a little bit so I see the side beautiful right there oh my goodness it's pretty eyes closed for me hang in there just for a minute you can relax just for a second can we get her a gown to come front of the tree at all or is it not long enough the back of it specifically would be good yeah I'm just looking for extra length and we have it there someone might what might as well use it that's beautiful same idea let's try to get the top of your head more here on the trees you have yeah there we go and let's keep the arms there for one eyes closed and just twirling her face away from me there we go the far arm you're right if you bring it up just a touch more they're beautiful try not just dropping the arms everything else the same the hand that's in in the front if you just open the palm a little bit beautiful and really really over extension at the back man if you can your eyes closed so pretty all right um you got a way to kind of tuck you in there somehow you see this little crook in the front is there a way to get you kind of almost in a fetal position right there and then her down would come out front a little bit and talk into a little ball kind of like I am what's in there if she steps just dirt okay that's fine is long as you're okay with it so your knees would go one way or the other and it's gonna be up to you whatever is more possible in there if it's at all possible to bring your knees all the way to your chest and really tuck yourself in there it's a tiny space but I wonder if it's possible so her bomb would be kind of she's gonna sit in there yeah and then see if we can get the legs up there with you yeah I love to play with space and so if there's a little tiny crevice crook something like that that I can fit somebody into it shows I love the idea of scale so this tree is huge we know that we're standing here but in the photograph when I get it cropped and everything she's going to look so tiny because most trees aren't this big so we're really kind of playing with the idea of scale and how little she is in there okay if there's a way to turn your body more that way so you're gonna lean you're back on that bit and this I know I'm pushing really far but we're going to see this happens yeah and save both knees khun tuck against the other tree she's getting it she's getting it on with the dress is beautiful hey oh my gosh that's beautiful can you do that you okay okay okay you see where her dress and you stay put because your grey is looped on her back let's just untie it and then let the dress come through there so it's not looping right there there's a big chunk of fabric coming off her back it feels like it needs to come down like it's stuck in there see what's going on here you okay this is the part I think you lived up for two seconds or no if you can't then it's ok they're they're okay thank you oh it's so pretty okay so where you are okay everybody is it possible to put your head on your knees right there yeah beautiful on the hand can just kind of come along the delight of your knee and cradle your face sort of let's put it on the inside of your knee actually toward me just a bit so I can see the hand will have it if you rotate department inward so you're kind of yeah like that bring the head toward the hand a little bit more if you could do it there we go so pretty is it possible to touch your head all the way to the nino and you can turn your face towards me a bit the hand kind of tuck inside still maybe write it by your mouth in fact yeah and if you can push the shoulders way down the other way away from there we go and then yes oh my goodness so pretty talking it's titus possible one more yeah really pressing the shoulder that way just like the head fall in the right there okay youthful oh my god doesn't get you out of there then between this arm very glamorous thank you for doing that really beautiful okay you want to take a little break for a minute we'll switch models and take some questions give her a breather you're amazing thank you anybody got a question over there let's start over with our studio audience yeah that's what you think it I know that they do you like shoot always dip into their location or a specific time of day not necessarily is like I have shade really or if I'm gonna be out an open field or something I would prefer either cloud cover or late or early in the day so I'm just looking for soft kind of ambien global looking life so this is perfect because we're in the shade so any time of day would probably work here but yeah if I were out in an open field or something half hour before sunset or something would be good um one question from evoke dreams photography is for who's from illinois why do you prefer eyes closed we see that a lot what is the what's behind that I think of it is somebody being kind of internal or into them we talked a little bit about the gays yesterday so the gaze of the viewers one days the gaze of the subject is the other so if there is no gaze from the subject I think about that person being kind of withdrawn um disconnected from the viewer quiet involved in their own thoughts that kind of thing

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.