Skip to main content

Fine Art Women's Portraits

Lesson 11 of 17

Shoot: Water Sessions First Model

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

11. Shoot: Water Sessions First Model

Lesson Info

Shoot: Water Sessions First Model

so this is the basic structure of this thing and I affectionately call it the tank which I think is something a bit more romantic but that's what it is uh it's just made of pvc on we could even look under the underbelly here for a minute if you guys could see that on camera but like I said yesterday this is not glamorous at all it's just pbc with a corner corner bracket connectors and then the t shaped connectors in the middle so there's a bracket here and a one foot high or so peace um holding it together another one there support so each corner has won and then halfway down there some support in there um just to show you this is a drop cloth from home depot you could get these for like thirty bucks and this is also what we used yesterday in the studio in the woods we're going to use it again today as a background so it's multipurpose I love these things and I don't feel guilty if I get him disgustingly dirty because they're thirty bucks on dh then underneath that is just a tarp again...

from home depot or lows I just I get the higher quality one so it's thicker and I know it's gonna hold the water and then underneath that I don't know if we can see it or not you'll see a little bit maybe you can see of the pvc frame under there so the cool thing about this is I could break it down and take it anywhere I want so if I did a portrait commissioned somewhere on dh they wanted a studio in the woods type of thing I can take that apart uh take the background off the studio in the woods throw it in here have tea well it fills in transition into a really beautiful water session you can also do it in reverse which is what we're going to do it here in a minute we're goingto photographs and girls here in the water and then go below hang this thing and photograph them with wet gowns so that becomes a really beautiful figure study a totally different way to approach it but there's just kind of I like things to be um kind of easy to change up I guess and so I could take this anywhere basically and all kinds of different things can happen with it so I can't even take the water out of here and make it a studio background so there's no water at all and just lay people down because you can do some amazing poses with people laying down there not supporting their bodyweight anymore so two things happened there you could kind of float them into some really interesting poses and positions that you could never do standing especially when you're doing people together so I can get them all nestled and really close could never do that standing up secondly it's very flattering for people so photographing from this high of an angle down it's a whole body becomes longer the faces lifted towards the the camera angle so all of that is is pulling weight away from the face and shoulders did de emphasizes the arms shows the waistline that so people love this kirby or women that I photograph want this because its so beautifully flattering to their bodies and it's easy to do for them so a lot of my poses are pretty involved and that's what you just saw people climbing in trees and stuff like that you know maybe somebody who's got a couple kids I want to be photographed together isn't really into climbing trees could easily do this this is great for maternity session it's great for a mother and child great for a couple on what we're gonna do today is kind of a glamour beauty portrait version of it so I think about when we're nestling these two models together here in a minute transitioning that into a mother and child or a husband and wife or something like that I think these portrait seemed to look very intimate and very sweet and clothes um kind of romantic I guess also I talked about yesterday that water is really important in my work and I use that as a symbol all the time so I mean this is a really literal use of that symbolises literally a baptismal type pool inside of this I'll use some of my other symbols that I like to reference just some like I pulled him ferns and some large leaves and things like that I have my sticks over here or even have some antlers back there we're going to play with so tying the organic to the organic really that's kind of the theme of it um one more kind of interesting aside as you can put like tool or net on the top of this thing so the model would be in the water and you would see kind of ah hayes is what happens to some gorgeous soft focus thing happens when you photograph through the tool I was talking about us yesterday doing my literal layers so the water's one layer that reflections another you can even add a third with that fabric and photographed through something I've even put plexi glass up here before and photographed through that become kind of like a coffin it's really really eerie but in the final photograph it's it's quite romantic and beautiful so right now these guys are adding hot water we're trying to warm it up a little bit ideally I would do this with hot water warm water like bath water so when someone gets in there they just kind of fall apart and become really loose if it's cold you're going to see the models tensed up a little bit we won't leave him in there very long so that's just something to keep in mind you really want to be able to use warm water pool from somebody's tab fast tub feel it even if you have just a few buckets of boiling water that can help okay one other little saying is you see that what looks like an air bubble in there it's not an air bubble it's ah pillow so we took another one of these tarps and you can use a towel or whatever and just stick it under there so you'll notice when I'm up above and you started seeing the photographs if her head was flat against the back or a flat against the ground you start to photograph up her nose so that's just to keep that from happening it is more comfortable too so all right I think we have enough water so we can yeah we're good yeah and okay I'm going to start with and tell me your name matty okay that is my brother's little girl's name so I could do that one who is perfect in every way we all know as we're getting maddie in there you could just step in have a seat about center and then when I get up there you can lie back yeah um what was I going to say something oh so if you don't have a balcony handy uh really tall ladder will work just fine it's a little dicier of course because you're not gonna feel comfortable up there but I would put the ladder with the legs here so they're in the pool a little bit ideal I'm trying to get above her as much as I possibly can so the further up I am the better this is perfect so believe it or not that stuff is not that hard to come by if you find the location that's got a balcony or somebody's house or something like that I mean you just stand up there and be able to get pretty much directly above er so later when we look at these and photo shop you will see a little bit of distortion because I'm not actually above her but I can show you how to fix that we're gonna deal with that this afternoon yeah let's turn the water off we've got plenty of water okay mommy I'm scared try not to biff it on live feed internet stuff arrived hi okay um there is a little bit of dappled light in here and dapple meaning like dappled so not dappled so I'm gonna be fighting that a little bit and we'll see if it changes that's when we move forward but you'll see me moving around a little trying to avoid some strange lighting okay so if you sit down about in the middle and face those guys and just lay back and just trying to keep that hair kind of dry in the beginning so just kind of let it float over you all the way back can you feel the pillow right there can I scoot you down that way just a little bit and still be on that uh good okay so if we could just wet the front of her gown a little bit so becomes translucent I love these white dresses for this because they look tissue like they just become completely translucent talked yesterday that I don't really love to do nudes and there's nothing wrong with news they're gorgeous but I like it the idea of this reuse clothing so it it's part of the idea of the baptismal thing s o s used again and again these old old dresses and I do love the way they look in the water so you could certainly do a nude in here and it would be great too okay so you see how our skirt it's kind of clumped around her if we can try to fan out the skirt a little bit this is the session that you really really need an assistant for because you can't obviously can't be going back and forth and adjusting clothing and stuff like that all right so she's like in the sun in the sun right now so what's gonna happen is it'll shift the background down quite a bit it might be pretty we're just going to go with it see what it does can I shift you down that way just a little bit more though yeah uh huh your face is in the shade a bit more now I suppose there's any way to block that light from hitting her tummy there's a little up puckering going on they're in the tank and see that floating yeah okay thank you waken one thing that's really tricky about these sessions is everything you put up above her shows up in the reflection so it's just something to think about okay can I just have you press your feet together down there most of the time we're going to keep the feet together kind of glued together um on the right leg if you just draw it in toward your body a little bit and then glue the feet together so ideally we're trying to get no space between the feet at all yeah yeah the right leg khun drop even a little bit more and then so you're kind of laying your leg over the other leg beautiful killer and really smashed the feet so we don't see any gap good beautiful okay let's bring the arms up in over just kind of like a right above your head let's do both just start with some really graceful simple things if you would just separate the hands a little bit just very slowly bring him up a little bit higher for me and let one hand gently fall inside the other hand without lacing the fingers though I think just kind of yeah and on the left if you curl the fingers in just a touch that's beautiful yeah working populace oh my gosh you look amazing in there so right now I'm just grabbing a test shot to see where we are exposure wise just is a note when you see these photographs come up on the screen you'll notice that some of the edge of this tank shows that kind of stuff I'm still looking for a square crop this is a rectangular tank I can't make it square because it's not starting enough so what I do is take this and later in photo shop I'll show you how to expand the sides a little bit so I could make it a square so when you keep seeing the edges show up don't worry too much about it all right you look amazing just like go ahead slowly close your eyes there we go if you can let your hands shift that direction a little bit and let your face go this way so kind of tipping our without turning your head you're going kind of lay your head into that arm yeah maybe even a little bit further beautiful and eyes closed for me you could try to point the toes a little bit yeah fantastic if you can really push the head now into that arm so it's almost almost feels too far even further if you can do it yeah and still overlap the hands a little bit and let those fingers curl and that there we go beautiful kind of like the dabbling in fact it's not so bad if we could just get rid of it on this but I think it'll be really pretty yeah so I'm seeing the edge of the card there's trouble great thank you okay if we would bring now the hands apart and left him kind of come down like a little bird yeah maybe let the fingers curl in a little bit and move in toward your face on one side and there's still gonna be down in the water yeah like that gorgeous the hand over here just turn it a little bit for me other way perfect and let's do the same with this one yes bubbly so what I'm looking at is the length of her fingers and how long that line khun b some following the beautiful arm all the way through the fingertips and it's a long and glorious as possible and I love her fingers is so pretty okay and close the eyes for me can you look up at me or is it too yeah that's great try close shot of you beautiful beautiful what about bringing this hand still in the water but right up next to your cheek kind of brushing and the hand arm couldjust fallen relax into the water good and the other one up maybe around the neck or shoulder area but still keeping the arm this way if it's possible we're gonna raise the elbow a little and just flip the hand over the other way for me there you go in the left arm relax into the water beautiful let's make that hand even a little closer to you if you can but still falling yeah we're getting there and curl the fingers against your neck for me so it's similar to your other hand actually yes perfect and if that arm could just fall into the water will have it eyes closed for me try raising now that right leg even a little bit more and bring you not quite so far somewhere in there yeah and bring the left this way just to touch and really point those toes good guys right here in uniform okay so you could go teo you know sexy swimsuit pose if you want something like that this is really I mean it sensual you know when you get her legs like that in the hips moving and that kind of stuff if you have a somebody that's younger this is great because you can do really straight poses and they still look beautiful just a straight body in here you know which is kind of where we started this is appropriate for all kinds of people um we tried this so the legs were perfect if you try moving your core so you start to bend that way that makes sense other way so you're going to reach this elbow toward that hip so you're kind of bending in half tell you what let your arms relax for a second he was gonna take your hips your head and kind of like you doing a side bend you're gonna bend it the way they're here you're getting there so I'm gonna leave the legs flat so if I'm doing it standing but like can you even see me she can't see me can she okay let's stay on your back though yeah even the legs could be completely flat just like you were on your back you're gonna been like you're touching your toe if you were standing you're bending at the waist your upper body is gonna go that direction so imagine you're like this now I'm trying to get you like that without bending your legs just that that's the dicey part you have to move your whole head and upper body that way we're getting there bending yeah yeah yeah just a little bit is what I'm looking for if you go a little further maybe we're getting that's beautiful okay so the core is perfect we get the legs glued together again and their license to be kind of rotated this way a little bit so they're upright yeah and draw that right leg inform me again even a little bit more right and just glue those feet together and point the toast beautiful the arms if you just turn the hands up a bit so there yeah curl the fingers in a little bit for just gorgeous so her feet I'm losing her feet because of the dap away is there one more towel or something that could be held over there so you can see we're fighting that the dappled sunlight a little bit just talking about all that time of day is important and the spot your pygmies of being the cool shade that's gorgeous perfect you rotate your nose this way a little bit even a little bit more right there is it possible to bend you more that way now bend your whole body that way but more huh your shoulders and everything moving that way without rotating that we don't need to rotate you trying to keep your legs flat yeah okay good I let your head now tim this direction um so this year will go to that shoulder yeah there we go so if you look at her body and she's always started the toe and go this direction and then this direction and in this direction so again just like we did in the tree earlier looking for that rhythmic pattern in the body I can echo in the arms by bending them just like we had him before kind of the bird thing let's do that yeah I like him out if we bring this hand out even a touch more there we go beautiful so all of these kind of when I'm looking at a body I think about two singles which are greater than ninety degrees or acute angles which are are smaller than ninety degrees and acute angles have a lot of energy and so that's what's happening in her arms to sing on the legs all right let's get the gap between the feet to disappear if we can good rolling the face that way even more even a little bit more there we go good so in the tank have start with these gentle poses just like I would if I was standing somebody uh so we get an idea of she's getting a feeling for it I'm learning her language and vice versa can we hand her there's a lyft a big leaf in there so it's down there yeah so let's make your body just totally straight yeah and we fan address out real quickly so I think the leaf might just go right over your heart let's just flip it over so we see the topic as a little greener let's hold it directly straight so it's yeah and move it this way just a little bit and still totally straight rotating it a little bit more the other way yeah even a little bit more right there we screwed it that way we'll have it trying to get it right in the middle of your body yeah okay your hand that's on it if you just kind of let it fall onto your check under your belly there and turn the hand so I don't see the back they're going perfect let's do the other hand the same way get up on your heart a little bit more and then let it open up a little heroes there you go even a little further hankin rotate there there there were just so pretty is there a way to tuck your chin towards your body a little bit yeah let's let your face fall slowly this way you know I'm just watching I think keep going it's beautiful and then turn your face that way also and then I was back at me gorgeous and go ahead and close the eyes beautiful okay so quiet and lovely you look amazing in their way try standing her hair out now that it's wet something to keep in mind that tank to the models often can't hear you because water gets in there here's so if they start looking at you blankly uh that's probably what's going on so I'm using as much hand signal of stuff if I can me screaming at her isn't gonna help so that just raises the level of tension so staying slow and quiet and gentle with my words and using a lot of gestures helps and they'll usually tell you when and they really can't hear you that looks great school are you freezing you sure you're starting to shiver a bit okay you tell me because I don't want you getting ill in there um let's bring the leaf up to where the point of it is right under your chin yeah and make it a straight I know you can't see it but there we go and if it comes this way it just right there perfect let's bring the hands up right by your face yeah so the fingers were totally symmetrical yeah we're kind of trying to mimic the shape of the leaves with your arms is there a way to get in there with her and pull that leaf her hands were so perfect trying to get the leaf to kind of mimic that shape yeah yes perfect thank you okay chin down into your trust a little bit if you can even a little bit more kind of there we go that's lovely let's fold the fingers in now same exact arm pose just letting them fingers gently fold together and then raise him under the neck a little bit more if you can yeah and then rotate the hands either way try the other direction yeah yeah just letting the fingers gently perfect perfect great uh lovely okay let's try to tuck and roll one and see what happens so we're gonna take the leaf away so you'll be on your side and then kind of tucking yourself into a little ball and if you want to still use the pillow yeah yeah drama as closely as you can and we'll go with what we've got there yeah looking great top leg if the top plate could be closer to you than the bottom yeah yeah and the overlap the feet so that yeah there you go and justice as closely tucked as you can get yeah if you can point the toes we're going to be in business yes so the head would go this way if you can let your head fall as far as it could go that direction kind of like you're trying to tip your left ear onto your left shoulder yeah even further if you've got it beautiful the top arm can it come up on around here just let it fall into the water it's still letting your corps and your head moved towards your knees now if we just dropped that right or the left shoulder into its sockets we have some space there other way it's going there we go gorgeous okay try pointing the toes and drawing this feat is close to your bomb is you can get him there we go and really point those toes or just so pretty all right let's give her the big mossy thing I'm gonna straighten you out again it could just be beside you if you will bring it down so it all fits in there okay so can you see the crook in that stick down there you see that I'm trying to make your body fit into their somehow so it could be from the hip no I don't want to cross her yeah yeah and you wrote it on your side in a little bit if you want and even your legs if they can follow the line of it down there maura's much as much as possible yeah if we straighten that leg a little more I think we'll be getting there uh huh and the bottom leg can come underneath it a little bit yeah yeah that's beautiful let's let your face come really close to it almost under it there we go this arm I think is really pretty is trying to get the hand is grace was we can good good it's lovely just pointing those toes eyes closed for me beautiful try letting your head float this way just a little bit without turning though just kind of yeah a little bit more I think actually quite a bit let's let's overdo it yeah it's beautiful really really beautiful okay let's do the opposite with it so if you you see the cook is going this way we're gonna try to make you go the opposite way and your feet can just be flush right to the stick bring the top put over the bottom foot it can almost go between your feet that close yeah beautiful and let your face really go that way so your whole head is going to go toward that shoulder there you go good let's bring this arm up and around and see if it can almost touch so it's above your hand that little bit of stick this down the shorter part there you go great save that arm could just fall into the water yeah beautiful pointing those toes all right amazing let's give you a little break we're going to check the course paige because we know there are a lot of questions coming from people who was from australia and keep a says jen pays a lot of attention to length of limbs making the image is very flat what you that's actually a good observation and I'm actually looking for flattening so I wanted to be flat I like that it's almost an illusion sometimes the flatness putting people write on a background right up against the wall that I like this because it does the same thing just like in the studio in the woods when I had him three feet away from the background so yeah it's cool that you're observing that because that's that's what I'm looking for is the flatness almost two dimensionality this one is from fashion tv who was asking none this section but about do you ever put anything in the foreground so shooting through leaves or any of those other natural elements gathered because we haven't seen you do that so wearing if why or why not I don't for the same reason actually those two questions are really closely related because I don't want the illusion of depth I'm really attracted to that flat almost eerily flatness and know that everything is close and two dimensional so if you put something in the foreground it immediately makes you aware of that and so I'm not I try to avoid 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.