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The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Lesson 31 of 36

Building an Audience


The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Lesson 31 of 36

Building an Audience


Lesson Info

Building an Audience

Okay let's talk about building an audience for a minute um uh the very first thing again I did with portfolio reviews and I have kept a list in mad mimi I like matt mimi there's a lot of news made newsletter programs out there but mad mimi allows me to keep a list I have one just for reviewers I have a list of collectors now who have bought my work I have a list of galleries and people who have made contact with just just kind of interested parties and that I can send moos others to and every time I've got new work I send them a newsletter and or anytime something really big happens like the show at the museum at least say that was a big thing so I'll send that out and say hey guess what just happened this wicked cool work you know so I can't a list of all these people collectors past show venues calories pastor viewers publishers and bloggers any magazine I've been published in any blogged and published in is on my list of course the public who's been interested um so it it's huge it'...

s huge building an audience it's the best thing you can do to keep people interested in your work you have to update people if you make new work and nobody knows about it you know I'm not going to sell it so you have to tell people and tell them several times and tell him how cool you are have a belonged that I keep updated as much as I can and I put videos and things like that I know this is gonna play well just look at the first two little bit but I did I'm kind of the walk through video it's like a virtual tour of testament so you can actually walk through the house and see the show so put that on the block and it got a lot of hits a lot of people watched it it shows in great detail that exhibition and a lot of people looked at it a lot of people commented on it and wrote back and so it was a huge huge thing but anyway anytime you have a show anytime you've got something interesting a publication put it on the block and people will see it um also on my block and you can sign up for a newsletter so anybody that signs up on there then gets not only my new blood post but their name goes on the newsletter list so they get updates from me all the time. I'm direct mail and catalogs we talked earlier about the exact thing that I send to reviewers and people, so I've got that stationery with my hand written note in there and now maybe a jump drive of the images so they can see the work if they plug it into a computer sometimes cds, whatever, but I said that stuff to wreck mail to galleries passed a sufficient sides, collectors, museums, publishers and editors. So all the people that are on my mat many list, many of them have a physical address. I mail things to them too. Also like a paperback catalogue of the new work, which actually stuck over there, he wants to run it over, I can show it to you the little white book, the logo note card reminding of our relationship again, this is why you know me, and how you know means is why you love me inserts of older work also I send, so I'll send the new catalogue of the new work, but also to inserts here's, medic and flora remember these? I'm the same girl who made these sometimes they won't connect the two if you don't put your older work in there and so that had found extremely helpful and then a business card, of course, ok, so there's a whole new world out there with the emerging photographer emerging photographer, and somebody asked, what do I do if I have no exhibition history? There are people looking for you. There are people looking for fresh people who have never exhibited work, I mean a lot of people, so if you just type in on google, emerging photographer millions of things will come up for you to apply too, so there's no reason that you can't build your exhibition history because there are so many people looking for you, I promise that they really are. So engage another thing I've done to help build my audience to donate work for auctions, benefits things like that here is just unexamined of one um, this was through clunking, right? So the family dynamics third annual benefit art auction and honestly, completely don't remember what what the fund was for. I think it was building houses for people who didn't have homes, but yeah, so it's a new audience of people that I've never seen my work before, somebody is going to collect it somebody's gonna buy it from the auction and then that person goes on my list of collectors. So when I have new work, then maybe we'll buy a new piece. So it's good new new fresh eyes again. I'm just trying to get it in front of people. It's one out of my edition it's okay. And actually, it helps sell out the edition. Teo, if you donate a couple pieces, get rid of a couple and it's okay to do that.

Class Description

Conceptual portraiture is where art and photography meet. In this class, Jennifer Thoreson will explore the intersection of fine art and photography and discuss the practice, process, and business of bringing conceptual portraits to life.

Jennifer is a visual artist, speaker, and lecturer whose photographic work has been widely published internationally in print and online journals. In this class she’ll reveal the process for developing commissioned and exhibition work. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create unique, imaginative props 
  • Secure the right type of model
  • Price your work
  • Approach galleries, museums, and publications

Jennifer will help you define your personal style and show you how to put together a conceptual series. You’ll get the inside scoop on what it takes to make a living through fine art photography and also get Jennifer’s tips on managing the business side.

If you want to expand into the expressive and exciting genre of conceptual photography, The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture with Jennifer Thoreson is the perfect place to begin your journey. 


a Creativelive Student

"Thinking about art is not making art." In this inspiring and informative workshop, Jennifer helps you put thought into action - through meaningful self-reflection, exploration and by taking her through her own processes. Through exercises and examples, she explains how to pull out a thread of an idea and develop it into a conceptual project that is informed and invigorated by personal experience, preference, interests, and so much more. Her workshop not only feeds the creative soul, but offers earnest information on taking first steps toward publishing and showing fine-art. Jen so beautifully shares her talent and her love of teaching - I first "met" her on Creative Live and have had the joy of being mentored by her in-person as well. This workshop is a very close second to spending time with her one-on-one. Thank you, CL, for bringing her back!

kalei harmon

I love Jennifer, she's one of my cL favorites! She is such a soulful photographer and her art just resonates with me in so many ways. While she was creating her conceptual piece with the mother and child, my eyes welled up because it was such a profound experience to witness. I appreciate that she has a graduate degree in art and is able to refer to others in the field who are leading the way. She is so genuine and I'm grateful for her willingness to bare her soul to us through her art and process. I've learned so much by watching how she interacts with models and communicates efficiently and gently to get AMAZING poses. Definitely worth the buy if you're looking for inspiration from an artist who creates images which evoke emotion and communicate a message, not just trying to make "great photos." I can't wait to learn about the business side of it all!


I am so grateful for this class; it is just what I have been looking for to help me go beyond my "photographic potty training". By leading us through her own creative process, Jennifer Thoreson invites us to think about why we do what we do and to make our work more meaningful and authentic, creating our unique visual vocabulary. Moreover, she provides detailed info on submitting work to galleries and publications, contests, printing editions, preparing an exhibition and pricing. In her calm, unpretentious manner, Jennifer demystified art without trivializing it and I finally saw light at the end of a rather long tunnel.