Skip to main content

Conceptual Domestic Shoot Part 1

Lesson 18 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

Conceptual Domestic Shoot Part 1

Lesson 18 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

18. Conceptual Domestic Shoot Part 1

Lesson Info

Conceptual Domestic Shoot Part 1

Let's, start with just with just, uh, anna and they're gonna put you together and you let her dry off and warm up a little bit. We can wrap her up and let her warm up while we have an over here for the first. Let me just have you sit on the end of the right just pretty much where you are. And don't worry about getting stuff on stuff because it's gonna be more stuffy. Okay, go ahead and just sit on back onto the bed and really kind of sink into it. Just scoot your bum back onto it a little bit more. Yeah, I think, um, let me just see both hands. So let's, bring this one. What about? Just having them together, like praying hands kind of and leaning forward toward me. Just a little bit and chin down and kind of eyes close almost in a prayer for away? Yes. Can I? Pigeon toe those feet? Just a little bit more. So there. Yes. Lovely. If I could have you kick the shoes back where they're barely visible under that table. Thank you. Beautiful. Yes. I love the feet. I just need to see an exposur...

e all quick before we keep going, so if you're looking at that it will be square cropped I'm thinking right under where the fan is on the left up right next to the bed on the side just where we have a hint of the window at the top just to give you an idea of kind of where we're going where I'm going same idea I'm just changing up the exposure fantastic lovett what about bringing a hands up on kind of onto the face maybe over the mouth even so in this instance I don't talk about length and things like that a lot the first segment in this one is more I'm feeling like if you were to walk into a room and see a person sitting on their bed and that kind of ease that that has so she's facing me it feels a little bit accidental um I like the legs like that and I love the gesture of the feet do that again maybe hands on the face up here hiding from me like you're trying to hide from me and I think arms kind of clenched into so you're yes yes let's tuck you all the way up on the bed legs and all somehow and see what happens similar yeah maybe almost like let's see yeah I think slightly turned toward the window we'll get a little light coming across those clothing those wrinkles yeah, I like the praying idea kind of praying kneeling thing yeah what about can you breathe bring where your knees are hanging off the bed just a little bit yeah and go ahead and sit back onto your heels and kind of sink into that and similar with the hands I didn't love to be able to see that foot in the back if it can poke out at me yes and so we may be tuck the covers and merciless he toes I think some of the things that make us most human are the things that wear and tear the most like hands and feet and of course it's face but things that really show age and scars and I love tattoos and scars on people's knees and just yes I love that I love so you're kind of looking anxious and pleading and yes same idea just turning your face toward me a little bit more chin down into your body go ahead and tuck it all the way in my eyes are closed yes let's try hands on the knees and a big like grabbing like tents gesture you can really see pushing in on that skin yeah try to let the shoulders come back a little so there's still tense but I wanted to see some neck there we go and I think the face away from me maybe you're looking down toward your foot there yeah that's interesting too let's try hands close together but in the same kind of gesture maybe on the truth the front knee so you have a little more link there let's bring them a little closer to you yeah I'm just kind of you're tense yeah that's lovely that's great and face right smack toward me hands of the same and just looking down totally symmetrical face try looking maybe halfway back to the camera so you're just not right at me and try and looking out over my head so above me what if the head comes back maybe even a little bit more and let the shoulders fall just a little lower what if the head goes out that way I just flops over a little bit yeah eyes are closed try no the lens or the same but the arms come up in your disregarding your face from something turn your upper body toward me so where you're totally straight on and real tight like you're hiding you're trying to get a yes yeah very cool interesting let's try that same idea but turn your body straight onto me so the knees air coming right at the camera I love that the clay it's getting onto the bed that's getting really yeah and just as close together as they can get so you're going to kind of curl yourself until a little yeah yeah I think just chin kind of down toward the knees maybe even a little more like tucking in there let's do the same thing and extend the legs on feet back onto the floor kind of amputated thing that was happening was kind of interesting to go strange yeah and so little pigeon toes or one foot on top of the other so the show a little anxious nous yeah, I like the leaning over the knees and putting the weight on the arms yeah, but if I had dropped this a little bit more and turn your face if you will this way too right toward the camera and chin dropping a little more their love it one more was playing with exposure a little bit okay, why would love to try that same pose with you on the end of the bed and put a little more light on you and see what it looks like? I think if you just push the covers back so whether you're going to be sitting on the sheet just let him be messy like somebody slept there oh I'm sorry. I just mean here we go same thing you're still facing me. Yeah, and go ahead and move back onto the bed a little bit more so yeah, there we go. Fantastic. I think the feet just barely overlapping again yeah looks lean forward onto the knees a little bit more there we go let's leave you right there and bring in nora if she's ready really beautiful I mean the tones that are happening are really gorgeous but it's it's hearing pretty strange hello, this is nora let's put her right next to you we're going to tuck her up onto the bed with you kind of in a little fetal position and it's ok for it to crack and come off that's part of the game so let's tuck you up actually let's let's leave you there for a minute I love your feet just squash up to your mom like you're you're afraid and kind of hiding feet and legs khun touch her too go ahead let your foot touch her foot all the way over so you can get your knees to kind of touch her knees to to squash yourself together. There you go. Yes. What about nora? If you were all hands up to your own chest and then just tuck yourself in there yeah, and I think mom let's well let's start with you kind of guarded and over your knees like you were before. Yeah, maybe one palm is up toward the sky yeah um that hand that's up let's cross it over the other just a little so almost clinch e yeah, okay yeah nor just let your kind of face be out with close to mom's faces you can see there you go beautiful and everybody's eyes are closed us let him there we go. Nor can you turn your face toward me a little bit and then lean on her maybe even a little bit more so you turning your face let your nose follow my finger good and now just clock you got it, nora chin down just toward your own body like you're kind of talking it into your chest. Yes, nora look right at me for one and I think an attorney your face toward nora all the way so you're touching her. Yes nor those hands up by your heart they can kind of clenching overlap a little. There you go. Take him, nora and grab mom's arm. Yeah, and really grab. Yeah, I think nora close your eyes for one and let your feet do real tight real close together nor can you turn your face towards your mom like profile and we're gonna go like forehead to forehead go ahead and touch beautiful nor razor chin towards your mom did you get on your eye? I don't need a baby wipe you guys real close touching hands can you raise up your chin just a little bit up toward your mama there good, good let's do eyes close for more time let's try one with your arm around her mom just know yet yeah, like you're protecting, I love that and the legs are messy and that's good I love it I'm champ just a little second fairly let's see a little more face yeah, but squash in there like you that cheek is squishy yes, the other arm is a real tight around orjust puller in jericho love it okay nor do you need a breather you okay? She is ok just make sure just tell me because well there's no problem at all we could just let you take a minute okay? How about mom? You stay there and nora, we have you lay on the bed next to her and your head is gonna go on your mom's lap you'll be on your back yeah, I think we'll talk your feet and nor because I can't see him because of the table or they can kind of flop over to that your legs can kind of lean over to the side oh, I love that leg off the bed. Um let's leave the other one up there. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so the same idea you were mothering you're the mother they're kind of protecting her grayling hurriyah let's let your legs might be a little messier just kind of yeah, there still could be some tension there but maybe feeder overlapping again yes love that, nora, I think let your face rolled toward me so I can see more of you like you're kind of just real heavy in her lap there you go I love the hand of the four what if you cradled her face carefully so we won't get anything in her eyes? Yeah uh that's beautiful and a and a chin up just a little and let your head fall to that yes, I can see your face is there let's try the length come out of the back so you're kind of hunched over her can still see your body and then this elbow out just a little bit but let it be heavy on her body like you're resting on her yeah and just let your head kind of hang that absolutely at the top of your head yeah, little bitty change in form so from the last one if you watch them come up I don't know what we have live but just from the relaxed elbow before this one has a little bit more action and a little bit more shape a longer line in the arms so it's a little more manipulated but I hope anyway that it still feels like a natural gesture let's do that one more time go ahead and lean on her give her you know but your body weights kind of on her a little more can you get to where you can touch her almost like you're kissing her? Is there enough length there get the top of your head keep him close for a minute you could just keep him close if you want to you don't have to open them. Yeah, I just kind of like your nestled into her neck area yeah, like you're kissing your cheek if you can bring your head back toward your own hand a little bit toward the middle of her chest so you're kind of tipping your face away from me there and kissing the cheek try the same thing that was put this other arm you're left under neath her maybe even under her shoulder if we could yeah, yeah, yeah like a baby same idea beautiful waken touchdown just go ahead there there you can just fall over her if there's any way to let her come forward on your leg a little you have to do it in your hand so I see a little more over your kind of kissing her year or we can inch you back on the bed of that senior your bum there that's it that's it little more connection there there. Yeah. Nor can you raise your chin for me just a little. You can keep your eyes closed and venture left like a little bit for me, sweetheart, there, there good. You guys fall apart a minute, okay, we may need um souping gets a little wet cloth for her eyes. I think she's got some ashes in your eyes, but will breathe for a minute. That's the one, I think I mean, we kind of worked our way up to it, but just tryingto it's just a process of seeing and you can, I think, probably sell on this when I'm responding to them more and taking cues from them. Or so I mean, there's obviously a real relationship between them. They are a mother and daughter, and so I try as much as I can to get models who are married her, our family, because that magical stuff happens and if you observe it, it's just it's like little gifts because, I mean, watching her talk to her, watching that conversation happened in the whispering and the facial expressions that happen when there is communication between them. I'm all I'm doing is capitalizing on that and making it a little bit more magical visually that's it. So did you have that shot in mind when you were starting out with her? Lana no, no, it completely to be totally honest. I was absolutely terrified when we started this because I had no clue what I was going tio, but see that's, it that's a picture right there, which will shoot right now, actually so it's just I'm trying to respond to the environment and see what we can get from what they give me and they're giving me a lot so I love that hug if you hug her again like you were and then nora just reach back up in grab model's arms yes really smushed the face together it khun turn toward each other just a little bit norah turn your fetches barely barely beautiful let's uncross your feet hannah there can be together ever does not crossed yeah I think toes maybe turned towards each other just a little bit there we go uh nor can you raise your chin just a little towards your mom and sew your lips are kind of touching her cheek and uh yeah you got it okay beautiful y'all relaxing the notes I mean that's they gave me that one totally gave me that one okay let's try uh nora you on the bed but curled up in a little like a little cat you're still gonna have your head on mama's lap you can tuck those knees and turn your own body yeah and I love the cradle anything so just kind of creating lawyer like a little baby in the head and everything you can relax nor it right onto your mom's arm just were like you're resting or sleeping on her yeah that's gorgeous that's gorgeous just like that maybe your chin touches down on her head and uh yeah and I'm gonna just let your head kind of fall this was I see more of your face but still touching down there we go yeah nor can you raise your chin just a little bitty bit so I see your mouth there there were lots of gesture in the hands let him really grab on to her you're holding on for dear life that's beautiful beautiful let's try kind of appeared so things so she's gonna put her bum in your lap and you'll hold her like a baby we may need to move you this my slightly but not yeah that's perfect there I love all the ash that's now on the floor and in the bed but kind of evidence of what's been happening it shows the passing of time which I love how you doing, nora? She okay? Okay if you can kind of tipper toward me so I see a little more over there we go and you can just kind of girl up and long like your cold kind of if you are cold you just work it then we'll just put your hand maybe on her head mom yeah and I think knees together and up but feet slightly apart yeah, you can tuck your legs in nor a little bit more maybe just and let the feet touched down on the bed still he have you got it and and I just lean your face kind of over her face like turning toward her there there nor can you lower your shoulders any just press him down so I can see your neck there we go one hand on the head there we've got beautiful what if we took her legs all the way in and so your hand is on the outside of her ankles is that making sense? Just let him banned pull that clay pulling on you okay, beautiful there that's lovely if you can tipper forward just a little bit more and yet lower that shoulder for me. No, nora, if you can yes. Yes, like you're asleep nora let's try talking their hands outside like this like you were before. Yeah, you got it one more like that. It still is you, khun b uh let's separate your feet, mom just a little bit so they're not so calculated there we go maybe even a little more a little space between them squash shirt and squander as much you can last one grabbing onto those legs beautiful fall apart a minute that's gorgeous. So I mentioned the potato thing which is the famous like mary holding jesus idea um especially since we're kind of dealing with that concept right of the death resurrection concept um and I was going to say something else and I just completely forgotten what it was clearly wasn't that important. Okay, anything observations or questions before we move him again for doing good? Yeah, good question. Do you always crop a pro image? Wants to know do you always crop your images square? I don't. I don't. I did for a long, long time, but testament it's all sixteen twenty for matt. This is definitely just feel square though if you look at it, I think it just does, like cropping right above where the kind of the window is it just lends itself now if there was something on the wall back there or another doorway or something like that, it would it would be a different story, but with what we've got here, I think it just feels square. Yeah, okay, um for just a hot minute, I think let's, if we have some people on set could remove the bedside table to the other side just while we're chatting for a minute and we'll just have them lay down for the next seven if we have one more question weaken feel that while we're moving furniture yeah, totally. Um, can you talk a little bit about read like retouching? I know we're gonna cover that in future segments you're going to do cem cem post work, but what kind of retouching would you do to these types of photos? I wouldn't I wouldn't do much at all to this one what I will do in a minute since the camera hasn't moved um I'll photograph for the curtains here in a minute and get something that's underexposed just tow have the perfect exposure of the curtains then I'll brush that back in so I have texture and information in the window oh we're gonna move the bedside table to the other side I was always sorry I probably wasn't very clear there and then so like if you look at the exposure for when I can see on the screen anyway where the fan and the boots and such are I'll take an exposure than that's over exposed for that area so I'll pull in little textural details in those objects you can see the boots and stuff like that, but I wouldn't retouch it probably I wouldn't change much except for getting value total value absolutely everywhere choose your strongest images what do you look for? Is it an emotional thing for you? Yeah, absolutely the ones that emote the most and the ones that maybe go fall you know and that's happening live right now as I'm just watching things happening between them you know it's just my heart like it could be that I'm very hormonal right now but that looks like a baby in the womb to me you know, like the way that babies bring home booth and so so a lot of it's going to be personal, like, well, that's, the baby in the womb and that's, the one that speaks to me the most. So that's, the one I pick.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP


Bonus Materials with Purchase

Book Proposal Sample.pdf
Critical Mass - Digital Book.pdf
Curriculum Vitae Example.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 1.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 2.pdf
Keynote PDF Segment 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

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.

Student Work