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The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Lesson 17 of 36

Conceptual Domestic Shoot Prep

Jennifer Thoreson

The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

17. Conceptual Domestic Shoot Prep

Lesson Info

Conceptual Domestic Shoot Prep

Before we start I thought we would just in the thirty seconds or so we just cropped one of the images from the last segment so you could see what it might look like crop I do like a lot of space around people so you can see that they're in that crop I don't mind the raw edge of the background showing there I would reattach out the scenes on I do use a little bit of a warmer tone black and white I'm going to show you that actually in great detail tomorrow we're going to break all this post process down I'll show you from raw file toe in product but this at least shows you kind of what I'm thinking when I'm framing it up and I'm talking so much about that symmetrical feeling the action in the middle of the blank canvas it makes more sense when you don't see the edges of the backgrounds just kind show you there okay? We have completely change teutons here so I got rid of the background and we're heading for less of ah beauty shoot and more of a concept shoot this is a total experiment I'l...

l be completely honest we're about to just completely experiment in front of all of you nice people so we have a bed scene bedside table and the last segment to we're going to dio we have a house actually we're working it and you'll see the detail that goes into the styling every thought that goes into every single object that's in the frame, so especially like in looking at testament things like that. So this is a flavor of testament. What we're doing is marrying the two were taking the beauty stuff that I've done for so long and marrying it with the kind of domestic environment that I worked with in testament and was going to see what happens. What I'm thinking now is that we've got this kind of white on white bed, which in itself, if I looked at bad, which I did, babe, look biblically and also just in general, what bed's kind of symbolized in art and in life first of all, it's, one of the most intimate places in your house and one of the most personal places in your house, right? It's not something like even if you go to someone's house, who, you know, you feel a little awkward going in their bedroom, right? There's something sacred about the bed and the things that happened in the bed, the sleeping, of course and the rejuvenation that happens. But the intimacy, the relationships, the loneliness, the awkwardness, all but this stuff that happens in that very small space, um I mean think about saturday mornings and kids coming in jumping in bed with you and they're the joy that happens in that space there's a lot and it's a very personal thing so that the bed is pretty heavy as faras symbolism and just meaning that's why we've got it there the white linens white is the signifier of kind of that for me that cleanliness baptismal the police is why does snow thing and biblically so I use that as a symbol of color on we've got just a half eaten sandwich here some cheese it's those little clues if you can see them in the image in a print the cheez its we know we know it's this century, right? We know it's in the back maybe that passed ten years at least just little things that let you know because the costuming is so vague that we're in the current time that half drink a glass of milk and um the lamp and things like that just to stage it a little bit make it feel kind of dumb domestic again, we're still using the window light. We've changed the direction now because of where the set is so it's going to be kind of almost backlit cross lit in some instances so where it just kind of feels like behavioural light and I use that term really loosely, but what I really mean is that the light isn't too manipulated it's not forced on a certain direction it's not making a pattern on the model it's just bathing the whole thing in beauty and directional light one light source just skimming across things in a kind of random wei is what it feels like I hope so when someone looks at the photograph it's not about the lighting the lightning it may be beautiful and hopefully it's adding a lot to mention but it's not about that so it's just doing its little dance in there so we may move it around a little bit and see but what I love is is seeing this you know come across all these wrinkly things and have that beautiful light skimming across and showing the little imperfections and your wrinkled bed cover and things that were just you work so hard to keep the home looking a certain way and there's still going to be life in it right? Just human life and imperfection and that stuff I love like accords coming out of the picture and stuff little things that are just life you know no matter how perfect you try to get yourself pull yourself together you're still gonna have a cord showing at some point right? So that kind of thing is interesting to me I'd like to add a little bit of color when I can so having just this little bit of color is enough so when you look at it, hopefully I'm going to crop the square to but it just get you to say, hey, hey, hey, look over here for a second and then go back to where you were so your eye will travel just a little bit that's kind of the goal with things like that, okay? Just so I think we've kind of set it up pretty well we're still doing clay and ashes, so what would ashes mean if you're putting them together with abed? I'm just I'm kind of curious what you guys would think first of all, just random thought words, anything saro, anybody else so where to ashes come from first about what happened to get them fire, right? So something burned, so I think of that is kind of a paring down or death process something existed and now it's reduce down to ashes also I think it translates as kind of snow, right or dust ashes the ashes dusted us, so if you put that together with the bed, what else might just some random? What do you think? Words? Anything anybody in the room can answer nobody may be a bit morbid, but I think they're times when people pass away in their bed yes that's what I was kind of hoping somebody would say, I think it's very death like it definitely is. So I'm trying to be a super aware of that. And I'm going to play with that idea a little bit, and not in a very literal like these. People are going to die feeling, but in a way, that life is fragile and very momentary and temporary. So we have a mother and a daughter, and I were playing with that temporary nous, or I'm trying to play with that idea of that. This is, this is short lived. We only have this long, and then it's ashes to ashes. And so I think it's, especially relevant in something like a bed because that's a resting place, right?

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. 

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

Student Work

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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.