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Conceptual Shoot with Male Model

Lesson 35 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

Conceptual Shoot with Male Model

Lesson 35 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

35. Conceptual Shoot with Male Model

Lesson Info

Conceptual Shoot with Male Model

Jennifer, what are we gonna be doing in this final segment tells so we're goingto watch the male model basically it's a little bit of a different approach, it's a single model and a different bodies high, that kind of thing different set in the bedroom, so well, I kind of get through some of the concept and the process of making those, and then we're going to go into photo shop and look at these images, and I'll show you how I would finish them so awesome sounds good, so enjoy this video, okay? So we're gonna talk a little bit about the set and set up and kind of the wise of what we're doing in here. So this is kind of the first go at this, and we're going to be experimenting with materials and I'll talk about what this is in a minute teo on you'll see, like, during this session is really it's just experimentation. I don't have an end site so much in mind. I've got some sketches that tell me, okay? Here's here's kind of a culmination of some ideas, here's, another high point that maybe...

we're shooting for and it may end up looking like that and it just may not this material is going to kind of tell us what to do in a lot of cases. Feeling out, seeing how it works on the body's, saying what it looks like when we get it on him, see how the light hits it all that stuff is going to determine what we end up actually with in the end, but I do have a guidebook that tells me kind of where to go and that's just I sketch and sketch and sketch at night, and so I just collect those and kind of end up looking at this material, looking back at the sketches and thinking, okay, I think he's too things will work together, that's all that is a ce faras the set goes, this is you can see a bedroom set, I'm trying to kind of fit this into the same aesthetic that we did that I did with it testament, so kind of an early eighties feeling seventies eighties things that are lived in and the home that you feel like you've been to before that kind of domestic setting that how's people to recall memories air helps people to place themselves somewhere themselves somewhere and think, ok, I kind of have a familiarities on how with that space domestic spaces lend themselves to that already, but I'm kind of representing a specific time in my own life and kind of hoping some people may go there with me so that's we were headed when I stay just said the most important thing is light so what we've done with the window here this is not going to be in the shot but this is blocking a decent amount of window light you can see if we look through the window there's a house over there that's got a little sun on it so that house is bouncing back some sunlight at us which is great the color of the light is really warm because of that, eh? So we're just filtering that already beautiful light natural light with curtains s oh this is just as this is go boing really blocking light these air filtering white and then we've got this little sliver over here that's just straight up natural daylight which is a little cooler temperature two so I love the mix of temperatures when I'm working with it I'll just photographed this in raw with auto white balance and I'll play with the color a lot after so like if the wallets come in really orangey yellow color which they will a little because of this I'll go back in and hand brush that out and make it maybe a little bit more neutral in the end so I'm not worried about that as much has amy about the quality of the light so I like this because it looks like a real place and if you look at the wall over there we had this really beautiful sliver of light that's coming from that open panel that adds character to that wall. So not only do we have vertical pattern here, have a corner and you can see a line, a line, a line there. So as you look through this kind of nothing white space, it has character to it and all that touched the mall is being celebrated a little bit, and as I look from here, even you can see what they're paint swatches and someone's covered up the holes that were on the wall, and that kind of stuff is like rich. That adds character to the set to the space because those a little queues at this house has been lived in that it has character and it has history, so I want to show that stuff off, living the light, come across that shows it off quite a bit. So if I put my camera opposite that corner, we're really going to see all that stuff color. So the main proper using is white. This is white wool roving, which we'll talk about a little bit more here in a minute. But this opposite something that's got some I like a lot of warm colors, like citrus colors, reds, oranges, yellows. Um pinks, salmon color stuff like that. I use those a lot depending on the model. So someone with a kind of medium warm skin tone like his thes two things just are the perfect marriage. So we do have a color harmony between the fabrics, the textiles here that have color and pattern and his skin tone. Um, thing I like to use opposite colors on the color wheel too. So if you look at all the oranges in this, then maybe I would walk something blue or green opposite that as just that kind of a pop of color somewhere. So on the table over here we have a green phone in a blue book so it's just cool and warm things working together in the same set without being too orchestrated. So I wanted to feel like someone actually might I live here? S o like the milk before we started shooting will have, you know, a drink come out of that. So that comes up on the sides and it looks like it's actually been used and the newspaper wanted out the bana peel. That kind of stuff adds character but also it feels like something's happened here in the past twenty minutes it's not a set that's been staged for three or four days like the little kiddie bowl down, they're in the water for that an animal that has stripes on it so that's going to draw your eye somewhere that it may not go otherwise so the goal is to get people to travel when they look so maybe you enter from the the left like we read a line of text and see vertical lines in texture this is great because it has so much texture it makes you want almost when you look at the print of the photograph I want to touch this that has so much texture that picks up light so beautiful if you look here that's delicious stuff where that's picking lineup and this having just the wrinkles in this picks up wide and texture panning across coming to kind of the star of the show in the model and then you're allowed to travel a little further we're even going to look into that room a little bit to show kind of the next almost like a way out of the set which is important to um you look at a lot of painters you see they do this all the time just using a prop a color I mean half of a dog half of somebody's arm to get you to look somewhere else besides just where the main action is that if you could get somebody to stand in front of a photograph for fifteen fifteen twenty seconds that's a win because usually if you watch people walk through a gallery it's yep yeah got it got it got it but when you've got something that huh I think you let people discover things on their own like I found that I see that I discovered that this relates to this you get people to stay there longer and sometimes will stand there for sixty seconds or two minutes and that's a huge success huge shoot okay, so I think that's pretty good about the set let's talk about the actual material here s o this is wool roving when I say that r o v I n g and what it is is in the testament exhibition and I showed during the presentation there's a slide in there in the kitchen when actual set and you'll see that there's a rule all over the counters in the kitchen this is that wolf so what I've done is just had it cleaned and process which means that they just wash all the landel and out of it and then spiraled into this really wicked cool shape so this is made then so I can spend you aren't out of it I have been a lot of spending to dio but this is some yarn and I brought to show what the end result of this material would be it's just hand spun wool yarn so in the end it goes from raw fleas would bet wrong nasty dirty fleas that comes off the ship and smells like sheep full of lentil and heavy to something that's washed and kind of clean so to me that shows that cycle of resurrection death and resurrection like a baptism that alone is in the material just in the material not every viewer is going to look at that and say, oh, that means baptism but that's what it means to me specifically and that's already important but also it's it's a material that is loaded that people can see in more ways than one and if you look at it I mean, what does it look like? It looks like kind of like soft serve ice cream, right? Or people are going to see all kinds of different things when they look at this it's a transformative material I can transform this into a lot of different things it kind of I look at it looks kind of like an animal sleeping on the bed so it just has a lot of lives that we can play with if you look so this is the material pull apart, you can see that wool in there that it's very wispy and soft so it pulled apart like that like cotton candy really? So that's what the material feels like but you can see from cameron look quite different than it actually feels we're going to transform this material is something that's what's so beautiful beautiful about photographing this is that it becomes something completely different than it actually is and most people when they look at this may not even know what it is they may not even know it's wool that might be something I need to put the artist's statement so people know so that's kind of what we're dealing with as material um a lot in testament you'll see three cancer image of the big red sculpture that was needle felted wool so this will make into a cloud like this this is a felt ing needle and so if lt needles there's three in here and they have these little spores on them that allow the wool to tangle up when I kind of poke this through when the needle felt all I'm doing is that I'm just kind of poking at it and what happens is the wool fibers tangle together every time I poke through there a sopa lead here in a minute the more I do it this will felt down if I wanted it tio into a really tiny little ball that would bounce it would be so firm that's how I made a lot of the sculptures that were in the original exhibition by hours and hours and hours and lots of bleeding fingers of needle fell thing so just to show you a few things that this material khun dio and not just a few it's pretty interesting stuff also in the bible you'll see and I know I talked about this already but a lot of references to sheep just tons and tons of versus that reference sheep so that's a pretty literal translation and using this material so it has a lot of meaning okay, I think we're ready to start photographing okay, so this is the magic part that is it's just really trial and error this material again like is going to kind of tell us what it can and can't do so just piling on you can see it it kind of comes apart in little bits and pieces so just going to see what it is a little sticky so it'll kind of stick to itself and that's pretty cool so I'm the goal is here to cover his face and head and shoulders in this stuff so he's really we're just photographing his body and I mean I did that quite a bit and testament is like people are and like people are going to read this and all kinds of different ways but people are kind of consumed by maybe it's daily life or maybe it's something you know on event that's happened something in life that's all consuming and they can't see their way out of it when you have that relationship since maybe one person's wind to the other or something like that again people's life experience is going to determine what they see a lot of this kind ofwork to me, it's just kind of like a mirror where people look in there and see themselves somehow that's kind of what? I'm hoping for a hand. You some of that's. If you can get that other side, start piling on and this is well so it's warm, he's warm in there. Some of testament. I had models wearing facemasks because of the smell of the wool. If you get in here, it smells like a sheep. It does that's. Not too bad, but it does smell like a sheep. Okay, this is the bit will have trying to get to stay on, have some clips. If you want, I can leave you clip this. Yeah, those those couples and I can remove little clips and finish up official when I made testament and what I'm doing today to trying to make everything as authentic as possible. So while it would be an option to photograph this in stages, put a little here, click a little there, click that's an option, but I'm trying my very best not to have to do that. I wanted to be one shot, I think there's something to that when someone looks at it and it's the real deal there's a little less fantasy in there a little bit more that person's actually in that situation kind of feeling, I kind of like a little of the face, but I don't want it to look like an opera wigs oh, just a little baby baby bit of it, if we can clip those, we'll be in business. I love all this get thes, um, talking about clothing and stuff for a minute while we're kind of setting up, so I want to see as much skin really and I can so I can see the form of people's bodies, but also getting that beautiful skin tone in their being able to see that because that's that's the part people probably resonate with the most is that human like skin quality being in your own body and showing that in a kind of imperfectly way? So I want people in their own clothing and things and that's a big departure from my work in the past, because I've always orchestrated costuming to a point where it's so exact and so specific that you almost lose the humanity in it. You don't identify with a person as much because they're not wearing something you would ever wear or in a situation you would ever be in there more fantasy related like, if you look at medic on a lot of my women's work, there's a lot more of a fantasy element in that than there is in this yes well, I know this part gives you that quality which is important in my work the cloning the set that the house the way the bodies news all of that gives you a dose of reality and I think that's important and the message I'm trying to send that looks pretty good let's talk those guys in I think kind of ready to do it when I was working with testament I mean each image probably took three or four hours to set so there's definitely a time investment yeah, okay it's great. Okay let's let's make some photographs okay kind of getting a so I will often times underexposed and then you know, do want straight on and then over exposed a little bit and all sandwich things together painting highlights and things like that for a final print. So I'm going to doing a little bit of that, but for the most part I'm at five point six apertures so I'm trying to keep you know as much stuff and focus as I can and still work in low light conditions so I'd like for this texture on the end of the bed to still have some texture and then my shutter speeds about our fifteenth of a second, so I definitely need the tripod in here and if it's lower than that, I would use the cable release but I think we're fine okay so three shots there and I would just bracketing a little bit um you can see in the image I've got from you know where the curtain start on the left a little bit of curtain in there with excluding the dark curtain all the way and showing through that doorway so we have some kind of an escape route over there and an escape route over there that allows kind of of that closed in feeling toe we get rid of that a little bit and it feels like a real place okay let's try can you very, very carefully draw your right knee up onto the bed with you that that right leg almost like you'd be sitting cross legged on leyte as flat as it will go yeah, yes, perfect it can kind of nestle in with that other leg a little bit the foot there we go let's put the right hand on top of the leg maybe so we can see it perfect right for now that feels like it has more balanced with the large sculpture on the top with that knee there gives a little bit more shape to the body so there's more action in the body about were photographing this for print I would probably take, you know, fifteen, ten, fifteen shots if the shutter were any slower just to be sure because if you go through all of this costuming and staging you want to make sure everything is perfect okay, uh what about, um putting something in your hands let's see if somebody's gonna have to hand it to you. Um we have somebody that can help maybe just the telephone receiver there that one whichever one it is, just let it rest on your on your leg there. Ah, yeah. Face down there we go. The other hand, let's, maybe. Well, that's. Nice. Yeah, maybe cliched fingers in a little tighter, so there's more attention in them. Hey, okay. Can we bring your left leg so both legs really toward the little nightstand? A little bit more. Is that possible? Slowly, it's okay to crunch the magazine that's one. Speaking of the magazine that's there because I want his foot to be visually separated from the floor because they're very much the same color and there's, not a lot of light on his feet. I love feet, so that lets you see the shape of the foot having bangs in there. What about now? Let's, get rid of the telephone receiver and you could just sit it on the nightstand just kind of clinching arms around yourself and unfolded manner yeah, maybe even a little bit tighter, almost like anxiety sort of clinch, yeah, let's, try one same body language but where I can see your hand so that left hand comes out on top of the right yeah, really lots of tension in the hands like you're grabbing really tight yeah, let's try just the opposite let the arm just flammable beside you just really loose maybe the left left one yet on the table he confined and palm up so the hand is open yes, um the right hand if it could come out just a little bit more away from your body. Yeah, and same thing palm upon that one too, like, kind of a surrendering if you convey that elbow and tuck it back just a little bit, even a little bit more. Um you're right, I'm sorry. Tuck it into your ribs there. Oh, we lost it. That's ok, we got a lot. We've got a lot of that set, okay, moving around a little bit before we get him settled just to say each time I d'oh an image in a project like this, I'll probably take forty or fifty shots of this prop of this roving, for instance, and just try all kinds of different stuff and most of it is not going to work most of it I'm not gonna like, but impact that last shot is probably not going to be the one I know that but I learned a lot from it was an experiment I can I got an idea what the material was doing I could see some interesting happy things happening between the body and the material all that stuff every time you try something even if it fails miserably you learn something and you're getting somewhere with this sow again I'll probably do forty or fifty different takes different setups, different rooms, different furniture, different props, different models of the same material so in the end one of those will be the one and so it's a lot of work for one shot but it's absolutely worth it and it takes that experimentation it's like the cream rising to the top you have all the milk and at the very end of like that's the one but if you don't try enough about you may never get the very best bit of the cream at the top so okay let's um so he's just sitting on the bed here and when I'm looking at is line so I know when he lays back light is going to come across his body, which is going to be fabulous and I'm looking at line from his toes through the knees and the denim shorts are great because they're blue opposite that orange when he lays back then I'm looking for this kind of sloping shape from me to heap of roving and I mean why are we putting this rubbing on his head basically, you know it's it's again that idea of someone being consumed by something completely foreign in their home so in their everyday comfortable environment where things should feel secure and should you won't feel normal on dh it's that normalcy that I like to play with in these photographs because people carry around this stuff all these burn ins and all this happiness all the time we just don't talk about it so in this case we're just showing we're showing very literally this is what it's like a human being ok, so go ahead and lay back nick and we're gonna just pile that look at the line on this chest and belly area so we're going to start the roving maybe about collarbone area let's try it there first so we get all that beautiful hone in on this one will probably need this other bag tio dump it all in there and have a giant heap all the way back to the headboard this is gonna be great can your feet touch where you are? Do we need to move let's before we get too crazy? Yeah, I'm moving down a little so your feet touch yeah and the reason I'm doing that is because I want it to look like he's been there a while like this thing has grown on him but I bit by bit and that we didn't just stick it there so if his feet touchdown ating it seems a little bit more like life like yeah and make let's talk here feet back toward the battle little more and there we go it does help a lot to you to have somebody placing some of the elements for you so you can come back here and look at it as it's coming together and make decisions I can see his face still tio and let's put your hands by your sides I think if there's room on the bed and I think palm up again kind of in that surrendering sort of idea uh yeah, it can flop off the bat a little that's great, yeah, I love people with tattoos and scars and birthmarks and stuff like that because again that that shows a little bit of human and what everybody's gotten everybody goes through life collecting scars so it helps you identify with people a little bit better if we compile this all the way back to the headboard when they need the other bag too if somebody wants to bring that in. So maybe it's not as tall but it's longer again I'm just making these decisions as I'm looking at it because I'm looking at the form and right now it looks pretty darn good if we can add a lump between those two big ones yeah I'm kind of curious of course what the audience thinks this material looks like but it kind of also feels like intestines tendons muscle when I was choosing materials for testament I was really interested in things that felt body like like the insides of people's organs the cancer mass for instance really looked like tissue I think way have a lot more yeah with this new stuff just making a big slope so if you look at his knees we have a gentle slope through his chest up into this heap that'll go back down onto the bed on the other side so you get a really cool balanced shape out of it it's pretty interesting yeah, well why not? We can always take some in the in the back where we don't see it as much but the long bits are kind of interesting too I don't mind it on the floor even maybe not that much but again it's a it is helpful to sit back here so you can see these things happen in real time because sometimes sophie didn't plan is kind of magical and you won't see it if you're up there on it yeah let's people get it even taller with that remainder of the rolling just a little tiny bit you know coming down and we have the pasta spaghetti feeling and I do like that this material kind of feels heavy I think it does which is strange photographs heavy but it isn't at all it's extremely light but you look at that light that comes across that roving and that that initial line that happens from tau left leg the little skin rim of light that happens on the left leg belly and then that rim of light on the top that's line on after and that's why he's kind of back lit in this way maybe just a little less on the floor still maybe just one tiny little pile about six or seven inches around the rest of it can go up there with him yeah fantastic no no I think it looks kind of cancer is a good way lump all those guys together and leave them on the floor and I think that's going to be anything if we can't talk him back toward the post of the the table it's beautiful I think we got it ok, I'm looking like every little thing every little thing in the frame from nick are you okay? Okay from his feet um looking at how the orange blanket intersex with them um did she run away? Can you come back? So I'm just a little tiny details where this orange blanket is can you pull the corner out underneath it so it doesn't tuck in and we get the fringe yeah and then it's almost the same shape is this foot down there thank you so much yeah, I'm also it completes the line of that that blanket which was a little tiny detail but it's something we can follow all that thing up um we see of course the roving which we've worked hard to get that shape and then down it creates its own one because of the way the vertical lines come back down and you see the cup in the magazine and the shoes and the book so even the little cord that falls down behind the that's a table on paying attention, every single thing that's in the frame and making sure it's working I love the heater because of the cord to just if you look at people's manicured homes like people work so hard to get everything just right and then there's a random court that you just can't do anything about that life, you know? And I like to put a little bit of humor in there, all right, nick, we're ready to roll love so again I'm gonna break act so that was a fifteenth of a second I'm going to go to a twentieth and what that does is if you look at the one had a twentieth of a second even a little faster but the highlights are completely controlled and there's texture and the highlights if I go down to now an eighth of a second look under the bed side table over there the highlights have blown out, but I've got beautiful shadow detail everywhere while I won't put them together in an hd our way like all three sandwich I will just pull in little bits and pieces like seeing the texture in those black shoes is important in the end in a print I want you people to feel and touch everything in there from highlight to shadow everywhere the print quality but people stand in front of that's what they're going to connect with but okay, can we tuck the heels and even a little bit more toward the bed so that kind of really planted in their little and then can we get the arm on the bed with you? Well, it fit yeah beautiful maybe let me exactly now try talking the fingers in into a loose fists almost like you're okay let's try maybe if you can poke out your tummy know where we can get it to swell as much as possible yes beautiful so same thing with the hand gesture just roll the hand where I see the palm of the hand yes beautiful right there there's a little difference if you look at the light now coming cross those fingers we have a lot of character there beautiful maybe if I don't know if it'll work but we can try hands up over head so that arm would come up I can't really see the other one but I can see that one yeah and stretch it out as straight as you can like you're almost holding and they just grab some of that stuff and give me a real good fist yes and swell the belly as much as we can get that line beautiful okay and I think we may I have everything fall apart but we're going to try this if you inch your body to the very edge of the bed toward me so your arm can hang off the side so your shoulder kind of gonna have to hang off maybe just another couple of inches there we go you fantastic and the hand is close to the bed as we can get it good but still feeling like it's just hanging there yeah get myself a little more space for a few and just see what you got it's also important to me to try my best want to distort line so I don't have converging lines coming in on the sides and even with this lens which is a normal lens twenty four to seventy I'm at twenty four millimeters so I'm going to get some of that and I will correct that later I don't like the converging lines okay if we can close the fist a little bit if you look at the difference now and just let the arm come up one inch right not even that much a little less right there and take that shot nowthe hand is completely within the white sheet area and not crossing down into the shadow area I'm gonna lose it two little bitty details I'm trying real hard to scour the whole thing and look at everything that's in there let the hand if you can not just fall completely open many that shoulder off the bed even more I don't know okay and then let's close the hand and feet tucked in all the way if it'll go maybe bending the elbow just the tiniest bit what if we then put the hand up next to your side and have the elbow bent and hanging off yeah that's nice let's bring it down a little lower maybe a little more toward your waistline and let's fold a few of the fingers in just so that it's not a flat hand and maybe a couple could be long but yes yes what's one last shot if you take both hands and put them together and then up over your head like a super man kind of thing but connect the hands on top of the roving if that if that's possible like clenching together yes cool try just I would do this if I were working for a print a little more depth of field home now f eight instead of five six and then I would just work my shutter speed so it's gonna get pretty slow, so that way his feet attack sharp. Perfect. Yeah. Okay, I think we got it. Okay, so we're just trying to different take on the same concept. So the whole body kind of hidden in just these legs coming out, just moving it to the other side of the bed. So now all the light, all the attention really, he is on the robing so it's, just little whispers of light that are on the subject on dh classical training would tell me not to do this, you know, would tell me to put him over here and photograph from this angle. So I'm ninety degrees to the window so light would be coming across his body about half of his body, like a three quarter or rembrandt kind of style lighting. But when you walk into somebody's house and you see you observe something and you're just a fly on the wall or the observer that's not the way things look most of the time often so to me this kind of leading light behave, letting light dance on things, let it just do its thing and behave the way it's going to behave it's still control that I know what I'm doing with it but it feels a little lesson manipulated to me sometimes tohave it coming in and just lighting the room of things on letting things just be discoverable instead of kind of all I love the lighting on that picture it's almost like looking at a woman with beautiful beautiful makeup and saying, oh, I love your makeup instead of saying oh, I think you're really beautiful woman so if anything if anyone thing becomes the star of the show like the lighting looks really manufactured then it becomes about the lighting I don't want that um okay, so they're now we move on we have to look again at every single thing there's a little bit of stripey blanket and sheet showing next to his left fight can we talk that and so it's just the orange blanket so little things like that you know we'll have less confusion at where the shape is and that's department really want to see and I know I'm being really picky but there's the tiniest little bit still showing of the sheet thank you. Perfect yeah as high as possible. So now we've got a clean line there were the leg is I do like a little bit striped showing though at the bottom of the bed because there again when you're looking at the print there's little things that you discover on your own where that they're not they're not super present or not something here every beginning, but you let your your let your audience look around and see things discover things also it's it's a little just imperfection that that we have in everyday life, so feet I love feet because they're one of the most worn parts of the body and used parts of the body and they show life, so I like to use feet. Um, the reason we're pulling that that stuff off the floor now is where it wass it was competing with the feet, so we had three things, three vertical lines coming down. We had each leg plus the roaming. Now we just have the two legs that air the vertical lines, and they become that shape without it being interfered with with anything else. Great there's a little bit coming down between his thighs. Yeah, let's. Just tuck that tips. We don't see any texture, it's. Clean line. Yeah. I mean, this is a funny shot, it's. Definitely humorous, but there's a lot of life in there, too. And that's kind of what I'm going for. I want a little humor. Um, if you look at the light on that orange blanket coming across, I mean, that is just delicious stuff, all those creases, all that texture, and that lends itself into the big pile of intestines or pasta or whatever it is this otherworldly, bizarre thing that just happens to be in this space and letting that being the star of the show that's where the light is because everything else is in the shadow area the table everything under the table that shoes I would then I would do several exposures that we're definitely overexposed so I could get those shadow areas to come in in a print. The exposure I like is this one bo for sure if you look at the difference between the two of the other one everything's really opened up and actually the highlights are still ok, but in fact I might even go stop lesson so really letting that light show off and behave on those highlight areas and then we get a dramatic difference between highlight and shadow letting things be moody and kind of dark and musty and that kind of thing. It feels a little bit more like evening and hear if I intentionally under exposing a little and so I can get this mood and a print if you look at the roving where it isthe that highlight area spot on that's what I want in the print so I'll use my overexpose shot and pull back the hair of its legs and all that stuff so you can a little bit of both so keep the mood of the original good one more wait try one where you're coming up on your toes so there's a little bit more tension in there maybe even a little bit more so those needs are a pro high and then took the feet back up onto the bed if you can do it yes totally different body language right little bitty change but that's totally different fuels different so I'm gonna open up just a little bit good five six let this become a little softer on the end exposed for the highlights beautiful and then open up a little bit for the shadow let's try one with the feet just a little closer together maybe through through four inches apart yeah yeah I like how the crease comes over the heel school what about even bringing one foot onto the side of the bed so that so littlefoot is flat to the bed something any scent yeah it's up on the like your kind of trying to get out of there and then he can kind of lay over toward the other leg yes beautiful one last thing would just put both feet together and back onto the for yeah totally different really different like controlled contrived now a little more in the body if you take your right foot and point the toes toward me just the toes yes a little less contrived I know it's a little change but it feels quite different now but just separate the heels about two inches. Yeah and you could do a lot with just feet you can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their legs let's bring your right leg a little further toward me uh huh and then a little further toward the bad also yeah see there's now a little daylight between the feet but not a lot fantastic we got it someone thing also I want to mention about the lighting is of course we have what I'm considering the main light is the window but this guy this doorway is a acting as a fill light so there's quite a bit if you look in this room you can see it's quite sunny in there so not only is it a good quantity of light it's a warm color of why and that's filling quite a bit you can even see the pattern of that light coming in on the floor which I really like we don't know that the door is there door's not the shot but the light from the doors and the shot so it gives us an idea of dimension and a clear idea of what kind of room we're in. This guy is adding a little bit of fill light to um and if you put a curtain up there you would see a dramatic difference in the way that light behaves especially on these shadow areas in here on then this one is also adding feel like there's a window behind me a door? This is the kitchen area with a white floor and so red walls so we're getting a nice warm light also coming in from here if all of these air canceled out, we would have almost black shadows and really dramatic lighting, so if I wanted to do that, I could certainly control it just by blocking off these windows door area okay, so often times if I'm doing a pose that's kind of hard to explain, I'll just show somebody to get them into kind of the gist of it first, so ideally we've got him on the edge of the bed here so sitting here so you've got some leverage because you're going to need the weight and then just extend from the spine up as much as you can see, we get a lot of legs were just bind you from hand foot something like that and we're gonna kind of roll and go from there, see what happens, okay, what do you want? Like going around? I think we're gonna actually have to mummy him for this one should maybe do this away from the bed first so that we can get sure we could do it well, I don't know how we get him over there though well, I think literally just standing where he is right here oh, if you think you can do that, it's gonna be uncomfortable that way. At least get your feet done. Yeah, I'm just checking now what I want is him kind of a ninety degrees toward to the camera. It's still looking like you would actually be sitting there. I want to make sure that when I get him all wrapped before we get him wrapped and he can't move that the line is right. So we get if the the model is so if you turn three quarters to me just for a minute to illustrate this, if he's turned toward me three quarters the line of his body is completely shorten it's for shorten. So if you look at the foot the foot that comes at me the knee that comes at me there is no line in there, there's, no design in there. So if I turn you now ninety, freeze that way. There is a line now from toe to heel up the leg and then back towards body and that's what I'm trying to get at and the longest possible version of that. So actually, if you turned toward the window even a little bit it's that's even better. So if you will see the difference between, of course the first, but even the second two just having the longer line and once we get him in this format will make a really big difference okay, I think that's gonna be the spot we can start wrapping the idea is that he's bound from leg two hand so he's he can't move this is a different feeling than the head thing because having the head cover and having the body covered just the legs coming out those all work in a similar way and that the head or the main function of the body the brain is being over taken or is heavy or I mean there's a lot of ways to read that but something's happening to the head right? This is different though this has a different moon, I think quite a bit bit of a darker move and somebody is physically immobilized, they can't move so there's some images and testament that are like that too maybe like two people are bound together so they can't get a part sort of thing or a person is bound to themselves or something is growing on their skin there's a different feeling so that's kind of what we're going for here can we put your elbows inside your knees before we get too far yet so the difference now is I can see his leg line a little bit better even though we're not going to see the legs, that line is going to be smaller and cleaner ok that it's not gonna be one continuous now the messiness of it is good it just as long as it looks like it's crying I'm growing and it's tight so he's really immobilized which I don't think it's gonna be a problem and I think the feet covered is gonna be important covered with huh so if I get down and look at it from camera angle again I have to consider everything and this is a slightly different I'm gonna have to move you know a little bit in order to get his leg line the way I want it to be so we're gonna have to move curtains and we will here in a minute because the dark curtains are now in the shot and with a wide angle I mean the bed is distorted now um and he he is at the very end of the frame so I have to be careful because I'm really particular about lives being straighten everything being lined up that he's not distorted too much to the point where I can't get lines to be straight later so I'm watching that carefully trying to give myself enough space and they're cool thing is his body will be framed in the white curtain area of the window so he'll be kind of a darker figure almost a silhouette against a lot almost white background and that's going to be a really interesting shape I think is there a way to make it look in there or where the feet and so we can see the shape of his feet doesn't make any sense tuck it in as close as we can in fact nick, if you bring your feet to the bed as far as possible we can talk the roving between his legs and the bed maybe get a little smaller a lot of people ask me where do you get models that are willing to do this kind of stuff um and it does take somebody who is not only interested in what what you do and your work that's important but also somebody who's interested in the concept and interested in participating in that and illustrating it with you this is a collaborative effort is not me taking pictures of the model this is the two of us and you've got a performance really from a model and I'm kind of documenting a performance is what's happening so you need somebody who is really into it really interested in what you're doing and willing to be uncomfortable for it. So those deplore not the easiest to find so I find that use a lot of people that I know pretty well and that I can trust and that already appreciate kind of what I'm after and what I'm trying to do so I don't hire very many models use almost all people that I know in daily life work and that's looking good you don't okay let's not get too high ok if we can just hide and without losing any more of his arms the intersection of the knee with the jeans jeans okay yeah or we could just double that back and tuck it between his arm enough bad I mean it looks like it's kind of growing out of his body doesn't make sense while we're at it somebody could move the dark curtain I guess all right, so um move the current's a little bit now you can see he's framed inside that that kind of wide ish frame and so it's it's not silhouetted but it feels kind of silhouetted so it's a form against kind of a black background and I like to do that I do that a lot I'm looking at everything um and so that open gap in the window back there is a leading a lot of light hit the pillows and so it's almost like a rhythm it's almost like the pillows are getting more light than he is but I'm kind of liking that multiple subjects and you bounce back and forth between him and them and there's a beauty to that I think those that like him across those pillows is really beautiful also looks like someone has slept there which I sort of liked the idea that maybe there used to be someone who slept there and now there isn't again I'm bracketing some working that shot for the highlights going to go down to a thirteen of a second for the shadows because so there's really not a lot of light on him it's it's everywhere kernels so I'll combine those two is there a way to put the top of your head inside your arms inside the wall just kind of as close as it will go yes yes even tuck and roll like a little phew one last thing is can we come up on your toes there so your legs a little more length in the leg and the toasting yeah that he can go up against the bed if you need him for support just okay okay maybe somebody can help just pushes legs back toward the the bad all the way so he's got a little more leverage in the feet he can't move it's part mack logo ok good yes and just talking the chance faras it'll boas far yes beautiful and maybe the shoulders can raise up a little bit so we could hide the years all right, I think we've got it let's get you out of peril awesome. Well, I hope you enjoyed that. We were just watching something that we shot ahead of time and now we're back in the studio with questions from from all of you who are watching that hope you enjoyed it so I'll start off with this one from photo maker to jennifer scope out the rental house in advance of the shoot to see directions of light at different times of the day for planning uh when to shoot no, I didn't but would you yes, I would okay, um of course that helps a lot of planning and when I was making testament I would take my iphone in there and just photograph the rooms while they were empty I bring the objects in there and move them around all over the place and photograph them see how the light behaved on them also different times of day so sometimes stuff you know get those cool shadows that come in the window show up on the floor a little bits of light here and they're showing up so yeah, absolutely the more you know, the better uh, same same person has a question about read it it's one thing photographically to develop a personal style that's recognizable it's another thing to get into a creative rut how do you avoid the ladder? And yeah, I mean that's that's one of the biggest things that I think people who make this kind of work struggle with because if you have success with something then you want to do it again and again and again and I felt that way after I made medic that that style was working for me because it did well but it's it's literally forcing yourself like taking a chisel ongoing, you know, forcing yourself out of that comfort zone and making yourself uncomfortable you still see if you look between this work and medic there's definitely the same person that made it in there somewhere, but they're different and just you have to be raw and expose yourself be willing to fail and that it's so hard because especially after you've had success with something it's so hard to then let yourself fall on your face and fail and then you get that oh my gosh, I'm never going to make anything good again feeling and then you cry a lot and then you quit photography and then you start over. I quit photography about four times while making testament it's just life, you know, because you still start to feel like you can't come up with anything good but that's that's where you do all the good stuff actually comes from is when you allow yourself to to flop over and just fail and expose yourself and then eventually let's make sense again and you've got something new. Yeah, yeah it's not an easy thing to dio do you ever feel embarrassed when you're explaining your vision to your model? I've had this problem and I'm afraid it makes me edit myself that's a really good question my best answer is I don't explain a lot to them because I want I want them to participate in their own way and if I tell people too much then they start acting a role rather than responding to the environment it doesn't make any sense is I didn't tell nick anything nothing infact I didn't tell the family anything either they don't know what it's about except from what they heard from me but it when you put something on someone's head and they start to feel the weight of that then they react to it physically in viscerally and that's good stuff that's where I'm trying to pull in for it information and inspiration from is watching that interaction between those two things in real time not because I told them what it was supposed to look like though but I do understand feeling a little bit embarrassing you're telling someone what youre going after but I don't know I mean if you can't if you can't get it out in front of something at that point I think just let it cook a little bit longer because at some point it's going to be written in an artist's statement you know so there it is just has you have to get comfortable with that though it could take some time yeah how many shots or exposure cities to merge into one final photo you you mentioned in a video you don't do hdr right you do brackett we're actually gonna do it right here three usually three or four awesome. We've gotten a few different questions about what printer you have at home. You said you print at home before you take it to the actual printer. Epson, thirty, eighty. Okay, yeah.

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