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Shooting a Conceptual Beauty Shoot

Lesson 14 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

Shooting a Conceptual Beauty Shoot

Lesson 14 from: The Art and Business of Conceptual Portraiture

Jennifer Thoreson

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Lesson Info

14. Shooting a Conceptual Beauty Shoot

Lesson Info

Shooting a Conceptual Beauty Shoot

This looks great. Let me have you moved dead center for may, so? Yep. Perfect. Perfect. Just know start there. See how we're doing first. Okay. Okay. Um, a photograph in manual a lot of people ask camera settings f for, um the background is going to be taxed our because it's only a foot behind her. So yes, I will if I'm going to finish one of these, I'll have to retouch out all the creases and stuff, but I like the texture of the background. I like that you ever seen, like irving pins work, which hopefully you have if your photographer hey has a a lot of images where they're kind of on a canvass see thing and there's a lot of texture in the background, I've always liked that look. Okay, one more for good measure since I changed it. So when I want to start photographing somebody it's always I always start with kind of basic poses, just things that I could do in my sleep, basically. So I'm warming up to her and she's warming up to me, and we're kind of just getting to know each other thr...

ough that kind of familiar arin e that familiar with them, so I'm not going to try something crazy on the first pose, I would never put somebody in some outlanders pose right off the bat for two reasons one I don't know her body yet I don't know her flexibility range I don't know her strength level I don't know anything about her yet so there's a discomfort that happens and asking her to do something like that when we haven't gone anywhere yet it's like going on a first date kind of thing really is so we start with the simple stuff like coffee and then maybe go to dinner and then you know leave room for the holy spirit at the end okay we stop you just one more time yeah beautiful just all the weight on one leg for me and just kind of let your hips naturalist shift the beautiful either way is fine and let him go pretty far over there just like that hit really? Yeah. Good hand just by your sign just let lucy and just barely touch fingertips to the hips for me right in there yeah beautiful let the shoulder's fallen just be really relaxed and low beautiful from the head falling just ever so slightly this way alan away from body and down just a little bit and eyes down toward your toes like you're looking at your reflection in the water I think I was down even more you just gonna keep staring at the toes for me there's really sink into it just let everything feel kind of heavy I think feet not cross but side by side and they can be touching but just side by side go ahead and in fact let's go ahead and touch him beautiful yes, beautiful let the arms be a little yeah just loose like they're just barely hanging on that's beautiful right there and sink into that hip for me just everything's heavy in long, good almost like you're reaching for the floor they're they're good think letting the head fall even worked right there right there hanging there couldn't eyes closed for me we're just going to keep holding things that I'll just make a little bitty changes as we move along um smash those feet together all the way for me if you would and let's sink into the other hip for a minute just wait on the other like yeah I'm just really throw that out there beautiful hands are still long and heavy yeah let the head fall in the eyes close and perfect right there just hang in there you can open your eyes does he need chin out away from your body and down beautiful let's throw the arms up and over and just kind of holding elbows for a moment yet beautiful head's gonna be dead center just totally symmetrical right there even let it fall this way that time not even that much comeback right there right there eyes closed for me I think try letting your head now fall into this arm will go ahead and touch go ahead and let that beard yeah touchdown just gonna still fall forward with head they're beautiful even a little bit more right there eyes closed beautiful let's overlap the arms even a little more same idea yeah that's perfect right there right there good let your head come through just a little bit more for one good and try the arms all the way over the head if you'll turn your face all the way behind you even a little more try the chin up just a little like your kind of basking in that light but not falling away from me so still tipping the top of the head toward me try turning the face away from me one more time all of it into that arm and just raising the chin right their eyes closed beautiful okay what about something like we're holding the hands of kind of victoriously straight above the head all the way up just straight arms totally symmetrical and just maybe just having the heels on the hands and then letting the fingers collapse inside those hands yes beautiful just hang in there that's perfect chin down a little bit more even a little bit more perfect thing in there leave the arms there and just turn the face right smack at me and eyes are closed for one more moment same thing we're just gonna let the head fold this way a little bit actions coming down right there if you can let the hands go that way like an inch they're good smashing the knees and legs together all the way so you become one long beam yeah yeah I think let them overlap in fact let this front leg you are left leg overlap in front of the right just a little bit but keeping the feet together so you're going to do it with your hips but those hips just thinking they're they're they're perfect same thing just turning the face right at me yes and letting the head fall into this arm beautiful good okay fall apart for a minute so that one to me it's kind of cross like it I mean it's not literal crucifixion but I think it looks somewhat like that do you guys see that I kind of feel that like a sacrificial white porcelain looking lamb or something that's happening I mean I think she looks kind of animal like like a a deer a little fall in or something like that I mean very delicate and kind of precious and so I'm just kind of playing with that and playing with shape and form again so the beginning of the session that's the kind of stuff I always start with I probably won't use any of those but um we're getting to know each other it's good okay, do we have that little crown thinking? Can we just that little fellow with ashes? And then we'll put that in, and just the effect of that kind of crucifix looking thing would be even more so if we have this wreath on her head when you really start, I think to pull up themes of that and start to see that without me even saying anything, I always photographed people in this style anyway, dead on to the camera. I never turned them three quarters. It's either they're dead on or their ninety degrees from the camera because I find they get a lot more interesting shapes out of their body if I have symmetry because I really love balance and I love symmetry. So if you look it and some of the images are coming up, you can see that the side of the background that's all going to be cropped out, so these were going to be square images so she's going to be completely symmetrical inside of the symmetrical form s so it's, an active body in a passive space, the backgrounds not doing anything it's, just passive space and symmetrical passive space. Yeah, that's great. Thank you we may be dependent in, but we can do a couple with it just sitting there and we'll take a breather and pin it in I guess we might need a little more let's dump a little more ash on that event it's on her head so it's not the only green totally green thing I think let's try and smash it down a little bit more so it's not floating or it won't go any further try flipping and upside down see if it's bigger on the other side that's better and while she's got the ashes can we put a little bit on your mouth? You just don't want to lick your lips while we do this but because your mouth is a lot darker than your face right now think we even out a little bit and I'm so I talked about balance a little bit already but if you look at this pose um it feels a little off balance in fact to me and so we were kind of working through a siri's they're moving the arms back and forth but the arms hanging to the left like that I think the weight shifted even more so having that hip out even more to that side would balance it doesn't make sense so the weight of it between the weight on the bottom of her foot, the hip and the arm would be almost in line with each other so it would feel a little bit more symmetrical than it does now in that pose what I'm after kind of almost like an eerie stillness that's happening yes that's a lot better that's beautiful okay good let's do arms up in over one more time and just kind of play with this what we've got that thing up there and just overlapping real gently I think I'm just like hands falling over the face yes beautifully don't move anything that's perfect I love it when there's not a focus but when you need one right there we go try letting the fingers touched down all the way to the face that's beautiful eyes right here for one and just close them for a moment you have beautiful pressing the shoulders as far down as they'll go leading that other arm creep over even more actually let's keep the one on the face yeah and that other guy just as far as it will go over beautiful and let those fingers creep around to the front of that arm let's keep him behind but then let me just see the tips of them come this way yes you two fall shoulders or low that's lovely lovely before we move that we could do it again wait on the right foot again and really throw that hit this far little go so you're kind of almost a ziff you're trying to touch your armpit to your hip like a broken doll but all the weight on that right leg there you go and feed her together but you're really kind of a broken like you're reaching for the floor with that there you go now just move the arms up for me we will have it yes a little more closed and I think I loved the touching of the face yeah what if you just look through the fingers at me eyes closed from there try rolling your face up into that arm same arms same everything just kind of yeah yeah eyes close those beautiful smash that face against the hand so it's a really like a grip yes beautiful ok shell for a minute good good um let's put you up on something and see what happens so anesthesia we may need to move you off the background for a minute oh my that's heavy listen um and I think we're gonna need to raise it the background a little sorry to be a pain but she's tall tall I like to put people up on things because it adds a little bit of that uh need for balance kind of in that sort of sense of peril like someone I'll put people up on I mean I have someone standing on a horse and one of the images which I probably shouldn't have done but I did so when you look at it though there's a real tension to it like oh my gosh you're just going to fall and I like that tension I'm after that all the time you question some questions coming in from online how long are your model sessions? Usually. How long are you working on? A few hours. A few hours? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Maybe. Well, to our two to three hours, depending on how complex we're getting in a session like this. When I'm doing something like testament, it could be four, five hours, six hours. And how did you how did you handle the eyes? Did she just apply ash or did you use the clay to there's? No. Clay on her eyes. Just the ashes. Ok, yeah, yeah. I've never tried the clay on the eyelids, but I have a feeling it wouldn't be a good idea. So far, no one has died or were seriously injured in any of my sessions, so I'm trying to keep it that way on going blind or anything like that. Um, what else? You keep all of the images you shoot in preparation for the portrait or just the ones you choose to use. Do I keep I keep them all? You keep him on a hard drive on. One of the reasons for doing that is and we'll talk about the business in tomorrow. But I'm represented by a couple stock agencies. Who are always looking for images and stuff that I don't think I would use ever and I probably would not put in my portfolio. I'll get a call from someone looking for a book cover of a model, doing random, whatever it is, and I'm like, I have that, so I don't ever throw stuff away. I just keep hard drives of stuff on there. When I was doing commission work, though, I only showed people about fifteen or twenty images, so yeah, I would just pick the very berry strongest awesome. I have a couple questions about a year and I know this isn't obviously about here, but this has been such a informative and inspiring course so far. Thank you, jennifer yeah, also a nikon user was wondering what camera, body and lens you're using. I have a nine twenty, eight hundred and my go to len, which is the twenty four to seventy two eight it's actually the only leads I own, okay? I don't even have anything else that I use it for everything and if I need something, I'll read a lens for a special set, but I use it for everything. I love it, I like it because it's he's pretty much the way I d'oh it's almost like a fixed using an almost fixed capacity, so they're no tricks and so when you look at the images it's, not a long lens or wide angle, that gives you kind of an otherworldly effect, it looks like it would look if I were standing right here. So there are no there's, no trickery to it. There's, no romance to the capture and e. I think that helps a lot in the message I'm trying to send. Monica wants to know how many images will you yield from a session like this? Just what are you just going for one final image, or multiple you can use in different that's a good question, so it's kind of the goal, depending on the goal, if I'm shooting for a client or for a book cover or something like that, maybe twenty or thirty, what? But if it's for me, I probably wouldn't show more than one or two school from it.

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