with Manuela Thames

Workshop begins November 9th, 2020

Humans are story-telling creatures, and self-portraiture has been used for centuries as a means of creative expression and to explore and give expression to one’s personal story.

Are you interested in taking self-portraits but you don’t know exactly where and how to start? Have you been experimenting with self-portraiture but would like to push yourself further? Would you like to develop a cohesive series and get feedback on previous work?

This workshop is for photographers who would like to take on the challenge and experience the fun of being behind and in front of the camera, and whom are ready to experiment and desire to tell a story.

“Telling your own story through self-portraiture” will appeal to photographers who have created self-portraits in the past and would like feedback and help in putting together a cohesive series and artist statement.



  • Discuss why artists have expressed themselves through self-portraiture for centuries
  • Identify motivations behind self-portraiture
  • Distinguish between a ‘selfie’ and a self-portrait
  • Examine your own story and develop and choose a concept
  • Experiment with props, lighting, location, clothing and camera settings
  • Discuss aspects of cohesion and how to create it
  • Produce a cohesive self-portrait series



Getting to know each other


  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Course structure
  • How to get the most out of the workshop
  • Frequently asked questions
  • First writing and photo assignments



Introduction to self-portraiture


  • The history and development of self-portraiture
  • What is appealing about self-portraiture?
  • Finding a concept
  • Second writing and photo assignment



Practical tips for a successful self-portrait session


  • Equipment
  • Lenses
  • Lighting
  • Clothes and Props
  • What makes a series cohesive?
  • Third photo assignment





  • Thoughts on vulnerability and self-portraiture (includes an interview with a self-portrait artist)
  • Daily shooting assignments
  • Editing Tips
  • Sharing and feedback



Presenting your Work


  • Tips on how to write an artist statement
  • Submitting your images for exhibition and publication
  • Questions and discussions
  • Sharing images and feedback




How Does the Course Work?


Workshops operate 100% online. All our premium course content is available to you 24/7 so you can learn at a time that suits you!

There are no set class times, so that means YOU follow the lesson plan when it suits YOU!


Our team of Instructors have put together easy to follow courses which are offered as a downloadable pdf at the end of your course period, that incorporate comprehensive lessons and complementary video content.


Our All-Inclusive students are guided through each weekly lesson through our Student Forum and will receive invaluable personalized feedback and bonus content on their progress.



Who is this class for?

This class is for photographers wanting to develop skills in self-portraiture. It is also for any artist who would like to dive deeper into the inspirations for art and the possibilities for telling stories, expressing messages, or creating beauty.


What are the prerequisites for this course?

You should own DSLR or a film SLR and scanner, a tripod, and have access to photo editing software. Basic familiarity with camera settings and editing is necessary.


Will there be assignments?

The goal of the class is to create a series of self-portraits, so there will be weekly writing and photo assignments. No reading required, but I will be recommending optional reading material throughout the class which will enhance the experience.


How long does this class last?

This is a 5-week course. During the first three weeks, we will be covering several topics and the homework will consist of short writing assignments and photo assignments. The fourth week will be mostly time to shoot. The last week we will talk about artist statements, have discussions, work on editing, give feedback and ask questions.


Which editing software can I use?

Any editing software is acceptable.  I will be demonstrating techniques using Photoshop and/or Lightroom, so access to either or both of those is recommended if possible.


Manuela Thames is a fine art photographer residing in Saint Paul, MN, with her husband and two children. Originally from Germany, she moved to the US in 2004 when she married her husband, who is American. Her background is in nursing and alternative health, but around 2008 she began to focus solely on photography after two life-changing events happened within one year—the death of her brother and the birth of her first son.
Her work consists largely of self-portraits as she aims to explore the brokenness of humanity, the struggles of loss and grief, her personal experiences with generational trauma, mental health and the consequences of control, abuse and manipulation.
Within that she continues to explore the human ability of coping, the strength that evolves out of suffering and our common desire for healing and journey towards wholeness.

Her photography has been described as contemplative, evocative, dark and cinematic and has been published in numerous photographic journals and magazines. She is affiliated with Arcangel Images and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Sign-up For This Course


Get constant support and detailed feedback while enjoying interacting with like-minded creatives during the course. Share your work, enjoy the challenges and instructor-led discussions in our online classroom which is open 24/7.


Observation Seat

Get access to our online classroom to follow along with conversations and instructor critiques of the Full Participation assignments. Observation seat students don’t participate in discussions and don’t receive instructor feedback.


Independent Learning

Moving beyond static pages and passive involvement. Create an immersive experience that extends far beyond clicks. Track your progress and manage your time for the course as you go. Learn at your own pace on any device.


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