How Emotions Play a Huge Role in this Artist's Life. | Springfield, MO Photographer

This portrait spoke to me from the moment I captured it. It deserved more than a few simple adjustments. It was meant to be seen as a work of art. Sounds simple but for this artist, it turned into a struggle.

- Fine Art Portraiture -
by Tora Anne Thompson
Featuring: Leah Haines



© Tora Anne Thompson

How Emotions Play a Huge Role in my Work.



As an artist at heart, I want to create. As a flawed human, sometimes the simplest of things can seem like climbing Mount Everest. Every day I struggle with who I am as an artist. When I am able to create, I am on top of the world. When I struggle with being creative, I feel as though I am trapped and bound by every negative thought an artist can have. These creative lows can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. This particular one lasted two months and I am not completely out of it yet. It is torture and I would never wish this on anyone.

This image was reverted back to its original state three times before I had completed it. I felt that I wasn't doing it justice. I knew what I wanted but I could not wrap my mind around the process I would need to take in order to achieve it. I knew how to do it. I knew where to start. I just could not physically and mentally make it happen and it deeply saddened me.

If you are an artist, you understand what this is like. Whether you want to admit to having creative lows or not, that is up to you. However, they do happen to the best of us. Most of us cannot admit that we are struggling. I take a lot of pride in my work and I do not like to seem weak or flawed but I am. I am learning that it is okay to be human. It is okay to be real and to be open. I have also learned that if the people around me cannot handle me in my real state than they are not meant to be in my life. For every fake relationship you lose, you gain multiple people who understand, listen to, and support you.

Would I ever wish to be able to create without having these emotional rollercoasters? NO. I will explain. When I am in a low, I crave to be able to create again. It reminds me of just how bad I want it and how much being an artist means to me. Without emotion, is art really considered art? What would drive you? I cannot imagine creating something while not being emotionally tied to it. It would seem so empty and futile.

Do not forget that it is okay to walk away for a while and return with a clear mind. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves from the thing that is consuming us. It has taken me some time to be okay with this, and it has certainly helped me.

If you are struggling, do not sit in silence. It may seem like nothing now, but a creative low can eat at you. Be honest with yourself and reach out. You are not alone and there are countless people who have been or are in your shoes.


Much Love,
Tora Anne

A Time-lapse View Into the Creation of a Concept. | Artist in Springfield, MO

Welcome Back!

Today I am sharing a time-lapse video of my editing process for the following piece.

- Untitled -
by Tora Anne Thompson
Featuring: Leah Haines





I have a fascination with pretty, odd shaped, or colored anything bottles and jars. You know, the normal stuff. ;) I had this one sitting around and thought it would make a really neat piece.

Leah Haines came in to photograph a previous project and we just couldn't let this beautiful dress go to waste! I had yet to photograph the scene for this idea but that didn't stop us from getting the shot.



Around that time I was elbow deep in a miniature fairy garden concept so I had all of the earth elements laying around the studio. I set up the miniature scene on a little foldable table, placed the bottle where I wanted it and photographed the scene.



I decided to record my editing process and turn it into a time-lapse video for you all to see! Let me know what you think and whether or not you want to see more of these!

(Note: I do not go into detail for every move or layer. This post is meant to simply show the process I took when creating the image.)

I do hope this inspires you to experiment and create your own works of art.

© Tora Anne Thompson

If you are interested in learning how to use Photoshop to complete your vision, take advantage of our mentoring services:

Conceptual Photography with Tora Anne | Missouri Photographer


In this post, I will share a brief recap on the process used to create the following image.

Concept Photography_Tora Anne Thompson

"Even in Darkness, There is Light"
by Tora Anne Thompson
Featuring: Leah Haines



I will be the first to admit that I am a snap-happy photographer. I have terabytes of images solely dedicated to our family outings and events. Images can range from family members to peeling paint. If I like it, I will shoot it. I may not have a plan for it right then, but I always hold onto those images just in case!

In 2013 my husband and I were hiking in the Smoky Mountains when he pointed out this mushroom. It was so beautiful. All alone on the forest floor. I laid down and snapped a few shots of it, backed it up on my hard drive when we got home and left it there. I had no plans for it. I just liked the pretty mushroom. This obsession of mine paid off four years later when I created this concept.



The word I would use to describe the moment I envisioned this concept would be blinding. I seen it and nothing else. It was such a powerful vision that I had to make it come true right then and there. I combed through my archives, selected my images, contacted the model, and shot it all in the same day. It was then pieced together and completed the follow day.

I have no specific reason as to why this image was created. I just know it was one that I had to bring to life. Not all concepts need an elaborate reason for its creation. Sometimes it just simply needs to exist and be put out there for others to see.



I have included a brief description on how I created the concept along with a time-lapse video of it being pieced together and completed. I do not go into detail for every move or layer. This post is meant to simply show the process I took when creating the image. I do hope you enjoy it and I hope it will inspire you to experiment and create your own.

Mushroom Image_Tora Anne Thompson


Selecting the main image.



I chose to use this image as my base. I wanted to keep the woods, floor, and mushroom in the scene so I decided I would simply begin to build on top of this image.

Conceptual Photography with Tora Anne Thompson

Step Two

Adding your subject.



After photographing the model (Leah Haines) I then cut her from the image and placed her on the base image above.

We were able to get together and shoot this image on the same day that I envisioned this concept.



Step three

Add and adjust elements.



This is when any and all additional elements are added to the scene. I chose these mushrooms from the same hike and photographed the pendant and twig in the studio.


Step Four

Coloring toning and final adjustments.



This is the part when you really begin to see the concept come together. All placing, shading, color toning, and other adjustments are done here. You get to be as creative as you want to be in this step.

Want to see it all come together?

Watch the video below! ↓ ↓ ↓

© Tora Anne Thompson

This may seem like a daunting task for a novice Photoshop user, but I can assure you that with a little practice it can be done!

If you are interested in learning how to use Photoshop to complete your vision, take advantage of our mentoring services:

Stuart the Snake's Modeling Debut! | Modeling - Springfield, MO

When Mariska's mom Stephanie had posted an image of these two, I jumped at the chance to photograph them together. I quickly learned that snakes will do what they want to do and that they are not slimy! hahaha

My vision was to maintain skin texture much like a beauty portrait while showing off Mr. Stuart. A challenge we faced was keeping the scene and feel of the images age appropriate for Miss. Mariska. I asked for the look a queen would give and she delivered.

Needless to say, we all had a lot of fun and I can now officially say that I have worked with a snake!

When was the last time you had a portrait taken with your beloved pet?

Mariska & Stuart | Portraits
© Tora Anne Thompson

Scroll to the bottom for technical details on how we achieved this look.

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Equipment Used:

• Canon 6D
• Canon 50mm f/1.2 (Set to: 1/160 | f/9 | ISO 100)
• Paul C. Buff AlienBee 800
• 43-Inch Fotodiox Umbrella Softbox
• Savage Seamless - Pecan and Thunder Grey

The Setup:

For this session, we placed a single light source 3 feet in front of our client and raised it just above her eyeline. A white reflector was set up over her legs at waist height for a soft fill and black v-flats were used on each side of her to eliminate light bounce at the edges. The client was seated around 4.5 feet from the backdrop for that rich deep color.


• Models: Mariska Lee and Stuart the Snake
• Agent, Body Guard, and Mother: Stephanie Ann
• HMUA, Photographer, Editor: Tora Anne Thompson
• Studio: Tora Anne Imagery

Springfield, MO Portrait Photographer


Ashley's Visit to Our Portrait Studio | Southwest Missouri Photographer

This session marks my first visit with Ashley. She has such an incredibly wonderful and kind soul. Her eyes speak volumes. It was such an honor to photograph her.

Ashley C. | Portraits
© Tora Anne Thompson

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Springfield, MO Portrait Photographer


Creating a Legacy | Portrait Photographer - Springfield, MO

One of the questions I hear over and over again is, "What am I going to do with a bunch of pictures of myself?"

My response to this is rather simple. You would take those portraits and hand them down to your loved ones so they can hold and cherish them for as long as they live. They will get to show their children and grandchildren your smile and the sparkle in your eyes. They will get the chance to put a face to their stories and carry on your legacy for generations.

Now I ask you, "Why wouldn't you want a bunch of portraits of yourself?"

Dian K. | Portraits
© Tora Anne Thompson

Portraits Springfield, MO

Inspired: Creating a Fine Art Piece in Under 25 Minutes. | Fine Art - Springfield, Missouri.

This image was inspired by Kesha's song Rainbow. 

My vision involved a woman standing with her hands in the colors of the rainbow. I didn't want her face to show as I wanted my viewers to view the image and create their own story.

I started with a large piece of paper in my garage but quickly realized that the paint I had purchased was far too runny and inconsistent to achieve my goal. After a brief moment of frustration, I went into my art supplies, grabbed a canvas, paint, a texture medium, and my favorite painting knife and went to town. 10 minutes later I had knocked out a miniature rainbow on an 8x10 canvas.

Jessica was already scheduled to come in for a portrait session so I asked her if she would be up to finishing her session with a shot that would complete this concept. She graciously said yes and we shot this in a matter of a few minutes. I then added her to my painting with the use of photoshop.

I personally find this piece to be incredibly beautiful and it still captivates me when I look at it.

Jessica M. | Conceptual Art
© Tora Anne Thompson

Portraits Springfield, MO

My Visit with Springfield Missouri's Makeup Artist, Laura Deal.

Laura had expressed interest in a portrait session with me, and I wasn't about to pass that opportunity up.

We went with a vintage feel and I immediately fell in love with the results.

My favorite part of a portrait session is getting to talk to my clients and learn about their interests, goals, and dreams.  Something that still captivates me to this day is how kind-hearted and genuine Ms. Deal was. She has a light that can be seen from miles away and it immediately comforts and warms your heart.

I am truly blessed to know and work with this incredible woman.

Laura D. | Portraits
© Tora Anne Thompson

Springfield, MO Portraits

The Benefits of Updating Your Headshots | Springfield, MO Headshot Photographer

As a professional, updating your headshot is an essential part of maintaining an accurate and relevant online presence. Hairstyles, clothing, and color schemes change over time and an outdated headshot can have a negative affect on your image.

If you are a business professional, headshots should be updated every 2-3 years or when your appearance has changed.

If you are an actor or model, you should update your headshots every year.

When was the last time you updated your headshots?

Trisha C. | Headshots
© Tora Anne Thompson

Missouri Headshots