Intern Portfolios

When we originally decided to take on a few interns, we didn’t plan on it turning into the big bag of awesome that it eventually became. Wow. Even back when we thought we were only going to have two interns, we knew that it wasn’t going to be your regular ‘just carry our bags’ type of arrangement. They agreed to work with us, and we agreed to not only give them more opportunities to photograph a variety of subject matter, but also to push them and their photography – even if just a little – and more importantly… let them know that we believe in them and their photography. Sometimes you need that more than anything else.

Sometimes life gets in the way – and plans change. We started out with 10 Interns but finished with 8. I’m happy to say that it’s not because of anything terrible or a disagreement – Nadine and Jason just found photography related jobs that they couldn’t pass up – and that’s awesome – and I hope to work with them again sometime soon. But for the 8 that stuck it out and are finishing the 3 month term – it’s quite an accomplishment. They’ve photographed more in these past three months than they did in the year before. They’ve gone on 5am photoshoots, carried our gear, set it up, shot events with me, and generally put up with my crazy-stream-of-consciousness-thought-process. Oh yeah – and they’ve put up with my flood of emails sent at 1 or 4am.

Leah and I want their photography to make progress and grow – but it’s tricky. Because you know what? Great photography is F*cken personal. I know mine is very personal to me – and knowing that, I try to be careful and give some direction without completely changing their vision. The idea isn’t to teach them how to shoot like us, it’s to show them how we shoot, what we’re thinking and then they can add that knowledge and experience to help their own work grow in different ways.

We selected people with a few different backgrounds. A high school student, a single mother of two, an office 9-5 worker, college graduate, college student, elementary school teacher, and more. With so many different schedules, the biggest factor of their progress was simply the amount of hours they put into the photography work. I feel comfortable talking about the hard work aspect – and how much more work it takes to go from a weekend amateur photographer to someone even closely resembling a professional photographer – because hard work was always our biggest advantage, and we’ve done a considerable amount of hard work over the past year since we started this business. Of course, there’s still so much left to do and still learn.

We held a photography business marketing class a few weeks ago for the interns – and we plan on doing it for every group of interns – and only interns. With everyone and their mom claiming to be a photographer these days, it’s even more important to have not only good marketing – but creatively different and effective marketing. Having a Facebook fan page isn’t going to cut it – and in fact, Leah and I don’t have one, and we don’t plan on it. Our marketing class will change and develop with each session because we’re constantly trying to come up with new, different, and outstanding marketing ideas. Again – good marketing is hard work – and combined with some creativity, it’s one of the best things we’ve got going for our business. In the end though, everything we do is based on three principles:

  • Be different.
  • Do things that matter.
  • Show everyone.

This coming Monday, we’re going to start looking for a new batch of interns. We don’t know if we’re going to take on another ten, or five, or fifteen. If you think you’d like to commit to working with us for the next three months, we hope to hear from you.


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  • James Adamthwaite 15 Jul 10 at 2:32 pm

    Wow. So proud of your interns, and so proud of you two, Leah and Mark. That video made me well up – what amazing shots!

    (PS: Yay for Josh Joplin – great choice!)