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The Intern Experience Part Three

7 Oct ’10

I talk about our internship, often.

We originally started taking on Interns because we needed the help – and we asked for two interns. Then we received almost a hundred applications – and ended up taking on 10 interns that first time. The second term we took on 15 Interns. This time – we’re taking on Five.

It’s been a crazy two and a half months since I left my day job (software company) and started doing photography full time. Leah finished grad school last May with her Master’s in Social Work, and at the same time I left my day job, she was hired on full time at CARE – where she works in psychological staff support along with doing many, other cool things. She gets to do cool stuff like travel to India for a week, and then Montreal the week after. Which is why we’re moving up our application process by a few weeks.

We will be accepting applications for our next group of interns starting this coming Monday, October 11th through the end of the week, ending at 12pm on Friday, October 15th. Check back on Monday for the official application post.

We like to think that our internship is different. We put a lot of responsibility on ourselves to be there for our interns – but we put just as much if not more responsibility on the interns themselves. Because as much as we try to teach, and provide opportunities for experience – the honest truth is that it’s on them to do what it takes to make the shift during the three months.

A shift from shooting how they’ve been shooting all along – and finding, or forcing development.

The fact is that the interns who make the most progress are the ones who put a great deal of themselves into the program. Beyond waiting for ‘the next shoot’ with me, or the next workshop. Although we take on interns at various levels of experience and skill – this isn’t a photography 101 course. If you really want to get the most out of this internship, you have to work on your own time to get through the mundane basics – so we can get to the really good stuff.

The general way it works is this – if you don’t know how to do something, I’ll give you an intro course/primer on the concept, and then you need to do the homework and put in the practice time to work out the kinks. I shoot events differently from many other event photographers (and I like to think it shows) – so working events with me isn’t just about you shooting, it’s partly an opportunity for our interns to really observe another photographer at work. And to observe my mistakes – because I make a lot of them.

While I wouldn’t really say that we try to ‘improve’ anyone’s photography – we definitely make an effort to have them start shooting differently, even if only for the three month period. We all get stuck in a rut sometimes and often we don’t realize our own bad habits – so at the very least, this internship is designed to help everyone learn how they actually shoot, shoot differently, and try out new things for three months. After that – they’re of course free to take or leave anything I happened to throw at them.

We are confident that whatever level of effort you put forth during the internship – is paid back in equal amounts if not more. This is an unpaid and free internship. We don’t force, or convince anyone to work with us – in the same way we want clients who truly want to work with us, we want interns that are here to go all out for three short months and who will make the most of their time with us.

Having said all of that – one of the key differences between our internship and other ‘photography internships’ out there, is that we hold ‘workshops’ specifically for our interns – that are not open to the public. The main workshop being a photography marketing class where we go over everything we’ve done in the past year that enabled me to leave my full time job – and allowed us to book 90% of our weddings out of state. In roughly a year we went from picking up our cameras, to booking weddings in Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida – along with our local weddings here in the state of Georgia. We’ve also been hired by clients such as the High Museum of Atlanta, The Atlanta Opera, The Atlanta Symphony, ScoutMob, the Marcus Autism Center, and CARE.

In case you haven’t noticed – we’re really going at this – and I live and breathe this stuff.

Without bragging too much – it is a great thing for us to say that our interns have consistently gone from having to beg to give away free sessions – to charging and increasing their rates and even booking weddings at rates just under $3k within the short time frame (okay, I’m bragging a little right there – but hey! That’s a great thing for our interns!)

We’re a big believer in not always having to work your way up – and instead coming in from the side (but that still takes just as much hard work – it’s just more interesting.) Although we go over the nuts-and-bolts during our marketing class – we also try to convey the level and type of creativity needed in order to really set yourself apart, grow your business, and be more than just another photographer on Facebook with a photography business page. (We actually don’t have a facebook photography business/fan page – on purpose.)

Neither of us are formally trained – and we still haven’t taken a photography course – so that clearly means that we have a lot to learn as well. A LOT.

We love photography, we enjoy the marketing aspect, and we really enjoy sharing ideas and the stuff we’ve learned so far.

Because nothing we do is secret – but not everyone knows what we do.

Our Interns are special to us. If you’d like to be one we hope you check back here on Monday and apply.

Thank you.

Atlanta. Photography. Internship.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Megan Case 7 Oct ’10 at 9:32 am

    Yeehaw!!!!!

  • Reply Sherrie Gilbert 18 Oct ’10 at 11:02 am

    I would like to apply for a postion as an Intern.

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