– Posted by Mark
I think at the end of every Intern Season, there is a moment where the ‘graduating’ intern comes to realize that everything we do around here – isn’t a magical miracle. Of course – we try to present that to everyone who’s on the outside looking in. In reality – everything we do is pretty basic.
Studio sessions take place in a big room or a small room. We throw in some lights, or take some away. We find someone, anyone to model – and then we start taking pictures. That’s everything we do at the most basic level. And when you think about it – one of the main differences between us (we here at LeahAndMark.com) and many other photographers, is that we are motivated enough to actually do things. Like setting up photoshoots just because or trying out new ideas.
Alumni Intern Amanda from Season Three said it best in her post:
As my internship rolls to an end, people seem to expect some sort of neat summing up of the experience. There are certain natural questions that people have about what the internship has or meant or contributed. The main question everyone has, naturally, is: What did I learn?
My answer: Nothing I wouldn’t have learned anyway.
The internship with Leah and Mark isn’t a class or a course in photography, or even marketing. It’s an internship, but done Mark’s way, which is not what you would expect. That’s not a bad thing. The thing is, despite what we all wish, there is no magic bullet. If you want to be a great photographer, you have to put in the hours. If you want to be a successful photographer, you have to do the work.
And not just the camera work. You have to do the legwork, the marketing, the networking, the accounting, the goal setting … the work. There’s a lot of work and no one can do it for you. In fact, if you’re not willing to spend all of your waking hours living and breathing photography for many years to come, don’t plan to quit your day job.
So, what was the point of doing the internship? Motivation and inspiration mostly. I would have learned everything I learned in the past three months eventually, because I’m committed to a path and a set of goals. But never underestimate the motivational power of deadlines and panic. And comradeship.
Mark is like an accelerant. He can’t make you do anything you weren’t going to do, but he will offer you opportunities that will let you get there faster.
This shoot? The same seamless backdrops we’ve used for the past year. Paper taken out of our office shredder. Three $100 studio strobes and some Interns throwing the confetti around. We had another setup where we used leaves that I had the interns pick up from across the street.
Sure there are times when you just need more technology and gear – but often times you can probably get by with less, or something different, or something that simply isn’t as expensive as what the industry is trying to sell to you.
With so many photographers talking about creativity and ideas and art – there are many more that rely on gear, and use a lack of gear as an excuse to not attempt something more.
Being limited forces you to do much more with much less. We’ve never had an unlimited amount of resources and our biggest resource is simply being resourceful – combined with being more stubborn than usual. Sure we’ve made some mistakes, and some of them have actual dollar costs associated with them – but that’s just been the price of my own self-guided photography education.
We’re heading to California for a week tomorrow to photograph a wedding and meet with a few other business folks. It’s our One Year company anniversary and there’s no such thing as business as usual around here.