It’s that time of the intern season again! Time to teach the current interns everything I know about children’s portraiture. I have been photographing children full time for the past 3 years. If you would have told me in school that I would have speciality in this area of photography – I would have laughed at you. But, today, I couldn’t see my professional life without it!
In the workshop I discussed topics like how to make the most out of the photo shoot, appropriate poses for different ages, and equipment. The children in this workshop were 4, 5, 7, and 10 years of age!
Here are a few shots I took during the workshop in demonstration!
Here are a few images from the interns – make sure you look out for their blog posts THIS FRIDAY about their experiences!
So you already know that being an intern with LeahAndMark is awesome. I tell you this every other time I write. The other +photographers tell you this. Mark tells you this. And the interns tell you this. And show you. All. The. Time.
You see the awesome, creative work that comes out of the internship. The amazing shoots and events interns get to attend. From week to week and blog post to blog post you see consistent improvement. But there’s even more than that. Along with the events and constant opportunities to practice, there are also workshops just for interns where you can ask all of the questions and get all of the answers. Seriously. Mark will just give all his secrets away. Because when you have such awesome ideas, and when you’ve developed such amazing techniques, it would just be selfish not to share them and help someone else improve.
But it’s only a few short months. And you have to shoot and shoot and shoot. And at the end of it you’ll either be burned out from all that work and no sleep, or you’ll be mad at yourself for not shooting EVERYTHING. But no matter what, you’ll know you’ve learned and improved. It’s impossible not to. And at the end of it, the weeks where I went on 3 hours of sleep each night because I was trying to balance a job, school, and the internship, were totally, completely worth it.
And after the internship? It only gets better. Everyone take away something different from the internship. No one has the same exact experience. But many of the interns I was shooting with during my season have since launched a website, started their own company, and are really successful. They’re consistently putting out amazing work.
And me? I’ve decided that I loved it so much I’m doing it again. But as a plus! And it’s just as amazing and then some. Because I’m still consistently learning and improving, but I’m also teaching and helping the current interns improve. They’re coming to me with questions, which is crazy. But what’s even more crazy is that I actually have answers!
Even as a plus, I don’t think I actually stepped out of the “I’m an intern” mentality until Season [X] started to come to me with questions. I still feel like I should be carrying Mark’s gear or getting him coffee or something every where I go. And sometimes I still do.
So with the nights of no sleep and the hard job of balancing work, being a plus, being with friends/family/boyfriend and actually taking some time to myself, I get a little overwhelmed. But that’s okay because I have an amazing time with everything, I’m never bored, I get to hang out with awesome people, I get to photograph people getting married (or fake-married in this case), and it’s always AMAZING.
For the past two Sundays I led a Children’s Portraiture workshop at Piedmont Park for the current interns, my first workshop ever. When trying to come up with a workshop to lead the interns in I came to realize just how many children I have photographed in the last couple years. Who would have thought back when I was in photography school that I would end up with a specialization in children’s portraiture and actually love it?! Not me or my instructors.
I kind of “fell into” the field. It all started with photographing children’s headshots for an Atlanta talent agency and took flight from there. When I first started I didn’t think that I would actually enjoy photographing children. I was use to photographing adults and being able to get what I wanted out of each session. With children it is SO not like that, which I learned the hard way. Children have a super short attention span and tire easily. Emotions run deep and most of the time they are going to do what they want to do. So, how do I get a successful session out of a 5 year old?
This is what I wanted to show the current interns. I wanted to show how I interact with the kids, tips and tricks. What I do when it’s freezing cold out or the sun isn’t shinning or the kid doesn’t want to smile. How to take one area and get 5 different backdrops out of it. How to make the kid my new best friend. I wanted to show how I can go through 4-6 different outfits in an hour and a half and have each one look completely different. So, I introduce the models.
Meet Claire. 12 years old.
Meet Kane. 2 1/2 years old.
Meet Jewlee. 5 years old.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the interns or myself as a leader. I know in a past blog I went on and on about how I enjoyed leading the interns at introduction night and this is still true. But, with the workshop it was just me and the interns. No one else. My models, my rules, my name. If the models didn’t show, it was on me. If the interns didn’t learn a thing, it was on me. If this didn’t go well, it was on me. From the looks of the current intern blogs I would say it the Children’s Portraiture workshop was a SUCCESS!
I am glad I had the opportunity to lead this workshop and want to thank all the interns who participated. A major thanks to the models and parents of our models. You all did amazing.
“Typically shot in a photographer’s studio or luxury hotel suites, it has become fashionable to create a set of sensual or sexually suggestive images of women (and occasionally men and couples) in “boudoir style”. The most common manifestation of contemporary boudoir photography is to take variations of candid and posed photographs of the subject partly clothed or in lingerie. Nudity is more often implied than explicit. Commercially the genre is often (though not exclusively) derived from a market for brides to surprise their future husbands by gifting the images on or before their wedding day. Other motivations or inspiration for boudoir photography shoots include anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, weight loss regimes, maternity, other form of body change or alteration (such as breast augmentation or reduction) and for servicemen and women overseas.“
– From Wikipedia of course!
3 Things About Boudoir Photography:
1. A lot of what you’ll find out there on the internets is bad and/or creepy – but it doesn’t have to be.
2. Often times the model/client/woman is actually wearing more clothing than they would be if they were at the beach, wearing a swimsuit.
3. Not all boudoir photography is the same. Some veer closer to a ‘pinup’ girl style, while others are more magazine editorial – and then everything in between. Some boudoir photography looks and feels posed, while others come across as more natural.
4. (this is extra!) – Whether your photographer is a guy or a woman – throughout the entire process you should feel absolutely beautiful. No matter who you are or what you look like.
Last Friday we held another one of our Photography Business/Marketing workshops. Only Current Interns (and a select few Alumni Interns) are allowed to attend. Each person was instructed to write a blog post including two points from the session. Below is Sophia’s entry – and you can click on each photo to read the entries by the other Interns.
I just got home from Leah and Mark’s “Business Marketing” class, and my head feels like it’s stuffed full of cotton wool. I don’t think my brain is meant to assimilate this much information in such a short period of time!
It was strange being in the same room with Season 4 for the first time. I had already met a few of them before, but not all of them. Marj and I actually discovered that we knew each other already through APracticalWedding.com! Finding out that yes, Marj is a real person who does things other than take pictures for Leah and Mark was a little surreal.
Another thing that was surreal was being surrounded by SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS. This was not even a photoshoot and there was still half an hour of Silvana hamming it up on a table while Marj balanced precariously on a chair, Gabe lurking in the background studying everyone while Jen and JAwesome rearranged books, and Andre building a precarious book tower while Leah was jumping up and down on the floor to get Mark’s attention downstairs. If you haven’t already gotten the impression that Leah and Mark + Intern Army are a really dynamic bunch…well, they are! And it’s a little unnerving to be the one non-photographer.
(Secret? I don’t know what an f-stop is. Sorry, Mark. I may have to cave and ask for a one-hour crash course in what-the-heck-do-all-these-words-mean some time. Or, you know, when I finish this blog post I’ll go Google it.)
Oh, right, you wanted to know about the actual Business Marketing Class.
The quote (from a TED talk) I have at the top of my page of notes is “The first follower is an underestimated form of leadership in itself.” The crazy guy who takes his shirt off and dances in the park is just a crazy guy until someone decides, “Man, I want to dance too!” And it’s that second person—the first follower—who makes the process less scary for everyone else. The first follower is the beginning of the movement.
And I like to think that I am. It’s weird and sometimes lonely to be the person without a camera, going “What the heck am I doing here?” But what I’m doing is working for Project5A! And what that means is that Mark has a crazy idea, and I’m up for following it. And I choose to believe that it’s a crazy AWESOME idea, and someday soon people will hop on board, and—another quote—“Followers follow the behavior of the follower, not the leader.” So by building this synergy with Mark and working through what the LeahAndMark marketing internship looks like, I’m setting a pattern for everyone who comes after me. (Although if Mark starts a new secret project every time he takes on a marketing intern….well, I wouldn’t want to be him. But mad props to him, anyway.)
I feel like I should be hitting more of the specifics of the class, but everything is still swirling around in my head, so I’ll just hit some of the highlights. I’m sure my thoughts on the class (or at least the five books Mark gave me to read!) will show up again.
The Good: Mark and I had already talked about a lot of the core concepts! Yay! It’s not hard, since Leah and Mark like to spell them out at every opportunity: Be different. Build relationships. Show everyone. Be experts.
Also, Jen asked a few really insightful questions that helped me get a sense of the timeline of how Leah and Mark’s business has developed so far.
The Bad: Now I have to apply it! Uh-oh… A lot of the specifics were targeted towards marketing photography, which is both a blessing and a curse. A curse because they are less easy to apply straight to what we’re doing with Project5A; a blessing because that means I’m forced to go ahead and do the brainwork of figuring out what parts of Leah and Mark’s strategy make sense to me, what else I can do, what I want to drop…to begin to develop my own marketing style, rather than copying wholesale.
The Ugly: The following question, which is spinning around in my head, courtesy of Uncensored Sales Strategies: XXX-Rated Secrets, by Sydney Biddle Barrows.
What kind of experience do I want to provide Project5A clients (and potential clients)?
I don’t know the answer yet. I’ll let you know when I do.
Last Saturday we held a lighting 101 workshop in Montreal. CANADA! (Hey – this is all still kind of exciting for us since remember, we’ve only been shooting for about a year.) Now – if you ask most photography instructors, they rarely ever get to take any photos during class – because they’re running around teaching, checking shots, giving tips, moving lights – everything except shooting. So I made it a point to take a little bit of video (even if it IS from my phone and uploaded immediately using the qik.com app so I could post it to facebook/twitter asap. (ha – you can hear them all speaking French!)
We had about 15 photographers from all over Montreal attend the workshop. There were many, many different levels of photography experience – and about half of them were ‘working’ professional photographers. After we all got our name tags and introduced ourselves to the group – I went through the basic gear components, basic concepts (shutter speed controls ambient light, f/stops control flash) – and then we started shooting. Because even though I can do a text book job of covering the technical aspects, the real benefit of a workshop with us is that you actually start shooting, but even more importantly, you can experiment.
I went through a few different setups, showing how changing shutter speed or aperture (f/stops) can affect the photo – all without ever touching the power levels on my flash.
Along with showing everyone different looks as I took the photos for demonstration – there were a few shots that I ‘setup’, and then had each photographer make roughly the same photo with the same settings. You do this so that they have undeniable proof that with a little practice – they can make the exact same type of photos with the camera they own right now. Then we had them go back and experiment some more with different models in different conditions.
Of course I was running around answering any questions.
In case you haven’t noticed – we’re a little selective with who we want to work with. Whether it’s clients, or Interns, or even people that attend our workshops. With so many competitive photographers out there – we choose to work with photographers who understand that we’re all still learning – and just because you can take good photos it doesn’t mean that you need be mean to other photographers who are just beginning. In the same way that we look for ‘friendly’ people when selecting our Interns – we want the same type of photographers attending our workshops – and everyone in this group was quite awesome.
I’ll update this with links to photos taken by the attendees – but here’s one for now – a gallery by TOM!
We had a really great time in Montreal – and we even had dinner with a group of the attendees afterwards.
We have a lot going on this week – including a day trip (flight) up to Philadelphia for a family portrait on Wednesday.
On Thursday I’ll be speaking on a Panel about using Social Media for better collaboration over at my Studio Space at Renew Social Ventures. It’s from 2-4pm THIS Thursday. I hope you can make it. CLICK HERE for more information.
Then on Thursday evening we’ll be holding our Lighting 101 workshop that we hold specifically for our Interns. We actually have two more workshops that we give – an editing overview and our big one, the Photography Business Marketing workshop. Although we’ve begun holding lighting workshops to the public – the photography marketing workshop will always be only for our Interns. Hey – there’s gotta be some kind of benefit for being our Interns right? Especially since some of them move here from other states for the three month period.