This Internship is only three months. Along with trying to learn how to improve their ‘shooting’ (technique, events, weddings, headshots, family portraits, conceptual) – the interns also have lots of questions about gear, data management, good locations, finding models, finding clients, building websites, blogging, editing, etc…
It’s a lot to learn – and it’s a lot to try to teach in a short period of time. (Impossible.)
If you’ve read the reviews of the overall Intern Experience – you know that I don’t always just spew information. If you want to know about what, how, or why I’m doing something – then you’d probably better ask. At the beginning of each term we let the applicants know that this isn’t Photography 101. You can learn 101 from a book, or online tutorial. Although treating this internship like a 101 course wouldn’t be a complete waste of time – it’s not the best use of the three months.
Since we take on so many relative beginners – we obviously have no problem with less experienced photographers. However – it should be understood that in order to get the most of this experience, the Interns also need to continue reading and educating themselves with information freely available on the web (or you know, actually purchase a book or two). So that when we get together (as a group or one-on-one), we’re not going over the most basic of concepts that could’ve been initially picked up from a 10 minute YouTube video.
And although this could easily turn into an Intern bashing party – the fact is that most of us (ME) are guilty of this as well – not taking the time to read/watch/go through some of the available free tutorials out there. I have a year’s worth of Photoshop tutorial magazines, three very good how-to books and I’ve probably completed less than five tutorials in the last 6 months.
Sure I have some really great excuses – but the fact is that I just haven’t done the work. Having said that – there’s a finite amount of time and the ones who actually make the time to do the things others won’t, will generally start getting ahead. That means sitting down and going through tutorials. Or reading about technique. Or generally reviewing photos and building that ‘mental’ library of shots in your head.
I haven’t updated this in a while – but this is my ‘favorites’ folder of photos on Flickr. Do you have one? Do you actually study other people’s photos? Or are you one of those actors who doesn’t want to take acting lessons because it would ruin your natural talent?
Of course – as I was saying to some of the Interns the other day – some of the most Photoshop learning takes place when you have to save your ass – specifically, turn sub-par photos into something magical for the client. I know we’ve all been there – and that’s when all of a sudden we’re really motivated to learn something new.
The difference between our Internship and regular schooling is that there aren’t any grades and there is no standard level of learning (Well, that and about 60k of debt). Whereas a classroom would have a set learning pace – we ramp up and slow down depending on the many different factors pertaining to each Intern’s situation. How much they come in knowing, how much they read/learn/practice on their own – at the same time they shoot, blog, reflect, ask questions, and have new ideas they want to try.
Some Interns don’t wait for the next ‘group shoot’ to try out ideas – or to even just work on ideas. Because sometimes you aren’t able to completely define what it is you’re trying, or thinking, or feeling. But you shouldn’t always wait until you know – sometimes you just need to start painting. Or writing. Or shooting. When you get away from wanting results every time you pick up your camera – and just start exploring some loose ideas rattling around in your head – you can come back to the group with a better understanding of yourself and what you’d like to achieve this time around. It’s all about the in-between time when you’re not ‘working’ with us and you’re at home doing nothing, or something else.
I know I sound a bit fanatical and crazy and obsessed. But yeah. How badly do you want this photography thing to work out? I’m in a different place now than I was in my 20’s, and I really want this.
Basically – there are some things you can and should just take the time to learn on your own – or at least take the first hack at it. Because you want to get to the point where you can ask the good questions and get past asking the basics of 101. Ask better questions, get better answers.
Ask me your questions. I’ll make up an answer or ask Leah for the real one.
Wax on, wax off.
Now I’m far from being called a Photoshop master, or even an experienced user – but the above photo of each set is the shot straight out of the camera (SOOC) and the below is the final edit (well mostly.)
Posted by Mark
[Note: While this all might come off as a bit extreme – you’re right. But the fact is that you’re probably not doing enough (and I’m totally talking to myself as well here.)]
Atlanta. Photography. Internship. LeahAndMark.com