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!  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.

Thank you.

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