Through some crazy series of random, coincidental events, I somehow got set up to do an internship this summer with Scott. First of all, I’m not from around here. I live just outside Washington, D.C. on the Northern Virginia side, and driving out here was a crazy trip. Second of all, I’m still in high school and being the only intern under 20, I was a little intimidated. But since I’ve been here I’ve learned and done a little more than I expected. Being the only full-time intern at the office every day I got one-on-one lessons from Scott about Lightroom, blogging, lighting, and all sorts of technicalities. I was told when I got here that I would get out of this experience what I put into it. And that’s exactly what happened. Being here every day was certainly tiring but I acquired knowledge that I wouldn’t learn for many years to come, and returning to Senior year back home in AP photo, i will have more than a few snapshots to show off.
(Above and Below) pictures taken by me at a fun workshop “Flashcamp 2”
(Above) Pictures taken by me yesterday assisting at an engagement shoot. One of the many wedding related photoshoots I was able to go on.
What I learned with Scott:
- Be creative. There’s not always one solution to a problem. Whether it be wind, light or a shy model, you can always work around your original concept to create something different that fits the situation better.
- Don’t try to dictate your model’s expression or pose too much or else it becomes a photo that doesn’t reflect who they really are.
- You don’t need hours and hours of editing to make something look good. the simpler, the better.
- Be efficient. Don’t sacrifice quality for efficiency, but it never hurts to spare a few minutes at the end of the day. And those minutes add up more than you’d think.
- Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Doing lots and lots of one particular thing may be boring, but by the end of the day you will be better than anyone in the office at that one thing. cough cough keywording.
- You don’t always have to be looking through a lens to become a better photographer. After many “x-out sessions” i can attest that i truly am better at taking in-focus pictures. And while you might think “gee, that’s a pretty easy task to master”, the more in-focus pictures you have, the more good in-focus pictures you will have.
- Don’t forget to relax and have fun. Whether you’re shooting for a wedding or a guy on his motorcycle, the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed they will be. Photo shoots are also about building relationships.
And yes, i learned more than just life lessons. I went from being a photographer who never would dare use flash, to one who not only knows how to use it, but is in the market for some speed lights. I think that it takes a lot to influence my style but being around Scott while he is at a shoot has given me so many ideas about how to not necessarily change my style, but better it. I learned how to use Lightroom, too. Which, for better or worse has turned me away from the complicity of Photoshop. I have learned how to shoot in pitch black lighting situations and how to do it well. While my photography itself is still not anywhere near the quality of his, I’ve got all the tools i need to practice for years to come. And finally i learned how the real world works. Not just how to take a good picture but how to run a business and all the necessary things that go into it. That’s something they don’t teach you in Photography 101. All in all, I’d say not too shabby for a 17-year-old kid. Back east they’re gonna wonder what in the world kind of summer school I went to and I’ll have some crazy stories to tell them.
Now for all of you photographers who are looking to start a business but don’t have the knowledge or the experience to do so, this is your guy. Come be a full-time intern!
A Word From Scott
- I thought to myself if someone were willing to come all the way from Virginia just to do this they probably have some passion and committment which are HUGE in my opinion.
- Also being young and away from home both would lead to less distractions. Seems like so many people want to learn until the first jobs start coming in and then they’re done learning. But I had Will’s full attention and involvement. I could just assume he’d be at a shoot and that consistency-dependableness was eye opening to what makes someone awesome at this.
- He could see a job through from the beginning. From assisting and taking pictures at shoots, to “X-Out sessions”, picking, rating, keywording sessions (His favorite), solving all sorts of problems we’d come accross.
- I hoped that in such a short period of time (3 wks) I didn’t mind if he knew all the specifics but that he could take the principles so that he could apply them and solve his own questions and problems down the road.
- There are still plenty of things we didn’t go over but I’m pretty sure he knows How to Learn those things for himself now. Or he’s always invited back to slave away at the office.
- Oh hey this was the first time he’s been to a wedding and used flash or a reflector or lightroom or done blogs and probably a first for a bunch of other things.
So if people are interested in learning photography or doing a student-intern type thingy take a note from this kids play book. On that note I’ll probably look for someone to fill in where he’s left off. But now I’ll be looking to fill some big shoes.
He’s right… the more you put in the more you get out of it.