We are technically in the middle of our 12th season of Photography Interns. We started the internship about 3 years ago and we’ve been running like crazy with it ever since. Roughly 100+ photographers have been through the program and many of them have even gone on to build their own successful business, and being full time photographers.
There is a reason hardly any full-time professional photographers offer internships, and even more rare – they don’t offer to work with interns for roughly 40 hours a month. Even with all of the hard work, and the long hours – we keep offering the internship because we know there are photographers out there that just need a little help – and no one else is willing to give it to them. We know that we ourselves got a few breaks, and found some good people to work with. Photography is usually a very individual endeavor. We created our own ‘family’ – and with over 100 past interns – our family is quite large.
We provide a different learning experience where the interns work on more specific business marketing tasks – things such as collecting data, research, and really doing some of the behind-the-scenes business work that we do to market our photography business. Sure we’ve had Photography Marketing workshops in the past but now with the studio space and office hours – we show the interns a small bit of our massive marketing machine. They are a part of it and by doing the work they will eventually understand why we do certain things. And it’s stuff that many other photographers don’t do – either because they think it’s not useful or because they simply don’t have a good over-reaching marketing plan. It’s also the stuff that we usually keep secret. The really good stuff. The ideas, the execution; the top secret magic sauce.
From the very beginning our photography internship wasn’t about just holding a reflector, getting coffee or moving heavy objects. You don’t learn anything while holding a reflector for someone else. You learn by shooting. By photographing. And more photographing. You don’t learn by talking about photographing – you learn by doing. And the doing part of this internship has always been it’s toughest hurdle – and the best teacher.
We don’t spend much time lecturing. We don’t hold hands and we don’t take your photos for you.
If your photos aren’t improving or changing – that’s your own damn fault – whether you’re an intern or not.
Since we’ve ran the internship for over 3 years now – we like to shake things up. Sometimes drastically, sometimes very little – but we’re always experimenting on making things different and better. This season we moved into our 1,000 sq.ft. studio space. Instead of holding workshops in my dining room we now had an open workspace. Instead of only meeting with the interns on the occasional weeknight for a few hours – we could meet every week, in a real workspace – and get to work.
We take this internship thing seriously. Among the many tasks that our Creative Director Joy handles – one of them is coordinating and running the internship. Making sure it goes smoothly, scheduling photo assignments, and answering many of the questions that come up with every group. Running the internship is a full time job on it’s own – and she’s still a very busy freelance photographer. The internship isn’t a side thing for us. It takes a lot of time and effort – and we think it’s worth every moment.
Atlanta Photography Internship. Project5A Studio.