At the beginning of Spring Semester I started interning with Matt Burke Photo. Matt Burke is an independent photographer who has a studio located in the Gaines Street area. I’ve enjoyed working at the studio so much.
One of the biggest things Matt and I agree on is that more often than not, professional portrait sessions result in super posed images of people with little to no emotion. They often look uncomfortable like the famous “Awkward Family Photos”. Matt is really down to earth and focuses first on getting to know his clients by bringing them in for consultations before the shoot. The consultation is casual like two friends meeting for the first time. I’ve been able to sit in on these meetings, which has been great. Because Matt meets with his clients before the shoot, the images tend to be more personal and creative rather than stoic boring portraits. This is something I definitely will take with me no matter what type of photography I end up doing.
From the consultations and multiple emails back and forth between clients, Matt and I will sit down and brainstorm projects geared toward expressing the personality of the client. This is where creative brainstorming comes in. Sometimes the clients have shared some of their own ideas, which has also been a lot of fun to bounce off of. I think preplanning is one of my favorite parts. It is a big collaboration process. This has been both challenging and exciting.
One of my favorite projects so far has been working with a small group of student writers from the FSU Film School. They presented us with mini bios of each person and threw out a couple of really great quirky ideas. When we finally met I could not help but want to read what they were working on, because they were such wonderfully interesting people. We shot in the library, which, if carrying loads of our heavy equipment up the stairs was not challenging enough, setting up and directing without a word on the fourth floor of Strozier, was even more difficult. They had chosen a group shot inspired by the Breakfast Club. It was so telling of their amiable personalities.
I am learning a lot about artificial lighting, how it works in general, the mechanics behind the equipment, the various brands on the market for professional photographers etc. I am also learning about many different types of lighting equipment and what each type of light is best for what use.
I am learning a great deal about the practicalities in business and the challenges about being an entrepreneur. I know that there will not be a single day when I go into the studio when we will not talk about expenses, numbers, logistics, marketing etc. This is a great deal of learning that I have not had the opportunity to learn in my classes. Seeking to be an entrepreneur myself, I am receiving a lot of practical advice from Matt and I am being exposed to the challenges of running a creative business.
Overall, my internship has been a wonderful experience. I am happy to be meeting the people I am meeting through this internship. I am grateful for this experience and I am so thankful Matt has not gotten sick of me asking millions of questions yet.