Whenever I have an intern, I give a LOT of feedback to them as we're working together about their approach, their skills, their zone of genius, their talents, and where I see them being most profitable as a photographer. I get to see how they work, where they struggle, what their walls are, what their hesitations are, and I also get to share resources that I think will help them improve. Because of all the support I provide, I also like to receive feedback on myself as a mentor, what I offered, and what I provided to make sure that the internships I offer are of the highest value.
Brian and I had an interesting journey because when he started, my direction was aimed heavily at portraits and weddings, but shortly after taking stock of my own business as it was unfolding in NYC, I realized that my own opportunity for growth here was actually going to be in architectures & interiors, and part of the work that he was brought on to work on ended up being different than either of us had anticipated up front. He was good at going with the flow and I found ways to help him get the experiences he really needed with other people who were focusing more on Wedding work than I was. However, don't take my word for it, here's what Brian has to say about working with me as an intern:
1. What was it like to intern with Anne?
Brian: Working with Anne has been one of the most rewarding experiences during my years as a photographer. Not only did I get to meet and be mentored by a fantastic photographer I also made a lifelong friendship and to me, that is priceless! It was like working with my incredibly talented younger sister! From the very start Anne was grateful for my help and made me feel like family, we joked, we teased, we cried, we laughed and most importantly ate delicious food all over Manhattan! =)
(Anne says: I'm actually older than Brian, and being taken out for lunch around Manhattan is part of the intern "payment" plan.)
(Brian was awesome and never complained about how much gear I made him carry. ;-)
2. How would you describe Anne as a mentor?
Brian: Her mentoring style can be summed up as Hands-on and very involved, I loved her style. She created an expectation of "I know you can do it- so just do it!" It was her expectations and mentoring style that made it so easy to not be afraid of beings pushed past my comfort zone. She seemed to care about my success and photography as much as I did. She would send me text messages at we hours of the morning telling me that I need to do this and to get this in order with my business. I've never met anyone as involved and committed as Anne.
3. What do you feel you learned by working with Anne that you wouldn't have learned on your own?
Brian: Anne pushed me to think and go outside my comfort zone. Within the first week she already knew where my comfort zone ended. She made me cold call individuals and ask them specific questions about their business and to see if they could use any of my services knowing that cold calling and trying to sell my business scared the living crap out of me! Anne pushing me to this has helped me immensely, I don't think I would have been able to push my self to do that if I was on my own.
4. What did you learn about yourself in the process of the internship?
Brian: I learned what I'm worth as a photographer which is key when you have to run your own business with a profit. After each day I interned Anne would create a journal entry, in those entries she would write what we did, what we have planned with our next visit and what she observed in me as a photographer. By the time the internship was over she had broke it down for me through her observations and directed me in a more clear path of what I needed to do as a photographer. Finding that worth was and is priceless for me!
5. What do you wish you'd learned, but didn't?
Brian: I would have loved to see more of the wedding photography client interaction side of the business, meeting them, showing them the album options, etc. I was however able to experience a lot of the back and forth email communication with clients which was fabulous.
6. What do I think a intern should bring with them before they intern for Anne Ruthmann Photography?
Brian: Have a business plan. If you go into the internship with a clear plan of where you want your business to go you will be able to implement all the information you will receive in a more efficient way. Set goals, more specifically set goals of where you want to be in the next 6 months to a year with your photography, that will help Anne guide you to achieve those goals. Lastly go into internship with a strong willingness to learn from such a gifted and talented photographer.
7. Anything else you'd like to share?
Brian: This internship was so much more than I expected it to be. Being with Anne for those 6 months was a great experience. She gave me so much advice on what I need to know to have a healthy business as a photographer in NYC! Its now up to me to take that advice and run with it to make my photography thrive!
NOTE: I am not accepting any new interns at this time, but I'm always accepting new consulting clients over on the Smarter Business Workshop Facebook Page where you can sign up to be notified of free and paid upcoming workshops online or in your area, as well as getting regular tips, asking questions, and getting advice to help you tackle different aspects of your creative business life! If you don't need one-on-one help, feel free to browse all of the free articles I've already written over at Photo Lovecat.
posted on: May 8, 2015
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