Gaining technical skills and confidence as a photographer

By Joseph Ryder

        Interning with freelance photojournalist Heather Walsh helped me grow as a photographer.

        Whether it be lighting a portrait or directing a subject, the internship has helped me elevate my style of photography and given me the confidence to walk into any type of assignment with my wits about me and capture stunning images.

        In photography, confidence is extremely important. A confident photographer instills confidence in clients, editors and subjects. This internship has helped give me the self-confidence I need to be successful.

        I had never worked on portraiture. Now, after being exposed to it through the internship, I’ve developed a fondness for the emotion and power that a portrait can capture. I’m not scared about photographing people any more. I’ve embraced doing it.

Lighting was something else I had only half-considered, but I’ve learned how a well-placed light or reflector can make a photo pop.

        Another thing that I was never exposed to at Stony Brook was processing my photos. I was accustomed to the flat color profiles in the images I was previously sharing. I learned from Heather that a photo is never ready to be shared out of camera. Color correction NEEDS to take place.

        With Heather’s help, my photos have become much more vivid, dynamic and sharp. I’ve learned how important contrast can be to making a photo pop and about color temperature correction.

        This is a fantastic internship not just because of the technical skills I’ve picked up but also because of the business skills I’ve learned.

        As a photographer, it’s likely I’ll end up working freelance like Heather. She showed me how important marketing yourself is and how to do it. By taking her advice, I’ve received more offers for shooting and become more confident reaching out to people.

        Overall, I would recommend this internship 100 percent and, more important, the mentoring that Heather Walsh provides.