During my time interning with BW Productions, I got to experience a wide variety of what the film and photo industry has to offer. From photographing corporate headshots to filming a commercial a mile down in a copper mine, BW didn’t disappoint in memorable experiences and learning opportunities.
I began my photography internship under BW Productions' head photographer Stephanie Dunn. When I went on shoots with Stephanie I learned an immense amount about the business of photography, how to market yourself in this competitive field, and more importantly, how to interact with your clients to achieve the best and highest quality results.
A particular photo shoot that stands out to me regarding learning through observation, was a headshot session for a Medical Spa. We went into the office and took real estate photos of the company’s new space and then proceeded to set up a white backdrop and two strobe lights for headshots. From there, Stephanie invited each aesthetician in for their headshot.
Stephanie had a calming presence and made each woman feel comfortable and positive in front of the camera. She asked each woman to exude confidence and act as though it was the best day at work. I come from a background in music photography which has little to no directing of subjects, Stephanie’s directing was a pivotal lesson that I practiced on a shoot later on. I had the opportunity to do a family studio shoot at Cutthroat, it was a style of photography that I hadn’t practiced regularly before.
During the shoot, I reminded myself of how Stephanie interacted with the headshot clients, so I could practice the same technique with mine for a positive outcome. Prior to the family studio session I was nervous with this style of photography, but after completing the shoot using the lessons I learned from Stephanie, I was more confident and excited to create more work where I directed and interacted with subjects.
When I wasn’t on shoots with Stephanie I had the opportunity to be on set with Greg and Aaron of Cinema Forte, as well as the rest of my intern cohort. Being on a video set had a significant contrast from my photography experience because of how many people were working together. With photography shoots, normally it's just one to two photographers pending on the event size, and your clients. Video production on the other hand, has a lot more going on. Everyone works in their own departments, yet they're effectively collaborating together at the same time.
Working on video shoots with upwards of 15 team members was beneficial because I could learn something new from each person. Being on set with the rest of my cohort made me feel more comfortable as well. On large production teams, I was around established industry professionals who worked in their element for the latter half of a decade. For me, it was nerve wracking at times to be immersed in a new setting, but having the rest of the cohort there was like working with your friends. They helped relieve some of those anxieties.
For the commercial shoots, I was our internal BTS photographer and helped out where I could grip-wise. I enjoyed documenting how much went into these productions, and seeing how hard everyone worked in a team setting made me enjoy the fast-paced environment. Every video shoot was different, and I enjoyed that aspect because I got exposure new situations. One of the first shoots we were brought out on was a commercial for a shoe company with tons of action, moving shots, and outside lighting. This sneaker shoot differs from the next where we were in a copper mine surrounded by monstrous industrial equipment.
My experience on set made me realize that I do enjoy the video production side of things. Learning how to set up lights, run electricity, and observe how light is shaped was an enjoyable and engaging process. This internship opened my eyes to video production and made me want to pursue a possible career in that, as well as photography in the future.
Utah Women in Production and Photography was founded by women for women. Their mission is to advocate for women in their respective industries. Women provide unique perspectives, skills and insight, making impactful decisions on set. BW Productions is proud to represent a dedicated group that advocates for and collaborates with women.