Sunday, September 23, 2012

A revolutionary Summer with Claire McAdams

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern for Claire McAdams who is a brilliant photographer based in Houston. When I applied for the internship I knew I was going to learn a lot, but I had no idea just how much I would walk out of this internship having gained. My viewpoint on photography was completely changed this summer, and I am much more passionate about this art than I was 4 months ago. Claire was so generous with her information, and she was willing to answer every tedious question I had to ask no matter how silly!

I spent the summer assisting Claire on her shoots, and on top of that she helped me with my personal work. It was so interesting and educational to watch her during her shoots. I learned so much about the way that a professional shoot should be conducted. Perhaps one of the most important thing I learned from assisting her was how to interact with the client. Claire has a way of relaxing the person being photographed and of making them feel like she is their best friend. I watched her work with such a wide variety of people from rappers to business men. She was amazing at interacting and relaxing every person that walked into her studio. I had never really understood the importance of this until this summer, I had always thought it was about taking beautiful pictures while the subject just does their thing. I was so wrong!!!! I learned that it is the photographers job to not only make the client look good, but to make sure they are relaxed and enjoying themselves so that they have the best experience and the best results possible.

This leads me to another point: directing the subject. On my first day with Claire, she was doing a tutorial with me to teach me how to use all of her equipment. She also brought in a model for me to shoot and she immediately asked me to take over and take headshots for the model. I had no idea how to direct the model and I was also extremely nervous. Basically all I knew how to do was take a picture, but I had no idea how to interact with the model and how to make her look her best. From then on out I observed Claire as she worked with her clients and I learned so much about directing the model.

I went into the summer wanting to learn more specifically about headshots. I think that what helped me the most with my headshots was the discovery of the reflector! Yes, I did not know what a reflector was before this summer and it has changed so much for me! It makes me laugh when I look at the headshots I took prior to this summer. The moral of the story is, lighting is extremely important! I went into this summer believing that the background was the most important part of a headshot and I quickly learned that lighting is always more important, especially when you are working with a good lens that makes any background look good!

Morgan -1

Morgan -2

These next shots showcase different lighting techniques that I learned. Before this summer, I had never worked with studio lights, and I was quickly thrown into the world of studio equipment. I took this first shot on my first day with Claire.
Kaitlin -3

This shot was done in my garage with my own equipment, I don't have much to work with but I walked away with the knowledge of how to use studio lights..... Now I just need the equipment! 
Jamie -1

This shot was taken in an extremely low light situation, and understanding lighting was the only thing that saved me on this shot!


Another extremely important thing that I came out of this summer with is my own personal style. I never truly had any idea who I wanted to be as a photographer.... and I am still trying to figure that out. I am constantly experimenting and slowly figuring out what I like and what different looks appeal to me. One thing that has really helped develop my own personal style is photoshop! I went into this summer with ZERO knowledge about photoshop, and claire spent hours and hours with me teaching me how to specifically use it. It has been crazy how helpful the tools I learned are in basic retouching and in creating a specific stylized look. 

Mia -4-1 copy


Mia5 copy



I learned so much this summer, and I honestly feel like I walked away a completely different photographer than when I started. I also have a much firmer grasp on the business logistics of photography, and on what a career in this field would actually look like. 

I feel so honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from Claire! I was given so many amazing experiences and so much information was freely given to me! All of these pictures were taken either during my internship or after, and it was so fun to try to apply everything I was learning to my own work. I would not have changed anything about this summer, and I am so excited to move forward in my work! 

Thank you so much for reading! 

Sydney Rebeckah Roberts Photography.