Tuesday, February 5, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 36

Congratulations to me! I'm famous!

Well... not really. I'm famous in Career & Leadership Development at UW-W. I'm getting there.

I say this because I'm Intern of the Month! Whoo hoo! I'm quite proud of myself. I would like to thank Ian for basically getting me the internship with Andrejka Photography. I owe a lot of my summer to him.

Without further ado, my story is below.

Kelsey Welke, Senior
Major: International Journalism
Minor: Public Relations
Internship: Assistant Photographer/Personal Assistant with Andrejka Photography

How did you find out about this internship? What interested you in the opportunity?
I found out about this internship through a friend of mine who works on Mackinac Island during the summer season. He mentioned to me that Andrejka was looking for an intern to help her out and I contacted her. I've been interested in photography for a few years now, so having a photography internship seemed too good to be true! I was going to be waitressing on Mackinac Island during the summer, but I knew I could handle a job and an internship. Andrejka and I met up for lunch a couple of days after I got settled on the island. We instantly clicked and I started working for her soon after.

Describe your internship experience.
I helped Andrejka take photos of weddings on the island. I shot about 6 weddings with her during the summer. These weddings would be 6-10 hours long and were usually on Saturdays. These would be really long days, because there are so many individual, important events during a wedding, such as the first look, group photos, the ceremony, the reception, the first dance, cake cutting, and more. Between her and I, there would be thousands of photos from a single wedding! I helped Andrejka download the images, sort them, make albums online, and prepare the cameras for our next photoshoot.

I was also her personal assistant. I would run errands for her and help her plan out her weekly schedule. I had so much fun shooting weddings with Andrejka! It gave me so much experience if I ever want to become a wedding photographer someday.

The one thing that I loved most about this internship was working the SnapThis! Photo Booth that Andrejka owned. We set this up at weddings and I was the photo booth attendant. The picture above is me working my first photo booth event. Everyone loved the photo booth - it was always a big hit! Some of the props included top hats, funky sunglasses, feather boas, chalkboards and red clown noses.

What did you learn during your internship experience? How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?
I have been interested in photography ever since I graduated high school and I've been taking photos of my friends, couples, and of nature since then. This internship was an absolutely amazing opportunity and I learned more than I ever thought I could! Andrejka was a great teacher and was very patient with me when I wasn't sure what to do or how to capture an image.

One thing that I learned from this internship is that owning a photography business is a lot harder than it looks, especially if you are as successful and busy as Andrejka is. There is so much involved with being a professional photographer. You can't just take photos, edit them and burn them to a CD for the happy couple in less than a week. You need to prep the cameras and batteries, make sure you have all of your lenses, write out an agenda for the day, meet the bride and groom a couple of days prior to the wedding to go over everything, and then get ready to take photos all day! 

After the weddings, Andrejka had a special editing program that we worked with. We sorted out all the good photos, mailed them to a professional photo-editing company who then edited her photos, and then we would put those photos on a CD to mail to the couple, as well as on a slideshow and on an online gallery. Sometimes Andrejka would make a nice hardcover book with the best photos of the wedding, much like SnapFish books, except her wedding books would be much thicker. It was definitely a lot of work, but we could tell that the bride and groom and their families really appreciated the work.

What advice would you give other students about internships?
My internship was paid, but one piece of advice I would give to students would be to not shy away from unpaid internships. I think the experience you'll get from an internship is worth way more than any amount of money.

What did Kelsey's supervisor have to say?
'Kelsey showed a variety of strengths over the period of her internship. She showed strong computer and organizational skills as well as an ability to relate to a variety of people. She is also a strong artist with a beautiful eye. There are two aspects that impressed me most with Kelsey: her ability to take initiative and her ability to relate to people.

I travel cross-country every month during the summer. Often times, I would leave Kelsey in my office with a list of objectives. One specific time I arrived back to see not only the list finished but her ability to go over and beyond. She was able to pick up where I lacked in organizational skills.

Kelsey was an incredible intern. She reflects the perfect balance of inner-strength, professionalism, kindness, and courtesy that anyone in the wedding industry needs to succeed. I was proud to have her represent my company.'

Well shucks. I'm going to read that last part whenever I'm down.

One of the reasons I'm so excited to have been chosen for Intern of the Month was that I got this awesome C&LD padfolio!

Heather and I have had our eyes on these padfolios ever since we started working for Career & Leadership Development. We've given them away as prizes, so it's basically torture giving one away to a random person when we're the ones doing all the career-type work. So I'm really stoked about having this padfolio.

Bonus Story
That part that Andrejka wrote about, where I finished the list and went above and beyond? I'm pretty sure she's talking about a specific date. It's a funny story so I'll share.

Andrejka travels to LA every month (rockstar life, right?!), and when she was gone for that week in July, she allowed me to work at her house, which is about a half a mile from where I lived. She even let me do my laundry at her place! Best boss ever!

It was an incredibly hot July day and I was taking a break from editing photos, so I checked my laundry. It wasn't done yet, but some of Andrejka's clothes were hanging from a drying rack. I started to fold them, then I put them away in her closet. Her closet was a mess! She can attest to this :) I'm a bit of a neat freak, so I started to organize her closet and put her shoes away... and before I knew it, her whole closet was clean and organized. Every shoe was in the correct spot, every hanger was turned the same direction - I even color coordinated her dresses. 

When she came back from LA a few days later, she was surprised at her mysteriously clean closet and asked every one of her friends if they had cleaned her closet. She even asked the guy she was seeing at the time. (How weird would that be - for your boyfriend to surprise you by cleaning your closet?!) I didn't say a word because for some reason I thought she might be mad at me (some people get weirded out when you touch their stuff, you know?) but she finally texted me and I confessed. She was ecstatic, and told all of her friends that her intern cleaned her messy closet, just out of the blue, and I became not only her intern, but her closet angel as well.

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