Heather Drake,

  Art Institute of Washington
Winter 2008

Before my internship with John Harrington I was already a working fashion/celebrity photographer with a history of doing things for free or for the opportunity. As an intern for John I got a realty check on the business of photography. I learned how to actually stay in business. I learned that my work and time is valuable.  Everything is a teachable moment with John.  John also opened my eyes to other facets of photography that I would have never considered trying (wedding, corporate, documentary).  What I like most about John is his caring nature.  He has a quality about him that a lot of photographers in the industry do not, and that is the Pay it forward mentality. Some photographers keep certain secrets to themselves in fear that their student may one day compete.  There are no secrets with John, No holds barred. An internship with John is an inside on how everything from filing, archiving, pre-production, production, post-production, handling clients, billing, archiving, contracts, and the importance of being fully prepared for a shoot. I got to brag that I was the first intern in the history of John’s 17years in business to compete for the same assignment.  Even when that situation arose he advised me fairly. John allows you the credibility you earn.  On a specific Pho meeting John introduced me to a fellow photographer and told her, “aesthetically she is already there, she is with me to learn the business.” I felt very good that John of all people and as talented as he is felt that way about my work. John offers a crash course in business.  I am thankful to John for affording me such an incredible and valuable opportunity. 

Washington DC photographer John Harrington: Heather Drake in Washington, DC.

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Most Enjoyed:

I enjoyed our trips to photo expos where I got so much inspiration, our talks in the car where I could ask John any questions I had, Going to XM Radio and getting to meet Ice Cube, Chipolte, the candy cabinet in the office and going on shoots.

Least Enjoyed:

A specific instance in NY. Oh, and John’s driving.

What I Learned:

The ins and outs on how to run a successful photography business and how important customer service is in business.  It has to be the most important thing. It is 90% of your business.  You could be the most talented person in the world and suck at business. You will probably fail. If you were a mediocre photographer with great business skills, and good follow through you will be successful. So why not be great at photography and great in business?  Then you will be a force to be reckoned with.  I will keep the Pay It Forward method going!  You should do the same.  I look forward to seeing you all at the top!

Washington DC photographer: Portrait and Editorial Photography in Washington DC

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