Amanda’s Experience as a PWP Intern

The age old question that I have despised for so many years: “What do you want to do when you get out of college?”
My thought: “Is that a joke? Did YOU do what you wanted to do with your life when you got out of college? No. Most likely not- so I am going to take my time and live life and figure it out on the way.”  Little did I know I would have an awesome opportunity coming my way that would open my eyes to possibilities and educate me on small business as well as the corporate world.

Being a communications major with a little artistic pizzazz as a graphic design student that loved to write and create,  I found PWP Studio’s off-the-wall intern search job posting the most intriguing and exciting for me.

Although I had little experience with a camera and not much knowledge of small business protocol, I was an intern seeking some experience in a world that did not involve my college bubble of safety, AKA: I wanted real world experience.  You could say that safety bubble popped, but in the way magical colored bubbles from a bubble wand pop: with excited child-like laughs and amazement. So THIS is the real world!?

Mr. Williams and I had known one another via my sister from back in his wedding photography days, but never did I think I would be jamming to cool jazz in his studio while looking at awesome images, researching and writing to get him more famous, or learning how to open a bottle of champagne with a sword.  Yes, that last little ditty was actually in my job description!

What IS this place?

Upon entering as a timid first-time intern into a home-based retro groove studio (complete with black and white checkered floor, red velvet curtains, a disco ball, and a quirky guy with silver spikey hair and icy white glasses jamming to smooth jazzy mixes) – I had little idea what PWP Studio was capable of. Did you know this little two computer, two desk Studio functions all over the world – client-facing and internally? Yeah, neither did I! I had no idea how large his business really was; not only does Patrick have internal employees coast-to-coast in the United States and overseas in the Philippines, but he has a web of photographers and resources that help his studio cover events all over the globe! Talk about an eye-opener!

The first few days I spent as a intern were dedicated to seeing how Patrick (“PDub”) made the magic, and to understand the photographer behind the lens.  Patrick took me to many different cool Atlanta locations where the decor was on point and the events were bumpin’.  From here I was able to have a better understanding of what made the studio what it was, and what the client should expect from the PWP Studio brand.

From dress blacks on photo shoots to shoeless days in studio I have watched and learned the inner workings of PWP Studio. We have had lengthy discussions on how Patrick  was able to transform his business from ‘just one guy’ to ‘many employees’ to how the green initiative throughout the business not only helps to save the environment, but also helps save on labor and business expenses.

…And what does it do?

Onward my experience continued with the studio.  You see, PDub’s goal was to be able to create a win-win for both myself and his company…lucky for me – he did.  I created a project plan which included several press releases ranging from topics such as PWP going green, PWP moving from social to corporate event photography, and PWP’s awesome vendor partnerships.  Not only was I able to address these topics, but I also learned a lot of new things about the business world – like the true value and meaning of ‘industry relationships’.

He needed content that showed a certain level of knowledge about the photography industry – and I had very little. My interest in writing and researching was utilized through digging for this information on the industry, learning how PWP Studio worked in years past, and using this information to verbalize what the future of the studio might look like.

For instance the importance of branding and re-branding and the significance it held for PWP’s future in the corporate world.  This played a great role in the importance when PDub made the decision to go corporate.  Yup, corporate- full of cubicles and busy suits running around office buildings, but don’t get me wrong- these people know how to party.

After adventuring through the understandings of what makes PWP Studio so unique ‘on the outside’, I turned to the belly of the beast: what makes PWP tick behind the scenes?  Three things stood out immediately: technology, green, and a workforce sprinkled all over the world.

The first thing I saw was all of the cloud-based technology. I learned how to use all the Cloud-based collaboration tools in the Google apps suite, and saw the team work seamlessly with a few other apps that PDub wouldn’t let me even touch….I am just an intern after all!! Luckily he DID let me touch and learn more about Photoshop and Photo Mechanic – a killer image management app. Oh yea, I also learned what ‘image management’ means!

This green concept is something in the studio – like a ghost lurking in every corner – that is always there. It is a part of every discussion on new processes or tasks, and was very clearly a part of every discussion when all the tools he uses now on the drawing board. Take those two things – green and technology – and communication with coworkers and clients alike can happen from anywhere and to anywhere. It is cool to watch a job happen at PWP – I hear the call happen at the studio, a proposal comes from the Philippines, a photographer is scheduled to cover an event in Seattle, the image management happens in DC, and the final images are delivered digitally from the studio in Atlanta. That is just COOL!

So how did you like it?

The other thing that PWP Studio promised this aspiring intern was a chance to see the business world.  Patrick invited me to one of GaMPI’s (Georgia’s chapter of Meeting Professionals International) meetings where I was able to see the true differences between small and large business and the ways in which they communicate and do business with one another. Truth: you can work for IBM or PWP and you are still just a person relating to another person at a networking event. Relationships transcend your business affiliation. Truth: you can take a message from a speaker and apply it to the only person in your company, or to your team of two in a the tiny subsection of XYZ conglomerate. Business principles apply whether you are big or small. There are a lot of other truths I learned, but you’ll have to watch Twitter for those!

I LOVED this experience, and I will take this knowledge with me to whatever career I pursue.  Many students and aspiring interns may spend their summers going into an office – doing the same repetitive cog-like work and getting nothing more out of it than a new company and location to type into their resume.  As an intern at PWP Studio I have learned the power of knowledge, heard how disruptive some jazz can be to a work environment, seen how to embrace technology, found the value in always being able to get a little humor kick in the studio via PDub’s witty jokes or Facebook status updates, met some cool folks, and learned to do many things they can’t teach you in school (all legal of course).