At Cater2.me, it’s important for us to attract and develop talent. That goal helped spawn our photography internship program this summer.
How We Found Our Interns
In April, we set out to find a candidate who was not only talented behind the lens but also passionate about food. We were lucky enough to receive 149 applicants! After reviewing portfolios and discussing photography approaches, we invited finalist candidates to do a brief (remunerated) shoot with one of our local restaurant vendors. The feedback was unanimous: we had two top candidates!
We were very lucky to find that both of them were happy with a part-time schedule. Our lead designer, Sarah, recommended a job share. Their skills were complementary, and it could be valuable to learn from each other as well as from us. And thus, our photography intern program kicked off.
Who Our Interns Are
Emily is a photography major at The Fashion Institute of Technology. She has worked at Paper Source and interned with College Fashionista, Zola Wedding Registry, and The Knot Magazine. She hopes to pursue a career as a food photographer and felt that this internship would be a great learning experience.
Ash is a college senior studying physics and geography at SUNY Geneseo. For the last two years, he has worked as a photo editor for his college newspaper. Although he would love to build a career in the photography or videography field, he thinks that his coursework in college has prepared him for a wide range of jobs. Ash is confident that no matter what he ends up doing, photography will continue to be an important part of his life – whether as a hobby or as freelance work.
What the Internship Goals Were
The internship included weekly learning opportunities, collaborations, and – of course, photography. Over the course of the summer, the interns aimed to work with Cater2.me’s partners to photograph delicious menu options. They coordinated with chefs and restaurant managers to go on-site and capture the eats – and the passion behind them. I was lucky enough to join them on one of these days.
A Day In the Life of a Cater2.me Intern
I met the interns outside of one of our great New York restaurant partners: Mama Gyro. As we patiently waited for Mama to unlock the door, Emily and Ash went over several concepts they had in mind for the shoot. Once the doors opened, we were greeted with the mouth-watering smells of Greece. While Mama and her staff finished preparing the soon-to-be featured Greek salad and gyros, our interns began prepping for what was to come.
It was refreshing to see them dance, so to speak. Their interactions with Mama made for a simple and organic shoot. They were able to effortlessly make her Greek staples come to life with each click of the shutter. They did this all while styling the food and the surrounding area to correspond with the looks they were going for. As the hour passed and their attention continued to switch from viewfinder to LCD screen and back again, I was excited to see two such professional, creative and gifted students in action.
Once back in the office, they filtered through the vibrant shots. It was difficult to decide which would be tossed and which would be edited and shared with the team for use. Before we knew, it was time to pack up and walk over to our second shoot of the day, only five blocks away.
The Cinnamon Snail greeted us with smiles, donuts, and cinnamon buns, as we made our way outside The Pennsy. The interns started their waltz surrounded by the amazing backdrop of Midtown. They strategically stacked donuts and arranged pastries for a series of drool-worthy photos. As we shot, onlookers started taking notice, but our interns took it in stride and continued with their work.
How They View Their Experience
After spending a day with our interns, I wanted to get their perspective on their experience this summer.
When asked if they felt more prepared to pursue their life’s work, they couldn’t agree any more. “Ash and I were in charge of creating our own schedules, participating in team meetings, and creating visual content for the company. All of which are tasks that will be relevant for our future jobs as photographers!” Emily said. “Hopefully, you’ll see my photos in Bon Appétit or Martha Stewart Magazine one day.”
Ash added, “This is the first time that I have worked for a real company, where my job can actually influence future and current clients. Responsibility of this kind is something that was almost entirely new to me, so I think that has been a really important experience for me in my preparation for the workforce.”
The Interns’ Takeaways
Joining a company as an intern gives you the opportunity to work hands-on in a professional environment. Many imagine an internship filled with tedious busy work. But, contrary to popular belief, our interns’ experience this summer was completely different. Emily exclaimed, “…getting to work with a great group of people while photographing what I love most was my favorite part!”
Internships can teach you more about the career path you are pursuing.”Working at Cater2.me has taught me a lot about marketing, curating/styling food shoots, and working with a professional team,” Emily shared.
Ash’s biggest takeaway from his time at Cater2.me was experiencing work at a real company for the first time. “Seeing all of the small interactions between people, as well as seeing how so much work is broken down into smaller groups was something that I had never really witnessed or experienced before. This was extremely interesting and worthwhile to see.”
What he enjoyed most about the internship was getting to experience New York City. The college he attends is extremely rural, so New York City is essentially the polar opposite. “Getting to experience somewhere completely different is something that I am extremely grateful for, especially with my particular job. Getting to go out nearly every day and meet restaurant owners throughout New York City has been pretty amazing, and I feel that it has really given me a taste (literally) for so much that NYC has to offer,” he added.
The Importance of Interns
This summer, we set out to partner with the future creatives of our industry, helping to advance the experience of two up-and-coming food photographers. What we got in return were two interns who embraced our core values. This was evident through their interactions with our partners and the contributions they made to our team.
Just as Cater2.me strives to create a sense of community with every shared meal, our interns were able to create community around the food they photographed.