Intern Perspectives

Student writer/ photographer intern learns new skills 

By Cera Southerland, ’13

As a photographer, I’ve discovered the subjects that I enjoy to shoot and those that I don’t.  Through experience and trial and error, I’ve found my least favorite subject to photograph:  people.  However, as an intern and as a photographer I’m always ready to learn new skills.

Two weeks ago, my boss Amy Wells, online content social media coordinator for Texas A&M AgriLife Communications, presented me with the opportunity to take pictures at the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences’ 2nd annual tailgate.  The College was celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land Grant Act, so I expected a pretty large crowd to be there.

The pictures would be placed on the College’s website to display the celebration and all the people who were involved.

Despite my doubts in photographing people, I chose to grab the opportunity to learn.  Amy ensured me that she would show me the ropes, that this would be a hands-on tutorial on how to shoot people and candid photos.  The best way to learn is by doing, right??

Saturday arrived, complete with rain and at least 30 people at the start of the tailgate at 8 o’clock in the morning.  I found a relatively close parking spot and made my way to the tailgate at the Agriculture and Life Sciences building.

I was ready – nervous, but ready.

I met up with Amy and she gave me a few tips before I started my adventure:  be low-key, incognito; I am a “camera ninja.”

I was off! I started snapping pictures of people eating, talking, cooking, and of the pig roasting as I walked through the muddy tents.  I occasionally crossed paths with Amy and she would offer up more tips, tricks, and reminders that would help improve my “people photography.”

The morning progressed and by 10 o’clock I was taking pictures of Dr. Hussey speaking to the entire tailgate crowd, followed by the Aggie Fight Song, in which all tailgate attendees sawed varsity’s horns off.  The tailgate carried on as the game neared, and in all the tailgate was a success.

I learned some very hands on skills in how to take good candid pictures of people, thanks to Amy.  This experience was one more way that I’ve improved upon myself and my abilities through this internship.

To top it all off, I even received a thank you letter from Dr. Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of the College.  Not only did I learn some new photograph tricks from Amy, but I also helped document the celebration for the College to look back on for years to come.  Now that is cool!


Cera Southerland, ’13, is an agricultural communications and journalism student.  She is chief student leader of IAAS and also serves as an Ambassador and Mentor for Study Abroad. 

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