Job Shadow | Anna Bjorkstrand Photography

As a creative by nature, I am not necessarily drawn to a job where I’d be stuck at a desk all day. I like the idea of being able to work in beautiful locations that are a source of constant inspiration, as well as not being confined to just one spot. I’ve always been drawn to photography. I see it as an outlet to capture emotion, events or significant moments in one’s life. For that reason, I thought that shadowing a professional photographer would be an interesting experience.


JobShadowPhoto | Gretchen Reese

©2017 Gretchen Reese | Anna Bjorkstrand shooting a high-school senior photo session in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Anna Bjorkstrand has been a professional photographer for 20 years, shooting everything from weddings to senior photos. Her absolute favourite thing to shoot are high-school senior photo sessions. “I just love how sweet and innocent they are at 17,” says Bjorkstrand. “Shooting images with people like that and really connecting is one of my favourite things about my job.” Anna was able to create some of the most beautiful images, even if her subject was incredibly camera shy. She often said that forming a connection and trust between herself and her subject is extremely important. A subject that feels awkward in front of the camera is often going to translate as a forced image in the post-shooting edit process.


When it comes to the editing process, Anna is quite particular in that she will not do a mass edit for senior sessions. “Once you pay for the images, you own them,” she said. The odds of liking images are about 5 in every 100 photos, this is considered a high percentage. With so many images taken, often near 250 images every 30 minutes, it’s nearly impossible to edit so many images from multiple shoots – each with a different subject. This post-production process even adds an element of personalization to the photos, it allows for the subject to make the edits they like so long as they still give the image credits to Anna Bjorkstrand Photography.


Job Shadow AnnaB | Gretchen Reese

©2017 Gretchen Reese | Anna Bjorkstrand photographing a high-school senior session in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


For as long as Anna has been shooting, she started with film to the now digital camera equipment she uses today. When shooting events, many people tend to look at Pinterest boards to serve as inspiration for the photographer. Yet, even though the idea of a picture perfect event (especially weddings) can be on the forefront of the mind, “You can kiss your Pinterest boards goodbye,” Bjorkstrand said. “You’ll maybe get two photos that turn out like your inspiration board – I will capture your event, not your Pinterest inspiration.” This gives an eye into the process behind event shoots – not everything is picture perfect.


annaBjobshadow | Gretchen Reese

©2017 Gretchen Reese | Anna Bjorkstrand shooting photos from a senior session in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


In terms of equipment, it depends on the type of subject that you want to photograph, as each lens can be quite different. If street photography is something you’re interested in, a 2.8mm lens could be one to look at investing in. These lenses typically have a high depth of field, and do tend to run a bit higher with prices. A wide angle lens tends to be the best option for events, as they can capture the most in an image. Some lenses can range in price as high as $10,000. These lenses often have an image stabilizer inside, as well as manual settings instead of the basic auto settings. The biggest lesson to learn with investing in equipment is simply to do your research. Just because you have an expensive lens, does not mean it’ll do exactly what you’d like it to do.


AnnaB Job Shadow | Gretchen Reese

©2017 Gretchen Reese | Anna Bjorkstrand reviewing images from a senior session in Minneapolis, Minnesota.



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