Kelly Mintz first fell for photos as a child, watching slide shows of the pictures her father took of family events. She studied photography in college and then, after she graduated, in an intensive summer program. There, she was asked to teach a class to her fellow students. “I just realized very quickly that I love teaching as well as being a photographer,” says Mintz.
Today, she channels those dual passions into SEE Shore Photography, a Newburyport–based business that offers instruction as well as more traditional wedding and portrait photography services.
Weekly classes at both beginner and advanced levels are available for adults as well as children ages 9 through 14. These four-week courses give students classroom instruction and plenty of hands-on practice with their cameras, explains Mintz. Each three-hour class includes a field trip to a state park, scenic beach, or interesting building, allowing students to put their newly acquired skills to the test. “I am a real believer in learning by doing,” says Mintz. “It creates a very positive experience for everyone.”
Classes also include a critique component. Students bring in the photos they have taken during the week, and the group discusses what works, what doesn’t, and how the shots could be improved. Mintz encourages her students to make mistakes because she believes these missteps are opportunities for learning. “I really like to create an environment that is nurturing and fun and not critical,” she says. “It’s important to create an atmosphere that people can grow and feel comfortable in.”
Photo I, her class for beginners, familiarizes students with their cameras’ parts and features, introduces them to a new vocabulary, and teaches them the fundamentals of low-light photography. Photo II, an intermediate class, includes instruction in composition and lighting, as well as practice shooting landscapes and people. The curriculum of this advanced course is more variable, as Mintz shapes the lessons according to her students’ interests.
She also offers one-day specialty workshops. Recent offerings have included landscape photography and night photography. (For example, students shot the lights of Newburyport while the town was decked out for Christmas.)
SEE Shore students range from new mothers eager to take better baby pictures to high school students honing their portfolios for college applications. Mintz also works with aspiring professional photographers, offering private lessons that focus on photo editing, the business aspects of photography, and any special topics students may want to learn more about.
“I love to share all of the good, the bad, and the ugly, with being a wedding photographer or a portrait photographer,” she says.
Mintz, who has been in business since 1998, has seen interest in photography grow over the past several years, as digital cameras have become the norm, making it easier to take and share photos. But with images becoming an ever-more-important part of everyday communication, Mintz doesn’t see the surge in interest as a fleeting trend.
“Photography is a lifelong skill,” she says. “This is something that is going to stay around for a really long time.” seeshorephoto.com