“Since taking all of the DEFINE classes I have truly found myself as an artist. My visions and goals are so much clearer and stronger. I feel I have an authentic voice now in this industry. I am less distracted by what everyone else is doing and I’m focusing on just being ME.”
One of the things we absolutely love about being a smaller community is that our staff and our teachers can stay closely connected to our students long after they turn in their last homework assignments.
Sharon Covert began taking DEFINE classes two years ago and now has an impressive seven notches in her DEFINE belt. We’ve been following her work over the years on Facebook and Instagram and have seen some beautiful, authentic growth in her art- growth that we’re proud to have been a part of.
We reached out to her recently for a quick Q&A about her artistic journey and her experience with DEFINE.
Which DEFINE classes have you taken?
I’ve taken so many! Krysta Manthe’s Through the Looking Glass in February 2013; Molly Flanagan’s Visual Storytelling in April 2013; Kellie Hatcher’s Life + Light in September 2013; The Parsons’ A Seat At the Table in October 2013; Michelle Gardella’s Awakening the Spark in January 2014; Michelle Gardella’s Creative Rehab this past October 2014, and I am currently finishing-up Sharon McKeeman’s Un-branding class.
Tell us about your photography- your business and your relationship to it- before you started taking DEFINE classes.
I really didn’t have much of a business when I started with DEFINE. I was all over the place with many aspects of my photography and definitely needed help. The only consistent thing was that I have always been more drawn to black and white images. When DEFINE first launched I was very excited to see so many photographers I admired teaching classes there. They all had something unique to offer and teach.
What did you learn from each of the classes you’ve taken with DEFINE? How did they change your art, perception, and technical skills?
Some of these classes have truly been eye-opening and life-changing for me.
Molly’s class really taught me to be more intentional in my shooting and waiting for the decisive moment to take my shot. She not only taught me how to make a visual story, but also introduced me to many of the world’s great photographers and their way of shooting.
The Parson’s class will change your life! They are bursting with love and so giving. They really had me dig deep and find my “Why” for photography. I try to keep that in mind every time I shoot. They taught me to shoot from a different place deep within.
Michelle Gardella poured her love over me and made me realize that I am enough. She nourished my soul and my images shifted greatly after each of her classes. Michelle taught me to be brave.
Sharon McKeeman has been such a joy and pleasure to work with. She has put so much of her time into helping our class create our websites. I cannot wait to launch my new site soon. Sharon has taught us that our art is enough. At the end of class we will have our own website, unique to us, to show our vision.
Krysta’s class was packed full of info about running a successful business. The info was all so new to me at the time. I had no idea all that it entailed! Location scouting? What was that? She really taught how to make a shoot happen from start to finish.
Finally, I will say that I went into Kellie Hatcher’s Life + Light class thinking I had a decent idea of how to use light and came out of that class with a whole new perspective! She really opened my eyes to light and shadows. I find myself shooting from the shadows now instead of fearing them. A gloomy, rainy day can produce some of the most beautiful images.
What about the learning environment at DEFINE have you enjoyed and why?
There are so many things! The students per class are kept fairly small. I’ve been able to develop so many personal relationships with like-minded people. I’m so grateful for the friends I have made on the forums and I’ve been able to maintain those relationships after each class in our private Facebook groups.
A huge bonus is that the teachers at DEFINE check-in regularly on those private Facebook groups long after class is over. During class we have access to each lesson by email, the forums, and downloads. The teachers really put their all into these classes. They practically move mountains to make sure everyone’s questions are answered and that we all feel comfortable, safe and connected. Classes at DEFINE are so much more than an email with a PDF of a lesson.
What would you say to a new student that’s hesitant to take an online class?
Well, what I’m already telling people now is: Do it! It’s worth every penny and then some. These classes have been life changing. I truly feel the photographers teaching these classes go above and beyond what is expected of them. They put their hearts and souls into teaching these classes. It’s not just a job for them. It’s so much more. I have gone so far as to say I wouldn’t mind taking some of these classes a second time around. They are THAT good.
Do you have a single image that you’re proud of that you think best illustrates what you’ve learned from DEFINE?
The recent self portrait at the beginning of this post. This represents my art and what I’m about. I would have been scared to show an image like this a couple of years ago. It’s not the norm. It doesn’t fit in with so much of the cookie-cutter photography that is so commonly seen out there. With DEFINE I have been able to define who I am. I am able to take away everything that I have learned and put it into my own vision. For that, I am forever grateful.
Thinking back to the question on your photography BEFORE taking DEFINE classes, tell us now how you feel about those same things NOW.
Since taking all of the DEFINE classes I have truly found myself as an artist. My visions and goals are so much clearer and stronger. I feel I have an authentic voice now in this industry. I am less distracted by what everyone else is doing and I’m focusing on just being ME.
Follow Sharon’s work and continued growth over on her site at Sharon Covert Photography