Photography Mentor – Take Your Business To The Next Level

I am excited to talk more about taking your business to the next level by getting a photography mentor. In these programs I share practical steps for going from part-time photographers to full-time, or at least getting what photographers want and deserve out of their time being spent on their businesses.

I believe to live fully you should always be playing three different roles in your life: teacher, student, and friend.  The idea is that you should always be teaching and improving someone else, learning from someone else and improving yourself, and just flat out being there for someone to listen. This is my goal in my photography mentor programs. To give back what I have received throughout my years of learning and growing.

Today, we are going to talk about two out of three areas: how to find a good photography mentor and how to be a good photography student. After all, we’ve all had mentors who’ve changed our lives in dramatic ways, from parents and teachers, to coaches, to photographers in town and online. If you stop right now and close your eyes, there’s no doubt you can picture the people who encouraged, inspired, and believed in you the most. It doesn’t take long.

But how do you find the right photography mentor? That is and should be your number one question and you should be able to get answers.

HOW TO FIND A GOOD MENTOR

1. DON’T LOOK FOR THE ONE YOU IDOLIZED WHEN LOOKING FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY MENTOR

As photographers, we all have popular, well-recognized, photographers whom we love and idolize. They were our gateway drugs into this industry, the photographers we found online when planning our own weddings or having our first babies. They are the photographers we still follow to this day because they gave us our first bit of inspiration, our first picture of what life could be like behind the lens. We will always love them and that’s more than okay, but whether they live locally or across the country, they’re not the mentors we are talking about here. Sure, you can learn a lot online without any personal interaction (we know we have), but I am talking about one on one mentoring and most big time photographers just don’t have the time to do that for everyone who falls in love with their work. I’m sure they mean well and they love to help, but it’s just not realistic with their schedules. Plus, you could get the best online instruction in the world and it will still never compare to some one on one time from a seasoned pro that you have access to.

2. DO LOOK FOR SOMEONE WITH THE HEART OF A TEACHER

The key is to look for someone with the heart of a teacher who’s not in a place in life where they’re fighting to grow their business, but instead are at a place in their life where they are comfortable with their business and want to give back. Be sure you take the time to talk to your prospective mentors and they are willing to set that time aside to be sure you two are a good fit and that you find the right program for you. Not everything and everybody is one size fits all. Look for a mentor that you click with and that has a heart of gold {but is also willing to tell you how it is and fix what you need to}.

3. KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY MENTOR

Your future photography mentor might be a family member, friend, or even a friend of a friend. It might be someone you’ve never met before. Who knows!? They don’t have to be local or even super famous. If you keep your head up and eyes open, you never know what could happen. Sure, you might have to dig a little and be active in a good amount of photographer forums before you find the right person, but it’s worth being bold to find the right one. Just make sure you find one with the heart of a teacher, and that when they’re ready to teach, you’re ready to be a good student, too.

HOW TO BE A GOOD STUDENT

1. BE HUMBLE AND ADD VALUE

Be humble and add value. I can’t say it any simpler than that. Once you demonstrate that you’re willing to invest in someone else and make their life better, they’ll be willing to send it right back. “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want,” and that couldn’t be more true here. Help your mentor be at the top of their game by helping to create a worry and stress-free environment while working together. Stay on top of your sessions and work on the work you have discussed during the times in between. Be a good, professional representative of their business and talk them up in the most positive way. They’ll appreciate it.

2. ASK , ASK AND ASK SOME MORE

Look for opportunities to learn. As artists, we love it when other photographers ask us how we did something or what we were thinking/envisioning. There’s no such thing as a stupid question when you’re an apprentice, so fire away and make sure you understand everything clearly before you move on. This is your time to start at square one and build your photography knowledge base in a safe environment. You don’t have to feel scared or embarrassed to ask questions when you find the right mentor, because, remember, they’ve got the heart of a teacher, and they want to help you improve. Plus, as photographers, we always get better by teaching, so they’ll feel good about the conversation, too, because it will force them to evaluate whether they really have the answer you’re looking for. Who knows? Some of your questions might spark their interest in learning again!

3. BE APPRECIATIVE

As a student, you can never be too appreciative of your teacher. Believe us. Every time you work with your mentor, thank them at the start of your time together for the opportunity to learn from them again, and thank them after the time together, too. Describe to them what you’re learning in detail. Talk about all the things you never knew before but now know. Reveal to them how their teaching is impacting you. Say things like, “You’ve inspired me to work harder than I’ve ever worked to be more like you,” or, “Thank you for being so patient with me every time we’re together. I’m learning so much from you every day.” Your mentor already knows everything that you’re learning, so their lightbulb isn’t going off over and over again like yours is. Communicate that so your mentor knows how much impact they’re having. After all, even teachers need encouragement sometimes, too.

HERE’S WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU…

Next, I would love to talk to you more about your vision for your business. Let’s set up a time to chat about your dreams and goals. CLICK HERE to get going!