Let me start this on a somewhat depressing note. I have a folder of emails from people who have visited the same “mentor” and have come home and told their husbands they’re quitting, that they have no hope to continue on, one sold her camera and quit the following month..all because they’ve been told they’re horrible and that they felt like they paid to be berated and belittled instead of uplifted, information packed and inspired.
That’s not a mentor. That’s someone taking advantage of their status in an industry and collecting money. There’s a fine line between honesty and belittlement. There’s also a VERY big difference between CONSTRUCTIVE criticism and DESTRUCTIVE criticism. Professionally and technically I may not be the BEST of the best, but I’ll be damned if I don’t have a heck of a lot of info to share. Info that has helped my business soar and be successful over the past four years.
And more importantly, I want people to know that I WANT them to succeed! More photographers that learn to do things right, work hard and charge a decent amount uplift the industry because we teach potential clients the importance of investing in a customized photography experience! I want people to know that they can work SO hard and have what it takes to make it, they just need a plan and structure and LOTS of drive and inspiration to keep them going!!! 🙂
If you’re looking for a mentor, someone to invest in and be able to trust to email any time to ask questions AFTER the fact as well and to get honest feedback delivered in a professional and polite way–here are some ways to find who you may be looking for! We ALL have different personalities, so that grizzly rough kind of mentor may actually work better for you…but if you’re more of an emotional deep feeling and sensitive person, like I definitely am, you may want someone a little more caring who will leave you inspired and POSITIVE! 🙂
1. Email them and pay attention to their response! Are they just shoving a price in the response? Are they using any sort of excited punctuation or thanking you for inquiring? Or is it just business and $$$ making?
2. Friend them on Facebook or connect via social media! Watch the tone of their posts and image captions. Are they sarcastic and snappy, or are they excited and positive? Are they mellow and laid back, or are they high strung and uptight?
3. Ask them straightforward what kind of a mentor they are and if they are “cut-to-the-core abrupt” or if they are a little more kind but still being honest! What’s the harm in asking? If they write back with a jerk answer..they just gave you your answer with that ‘tude right there!!! 🙂
4. Find out what they offer! Are they specific and only teach certain things and levels of experience or are they open and cater to lots of different levels from brand spanking new to 20-weddings-a-year photographers?
5. Watch their promo video or behind the scenes, or ask a past mentored photographer of theirs. See if your personalities mesh..I think this is almost the same process someone may go through to find their wedding photographer! You want to make sure you’re compatible! 🙂
I hope this helps! I LOVE my mentoring and Q+A gals. They know I always will have their back and the cool thing is that they all have mine now, so when I need them..they are THERE! 🙂 Thanks ladies! LOVE YOU ALWAYS! 🙂
First two images from Elizabeth Henson Photos and last one from Audrey Rose Photography! 🙂