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Finding a Mentor

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Thread started 26 Jun 2012 (Tuesday) 11:48   
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adilh
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Hi guys,

sorry going to vent here.... :)
I have contacted a few photographers here and there in my area, and I got ZERO Reponses and what not about the possibility of photography mentor. Not sure if what I'm asking is a lot and I'm a threat to these photographers.

This is just a hobby/passion that's turning to a full time job already....and I really want to take my learning experience to the next level....any inputs guys to how to go about gaining that trust from these photographers. I have no desire to quite my day career, but it seems that these guys think I'm full of it .....lol

Thoughts?

Thanks

Post #1, Jun 26, 2012 11:48:55


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TustinMike
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Well, I am not a pro either, so probably others will have more valuable insight into this, but here goes:

Are there any photograpy clubs / groups in your area that you might be able to hook up with ? You might find a mentor there.

If you are a Smugmug user, I know that there are regional Smug group meetups and sessions etc, you could probably affiliate with some of these guys in your area. I'd bet there are similar for Flickr users etc.

If you have a good brick-and-mortar camera shop that you frequent, and you have developed a good rapport with one or more of the sales guys, chance are they are serious shooters at the least and maybe professionals on the side. At my local shop, my sales guy is a landscape photographer and he has in-house and freelance classes - chances are good that you may find similar situations in your area.

Post #2, Jun 26, 2012 12:54:22


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adilh
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Thanks a lot TustinMike.

There're groups but it's seems like a very hard circle to break into....I submitted a facebook /flicker request and haven't had a chance to get into these groups. I understand that I'm a competitor but I'm sure we all had to start somewhere.

I use Zenfolio :) I wish they do something cool like Smugmug. I really appreciate the advice and still looking forward for more inputs from folks.

Cheers!

Post #3, Jun 26, 2012 18:10:44


1Ds Mkii | 5DMkii | 50D | 7D |17-40 L|70-200 2.8 IS L |24-70 2.8 L| 50&85 1.8|100 2.8 | & Still Suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome
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S.Horton
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Start showing up at the meetings. And call them on the phone if you really want to chat.

What you're asking for is 5 min to have a conversation about how you can really become like them.

Post #4, Jun 26, 2012 18:14:35


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Ask yourself one question - what is the benefit to them in spending their time helping you? They are running a business after all.

1. If you want to learn more join your local camera club. I just joined mine and we regularly have local and visiting pros along.

2. Attend courses. Many pros offer paid courses in wedding, portrait, landscape or other genres of photography.

3. Offer your paid services as a second shooter to local pros. If you offer to work for free they will think you are worth nothing. Charge money and they will take you seriously.

Post #5, Jun 27, 2012 01:15:51 as a reply to S.Horton's post 7 hours earlier.


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habro
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What genre are you looking at? As in, do you want to be a wedding photographer and you're contacting wedding photographers in your area who shoot a similar style? Because I'd say no as well more than likely rather than "Let me show you how to make a pie, and when you're done, please take a large piece of mine."

I'd try (unless you are) looking at outside of your future direct-competition locale. Or, if not locale, then genre/style. That way they feel like they're teaching you to fish, not how to fish their fish.

Post #6, Jun 27, 2012 02:09:53 as a reply to Dan Marchant's post 54 minutes earlier.


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mikeinctown
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There is a photographer on the forums here from my area that I volunteered to help for the experience. He pointed me in the direction of a large local club to join. I would suggest looking for the same in your area. While nothing may be as good as one on one hands on, you may find many contacts within the club more than willing to work with you.

Post #7, Jun 27, 2012 08:09:20




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adilh
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Thanks for the valuable points, I did try to join the local club, but it seems like a very hard circle to break into....knowing the fact I have great job in one of the biggest software companies in the area.( been told, you really don't need the money, why would you put yourself through all these....very discouraging)

I worked as a second shooter in 3 weddings and produced good work, but it was all FREE, got called up again and I refused as my time is very valuable to me....felt really awkward to ask for the pay ....ya know!

Dan Marchant wrote in post #14637938external link
Ask yourself one question - what is the benefit to them in spending their time helping you? They are running a business after all.

1. If you want to learn more join your local camera club. I just joined mine and we regularly have local and visiting pros along.

2. Attend courses. Many pros offer paid courses in wedding, portrait, landscape or other genres of photography.

3. Offer your paid services as a second shooter to local pros. If you offer to work for free they will think you are worth nothing. Charge money and they will take you seriously.

Post #8, Jun 27, 2012 11:24:06


1Ds Mkii | 5DMkii | 50D | 7D |17-40 L|70-200 2.8 IS L |24-70 2.8 L| 50&85 1.8|100 2.8 | & Still Suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome
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adilh
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My passion is in the landscape, but I have been doing tons of people lately ....all FREE!! the thing, I got your point about the whole pie thing, BUT I believe there's a huge market for all of us in this area....but yea I get it though! I self thought myself through the entire time and I think I should just keep doing that VS. creating unnecessary tension.

doing this for a lil over a year thought me tons and I will just keep shooting and learning :)

Thanks the pointers. Great to hear the other side's opinion as well :)

habro wrote in post #14638071external link
What genre are you looking at? As in, do you want to be a wedding photographer and you're contacting wedding photographers in your area who shoot a similar style? Because I'd say no as well more than likely rather than "Let me show you how to make a pie, and when you're done, please take a large piece of mine."

I'd try (unless you are) looking at outside of your future direct-competition locale. Or, if not locale, then genre/style. That way they feel like they're teaching you to fish, not how to fish their fish.

Post #9, Jun 27, 2012 11:29:07


1Ds Mkii | 5DMkii | 50D | 7D |17-40 L|70-200 2.8 IS L |24-70 2.8 L| 50&85 1.8|100 2.8 | & Still Suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome
Flicker|Facebookexternal link]|Adil Photography websiteexternal link| Feedback1|Feedback2|
Zenfolio 10%off : F18-9FY-CYX

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Foodguy
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If you're asking photographers who are in the business of photography to mentor you, then I'd say "Yes, you're asking a lot".

As others have said, maybe a camera club is a better place to ask.

Post #10, Jun 27, 2012 14:58:48


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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mikeinctown
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adilh wrote in post #14639523external link
Thanks for the valuable points, I did try to join the local club, but it seems like a very hard circle to break into....knowing the fact I have great job in one of the biggest software companies in the area.( been told, you really don't need the money, why would you put yourself through all these....very discouraging)

I worked as a second shooter in 3 weddings and produced good work, but it was all FREE, got called up again and I refused as my time is very valuable to me....felt really awkward to ask for the pay ....ya know!

So you are looking for a mentor, so why not offer an exchange. They want you as a second shooter and you want them as a teacher. So why not offer your services for theirs. On Saturday you shoot as a second and during the week they spend one on one time with you somewhere for "lessons". Non paying doesn't necesarily mean "free".

As far as how much you earn, that isn't their problem and you don't have to tell people anything. Be vague about your job and they won't have a clue. Who cares if you are Bill gates. If you are looking for help and offer an exchange of services agreeable to both parties, what difference does it make if you have $0 in your bank account, or $100 million? The people who always tell others they have "enough" money are the ones who don't work for sh!t and would rather take from you to fund their next public project.

Post #11, Jun 27, 2012 15:00:46




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tlzimmerman
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We regularly get asked to be mentors or have interns for local people going to the college, and its heartless but yeah....whats in it for me? The last couple are all out there soliciting business (not hurting us, and I know that, so don't think thats the issue) and they all say that as soon as they are done with school they want to hit the ground running and start a photography business with a studio.....they just need to learn from a pro and get the experience. So....wait now.....you want me to train you so that you can compete against me? Thats a poor business decision. I would do it if they signed a really lopsided non compete contract, but that doesn't feel right either, as I am not afraid of the competition, I just don't want to train it. So we just decline.

Post #12, Jun 27, 2012 15:39:21 as a reply to mikeinctown's post 38 minutes earlier.


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Foodguy
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^ I typically decline too. I bet I get 15-20 e-mails a month asking to come into the studio. Most are from assistants looking for work, many are from people who are 'interested' in food photography and offer to come in for free just to help out in exchange to see how it's done, and some are from students in both high school and college who are trying to figure out a career path.

I typically reply to all, wishing them well in their search. On occasion, will hire one of the assistants, sometimes will invite a student in for an hour or so, but the person who simply wants to peek inside to learn a little, I don't have an inclination to do so.

Post #13, Jun 27, 2012 15:45:56 as a reply to tlzimmerman's post 6 minutes earlier.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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Dan ­ Marchant
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adilh wrote in post #14639523external link
Thanks for the valuable points, I did try to join the local club, but it seems like a very hard circle to break into....knowing the fact I have great job in one of the biggest software companies in the area.( been told, you really don't need the money, why would you put yourself through all these....very discouraging)

I don't really understand what this has to do with joining your local photography club. My local club is always looking for, and welcoming, new members. Was this a club exclusively for professional photographers? If so look for a club for local amateurs.

....felt really awkward to ask for the pay ....ya know!

well that is a feeling you are going to have to get over if you want photography to be a business. Until you ask for money you aren't a business.

No pro is going to hire a bad photographer just because they are free - that would damage their business. The guys you second shoot for obviously think you are good enough to do work along side them so the next stage is to start charging money for it.

Post #14, Jun 27, 2012 18:30:49


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J ­ Michael
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There are two organizations that work to raise the level of professionalism you should check out, depending on the type of work you intend to do: ASMP and PPA. They usually have local chapters unless you're in a small town, but even them there is usually something at the state level. ASMP knows that by educating non-members about best practices (copyright, licensing, pricing) they are helping their own members. PPA usually has educational opportunities on a regional level, competitions, and other activities you might benefit from. ASMP's website is a good source of useful business info and there are some podcasts they produced available on iTunes. Good luck and have fun with it.

Post #15, Jun 27, 2012 20:01:57




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