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Archive for August, 2010

Mentoring: Paying It Forward

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Who taught you the trick s of the trade? Who took you under their wing?  We all remember the teachers and the professionals who took the time and patience to give us confidence, to help us deal with frustration and to reinforce our belief in our talent. Successful people in any profession consistently say one of the most important keys to their success was having a mentor.

Learning to be a photographer is so much more than understanding the best way to light a bride. Someone needs to tell you how to handle that bride when she bursts into tears, someone who’s seen it before and knows exactly what to say. Learning to deal with frustration and disappointment yet behave with humility and compassion are things that won’t be revealed in studio lighting classes. They are only learned through working with a mentor.

Apprenticeship is expected in photography. Everyone must do their fair share of schlepping camera equipment and holding scrims, paying their dues. Working as an assistant generally swings one of two ways. You either end up in a subservient position with no intimate knowledge of how to really run a business, or you find a successful, confident mentor who treats you as a protégé teaching, inspiring and nurturing your talent.

Working with a real men tor gives a new pho tographer many opportunities to learn about other parts of the business, including how to work with clients, how to actually run a business and, to a degree, how to treat employees.

Photography is one of those pr ofessions in which mentorship is crucial to the success of the next generation. Someone recognized your talent. Someone admired you and believed in you. Someone showed you the ropes. Are you taking the next generation under your wing? Are you paying it forward?

We’d love to hear your experiences both as a mentor and a protégé. Send us a Tweet or share your experiences on our Facebook page.