When I announced on my Instagram stories that I was going to be starting my weekly "Tea with Jainé" series, I asked my viewers to direct message me questions that they were struggling with. One of the very first questions I received was "How Do I Find A Photography Mentor?" which is such a great topic to discuss!! It can be very overwhelming starting your own photography business. There are a lot of choices and financial decisions to be made such as "what hosting company should you use?, "what equipment should I buy?", and "where should I advertise?" and I found that having someone to help guide you is invaluable. For myself, my photography teacher became my mentor and I'm so grateful for the time and advice he has given to me over the years. But what if you didn't go to photography school? Or you don't know anyone who is successful wedding photographer? Well, I thought I'd share my top three tips on how to find a photography mentor that is right for you!
No. 1 - ASK - I would simply ask other wedding photographers you know if they are interested in being your mentor. Don't know anyone? Research the local photography groups in your area and join a few photography groups on Facebook specific to the type of photography you want to pursue. Maybe someone in the group is looking to give back to their community or maybe they want to start their own mentoring program and would love your feedback? You'll never know until you ask for help.
No. 2 - INQUIRE - I'm sure there is a photographer out there whom you admire and would LOVE to learn from. Well, why not email them as see if they are open to being your mentor? Maybe they don't have an official mentor program (just yet!) but you could always offer your time as an intern for their help and guidance in return. What's the worst they could say, no? No big deal - ask the next person on your list! Don't let the fear of rejection stop you from contacting those whom you admire. I'm sure they will be flattered to get your email in their inbox!
tip: please be sure to make it personal! whenever you are emailing someone, please be sure to use their first name "Hello Jainé" vs. "Hi," in the heading. To me, this immediately makes me think you aren't serious about asking for my help OR you are emailing every photographer in the area and cannot be bothered to fill out my name. Want to stand out? Fill out their name and make your note personal to them!
No. 3 - INVEST - Plenty of wedding photographers offer paid mentorships or mentor programs which can be a great investment for you and your business. I found a range of mentorships are focused on learning how to use your camera and find your style. There are business focused mentorships all about streamlining your business and marketing plans. You name it, it's out there! The options are endless but I would do your homework and make sure you know exactly what you are getting before you invest your hard earned money in any type of mentorship. For me, I created my own mentoring program Tea-a-Tet in an 'Ask Me Anything' type of setting because I wanted it to be casual, relaxed and open environment. I believe having direct access to a professional wedding photography is invaluable to any type of photographer venturing out on their own.
I hope this was helpful and would love to hear your thoughts! Have you invested in a Mentor program? Are you still searching for your perfect match? Leave a comment below!