A few days ago I wrote a post about mentors. Many of you contacted me to ask for advice on locating a mentor. Here are a few tips.
1. Join professional and amateur photo associations and clubs. This gives you access to people who might know more about photography than you do.
2. Look for examples. Which photographers are doing the kind of work you like? These are prospects for mentorship.
3. Volunteer to assist working pros. Establish your willingness to help them first. Then you win the right to be heard when it comes time for you to ask for help.
4. Have a positive attitude. Professional photographers who are approached by know-it-alls are probably not going to be very excited about taking time from their busy days to help a grumpy person.
5. Ask for referrals. If you know someone who works closely with or for a photographer you’d like to mentor you, ask that person for a referral. This is often a way to fast track your way to mentorship.
6. Use online tools. Meetups for photographers might yield access to mentors.
7. Put yourself out there. Show your work, show your work, show your work. If successful photographers see your work they might even volunteer to work with you if you offer something important or unique.
8. Be realistic. Don’t expect Joe McNally to drop everything and mentor you. Find a local person who’s successful at photography and ask them for help. Locals are more likely to help than nationally-known super stars who already have a full plate.
9. Look outside photography. Maybe you need sales, marketing or business help. In this case someone with photo experience would be nice, but not absolutely necessary.
10. Have a clear set of goals. Don’t expect someone to mentor you if you don’t know what you want to accomplish with the relationship. Have a plan.