With the launch of Unbridled Chaos: a 3-month intensive mentorship in family photography, I thought it would be a great time to talk about why it’s important to have a mentor. In the photography industry, a mentor can really help you establish yourself in what has the potential to be a saturated and cut-throat market, giving you the confidence and skills you need to own your work and really hold your own as a photographer. Photographers both new and experienced can benefit from a mentor so let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.
1 – Honest Feedback.
Good, old-fashioned, honest feedback is a little harder to come by these days. It seems easier to find a bunch of people who will love everything you do or a bunch of people who will dislike everything you do. Finding someone who cares about your professional growth who can provide honest feedback on things you are doing well in and areas that could use improvement is huge. And I’m not just talking about your images– I’m talking about your entire business process. If you want honest feedback on the processes you have in place, how you are connecting with clients and all the little details of running a business (including if you charge enough!) then a mentor is someone you could benefit from.
2 – Support.
We all need a little support and encouragement these days. Social media can take us down the dark rabbit hole of comparison and having someone in your corner for support on the days you need it can make a big difference in the process you make to achieving your goals. Someone around for not only encouragement but technical support too is amazing and beats out any online support chat who may never actually get back to you.
3 – Learning new skills.
Perhaps one of the best parts of having a mentor is learning new skills. Learning from someone who has tried different things and worked hard to obtain the skill set that works in this industry is immensely valuable. Like, you can’t even really put a price tag on that. The skills you can learn from a mentor are the things that ACTUALLY work and are of benefit to you. This isn’t a paid advertisement or blog post, this is the real stuff. Mentors will walk you through their work and process from client relations to editing and building a social media presence and will give you the skills so you can feel confident to jump on new challenges.
4 – Connections.
A mentorship will often mean creating new connections that could be beneficial down the line. A mentor can share names of great models for styled shoots, locations in areas they have travelled to, clothing companies with great clothing moms love to wear and feel comfortable in, and, if local, even amazing people to help you with your business taxes (so glamorous) These connections can really help a peer out and can get you connected with the right people to get you moving along– especially if you’re newer to photography and want to make the leap to being a full-time photographer.
5 – Sharing their ups and downs.
No matter what career you find yourself in, there are going to be good times and bad times. Hearing about both of those from someone in your field is wildly helpful so you know what it will look like when you pass through the good and bad yourself. Surviving creative burnout, depression, seasonal disorders and family chaos and illness are all pieces of the ups and downs that can happen to anyone without warning. Knowing how to tackle the trials when they come your way can help you overcome with minimal scrapes and bruises.
6 – Full-time photographer status.
If you want to make the leap from hobby to full-time photographer a mentor can help you get there. They’ve done it before. They know what it takes. And they can help you be realistic in your goals. What will you need to charge to bring in an income that will support your family? How can you market to your ideal client so you are busy with clients? What are some passive income streams you can jump on as a photographer to help supplement your income? All of these questions and more can be worked through with a mentor.
7- Customized guidance.
A mentor is more than an online course. It’s cool to buy a long, fancy PDF where you have to sit there and read through hundreds of pages of content, but there is no one there to keep you accountable and ensuring you are implementing what you’re learning. When you sign up for an actual mentorship with a real person you can have your specific questions answered and you can actually talk about your experience so your mentor understands before they offer generic advice in a downloadable file. Unbridled Chaos comes with weekly group coaching calls, a portfolio review and 2 personalized coaching sessions so we can dive deep with the content you’re reviewing and I can offer custom assignments, guidance or insight to the areas you have the most questions about.
8- Have your question answered by someone with experience.
Facebook groups are amazing– don’t get me wrong. I actually LOVE them for the community aspect and yes, crowdsourcing some information, but the truth is, there is a lot that hangs in the balance when you ask a question. If you put time into selecting a mentor whose photography and business you admire, then when you ask a question they are going to have the right answer for you. The answer will come from a place of ‘through my experience…’ which is the perfect way to get a real answer that you know has merit behind it.
9- Build a community.
A community is SO IMPORTANT! Learning from your peers is a fun way to grow and build each other up rather than tear each other down. We are all trying the best we can and are working hard to do what we love each and every single day. How cool is it that there are groups of like-minded individuals out there who also want to learn and grow with each other? With Unbridled Chaos, I wanted to intentionally build a community so there will be a Facebook group where those who are taking part in the mentorship can communicate. Each week you’ll be provided with a prompt for conversation and sharing (from sharing your newfound Phoneography skills to sharing inspiration and some of those very first images) to build trust then grow together. It’s going to be good… so, so good.
10- Timed growth.
You purchase a PDF from a photographer and those hundreds of pages of information are sitting there waiting for you. It seems daunting to make it through the whole thing. Maybe you set an unrealistic timeline or end up never going through it because it was too overwhelming. A mentorship program is designed in bite-sized chunks so you can gain the knowledge and implement your skills before moving onto the next area. In Unbridled Chaos, a new module is released each week so you won’t feel like you can’t make progress when you see ALL the ground we will cover. We will cover pretty much EVERYTHING in this mentorship, but you’ll be able to do it taking it on one week and one lesson at a time.
There are so many more reasons I’m sure I could list about why having a mentor is so important if these reasons aren’t good enough. It just comes down to having someone guide you along your path in photography so you take less wrong turns and stumble into fewer rabbit holes than your mentor had to do. In Unbridled Choas, I am going to take you to my personal wonderland of photography and share with you how I unwound the chaos that can be family photography to the enjoyable and less chaotic business I have today.
To learn more about Unbridled Chaos and to register, click here.