Finding a mentor is an important part of almost any business or creative endeavor. A mentor is something like a tour guide who has already been where you want to go that can help lead and guide you like Daniel Doyle Pleasantville NY. They can even help you avoid some costly mistakes. Finding the right mentor is critical, however, because not all mentors will necessarily guide you in the direction you want to go. Conversely, however, some mentors may actually help you find a better path than the one you think is right for you. Here are five tips for finding the best photography mentor.
1. Know what you need
The right photography mentor is going to be different for everyone because everyone needs something a little different. Some people have already experienced photographers who need mentoring in the business aspect of setting up their own photography business or getting clients. Other Queens photographers may want to expand their horizons and need a mentor to help them branch out into different types of photography. Still, other photographers may be complete novices that need a mentor in Queens to help them get started from the ground floor. Before you start looking for a mentor, make sure you are clear about exactly what it is you need from them.
2. Set clear expectations
It is very hard to get what you want if you don’t know what you want. It is even harder for someone else to give you what you want when you don’t even know what that is. It is important to start by identifying the broad strokes of what you need from a mentor but before you actually go out looking for one, you need to narrow down your specific needs even further. The more clear you are on specifically what you need, the more likely you are to find it without wasting a great deal of time. For instance, many successful photographers like Daniel Doyle Pleasantville NY may have business managers because they themselves are not great at the business aspect of photography or simply don’t enjoy it. Handing the managerial reins over to a professional frees photographers like Dan Doyle up to do what they really love. Unfortunately, if you don’t understand what it is you really need going in, it may take you several months to figure out the mentor you chose can’t actually help you in the area you most need help in. Then you just have to start all over again from scratch.
3. Play the field for a while
Just because someone may be a seasoned, experienced photographer does not always make them a great mentor and even more importantly, the right mentor for you. Finding a great mentor like Dan Doyle is not just about knowledge and experience but also about personality. We often think a lot about chemistry when it comes to romantic relationships, but good “chemistry” is actually an important factor in almost every kind of relationship, including mentorships. Don’t just settle on the first person you find willing to share their knowledge with you, keep looking until you find someone you really “click” with. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn something from everyone but mentorship is generally much more of a long term investment and partnership so make sure you find the right one before settling down. In fact, you don’t even have to just have one mentor. You will most likely have several mentors over the course of your career so just make sure you find someone who can help meet your immediate needs. If they end up being able to help you beyond that, great. If not, you can always go find someone else that can better help you in your next phase of growth.
4. Make sure they really have your best interests at heart
It is always important to remember that not everyone always wants to see you succeed. This isn’t just true in photography but in all aspects of life. Someone may seem to want to take you under their wing but in reality, they just want some free help or possibly even to make sure you don’t succeed. You don’t have to be cynical and jaded but it is important to approach the task of finding a mentor with your eyes wide open. Not all mentors are good mentors so it is important to learn the difference between a good mentor and a bad one. A bad mentor can actually hurt your career just as much as a good mentor can help it.
5. Make sure they are truly available
It is very easy to agree to do something but agreeing to do it and actually doing it are two different things. If you choose a successful photographer as a mentor, then they are probably very busy. If they don’t have time to fit you into their schedule, then you probably aren’t going to learn a whole lot from them. They may offer to let you work with them, which can be a great learning experience but you also have to be careful that you aren’t just simply providing them with free labor. If you aren’t genuinely gaining valuable experience from the endeavor then your “mentor” is getting far more than they are giving. Being available should mean having time to sit down with you each week, each month or as necessary to answer questions, help you set goals or help you problem solve any issues you are experiencing.
A great mentor can either make your career or at the very least take it to the next level. They can provide invaluable wisdom, experience, and guidance but they can also easily lead you astray. Finding the right mentor is an important part of building any career so make sure you genuinely put time, effort and energy into finding the right mentor for you.