When confronted with a new field of study, one is often thrust into the deep end of the pool both figuratively and literally.  It’s tough to learn to swim quickly.  You will likely learn the bare bones to keep your head above water (i.e. flapping your arms about madly will  usually create enough energy to keep you afloat), but you certainly won’t learn to become an Olympic caliber swimmer on your own.

Self-study may even get you to a point where you can cut through the water relatively easily, but imagine how much easier it would be if when you first started learning to swim, you had a coach.  Someone there to stand at the pool, shouting out encouragement and instructions:  “Reach out with your hands!  Kick your legs!  Good job!  Keep going!”

Coaching always makes learning anything easier, whether it’s swimming, science or photography!  One of the things I’ve noticed as progressing on my own learning curve is that much of what I gathered would have likely been learned moer quickly if someone had been there to say “Hey, the Rule of Thirds works nicely with landscapes…put the sun in one of those cross-sections!”  or other axioms common to learning the nuts and bolts.

This raised a question in my mind, and is actually one of the fundamental reasons why I started this blog – to share experiences as I learned them to help others hopefully reach those levels of understanding sooner.  When someone asked me once how long I had been mentoring other photographers is when it dawned on me that I actually had become something of what I had needed!  Talk about a sense of fulfillment!

These thoughts and experiences were recently shared with my good friend Kerry Garrison of Camera Dojo, and as we talked about the whole concept of mentoring, decided this would be a great podcast topic!  So, enjoy the latest episode of the LDP Podcast (#63):  Choosing a Mentor:

Show notes:  What to Look for in a Mentor

1.  Desire to Help
2.  Previous positive experiences
3.  A Good Reputation
4.  Time and Energy
5.   Someone who stays current
6.  Willingness to Learn themselves
7.  Good managerial skills

We go into all of this in much greater detail in the show, as to why each trait is important, and we even throw in a few bonus considerations for you too, so be sure to catch the show!  Thanks again to Kerry for participating – it was a great discussion and sure to be one that will draw a lot of attention!  Be sure to stop over to Kerry’s blog to find out the latest activities there too at Camera Dojo.

Food for thought:  As you listen to the show, consider the following talking points…have you ever had a mentor?  Been a mentor?  Wanted a mentor?  Had one that worked or did not?  Think about what did and didn’t work, and why.  What would you want to see in a potential mentor?  As is always the case, we share our own ideas, but would love to hear from others on what their own experiences are, so please let us know in the comments and/or via email, social media, etc.

Happy shooting!


A couple short reminders for this week:

1.  We are in the last week of the Monthly Contest Series for September.  This month you can win a year of membership to NAPP (existing members can extend for an additional 12 months!)!  It’s free, just share your best image in the Flickr thread here.

2.  The Worldwide Photo Walk is coming up this weekend, so if you’ve not registered in your nearest city yet, be sure to check out where the closest place is.  It’s a lot of fun, and is totally free too, so get out and shoot with fellow photogs, socialize, and network!  Oh yeah, and a ton of books are being given away – something from the Kelby arsenal of education will go to one lucky photographer in each city!  (If you live in the Denver Colorado area, there’s still room in the Louisville walk too where you can walk around with yours truly!)

One thought on “LDP # 63: Choosing a Mentor

  1. These are great tips, the one that stuck out to me the most is #6 – 6. Willingness to Learn themselves, because there is always more to learn and anyone who thinks they know it all would not make a good mentor.

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