Ep 36: Patience grasshopper: how to find awesome mentors


When you have the right mentor, you can fast track your photography at a rate of knots. But how you do know what kind of mentor is actually going to help your photography shine – and what kind of mentor you should avoid? Mentors don’t grow on trees. So Gina and Valerie discuss the best way to find a mentor – whether that’s in your own town, one that you admire from afar, or one that can mentor you virtually. But it’s not just about finding a mentor. Once you have one, what’s the best way to get the most out of your mentoring relationship? Remember that it needs to be a two-way street if you want your mentoring relationship to go beyond one cup of coffee. So what do YOU need to do to be a good mentoree and really improve your shooting style?

This week’s theme for #ginachallenge is #grasshopper

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Show notes

Useful links
Photographer Colorized Old Photos While Adding Beautifully Surreal Narratives

Shout outs
Thanks to @zakdan_44 on Instagram and Brissie Steve for your great reviews.

Photo critique

Hi Gina, Here is one of my recent photos that I have attached for review! Thank you 🙂 Sincerely, Rene’ Brigman

Rene Brigman

Listen to the episode for our feedback.

What is a mentor?

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” Bob Proctor.

Why should you have a mentor?

  • Knowledge and contacts
  • Perspective
  • Wisdom
  • You become a better artist

Famous mentor/mentoree relationships

  • Micky and Rocky
  • Luke Skywalker: Mentored by Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi (Star Wars)
  • Mr Myagi in Karate Kid
  • Paul Gauguin encouraged Vincent Van Gogh to paint from memory and imagination

What qualities should you look for in a mentor:

  1. Leads by example.
  2. Has the right personality and is easy for you to get along with.
  3. Gives advice based on personal experience.
  4. Is a good listener.
  5. Is positive and gives you hope and confidence.
  6. Has time and energy work with you.
  7. Does not want to control you.
  8. Continually learning and developing their own skills.
  9. Provides guidance and constructive feedback.
  10. Is respected by peers.

Where do you find mentors?

The best mentors happen organically with people you connect with over a period of time.

Know what area you need to improve and make a list of people you want to connect with.

If I wanted to improve my portrait photography, my list would be:

  1. Best portrait photographer in the world like Annie Leibovitz
  2. Martin Schoeller
  3. Joel Grimes
  4. A living legend like Flo Fox
  5. Best in Australia
  6. Best in Victoria
  7. Best in Melbourne
  8. Best in local area

If I wanted to improve my social media, I would have a different list.

If I wanted to improve my business, I would seek out successful business people but not necessarily artists.

Try the unpaid internship – even the most famous photographers use interns. Someone has to have those positions. Why not you?

  • Be honest with the people you approach. Start by telling them how much you love their work.
  • Rather than asking if there is anything you can do for them try and be proactive.
  • Use social media as a way to reach out. Retweet, comment like offer information. Value add.
  • Offer to be a volunteer at their workshops or attend their workshops.
  • If it’s a local photographer, ask to buy them a coffee.
  • Join online groups LinkedIn, Facebook etc. and be active in discussions
  • Join other photography clubs and networking events and make a point of getting to know people.

How to be a good mentoree

  • Don’t be an “ASKHOLE”
  • Be prepared do the homework
  • Be coachable
  • Be passionate about what you are doing
  • Be respectful of your mentor’s time
  • Show gratitude
  • Give back to the relationship

#ginachallenge #grasshopper

How to direct and pose like a pro

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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