If you set out to determine an accurate number of professional photographers working in the world today, or specifically the United States, or even just our local Dallas/Ft. Worth market, you would discover the task is not so easily accomplished. For better or for worse, the professional photography industry is constantly changing and evolving. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of amateur photographers enter the professional arena every day while last year’s newbies and even some of the greats – seasoned veterans, are calling it quits. The result – a mixed bag of competition for those of us still here.
The reasons for this are numerous and also, the subject of a future blog post. Today we’d like to talk about the importance of mentoring. Professional Wedding Photography – it’s a unique business. With so many new photographers entering the industry, you’d expect a lot of hoarding of “inside secrets.” But the truth of the matter is that we photographers love to share – it’s virtually a requirement in our DNA. We are artists who want to share our talent, our craft, our passion with others. And we also believe that by mentoring newer photographers, we’re helping to make the industry as a whole, stronger.
As a mentor, we spend a lot of our time teaching newer photographers how to think and problem-solve, helping them avoid some of the mistakes we experienced but also allowing them the opportunity to experience some things on their own. Through phone calls and in-studio mentoring sessions, on the job training and 2nd shooting opportunities, our end-goal is to provide them with faith, encourage them to try new things, to push past comfort zones, and support their individual endeavors.
This past year, David & Luke took a special interest in one individual in particular. A man who was unhappy in his career and expressed an interest in photography. Through their help along with other mentors who assisted and encouraged him along the way, Paul Ernest entered the WPPI 2011 16×20 International Print Competition this year and walked away with a 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place and Grand Award, all in the Premiere Division – a category for first time entrants. Paul also entered an image in the First Time Entry division of the DPPA print competition and won the First Time Entry End of Year Award. Quite a year for this very talented new up-and-comer!
David has been shooting professionally for over 35 years, and as much as he loves being a mentor to several photographers, he also enjoys learning from his mentors. We both believe that it’s important to find someone ahead of you on the curve – to learn from, to grow from and to be challenged by. For the two of us, our mentors: Jerry Ghionis & Mike Colon, have had a profound affect not only on who we are as professional photographers, but also as men. As Jerry Ghionis says, “if you want to be a better photographer – be a better person.”
Mentoring is a gift – you’ll find you will learn just as much from your mentor as you will from mentoring someone else.
If you’re looking for a place to start learning immediately on how to be a better wedding photographer; The Ice Society Educational Website by Jerry Ghionis is a great place to start!