For the first 20 years of my life, I was TERRIFIED of buying a DSLR. For someone who is the opposite of tech savvy, learning settings and editing seemed so complicated!
Thankfully for me, I found an amazing mentor (Nadine from Sachiko Studio. She also took this photo in her studio!) who walked me through every step of the way. Today's blog post is dedicated to finding a photography mentor.
How I found My Mentor
Before I get into how to find a mentor, I thought I'd share some backstory on how I met Nadine (you can read more in my How I Started Photography post here). In 2012, I found her on Yelp since I was looking to have a 1 year anniversary session done with James. She also did photos for my family in spring 2013.
When James encouraged me to try learning photography in January 2014, he suggested reaching out to her. I felt so nervous sending her an email. I didn't want to put her in an awkward position since I was and was going to continue being her client.
I worked up the courage and sent the following email on 12/2/13. As embarrassing as it was for me to re-read this, I thought it would be relevant to show you guys! This was part of a reply to another email regarding our family session. If you're wondering why it's so casual, we were already on a friendly basis at this point after working together twice.
My First Email To Nadine:
"I've gotten really interested in photography and I think college is a good time to explore different possible future careers. I was wondering if it would be ok if I came to check out some of your shoots and editing sessions next semester. I can't say that I have lots of experience with photography other than taking pictures, but I do have Photoshop and Premiere if you need help with any editing. Or I can help with anything in general! As of right now, I come back to Arcadia on the weekends, and I might be available twice a week on the weekdays, but I'm still playing with my schedule. I don't mean to ask necessarily as like an internship position. I was just wondering if it would alright if I could just come by and check things out and be of any help for you. However, if you want, I could send you my resume if you were interested to see how I can help!
Or if you don't necessarily want me coming around regularly, that's totally fine too! I would just be happy being able to come by only once to check things out. Anything would be greatly appreciated :) I would love working with you!
Thank you so much Nadine and I hope to hear back from you soon! :)"
Interning At Sachiko Studio
At the time I had emailed her, it was a really busy season due to the holidays. We had a few back and forth communication, but she officially created a photo assistant position in January 2014. She sent me the job description and a few dates for me to join on, and my first shoot with her was on 1/11/14!
I would like to note that while I was working with Nadine, I wasn't paid. I knew that she didn't technically need me for any of her shoots, but she was teaching me everything about her photography process. I didn't even have a DSLR for my first shoot with her. She lent me her gear to try out, and was so generous about sharing all her knowledge with me.
The only time I was paid was when I became more professional in my skills and my own shoots. She had begun referring shoots she couldn't take to me, and I was her associate photographer during her maternity leave. I feel this is relevant to note since I never intended to be paid by her-- I simply wanted to learn more about photography!
Your Download + Announcement
I hope my story helps a little bit in getting started with finding a photo mentor. I'm so excited to share two things!
1. Download my 5 Steps To Finding A Photo Mentor Guide
This includes how to find a photo mentor, an email template to reach out, how to make the most out of your mentoring session, and actionable steps to reach out! If you download this guide, you'll also receive specials on the next exciting announcement.
Click here to download your guide!
2. I'm launching mentoring sessions!
After being asked questions by so many photographers, I've decided to finally launch official mentoring sessions. These are exclusive one-on-one sessions where you can work with me on any aspect that you want to learn about including settings, finding the best location, posing, business, etc. For those of you who aren't from LA, I'm also offering virtual Q&A Skype sessions as well.
I can't wait to meet and work with some of you guys :)
Click here to learn more!