Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Radvent day 20: mentoring



I am lucky in that I have several mentors in photography, though I've been unable to a) take all of their advice as fully as I intend to, and b) truly grill them all for the wealth of knowledge they are willing to share with me. In an industry that can be very cutthroat, I've met some truly wonderful people who are not only mentors, but true friends. In fact, I'd appreciate it if you went and visited them & checked out their work, because they deserve to be praised (and to get more work!): Karen (Karen Lisa Artistic Photography), Leah (The Life You Love Photography), Jeff (Jeff Spirer Photography) & Julie (Julie Schuchard Photography), thank you for being there for me, and for being so gosh darn inspiring & willing to share the little things that got you where you are today.

Karen & Leah are both professional photographers who don't have other jobs that help pay the bills. In other words, photography pays their bills. I want this so badly; I don't want to have to do photography on nights and weekends, and I want to understand how to get there. So far, though, my efforts at marketing have fallen mostly flat, and I get relatively little work. Word of mouth has proved ineffective for me so far. I know where part of my problem lies: in my hatred of business, and of thinking of my art as a business.

Business, to me, is a harsh mistress. It means that your friends don't want to pay for what you do and look elsewhere, where they can get it for free; it means people don't care as much about the quality of your work or the heart/soul you put into it -- they care about money. Business and emotion don't work well together. Business and personal feelings work even less well together. I have a lot of trouble with this.

I just feel kind of lost. Even though my husband has an MBA and owns his own business and can help me beyond belief with my business-side needs, I feel like I need another photographer to take me under their wing and show me exactly how they plan for their business, for their business goals, and how they make it work. Because right now? I don't have a clue. I need it spelled out. I need to see a working model & then use that as a base with which to move forward & create my own.

Or something. Truth be told, who knows what I really need? But that's a start, anyway. I've spent the last year thinking that I'm almost there. I need that little something that will push me over the edge into there.

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