Chose Your Photographic Mentors Carefully!

When I learned photography, most student photographers turned to professors, working professional photographers that were successful, and/or books and educational materials written or prepared by successful professional photographers.  This goes along the lines of “practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect”.  You can’t aspire to be truly great learning from mentors who are not.

I never realized how vital this step in learning photography was until I went to the park one Sunday afternoon.  I think there were more people there taking photographs than just enjoying the park.  I had nothing better to do than watch these “photographers” work.  Most of these photographers weren’t photographing clients or practicing, they were showing other photographers how they take photos.  These “teaching photographers” should not have been showing anyone how to do anything.  This one older man was showing three younger “students” how you use the sun at noon time as a main light source (you can’t do that just in case you didn’t know!).  Can you say raccoon eyes?

Everyone has to learn and start somewhere, but you must realize the path to “No-Where” starts by learning from people who don’t know what they are doing or only slightly more than you.  Never learn or take advice from anyone who isn’t where you want to be.  If you only want to be slightly better than you are now, learn from those people.  You want to be a professional photographer that makes a great income in photography, learn from those photographers that are where you want to be.

Each year as our studios school season rolls around we always find the need to hire a few photographers to help with dances, schools events and assist in the studio.  Each year,  I interview so many photographers, some know nothing, some have so many bad habits from learning from other students (that don’t know what they are doing) and a few are well-trained photographers.  Honestly, I would rather hire the person that knows nothing and train them properly, than hire someone who has bad habits and practiced how to be a bad photographer.  The habits and skills you learn in the beginning set the foundation of your photographic knowledge and it is much easier to learn photography properly the first time,  from qualified instructors,  than undo bad habits and relearn photography.

The same is true for videos on YouTube.  Just because someone can make an instructional video and put it on YouTube, doesn’t mean they should.  Again I have seen many student photographers making videos to help other student photographers.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.  Chose the mentors you learn from as carefully as you would choose the photography college you would go to because bad habit die-hard!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on April 17, 2012.

One Response to “Chose Your Photographic Mentors Carefully!”

  1. Amen

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