I have to be honest, I’m always amazed when I hear from someone saying they asked another photographer a question and they didn’t answer them.
We all know it isn’t the camera or the gear that makes the photographer so why are we terrified to share what gear or editing software we use?
I’m not talking about asking someone to mentor you for free, just a simple, what type of camera do you have? Or What lens is that?
Why do we feel like this is top secret information?
I’m not saying you have to share every piece of information you have learned. Learning photography is hard work. I know how much time and money goes into figuring out this art and become confident in your work.
The next time someone contacts you to help them out, you have a couple of options.
- No.01Answer the basics.
If they are curious about your gear, tell them. Even if they do go out and buy the exact same camera and lens you have, it doesn’t mean they will be able to photograph a moment the way you can. It doesn’t mean they will edit the image like you and it doesn’t mean they will become just like you. Everyone has their own way of seeing a scene before they capture it.
- No.02Point them in the right direction.
If someone asks you to share all your secrets and you don’t want to, tell them where to look. Send them to my site (thanks) or to Clickin’ Moms. Say something like, “Thanks so much for the compliment of my work. I’m flattered. I have spent the last ____ years learning all I can about photography. If you are serious about learning more you should check out _________ (insert photography website, book, or class here). If you can share a workshop or class you have taken, I’m sure they would really appreciate that. Then it’s up to them to do all the leg work. Don’t forget, I’ll be offering an online workshop in the Spring.
- No.03Offer to mentor.
You may have a passion for teaching and sharing your knowledge. Awesome. You can offer to mentor them either for free or for a fee. That is completely up to you. I have taught countless friends how to shoot on manual mode. It is fun for me and I love watching them grow into amazing photographers and am honored to have been a part of that journey. Like I said, you don’t have to share everything for free. Consider creating a mentoring rate. Then if someone contacts you to be mentored you are ready and can say “Sure, this is my rate.” This is especially helpful if you are business and the person contacting you would also like to go into business in the same town. In fact, many photographers won’t mentor people in the same town. I get that. In that case, I would stick with tip #2 and point them in the right direction.
I don’t think photography has to be this huge secret. I don’t understand why we are terrified to share the basic knowledge that is out there.
We all started somewhere.
We all picked up a camera and had no idea what aperture, ISO, and shutter speed was.
I was blessed with a friend to hold my hand and help me. Were you? If so, pay it forward.
If you weren’t blessed with someone to help then let’s stop that cycle and pay it forward.