with Courtney Slazinik
Tips to Find a Photography Mentor-Video Q&A

Finding a photography mentor can be a challenge. Many photographers are hesitant to share their knowledge with people in their local area who will become their competition. Today I’m sharing tips on how to reach out to photographers to inquire about a mentorship as well as how to find a photography mentor online.

I was fortunate when I started out that my friend, Megan Cieloha, lived close by and was starting out as well. I asked her thousands of questions and still do. Having someone either on your level or at a higher level than you in photography is key to your own growth as well as it’s fun to talk photography with people.

Today’s question:

My question has to do with finding a mentor. I’ve read all kinds of books, been to all kinds of classes but what I need is someone who is close by that I can go on shoots with and ask a tons of questions. Someone I can call and just talk photography with. I have two small kids so I don’t want travel across the country and take a bunch of expensive workshops if I can help it. It just sesem as if anyone who is local doesn’t want to mentor close by because of the whole competition thing.

How should I go about finding a mentor, paid or unpaid? Where should I look or who should I call? Emily Hughes

Clickin’ Moms CMU mentor page. In fact, our very own Melissa Gibson, one of our contributors, offers mentoring over at CMU.

Do you have a photography mentor? How did you find them?

  • February 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I love this, Courtney! Great job and lots of wonderful advice.

    • Courtney
      February 15, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Thanks! :)

  • February 13, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Super great video Courtney!

    • Courtney
      February 15, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Aww, thanks :)

  • February 14, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question , Courtney. You’re right. I just have to stick my neck out there and ask some people around the state if they can help me. And you’re right, I’m more than willing to pay for their hard earned knowledge. I love your videos and look forward to seeing more. Thanks again from your virtual-never-met-before- BFF :)

    • Courtney
      February 15, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Yay! So proud of you for reaching out!! Whoo hoo!! Keep me posted, VNMB BFF ;)

  • Ashlyn
    February 14, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Thank you SO much for this. I JUST emailed a photog about an hour and a half away who’s really good. I did tell her I was trying to start a business and asked if we could correspond because I had a LOT of questions… And if I could even observe her work. It was a lot to ask but my fingers are crossed :)

    • Courtney
      February 15, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      That is awesome you sent out an email! I hope you get a positive response :)

  • Tina
    February 15, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Another great way to connect with photographers is to join a local photography club where there are photographers of all levels! That’s what I did!

    • Courtney
      February 21, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      That’s a great idea!! Thanks!

  • February 16, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Being a part of Clickin’ Moms & going on the photo walk & joining in the 365 Facebook group through Clickin’ Moms have been great ways for me to connect with other photographers- more advanced/on the same level/less advanced than me. I’ve really enjoyed it! But, being able to ask a pro some “burning questions” might be very helpful! Thanks for linking to the Mentor program with CMU, I didn’t even know about that.

    Also, really off topic- but where is your office chair from? I love it!!! :)

    • Courtney
      February 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Completely agree! Finding a great group like that is key! Oh, the chair is from Japan :) Thanks!

  • Jen
    February 23, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    It seems like in the photography industry, “mentoring” has come to be synonymous with “private instruction” & I think women are sometimes missing the point of what real mentoring can be. You have to get out there, interact, and build sincere relationships with other photographers & mentoring relationships will develop organically, with mutual give & take. There’s nothing wrong with private tutoring, but it seems like people get irritated that they don’t get “mentoring” on demand on their own terms.

    I read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sanberg recently & she wrote something that resonated with me: “… searching for a mentor has become the professional equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming. … young women are told that if they can just find the right mentor, they will be pushed up the ladder and whisked away to the corner office to live happily ever after.”

    I think we all need to be careful not to use “mentoring”, or lack thereof for a crutch or excuse.

  • T. H. Young
    January 25, 2018 at 8:12 PM

    You pull this together in so many ways. Top marks! Now, the challenge of plunging in…

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