Today is Part II (see Part I) talking about the different stages of the photographer. So you are a Jane or Sally and you’re dying to meet Mary. So how might you improve your chances of making this happen?
1) Don’t be a closet fan. Leave comments on their blog posts, reply on Facebook threads and let her (or him) start to recognize your name.
2) Show Respect. If you truly appreciate Mary’s work, style and savvy business skills – you also must respect and value her time. None of us have enough of it and Mary is no exception. If you are hoping to reach out and mentor with a Mary, make it worth their while and acknowledge that they may just be too busy.
3) Don’t ask to be their competition. Asking a photographer to teach you all their secrets so that you can open up a shop down the street is never going to be a very wise plan for Mary to agree to… No matter how many compliments you add in. Try asking if you can assist or second at no charge (if your portfolio will make the grade).
4) Be ready to shell it out. Offer to pay her, heck offer to clean her house if you have to but understand that Mary is a busy girl, trying to keep a sensitive balance. Don’t think for one second that Mary owes you something because she’s made it, if anything it’s the exact opposite.
5) Be a true friend. Find things that you can do to help her and offer your services. i.e. “I noticed in today’s post you mentioned you were dying to find a great sushi restaurant… My husband and I love this place.”
6) Well thought out questions. If I had a dime for every time a question has come into my email box that could have been very easily answered with Google I’d be holding a Prada handbag by now. Don’t waste anyone’s time because you didn’t do your research. It won’t get you any points to suck up her very precious moments to work. Instead ask an intelligent question that shows thought into the process or her work.
I’m not going to make excuses for all of them, some photographers are just plain grouchy and unfortunately because a few have been burned, they feel justified. Other photographers are open and willing to share, never-ever-ever take advantage of that! And also realize that photographers are sharing all over the world wide web. We are in an industry that is saturated with workshops, seminars, blogs, websites…. So many incredible ways to learn and be inspired. And yes, I do realize that many of them require an investment and that can be hard, but I sincerely encourage you to budget for your education. Invest in getting yourself where you want to be and you’ll quickly find yourself moving out of the grid lock and onto the express.
To the Jane’s & Sally’s who might be reading this post. Take heart in knowing that we all took a turn as Jane or Sally. My best advise would be to continue to dream and dream big and than embrace who YOU are. DO you have a pen and paper? If not grab one!
Study your strengths and weaknesses and come up with ideas on how you can exploit your strengths and downplay your weaknesses (while at the same time – if necessary – building your weaknesses into strengths). And if you know that there are things that you have or are doing that are not your own ideas, make it right. You will feel so much more proud of yourself when you know you are the authentic genius behind the idea.