The other month I was surprised to receive a message via Facebook from a high school student up in Napa. I have been shooting Senior Portrait sessions up in that area so I guess I have been getting some exposure up there. In any case the message basically stated that they were going to be a senior this year and as such needed to do a Senior Project. Also that they thought I was a great photographer, and being that they were interested in photography, I might consider mentoring her for her Senior Project. I was flattered and a bit surprised that I was being asked to mentor someone. We had some discussions about what all of this would entail since (1) I had never formally mentored someone like this before, (2) I am so busy already I did not know how much time I would be able to devote, (3) along with number 2 if I were going to do this I wanted to make sure I did a good job of it, and (4) again, I had never formally mentored someone in photography before.
In any case we discussed it a bit and also had a meeting her and her Mom over lunch. We all seemed to hit it off, so we decided that we would give it a go. I have to still get a better feel for where she is in her development but from what I have seen I think she has good creativity and decent eye for composure, so we will try and develop that more as we go. But where I think we will be spending more time is helping her to know how to handle the technical aspects of her camera and lighting. I am sad at how many photographers these days have very limited interest and work ethic to learn the technical part of photography. Sadly many “Pros” these days just get a nice camera and think that makes them professional. The run out and shoot pictures while half the time not really knowing what they are really doing. It is so important to know the technical aspects of photography as well as the creative ones. Not just so you can get a good exposure and see what you are taking a picture of but really by knowing how things work it will open up a whole world of possibilities on how one can create and bring into reality the vision they have in their head.
So meet my mentee Madi. I have high hopes for her and look forward to seeing how she will grow in this coming year.