Mentoring for Photographers

I’ve been in the photography business for over 10 years now.  In that time, I’ve learned so much about myself, about my business, and about photography.  I’ve had some of the most amazing mentors along the way.  My first influence as a photographer was Annie Liebovitz.  Of course, I never studied under or with Annie, but I read anything she writes and I have all of her books and follow her new work as much as I can.  I was lucky enough to meet her last year.  She’s an amazing role model.  But I only admire her from a distance and take visual lessons from what I see and read.

In 2006, I met Rob Heyman, Triple Master Photographer from Brisbane, Australia.  He was in the US and a friend arranged a workshop for me and a few others.  It was in that week that I knew I wanted to pursue photography full time.  In that class, I met one of my very best friends, George Dean.  George has become a wildly successful studio owner and educator and we have remained close, sharing ideas and talking business almost daily.  I’ve also been mentored by and studied under Jerry Ghionis, Michelle Parsley, Richard Sturdevant, and Larry Hershberger to name a few.  I take something from each of those mentorships and apply them in my own way to my studio.  I’m better for having those relationships, and I truly appreciate what they have given to our industry.

I’ve decided it is time for me to start to give back and begin to share the knowledge I have with others.  When I bought my studio in 2009, we were in the worst economic place anyone alive had seen in our country.  Businesses were failing left and right, the banking and real estate industries were collapsing and discretionary income was being pulled back significantly.  Even with that, I was able to take my studio from an all time low in revenue for the history of the company, and double sales within one year.  I’ve since done over $4 million in total sales.

If you are looking for someone to help you in your business, and you can appreciate the art and science of running a full-time portrait studio, I’d love to help you.  Here is a list of the types of photography I have significant experience with.  If you’re looking for advice in any of these areas, I’d be happy to speak with you about the best way to help improve your photography business.

My Photography Experience

  • Wedding Photography (all aspects – wedding day, bridal, engagement portraits)
  • Sports Photography (Action, Team, Individual, Banners, Composites as related to volume sports)
  • School Photography (all aspects of volume photography in schools)
  • Events (on-site printing, golf tournaments, large groups, corporate)
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • Senior Portraits
  • Family Portraits
  • Seasonal children’s themes (Santa information is not part of our mentor program.  If you are interested in becoming a licensed Storybook Santa Experience studio, just ask)

Specific aspects of photography we can cover

  • Posing (couples, seniors, families, etc)
  • Studio Lighting
  • Portable Off-Camera Flash (for portraits, weddings, events and more)
  • Available (ambient, natural) light techniques
  • How to “read the light” for any situation
  • How to choose the right location for a portrait
  • Tricks on how to turn the ordinary into something you can sell
  • Lens choices for any situation
  • Equipment, anything technical related to your camera or equipment to carry
  • Set design and props
  • Background choice and color harmony

Specific aspects of business we can cover

  • Sales (anything related to the sales room)
  • Pricing (all aspects of pricing, price lists, menus, from school to senior to wedding)
  • Marketing (from digital marketing, social media, to networking and good old fashioned hand shaking)
  • Your Website (site design review, SEO checkup and blogging)

Photoshop,  Lightroom  and Digital Editing

I am NOT a photoshop GURU, but I know what works in a portrait and wedding business.  If you would consider yourself beginner to intermediate level at Lightroom or Photoshop, I can help you.

Lightroom Topics (there are millions, these are just the ones I use daily)

  • RAW Conversion
  • Color correction
  • Exposure adjustments
  • Printing
  • Custom settings and profiles
  • Presets
  • Exporting for social media
  • Synchronizing with a network

Photoshop Topics (there are millions, these are just the ones I use daily)

  • Retouching (which tools are best, fastest)
  • Layers and Masking (how, what and why)
  • History Brush (to replace dodge and burn)
  • Custom brushes
  • Creating Actions to save time
  • Topaz Adjust 5
  • Topaz Impression 2
  • Alien Skin (I’m learning this one, too)
  • Portraiture

Pricing

Mentor sessions done at my studio are $750 for the first day and $500 for any additional days.  A daily session runs from 9am to 5pm and I buy your lunch.  Mentor sessions are one-on-one.  You may bring a studio partner or spouse, but your studio is the only one here for the day.  These are not group workshops.  I prefer to hold sessions on Monday-Tuesday blocks, but you may book up to three days consecutively.  After that your brain will turn to mush anyway.  After your session, I include one free follow up phone meeting where we can see what you have implemented.  If you’d like to schedule additional phone mentoring sessions following your initial visit, those can be scheduled for $150 per hour.

If you would like me to come to your location and mentor you, I’m happy to do so.  A 2 day session at your location is $1950, and you may add a 3rd day for $750.  To save money, I will usually drive to you if you are within a 5 hour radius from Midlothian.  Outside of 5 hours, I prefer to fly in.  It can be invaluable to have someone come to your location, work on lighting an posing in your space, or visit locations you frequent and get a new perspective.

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