Five ways a mentor can improve your career prospects
Your basic photographic education is complete. You feel you’ve reached a satisfactory level of understanding and expertise and have determined that you want to make your photography your professional passion. Great! This can be extremely exciting, but also slightly overwhelming – how do you start, who can you contact, and what exactly should you be doing?
At this stage, the next steps to your creative career may not be perfectly clear. Perhaps you still have unanswered questions, lack confidence, feel that inexperience will stop you before you begin. Fear not, a good mentor can help in five important ways.
Photography is a medium utilised across a multitude of fields. From Architecture to Portraits, Fashion to Photojournalism, each industry operates differently. Determining the most suitable industry for your practice and passion can be challenging. Who would best appreciate my talents? Am I suited to the fields I would like to work in? There are many, many questions that need to be addressed and the first thing a good mentor will do is provide guidance to the direction (or directions) your professional career can take.
Once you have a clear direction, the next step is a planned structure to develop your portfolio, enhance your profile, and begin your search for work and advancement. Thus, implement a clear, achievable career plan-of-action. A mentor can provide insights into your chosen industr’s needs, gaps in your skills and provide ways in which build on your current experience and networks.
The photographic landscape is always changing, adapting to new technology, and digital culture, and a good photographer is always learning. This requires constant refinement; photographic methodology, technical expertise, portfolio, and business acumen. This task never ends, but a mentorship will provide constructive criticism at this most important stage.
Everyone has unique talents and a good mentor will enhance those while determining and strengthening your weaknesses. Mentoring provides an uncompromised learning environment driven by the mentee’s desire to be challenged and excel. Tests should be implemented and carried out to exercise one’s confidence – you should have confidence to knock on any door, or take on any opportunity that presents itself.
Starting out in a new field is tough and it is important to get out there and meet people who will not only inspire you, but can also help you along the way. A mentor provides an established platform to begin the never-ending task of networking and meeting the people who matter in the professional directions you take.
Richard Glover is a photographer and educator based in Sydney and London. His initial training in graphic design led to a career in advertising before switching to photography and a practice touching on many genres including portraiture, studio, landscape, and photojournalism. He now specialises in architectural photography for leading architects, designers, corporations, and publishers.
His exhibiting photography practice explores the transitionary nature of the built environment and is held in collections including the Royal Institute of British Architects, Tate Modern, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Artbank Australia.
As a teacher. Glover has lectured and tutored at colleges and institutions in the UK and Australia. This includes undergraduate and Masters level courses as well as specialist workshops for aspiring professional photographers. He currently teaches at the ACP and University of Technology Sydney.
Glover completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW and is currently undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, Teaching & Learning at UTS.