Pittsburgh Photographer | Mentoring ! When, Why, & How to find one that fits .

Hey y’all !

So talking to a few friends in the community I noticed that some people are not sure when to get a mentor, why they need a mentor or how to find one.

So I am here to give my own “personal” view on it. I will start by saying I am NOT perfect ( GASP! I know ! ) LOL. I know I thought the same thing … JUST KIDDING !! 

It wasn’t long along that I submitted to Clickin moms & was turned down by 7 points 🙁 I was devastated ( like REALLY  devastated! )I reached out to the community & to a couple of my favorite photographers & said HELP ME PLEASE!  One that I admired was unable to assist this year , another was way out of my price range ( < < < which I will come back to this ). And another was not even in my state & the cost of traveling & the time (<<most importantly) were just not doable this year. 

I didn’t understand-I thought I knew what I was doing ? I thought I was good? I was published in Momazine magazine 4 times – didn’t that mean something ??? I was pretty sure I had a small community of photographers that admired me? I mean … isn’t that all you need ?

NO – this isn’t enough! (<<<<I will explain why shortly)

 After speaking to a couple good friends who talk me off me down from throwing my camera out the window while driving down a dirt windy road sunlit by the glow of the sun as it set on our side of earth & in my heart (<<< I am being a LITTLE dramatic ... I mean HEY it’s how I felt !)   … oh yea .. I was totally there! I was told 1. this was just “1” place that tried out for. This was just their opinion  of  my work. I mean …yes… However, to me THIS WAS THE PLACE – THIS IS THE PLACE I want to be a part of ( and I will !). It just wasn’t my time. Maybe the photos I selected weren’t my best or maybe I selected some that I shouldn’t have … However, despite all these thoughts & feelings it sounds so cliché … I had an aha moment. I realized that I do need to step back & reevaluate myself & work on things that I “thought” were good. I took my son out that week. I went to spot that I knew the sun casted a beautiful golden hour ( that is my favorite time a day. I feel like it’s the most magical)  & a spot that I thought my son would enjoy “sitting” at for a bit while I played with my camera.

I ended up with this (see below)

I was so excited ! When I posted it I had gotten so many nice compliments & a couple photographers I admired reached out to me & said some really nice things that made me feel relevant again. Than, it came to me. OF COURSE I still am learning. I hope to ALWAYS learn & grow & become better & better. Yes, I was sad. I will submit again & I hope you will follow me in that journey.

This photo became symbolic to me. When I looked at it I knew that all my wishes, positive vibes, praying & hard work were finally starting to matter & click.

I have since than. Met with Heather with weddings by heather who offers mentoring, workshops & training ( <<< some in which I still plan to take) . She help me design my website. ( which I LOVE) She mentored me in a few things about life, job & I have turned to her for advice on editing. Which if you do not follow her I really suggest it. She has a group on Facebook & can Skype or talk on the phone so you do not have to be local. Make sure to come back to this post & let me know how much you love her when you are all done with your mentoring …because you will 🙂 She is a jesus loving, beautiful soul & is so much fun. She even has a youtube channel – I mean … really! Check it out! She won’t disappoint.

I have also since than “soul shoot” ( I think I made that up ?) I go out & shoot with no purpose other than I love it & I am hoping to teach myself something new or practice something I just learned. Wow ! It has really taught me a lot. I am still not prefect ( SHOCKER I know! LOL! ) However, I have become comfortable enough to start to share my knowledge. Now, my knowledge as far as styling a session, how I plan for it, how I shoot, the lighting etc… Not business ( Go to Heather for that 🙂 or someone that is better at that stuff than me )

I am also very lucky to have 2 really great friends Lisa & Sarah that are local photographers that we are constantly helping each other. Bouncing ideas off one another, asking for CC (constructive criticism) . Having friends ( <<< I mean real friends) in the community is so important. So this actually leads me into the juice (<<< um you know the stuff that this post was meant to written for : Mentoring ! When, Why, & How to find one that fits .)

BE INVOLVED! Meet people, make friends  . Found out who is who in the community. How ? There are so many local groups in your area. You need to get on social media & ask around. Found groups that “fit you”. What is awesome for me …might not be your awesome. Go find your awesome! When ? NOW what are you waiting for -them to find you ? No, go find them. Go to meet ups once a month or as often as you can.  Reach out to photographers you follow. They might be involved in groups that they are willing to share with you.

Why? um, because this is how you will find people that are like you. Maybe, you will even find someone that will take you under their wing or is willing to help or lead you in the right direction.

Ok, so… it might cost you some money. Good! (<<< Yes ! GOOD I said) . INVEST IN YOURSELF! If you don’t invest in yourself. Who is going to invest in you ?

So remember I said one mentor was out of my price range. Well, I am saving up to take a mentor session with her. I might even actually hire her to take my family photos instead just to see her magic unfold with my own family. It might not happen tomorrow. It will happen though because I want it to & I honestly am not someone that gives up easy.

So why wasn’t it good enough that I was published, had followers & likes on my page. Because I didn’t believe in myself. I wasn’t shooting with a purpose & an end in sight. Now, I make sure to take my time. Make sure my lighting is on point, my composition. I have my highlights & blacks in my post processing… these things made a HUGE difference in my shooting.

So do I want you all to call me & hire me for mentoring. NO! I want you to find someone that you admire & love & feel that they can teach you what you need to learn. It might be me. It might be my best friend. It might be someone I don’t know. Whoever it is -reach out to them. Let them know you admire them. Ask if they offer mentoring services ( some do not).

Don’t wait ! Why wait ?

So because I am hyping up this mentoring thing so much … I am offering 50% the whole month of August! That is correct my pixie dust collection is 50% off. Contact me pamelasalaiphoto@gmail.com  for full details!

(*Mentoring must be held in 2016)

P.S. Just a reminder that the Fall into magic | Pittsburgh styled shootout  dates are released & details are coming soon ( PROMISE!)

Do you shoot newborns ? If so you might want to check out this limited exclusive   watch & learn * with an option to shoot . This is happening August 10th & 14th so don’t delay!



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