How to choose your trainer and/or mentor

With an abundance of available  trainers and workshops at an all time high, how do you choose the right one for you? It's a huge investment for anyone who's running a small business so the decision of who will help you reach your goals and celebrate with you as you reach new heights in your business is a very important one. 

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Five important steps to remember when choosing a workshop provider or mentor.

1. Do you know who the trainer is?

I don’t mean do you know their name, I mean who ARE they. What do they stand for ? What is their vision? Their story or journey? Would you get along if you met in real life. Choosing some to help you move forward it so much more than just picking someone whose pictures you like. There is so much more to being an artist that the techniques used on the day of the shoot. Establish a rapport with the photographer. Follow them on Vero, Facebook or Instagram, to get a sense of who they are. If the offer discovery call then take the chance to chat for a few minutes on Skype.

2. When does the workshop end?

Total immersion is the best way to learn a skill and will make the most impact, getting you further faster but repetition is the mother of all skills. Once the workshop is over do you have a resource you can turn to help you sink the skills you’ve learnt in even further. Do you have a safe place that you can go for compassionate critique. Is your trainer or coach still there for you after the workshop is over or are you kicked out of the nest and expected to fly on day one?

3. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

In this instance don’t judge a workshop by one or two images. We’ve all created a masterpiece in amongst an average shoot. That one beautiful, poetic moment when everything came together. But be sure that your trainer has a full body of work behind them. If in doubt ask to see a complete gallery to get a feel for the bulk of their work. Not every shot has to be a showpiece but you should get a sense from their gallery that this was not a lucky moment but rather they have the skills and knowledge to offer a full service to their clients.

4. How do you learn best?

Ask your self how in the past you’ve learnt the most effectively. Maybe you learn best by doing - if thats the case you’ll want to ensure that the workshop you’re considering offers hands on practise and that there are not too many participants so that everyone will get a turn. You might even consider booking a 1:1 or 1:2 workshop so that you have ample opportunity to gain muscle memory through doing. If you’re more of a visual leaner make sure the workshop comes with a course workbook so that you can go over the techniques you’ve learnt once you’re home.

5. Do you truly plan on implementing what you learn?

I know that some people are serial workshop attendees and I salute them. They get a lot out of networking with other photographers and feel refreshed and inspired after each event. However if this is the case it might be a good idea to sign up for a peer to peer Elevation Platform, or create your pwn event where you come together with a small group of peers and inspire each other, show each other new skills and techniques and have no need to pay for an expert. If you decide to invest in training or mentoring make sure that you know what you want to come away with and are ready to take massive action which will earn you massive change.

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Diana Moschitz