Hey guys! Valerie here. Summer and I are so excited you have decided to join us on this awesome journey! We have so many cool things planned... it's nuts! We can't wait to get started!
We've spent a lot of time talking about what we hope you all get out of this big crazy endeavor. Of course, our main goal is to help anyone with a passion for photography better their craft through fun workshops and shootouts. But, another HUGE goal for us, is that Golden Girls will become an excellent tool for photographers to build their network and, fingers crossed, make some awesome friends!
When I first decided to venture into the crazy world of photography, I jumped in on my own. Sure, I read blogs and browsed forums, but for the most part, I was flying solo.
I learned a lot by myself, but I still had a way to go. One day, while browsing Facebook, I came across a post on Summer Shea Photography's Facebook page. She was looking for someone to mentor. For free. Out of the kindness of her heart. Just because.
I was sure there had to be a catch. I mean, why would an obviously talented photographer just want to reach out to a newbie for no reason, other than camaraderie?
In my silly little head, I was under the impression that the business side of photography was a cutthroat place --- there was no room for making friends! Oh, man. How wrong I was!
Skeptical, I messaged Summer. We talked back and forth for a bit and then met up a coffee shop to talk photography. Of course, I asked her what her game plan was. (I like to cut to the chase.) She told me that she offered to mentor people, because it was a fun way to make friends with other photographers. For her, taking someone under her wing, showing them the ropes... it was all for fun.
Well, here we are. It's been a long while since that coffee shop meeting, and I can honestly say there was no catch. Summer and I are super good friends now. We hang out at least once a week. We talk every day. We geek out over gadgets and workshops and Golden Hour. We make our friends model for us just because.
And obviously, my photography has grown leaps and bounds. Like, seriously. Sending Summer that skeptical message was the best thing I could have ever done for my hobby and business.
When I started out, I was convinced I would never, ever, EVER shoot a wedding. (I thought for sure weddings were, like, waaaay pro. I would never be that good, right?) But here we are, I am now Summer's main second shooter and I've booked/shot a few weddings on my own!
It has been so nice having such a talented photographer for not only a friend, but for a mentor. Any time I have a question or I just want to cry about all of the gear on my wishlist, she's there for me! She's helped me understand the technical aspects of photography that always escaped me. And she's made me feel super confident in my skills, something I could never have given myself, if I was still sitting at home alone studying random blog posts.
And in the last year or so, I've made so many more awesome photog friends. It's been incredible. Every time I attend a workshop or join a new Facebook group, I am so jazzed to meet new people and build awesome relationships.
Having a good circle of support is super important in this industry... because sometimes it is cutthroat. Sometimes, other photographers are going to be snooty jerks who just don't want to share their locations or spend their time explaining technical mumbo jumbo to a newb.
But, dudes, don't worry. That is far from from the norm. I have a lot of photography friends these days, and let me tell you. They all rule.
It's so easy to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Sometimes you just need someone to help you keep things in perspective. You need someone who can give you constructive criticism, or give you a tip about the perfect spot for an engagement session... or even tell you that creative edit you're playing with, is straight up ugly.
If I had one piece of advice to give to a new photographer it would be this: Don't do it on your own. Get out there. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Just make some friends. You can learn something new from every person you meet.
Of course, just making photographer friends will not make you the world's best photographer... but, it will make you a better photographer than the one you are now. I firmly believe that.
In conclusion (and especially if you read the whole thing) thank you for being a friend!