I have spent the last five years cultivating my movement into fine art photography . I was well into my retirement and getting bored with golf when I discovered a point and shoot camera while traveling throughout Italy. Many know my story from previous blogs so I’ll get right to the issue “Why Mentoring May Be Right For You
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In the Beginning
Initially all my processing was via Aperture 3 and Nik Plugins. Both were user friendly and easy to learn. However something was missing. I knew that to get to the next level in black and white long exposure fine art photography I needed two things to happen: 1.) I desperately needed to learn Photoshop and 2.) attend a workshop. This approach would start my development providing me with the necessary tools required to photograph at a higher level. Soon after attending the workshop it was apparent to me that much more was required to get to the next level.
If there is any advice I can provide to a beginning photographer wanting to advance their craftsmanship, vision, and visual style then a mentorship program must be given serious consideration. I am an inpatient lad and I wanted an up close hands on learning exposure tailored to my deficits. From personal experience, a great mentor will provide support, guidance, patience, wisdom, and all the tools necessary to attain ones goals. This one to one approach from an award winning master photographer far exceeds any classroom curriculum or tutorials one may be considering.
Choosing a Mentor
The master mentorship program I experienced assessed my abilities and addressed my goals coupled with a very flexible syllabus. It was equally important to me to have the same master photographer who gave me guidance in the workshop also be my mentor so that when I decided to do the program a relationship with my mentor, Joel Tjintjelaar was already established.
A Brief Synopsis
I studied the master painters, how light and shadows behaves, and the founding influencing photographers of the twentieth century. What separates fine art photography from traditional photography was throughly examined. Moving forward Joel soon realized my greatest weakness was post processing using Photoshop. We both agreed that in depth guidance be undertaken for me to become skilled with Photoshop. Using this approach Joel shared all his techniques for processing black and white long exposure fine art creations. Joel’s attention to detail is uncompromising once you have established your vision for the image being created.
Time was also devoted to processing other genres in addition to black and white. Color fine art photography with a subtle softer feel to seascapes such as those presented by David Burdeny was also studied. Additionally another genre of my choosing, floral off camera macro photography was also incorporated. Time was also given to the nuances of competition. Now it is a matter of finding myself and developing my own visual style which is still a work in progress. During 2015 I entered my first competitions which resulted in eight awards and in 2016 I was awarded four Honorable Mentions in the prestigious IPA International Photography Awards. To that end I highly endorse mentoring if one’s goals are to take your photography to a higher level.