Here at The Fort, we love to be creative, but we know that can only take us so far. We must be just as strong in our business knowledge. We want to share as much about the business processes that photographers go through when they decide to branch out with a part of their business.
Today’s topic of discussion is mentorships. We recently came in contact with Jackie from Photography by Jackie Jean. Over the years, she has honed her Photoshop editing skills and has decided to share her techniques with other photographers. There is a lot of research, development, testing, preparation, not to mention stress that goes into offering educational services. We wanted to interview Jackie to learn more about what she did to get to this point.
Hi, my name is Jackie Jean. I am a lover of all things photography and music related and when coffee is thrown into the mix, I am in a bit of heaven!
I grew up a total tom boy being the only girl in my family so it only figures that I now have four boys of my own whom I adore along with my awesome husband. We all love camping, traveling, and just hanging out.
I began my photography journey when I was in high school. I would spend countless hours in the darkroom and I never went anywhere without my camera. It was a few years after getting married and having my first two boys that my husband pushed me to start my business. I am so grateful he did too! I am now in my 8th year of business and can’t imagine doing anything else!
1. What inspired you to start offering mentorships?
Oh gosh, I think back when Myspace was cool and I had a couple photographers ask if I would do workshops or teach. At the time, I just didn’t feel ready but that stayed in the back of mind until really this past year. I spent a few months working on a post processing guide that I could use along with my mentorships and then began opening up spots to mentor a couple months ago.
2. What steps did you take to get to a point that you felt you were ready to teach others?
While I LOVE to encourage others in their passion, I didn’t feel I was ready to teach until I mastered consistency with the quality of my work as well as really feeling solid and having a firm grasp in the business aspects of it too. I also offered my time and began to invest in people to see if that is something I could do in the future.
3. Who in the photography industry do you admire the most and why?
There are a TON of photographers that I admire so it would be hard to name all of them. I will say that Erin Drallos with Footprints Photography really made an impression on me when I started out 8 years ago. Her work with kids is so natural as well as she began the non-profit ACPCG which gives back to families with children who range from having cancer to babies born premature. She also has the business side of things down and being an “artist”, that is an area that was a weakness of mine when I started out.
4. Where do you see yourself/business in 5 years?
I see myself running my photography business successfully from the ground up as we just relocated a few weeks ago across the country. (This will be my third time to start over in a new state!) I also hope to be mentoring more online as well as incorporating video tutorials of my shoots. I am currently working on an e-book and hopefully in the future will write a photographic documentary. I like projects so I am always thinking ahead of the next thing to do!
5. If you could change a business mistake you made in the past, what would it be and why?
Not having boundaries in the beginning and not really valuing my time and worth. It was the moment where I became confident in who I was and really believed in the work I produced, that I started to get the business I wanted. That goes for both aspects of what I do now, my photography and mentorships.
6. What advice would you give to a photographer looking to start his/her own mentorships?
Make sure that you are solid and consistent in what you are wanting to teach. Not only do you have to know your stuff but you have to be able to communicate and direct well. Knowing what you are doing and conveying for another person to understand is a whole other level. It requires knowledge, good communication, and organization.
7. What advice would you give a photographer who is looking to find a mentor?
Make sure to ask questions and do research. How long have they been in business? How consistent is their work? Do they have good reviews?
8. Do you have any criteria that is a must when you attend a workshop or invest in a mentor?
Really know what you are wanting to learn prior and make sure that mentorship and/or workshop covers it. There are a lot out there that offer different things. I think having a program that specializes in one thing is probably better than a million different things. Also, like mentioned above, good reviews, consistent work, etc.
More about Jackie’s One-on-One Photoshop Mentoring:
I offer 4-week & 6-week courses (two days a week/1hr per day) via Skype where we go over how I process my images in Photoshop CS and up. While I do cover light business and critiques, the main focus is post processing & workflow. This covers basic “clean editing”, bold & dramatic colors, a variety of vintage looks, and stellar black and whites. I also include Reveal, which is a post processing guide that includes an overview of Color, Vintage, & BW as well as over 30 step by step tutorials. My goal is to have each person I mentor really grow in their knowledge of post processing as well as develop their own unique style.
Bonus Time . . . Jackie has offered The Fort readers a very special discount!