shooting, client experience, travel, all of it
rachel downey photography
Here’s the important part: the students who came to see me one-on-one got better grades and understood the material much more deeply than the students who never set foot in my office.
Some of them had recognized that they needed help and asked for it. Some of them were great students throughout the whole semester because they already knew that getting that one-on-one help early set them up for success.
Some of them definitely could have figured things out on their own, if they’d had more time, but the semester waits for no one. And neither does your market. Things keep moving along, and we don’t always have the luxury of learning at our own glacial pace.
What in the name of pants is a mentorship, and why am I so excited to be providing them?
Let's start at the top.
Back in graduate school, I worked as a teaching assistant for several semesters. This meant I spent an extra 20-30 hours a week kicking around the lab, tutoring, grading, teaching students how to run experiments and deal with forensic evidence.
It was difficult. There was a lot to manage, a lot of students to contend with at once, and the grading… oh my hell the grading. I enjoyed it though--so much so that I applied to more grad school so I could be a professor, but that’s a different story for a different time.
how and why
Now. Given that I was a laboratory TA, it's not difficult to deduce that I never went to school for photography. Or business. Or marketing. I had to figure out all of this shit on my own. Shooting, editing workflow, constructing a website, CRM, posing, client workflow, contracts, invoices, marketing, etc. etc. etc.
And I loved it, I really did. Still do--there is always more for me to learn.
But if we're talking about rapidly developing skills and growing a business (which we are; that's the whole point of this), "solo" isn't the smartest way to do it.
I should know: it's what I did. You can spend all day every day on the internet, trying to teach yourself everything there is to know. You can go down one rabbit hole after another on YouTube, drool over someone else's Instagram feed trying to figure out "how they do that," or suffer through another session where you freeze up and can't find the words to direct your couples.
Or. You can do what I wish I did sooner and find someone to help you. A real life person who can meet with you and answer your questions and take months or years off of your learning curve. I’ve taken some online courses and attended a workshop (which, don’t get me wrong, were still really freaking useful in their own way), but that can often be the equivalent of sitting in a class and not being allowed to talk to the professor. You’re left to your own devices, and the material presented isn’t always specific to you and your roadblocks/needs.
Enter the mentorship.
I'll hang out with you for a day answering your questions and letting you in on my process. We'll talk about everything, top to bottom; we'll shoot a real session with a real couple; and then we'll talk about the whole post-session process, all while addressing your specific concerns and goals.
That's just a taste.
I had the great privilege of taking part in a Mentor Session with Rachel and despite some technology blips (all on my end!) we had a really fruitful, inspiring and honest session. Rachel has such a strong identity, as a photographer, as a human, and as a woman and she inspired me to not only embrace who I am, but how to use my own strengths and passions to attract and repel the right clients for me!
Rachel spent our time providing me with tools that I began implementing right away and even better, she has become a friend that continues to guide me, inspire me, and offer the best advice. She has kept in contact and I know that she truly wants me to succeed!
If you are struggling to find your photography style, your voice or your ideal clients, Rachel can help you with all of that! She's such a great example of staying in your lane while using the best the business has to offer to strengthen your business and personal life!
I went to Rachel for a mentor session and as a young photographer this was the BEST investment I could have made.
She is awesome, knowledgeable, and so good with her clients. It was important that I find a mentor who put people and making connections first and she was spot on. She truly cares about her clients, getting to know them and making sure that they are confident and relaxed during the session.
I deiced to get a mentoring session with [Rachel] to see how other photographers are running their businesses.
She spent most of the day with me. We talked about the business side of things, software, and social media before we finally shot a couple’s session together.
I highly recommend mentoring with Rachel. You not only get a professional perspective but you also get to spend time with a great person who is passionate about what they do.