So I found out recently that one of my photography mentors (of over 5years) has made an income of about N200 million from photography in the past 7 years. Even without knowing how much he earns, I had been fascinated with his achievements over the years.
I’ve learnt so much from him that would have costed me catastrophically if I had to make the mistakes myself without his guidance. More importantly, I’ve learnt that he has more weaknesses that aren’t palatable to me. Infact, despite my knowledge of his weaknesses, I made sure that there was an open channel of communication between us wherein he could still help out when I needed him.
Many people fail to realize that the mentor or person they admire has emotional and physical needs. A lot of people would rather be quick to get as much as they can from a mentor without giving something of value in exchange. I learnt this principle from my pastor years ago and decided to go with peace offerings on my first meeting with him: 5 high value photography books most of which were authored by his foreign mentors.
Apparently no one had ever given him books like that as a gift. I realized his time and knowledge were valuable and didn’t want to come across as ungrateful. The next time I called him, he had stored my name on his phone and just blurted out “Seun, how you dey?”. I was surprised but then again I wasn’t surprised. I had touched his heart and he was unconsciously bent on making sure he attends to my case whenever it showed up in his court of law. I recently updated my “account” with him by blessing him with a N100k photography printer.
Its a spiritual principle that many are not conscious of. Although, I can’t boast of having earned that much income in my years of photography, I was honored to have been considered a potential ambassadorial candidate by an international photography equipment company last year. Guess who my competitor was: my mentor. I would eventually not get the multi-million naira deal but I was appreciative of the fact that a world-class brand would consider me for such a deal. It gave me more courage to know that though my bank statement could not boast of N3 million, my N300 million retirement income was more feasible than I thought; as long as I have mentors like the N200 million photographer.
Some photographers miss it when they compare only the pictures that are being taken by other photographers. What they fail to analyze is how some photographers relate better with people to the extent that clients will pay premium price for their services.
The lesson to get from this is for us to be conscious of deliberating choosing the right mentors that will challenge us (and perhaps also quicken our steps) on our journey in life. Show me your mentors, and I’ll have an idea how you’ll turn out in 5-10 years time. I have over 20 mentors in photography because I’m conscious of where I’m going in the industry. But perhaps the bigger lesson to learn is to be conscious of being a blessing to the life of whoever you consider to be a mentor, coach or friend. That way, you’re likely to stand out in their mind whenever you contact them for help.
There are presently a number of protégés that I have that I’ll go the extra mile to help them out because of the simultaneous investment they’ve made in my life. One gave me an apple (the fruit not the computer/phone) gift yesterday and it touched my heart to know she was concerned about my health (since an apple a day keeps the doctor away…or something like that). Another got me a small book. One recently took me to the movies to watch the latest Transformers at Silverbird Cinemas. Its not until you buy me that 2014 BMW 540i that’s in your heart before you touch my heart….the 2012 model will do just fine. 🙂
This is one of those writeups that I’m not sure how to end. However, whatever you do, be deliberate about the types of photography friends and mentors you surround yourself with. They’ll either make or mar your destiny. As for me, I’m grateful to God for bringing across my way the N200 million photographer as a mentor. Enough said.
Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness