Camera Club of Hendersonville
Mentor Program – “Learning That’s Fun”
- What’s exposure?
- How do I use photo editing correctly?
- What’s the correct photo equipment to meet my needs?
- What do ISO, white balance, aperture and other photography jargon mean?
- How do I take better photos of my family?
- What is flash photography all about?
- I hear a lot about HDR. What is that?
If you have questions like these then you’re in the right spot!
Our mentor program’s mission is “to improve the photography skills of its members”.
The approach we use depends upon the need of the member needing help. We can provide informal assistance or a more structured program. We can handle all skill levels from beginner to intermediate to the advanced photographer. Our mentors will provide instruction through sitting down with you as well as getting you some actual hands–on experience in the field.
Informal Mentoring – just let us know the specific question(s) you have and we’ll assign a mentor to answer them. This form of mentoring usually involves a short e-mail or phone call or perhaps a short meeting. The timeline is short in duration, i.e., ask a question and get an answer.
Structured Approach – this approach could be a bit longer term since there could be more instruction time needed. In our case, “structured” does not mean inflexible, i.e., going through a predetermined set of lessons. Rather each mentor has developed a “toolbox” of lessons for their area of expertise. This enables them to have already thought through what may be needed and develop the appropriate learning materials. After talking to you about your learning objective, the mentor will look into their educational toolbox and suggest a learning plan. Once agreed upon, you’re off to taking better photos!
We understand there are different levels of knowledge and skill. We want to help you take it to the next step as well as push you to even higher levels. Therefore, each approach discussed above can be geared toward your particular skill level. Our definitions of skill level and the educational needs are laid out below.
You have an interest in photography but don’t have a camera. You have or just got a new digital camera. You may be getting back to photography after a long time. You need to learn your camera’s basic operation and understanding how all those buttons and menus work. Topics for the beginner generally cover the following learning topics:
- Choosing the right camera to meet your photography objective.
- Selecting the appropriate lens.
- Selecting any other photography equipment that might be needed, e.g., camera bag, tripod, and filters.
- Learning about the key features of your camera, e.g., shutter speed, ISO, aperture.
- Learning about the different shooting modes outside of automatic, e.g., manual, aperture priority, and shutter priority.
- Learning how different apertures and shutter speed can dramatically impact your photos.
- Introduction to basic photo editing with Lightroom or Photoshop.
At this level, you know and are comfortable with the operation of your camera. In this level you want to start learning about the “art” of photography. Topics for the intermediate learner cover the following learning topics:
- Exposure techniques – how to consistently get good exposures under different light conditions, e.g., low light, bright light or back light. Understanding your camera’s histogram, metering, and focal points are also covered.
- Composition – “what is the subject of my photo?”, rule of thirds and when to break the rule, leading lines, patterns, and framing.
- Focus techniques – manual vs. automatic camera focus systems, depth of field considerations, stopping action, and panning.
- Using filters appropriately
- Digital post processing – filing and organizing your photos, more advanced techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop and other software packages, e.g., Nik filters.
At this level, you know how to use your photo equipment without thinking about it. You have a very solid understanding of post processing techniques. You are very comfortable with your niche of photography interest, e.g., landscapes. But you want to get into other photographic areas to broaden your skill level. Topics for the advanced learner cover the following learning topics:
- Flash (in the field and studio)
- Bird and wildlife
- Still life
- Time lapse
What To Expect From a Mentoring Relationship
Mentoring involves a relationship that approaches learning as a shared responsibility. The points that follow provide a high level description of the Mentee and Mentor responsibilities.
- Mentees have the primary responsibility for ensuring the mentor relationship is successful.
- Develop a clear understanding of your learning objective(s). Otherwise your mentor won’t know how to help you.
- Study your camera manual. You may not understand everything but you will increase your knowledge of your camera’s operation.
- Don’t expect your mentor to read your mind. State clear questions and follow-up if you don’t understand something.
- Don’t expect your mentor to just give you the answer all of the time. They may ask you something that will lead you to the answer.
- Mentees should expect to go to the location preferred by the mentor for their meetings.
- Take notes. Review them before any follow-up meetings. Complete any assignments given to you by your mentor. Respect the time your mentor is giving to you.
- Be able to take and accept constructive criticism from your mentor.
- To wind up with great photos you need to utilize the best light. You may have to get out of bed well before sunrise, travel to your photo destination and wait for that right moment! Likewise in the late afternoon or early evening your may have to reschedule dinner to allow you the freedom to photograph during that late after warm light or early evening blue light!
- For your area of expertise, take the time to develop a logical approach to passing on that knowledge to your mentees. Don’t handle these relationships using an off-the-cuff approach.
- Develop some reading materials or search the web for good tutorials you can share with your mentee.
- Prepare some homework assignments to allow your mentee to practice the material you taught.
- Develop in-the-field learning locations to practice your lesson(s).
- During the first meeting, take time to review the mentee’s learning objective(s) to ensure you understand them.
- Don’t be too quick to simply provide an answer to questions from you mentee. Develop questions for them to make them struggle a bit to find the answer. This will lead to improved learning.
- Show patience with your mentee. They’ve asked you for help. Try a different approach to get your point across. Ask another club member to help if needed. They may have a different approach.
- Provide honest feedback to help your mentee learn.
- Enjoy the success of mentee as their skill level improves due to your help.
- If you as a Mentor can do all of this, please fill out the Mentor Interest Form and snail mail it to the Mentoring Coordinator. If the Mentor has the ability, he/she can right click and copy, then paste and print, fill out by hand, scan and email the form back to the Coordinator.
- Mentee will complete Mentee(Learner) Form and snail-mail it to the Mentor Program Coordinator. A list of mentors is on the club’s website. If the Mentee has the ability, he/she can right click and copy, then paste and print, fill out by hand, scan and email the form back to the Coordinator.
- Coordinator will review the form and list of mentors to match the appropriate mentor(s) to work with the mentee.
- Coordinator will contact the mentor(s) to ensure they have the time and knowledge to help the mentee.
- Coordinator will provide mentor with the mentee’s contact information.
- Mentor will contact the mentee to arrange a mutually agreeable time and place to hold their mentoring session(s).
- Coordinator will follow-up with the mentor and mentee from time to time and at the conclusion of mentoring to gather feedback about the sessions. Lessons learned will be utilized to improve the mentor program.