Lava Light Lessons #27…Get A Coach or Mentor

You will never reach your full potential without a coach or mentor who can not only help you, but then will tell you the absolute truth about your progress. CJ and Nick played that roll for Linda and I when we first started. I felt that each day spent with them on photography advanced my skill set by months. I found I could read books, go to classes, attend workshops or take lessons online from online gurus or by finding stuff on YouTube…all helpful. However, to have CJ or Nick next to me as I struggled with my camera in the dark under challenging circumstances like lava flowing all around me…that direct one-on-one help was gold.

Today, of course Linda and I are still learning, but we have mastered most of what we need to know. What we still need is someone to tell us the absolute truth about the images we produce. That roll still falls to CJ. CJ is matter of fact about it…doesn’t do a damn thing to spare our feelings…he just tells us the truth. It has made a huge difference in our photography and has caused us to cry only a few times.

Many of CJ’s comments fall into the positive category…and we are glad to get them. He might say “Epic” or “Gallery shot” or “Love it”. We are always happy to hear those because we know he means it.

The ones that help us build to and maintain a high standard don’t sound so positive. They might sound like…

“Over saturated”

“Soft focus” which means it is slightly out of focus

“Try bringing up the shadows and let me look at it again”

“What ISO did you shoot that with…looks like a lot of noise”

“Why do you have so much dead space on the left side of the photo?”

“Looks like you forgot to clean up some sensor dust spots that I see in the sky”….his eyes are much better than ours but he is also much more disciplined about magnifying an image and going over every square inch looking for imperfections.

“Too blue…the ocean is not really that blue.”

“Should have used a filter to balance the sky with the foreground”

“Why is that branch poking in on the right side of the photo…either crop it out or include the whole tree.”

“Looks like a big crop…and I doubt that what is left is big enough to print.”

“Nice shot…too bad the sky is so white…go back and shoot that again on a day with a proper sky.”

Or the always dreaded “Nope” or “Deleter”

Neither Linda nor I run our social media photos by CJ so you may see some flawed photos make their way out to Facebook or Instagram…but you will never see a flawed photo of ours make its’ way on to the gallery walls…because CJ looks those over carefully before we have them printed.

Who is your CJ?

Get a coach and mentor and listen to them. They will help you get to be the best that you can be. Thanks CJ and thanks Nick…we appreciate the coaching and the feedback.


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