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Susan Stripling: Every Wedding Photographer Needs a Mentor

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
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susan stripling mentorship

Photo: Susan Stripling

Join Susan Stripling’s upcoming class, Wedding Photographer Survival Kit. RSVP now.

In a field as competitive as wedding photography, it might seem strange for an established expert to be willing to give away her insight. But mentoring others is actually a really important step for those who have already made it in an industry; not only does it make the teacher feel happier and more satisfied with their own career, it also furthers the field for everyone, and can even lead to quality collaborations down the line. And, if nothing else, it helps fill an educational gap that can’t be filled by traditional schooling.

“I think teaching is important because there really is no college that you can go to or course that you can complete in order to become a wedding photographer,” says award-winning photographer Susan Stripling . “Most of us fell into this as a career, and stumble through our first few years with little to no help or guidance.”

More and more, mentorship and hands-on, peer-to-peer teaching is being hailed a necessary element of success, particularly for creative entrepreneurs. Scion’s Motivate campaign, which gave away oodles of startup capital to young entrepreneurs — and also offered the winners multiple opportunities to learn from others in the field. Because more than just dollars, those entering a creative field also usually need a surplus of advice, motivation, and confidence.

“Aligning a team member with a mentor boosts motivation, confidence and engagement at work,” writes Marissa Brassfield for the Huffington Post, “Entrepreneurs have an abundance of possible mentors — the challenge is finding one for your team members.”

Luckily, we already did.

To help offer the kind of guidance most photographers never have access to, Susan is working with CreativeLive to create a one-of-a-kind group mentorship program, that offers students a hands-on, structured approach to growing their wedding photography business.

“I think this will really help photographers who need that guidance in an way that no other educational opportunity out there now can,” says Susan of the program.

The curriculum is precise and step-by-step; whether you’re just getting into wedding photography, or it’s your main job and you’re having trouble, Susan will be there to help.

“Month one will focus on business and marketing, month two will focus on shooting, and month three will be all about workflow and post-wedding customer service,” she explains.

The best part about mentorship, says Susan, is that it’s a conversation, rather than a lecture.

“Students can hope to learn quite a lot from this – and most importantly, receive help and feedback the entire time…Trying to write your business plan and getting stuck?  You can ask me questions the whole time and I’ll be helping you out.  If you do the work, you’ll get feedback on it.  I’m so excited about the possibilities.”

“I am so excited about this program because I love being able to actually reach out and help, one on one,” says Susan.

If you’d like to join Susan for her Group Mentorship Program, you can find more information here.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.