Mentoring.

I’m going to be totally honest with you…this post is a scary one for me. As I have grown my business, I have tried to take an organic, easy-going approach to new clients and promoting myself. I felt that I was still learning (still am and will always be!!!) and didn’t want to seem ridiculous by drawing lots of attention to my work or the fact that I did this as a professional service. I never wanted to ruffle feathers, tread on the toes of other photographers, etc.. Plus, there are soooo many other photographers out there with loads more experience than I, what could I possibly have to offer?! However, I realize now looking back, that I was AFRAID. I was afraid of what others would think of me and most importantly, my work. This creative process has been a very personal one for me and to even begin sharing it with the world was terrifying. How would it be received?! Would others think I was ridiculous or mock my style or way of shooting?! Was my editing horrid? This big huge world or professional photography was so intimidating and I have lost many hours of sleep worrying and feeling inadequate. As time goes by, I have become more relaxed. (Don’t get me wrong, I still have a tendency to over-analyze and compare myself to others wayyyy too often!!! I think this will always be a battle and conscious choice to veer away from.) I feel that my images reflect me and my unique style, while still being open to growing and evolving. I am sure that to others, my technical style isn’t perfect, that my editing could use some tweaking and that my constant use of smiley faces and “xo’s” can be silly. However, I am confident in saying that this is who I am and the clients that I have worked with have chosen me are a perfect fit. I am not afraid to be myself around them and they receive images that reflect the style they sought out in the first place. PLEASE don’t take this as bragging, I am just excited to share how I have mentally grown over the past few years as well as what I attribute to the success of the business itself!

So what does this have to do with the title of this post, you ask? Because I want to start giving back. For me, photography began with photos of my children. I had no “formal” training and sought information anywhere I could find it. A few very wonderful photographers that went before me in experience, knowledge and time served as a base for my photography “education”. One quote I discovered recently really pushed me over the edge to decide to reach out to you all,

“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

– James Keller

These photographers I followed (still do and still strive to emulate!) helped develop me, my business, my love for photography! They didn’t worry about giving away their “secrets” or if others wanted to be just like them. They knew that their creative process will always be their own and that while others may strive to have similar work, those same people will most likely discover their own creativity and style in the process. (Don’t get me wrong. I never feel it is ok to blatantly copy someone’s exact image, use other’s pictures as their own, etc.! :)) It is because of others kindness and encouragement that I find myself here today. I don’t know it all, and still have lots to learn (don’t we all?!). However, I have recently felt a pull to help and encourage others in this field. Whether it be for developing a business, taking better pictures of their children, or just learning how to use their camera in the first place…I want to help!

This past fall, I spent a wonderful few hours with a sweet friend and fellow photographer, Rebekah Hoyt. It was this time together, learning and hearing about her photography journey, that I began to truly embrace my style and the business I created. Most importantly, my time with her was a turning point. A BIG one. I felt empowered, excited and ready to share with my clients and others. This is how I want other photographers feel. There should be no shame, no being scared of what others think, no judgement. We are all part of a wonderful, creative, community that brings beauty to the world. 

That being said…here goes…I am now available for mentoring sessions! This time together will be tailored to covering exactly what you wish and what will benefit you the most. They are to be relaxed and information rich. I am living just west of Baltimore, MD and the sessions will be held in my home. However, I am available for Skype sessions and am happy to discuss traveling as well. To learn more, just shoot me an email at: mary@maryneumannphotography.com and we will chat!!!

Headshots-7961

Photo credit, the amazing Rebekah Hoyt!

Thanks for reading!! The encouragement I get from all of you is what nudged me to take this plunge in the first place, and I am so grateful. Let’s light some more candles!! :)

xoxo,

Mary

17 thoughts on “Mentoring.

  1. Mary, this brought such a big smile to my face! I am SO proud of you and so very excited for you! Meeting with you was one of the highlights of my year and I am so excited to see God tugging on your heart to serve others. You have so much to offer and I know anyone you meet with will be encouraged :)

  2. Mary, this brought such a big smile to my face! I am SO proud of you and so very excited for you! Meeting with you was one of the highlights of my year and I am so excited to see God tugging on your heart to serve others. You have so much to offer and I know anyone you meet with will be encouraged :)

  3. Mary, I applaud you on many levels. I totally get the mental wrestling you detail here. I feel similarly about writing, though I don’t know I have covered as much ‘ground’ as you have in your progress. I am still a bit too afraid to consider myself ‘legitimate” in any way or to seek after influence; the thought of the latter actually had me in tears this week. what a mess I am. ha! :) I love your smily faces and “XO’s”, and I love seeing you step out confidently. I know I am the only one holding myself back. And, I am seeking to overcome that one written word at a time. I just don’t find the time to formally write very often.
    Hope these mentoring sessions go well for you. There are always those steps ahead of us but also behind us in skill, knowledge and maturity. You are going to be a blessing to others, I am sure. ;)

    • Oh, Briana I hope you know what an inspiration you are to me!!! Your writing is so profound and meaningful…I feel as if I devoured a lovely novel reading one of your thoughtful paragraphs!!! Thanks so much for your sweet encouragement, it means so much!!! xoxo

  4. Well, Mary, I can honestly say that I have negative interest in photography for myself. But, I have enjoyed your photographs immensely! I don’t know anything about photography, but I do know that you are solidly encouraging and positive to others even in their most despairing times. You enjoy loving others thoroughly and helping them to know the unending, extensive love of God. Your desire is for everyone to know God and the resulting peace, hope, joy even in awful trials, and so much more. I am sure your mentoring will be buckets full of affirmation, honest but gentle teaching, carefully calculated timing for presenting your critiques and suggestions, and love for the person you are mentoring. I know you do not desire fame but rather caring relationships. I pray that you are able to enjoy seeing others lifted up in their own insecurities and that you will also be challenged to seek God’s direction more for each client. :) I love and miss you, dear! And, while I wouldn’t mind pointers on how to use my iphone camera better, I would prefer your photography skills so much more! haha! You would laugh at me! I am from the middle-ages of photography…and unashamed! haha! Love you! Anya

    • ANYA!!! How I miss you, friend!!! Your words made me cry, and I am so grateful for you. Thinking of you all often and will have to plan a visit up there soon!!! xoxo

  5. Wow!!! Where has the time gone? To the college student they came and sat my chair to get her haircut and color for the first time years ago …to her coming to my salon to get her nails done for that special night of getting engaged …to seeing you get married,buy a house, have your first child ,the beginning of seeing your pictures online to now seeing that you have a second child. Mary I can say that I have seen you grow and I’ve seen your pictures frequently online and see how much you’ve grown in your work and very proud of you paying it forward and help mentor other photographers.Many more successful years to you!📷😃

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