Mentoring system suggestion

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Overread, May 19, 2008.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    UPDATE this scheme is now (and has been for a while) running. You can find the bios of the mentors on offer here: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/beyond-basics/125099-official-mentors-bio-list.html

    Please note all on the list should be available to mentor, but some have reduced their forum surfing time. A private message should reach them without problems, but do be patient when waiting and give them a few days to respond.



    Been toying with this idea for a while now, and TPF looks to be a big enough community to try such an approach (other forums I am on for photographer are much much smaller).

    Basically this site has a good range of experienced photographers and also a large number of newer, less experienced photographers. At the moment we post up our shots and see what people say, but at times I think some are looking for more than just compliments as to their current skill and are looking for something more - those harsh words about the small errors and what to do next time. At the moment its a rather hit and miss system, mostly as the rate of new threads is fast so its possible for some peoples posts to get overlooked and dropped off the page - even with bumping.
    My suggestion then is a simple one - experienced members opt for being "mentors" to the inexperienced members - selected by the mentor (so you could watch one or one hundred members at once). As part of this the mentor would be expected (hoped) to comment fully on photos posted by the beginners and to advise to the best of their ability.

    Now some might say that they would prefer pms from members if they want specific crits on work, but I can say that - especially when you have not been here for a year- that many people feel that its rather rude to pm a person to pester them for comments.

    This is just an idea I have so I don't for one minute think that its got all the parts ironed out - but are there any here who think that this idea could work - specifically I am looking for support from the experienced site members as I think many beginners would jump at the chance for this but without support from the upper levels (as it were) this won't get of the ground
    So any thoughts anyone?

    SO far people interested in being mentors are;
    christopher walrath
    tirediron
    Alpha
    That One Guy
    amandakifer

    any more willing to partake in this - the more the we get the better this will be.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  2. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

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    The number of the mentors is going to be by far smaller than the number of students - either the mentors are going to get flooded with work, or there will be a selection process which will, for better or worse, discriminate users and mentors. Mentors would probably like to pick their students, and students would probably like to pick the mentors by field of interest (a beginner into fashion photography would probably prefer somebody with studio work experience over a landscape and wildlife professional). Not sure if such a system will bring the results to justify the effort needed to run it.
     
  3. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would like to right up front volunteer my time as an e-mentor for film beginners using color and/or black and white film in small and medium format. I have shot weddings (haven't we all) and portraiture on a limited basis. I have run the books for a small photography business. I am a firm believer in simpler is better but a lot needs to be learned in order to get to the point where you realize which simpler is better than the rest. I'm huge on creativity and vision and light on rules. I am heavy on the fundamentals of photography.

    Even without an official TPF program if any other photographers would like to ask me any questions, feel free to PM me or email me.




    EDIT: I would like to implore anyone reading this thread that might be willing to impart some wisdom on an up and learning photographer to please take part in this soon-to-be program. As mentioned above, the more mentors we have, the wider base of knowledge demands we can meet and the better this program will be. There has already been an overwhelming interest shown by prospective students and we will need all of the mentors we can get.
     
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Something like this will be very tough to pull off, almost as difficult to exicute efficiently as a dedicated crit forum. The Idea holds some merrit but it revolves too much on volenteers I feel.
     
  5. plentygood

    plentygood TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, it's a great idea in theory, but there's a lot of places it could go wrong as it is:

    1) Lack of effort/dedication by volunteers
    2) Possibly too much work for mentors to look over
    3) There's probably some new posters that nobody would want to "mentor", kind of like the last kid picked on the playground.

    I think the idea does hold merit though and it could be worth a try.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do I remember right that we already had this idea long time ago on this forum? Not sure.

    I can see some complications here, most of them related to the workload of the mentors. Most people cannot supply a constant amount of time to this forum, since they have to earn money, please their family, travel for work or vacation ... all in all, it will be hard to establish a mentor-system without generating frustrated novices who feel left alone since their mentor has no chance to react for weeks or months.
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Half the time the photos I see asking for C&C are snapshots and I don't feel they deserve a post from me...

    Plus I'm harsh. I don't want to make anyone cry.
     
  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think the idea is a good one, and it does have merit; certainly I would be willing to donate time to it. There would have to be a fairly detailed plan put in place, and people asking for mentorship should be asked to abide by some sort of "I won't cry if I'm told it's crap" agreement.
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think not harsh comments will be the problem, since people asking for mentoring want to learn and are prepared that the world is not all honey ;) ... but time management and workload for the mentors will be the huge problem.
     
  10. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just slingin' stuff around here for you all's consideration. Why not simply have a list of members/susbscriers here that would be willing to mentor and anyone interested in gleaning info from that photographer would simply contact them through, say, a PM and the mentor and the student could then set up what they want on their own terms. And I agree, a tutoring service based at TPF might be difficult to manage as there might not be enough mentors to handle particular demand at any given time. That's why I think the private one on one would well. Just have TPF post a list and let the participants take it from there.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I like that idea chris - less formal and it does let people know who good at what around the place and also sends and OK message to pms out.
    Though it might initially lack the student-mentor relationship which would be set-up by the initial suggestion it does let such a relationship develop under more relaxed conditions.
    However something like that could end up with some members (especially when they are the only one in a specific topic) being pmed to extreme levels - and most people don't like to leave pms unanswered so that could lead to an even greater workload. Though saying that the crits thread is not growing at a phenominal rate at the moment so it could be that there are fewer out there who are after serious photographical advice - which is not so say bad of them, its just not what they are after.
     
  12. dylj

    dylj TPF Noob!

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    I have an idea to narrow down the field of novices -- You only want dedicated learners right (Like me :) I'll get you coffee and kiss your feet)? You could have anyone interested in being mentored write a short (500 word) personal statement. A statement of intent. I think that would go a long way in eliminating people who aren't too serious. It would have the added bonus of letting the mentors know the novices better ...
     

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