Over the last 15 weeks I have had the privilege of working under and being mentored by one of Nashville’s top wedding photographers, John Yates with Celladora Photography. John Yates is one of the most up beat, out going, and yet professional photographers that I have meet. John approaches each person with respect and ensures that he is the best fit for that bride and groom.
So what can one learn from a photographer with years in the field? Not only do you learn how to take that photo that is timeless captures that special moment in time, but you learn the more important role of dealing with people. If as photographer your doing more time talking about your work and your role in the wedding and all the awards that you have earned, odds are your going to run the bride right into the arms of another photographer. One of the most important skills is simply learning to listen to the request of the bride and groom. During one exercise John had an engaged couple some and pose. Every photographer had a chance to shoot the couple. At the end of the day, when all was said and done, no one person managed to get the photo that the couple really wanted. The reason is that we did not simply listen to what they wanted. Had we taken the time to ask and listen we would have had what they needed… Point proven!!!
To capture that winning shot, one must often create self-challenges when not shooting actual weddings. We took a bride out for a shoot to a park in Nashville near Shelby St. The challenge was to make the best use of our time on a shoot. We were tasked with a set time, in this case one minute, in which we could pose the bride and capture than moment. Through this exercise, the photographer learned to work under pressure and time constraints that he usually would not have to function under. To me this lesson showed that though life happens and people might be late to a shoot, you could still achieve the look and the image that the bride will cherish for a lifetime.
Over the past several weeks John has challenged this class, laugh with the class, took photos, and been a mentor. John asked us to write and share our best lessons, but there is not enough room to list them all. From learning business skills, to listening, to learning how to make a bride relax, John was always willing to share his knowledge. So for that, Thank You John for being willing to let us into your world, if even for a short time. Thank you for teaching while others would not and for being willing to laugh, critique, and mentor myself and others over the last several weeks.
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