central coast preschool & Daycare photography

Lifestyle Photography Mentoring by Elise Garner | a review

Recently one of my ‘Mentee’s’ (because student sounds too strange haha) Lauren of Lauren Casey Photography shared this wonderful blog post detailing her experience as a beginner photographer with a desire to move from posed to lifestyle newborn and family photography and how my 1-on-1 mentoring sessions helped her boost her confidence and overcome some roadblocks. You can see the original blog post here!

Thank you Lauren for sharing this honest story of your experience with my mentoring. You can find out more about mentoring sessions… just click here!


Att: Photographers – One on one mentoring with Le Coco Portraits by Elise

About 6 months ago, having worked in the industry for 2 years with posed newborns I was feeling a pull towards natural , in the moment, lifestyle photography. I was also at a crossroads suffering from a bit of low confidence and not enjoying the whole process of a photo shoot. Not for any real reason, probably the perfectionist in me putting up a road block.

I have always been a technical person, I can tell you how to do things and I am very good at critiquing!! Ask me anything technical about how to use your camera, how to achieve different lighting situations, anything about photoshop and lightroom I’m your girl but when it comes to me doing things I think the desire to do things technically right gets in the way of my enjoyment and maybe even achieving something I am missing because I am not being in the moment.

I knew I needed some help from someone who produced work I enjoyed and someone I felt would be able to help me get past my issues as well as get the insight of watching someone else shoot which is always fun. I firmly believe in investing in myself and my knowledge to best support my business and increase the quality of product to my clients. In photography the learning and self improvement just goes on and on.

I found Elise from a little advert on the side of a photography based website. I thought that looks interesting, had a read and knew it was what I was looking for. After emailing Elise she really wanted to know what it was I wanted/needed.  She asked me three questions which really made me think and type them down, something I had never done before. I just went back on the emails and when she asked me what  I hope to achieve from the mentoring I wrote : “hope to get from this mentoring a better idea on flow in a session and communicating and interaction with the client to do what is in my mind on what i want it to look like.” I learned this and a lot more.

Elise met with me before the mentoring date. She spent a few hours chatting to me and preparing me for the shoot/mentoring and talked me through some things that would help me. I walked away feeling great and hopeful.

From the moment I met Elise she was very welcoming and professional. A real open book. I felt comfortable to ask her questions and Elise took her time to explain things and give me thorough responses. This has continued after the mentoring and I am grateful.

Elise looked at my current work and gave me some great feed back. When looking for a family to photograph for our mentoring photo shoot Elise listened to me and got the dynamic I was needing help with most. Mum, Dad, newborn and young siblings!! we did hit the jack pot though they were gorgeous people and beautiful little girls, not to mention the perfect house for a lifestyle session, light interior and nice light, this mum has the most amazing taste!

Shoot day arrived and Elise picked me up to give us extra time to chat, it was great to see how she prepared before a shoot and really taught me I need to relax and let go of controlling every situation. After all that doesn’t really work with lifestyle photography!

Elise was so genuine and real with the clients, I could see they were at ease straight away. The girls took to her straight away and I watched Elise just not only give the kids a fun time , Elise really enjoyed herself. This is something I was missing. I was so hung up on getting the shots and not enjoying it all unfold.

I didn’t shoot as much, I did a lot of watching and taking in the details but that’s the great thing about Elise, she wanted me to do whatever I was comfortable with.  The pictures I did get I love and I feel I caught some great moments.

Elise helped me look at the light and with framing and I love that hands on approach from a teacher. She really explained everything. She said from the beginning she would treat me like I knew nothing which I appreciated it meant she wouldn’t assume i knew things and I might miss out on something great I didn’t know

You can learn a lot by watching someone shoot in real life, you can read and watch videos on the net but nothing beats the real thing.

The price of the mentoring was also affordable. I can’t remember what it was now!! that’s how much value I received , it far out weighed the cost in dollars. What I paid out has been repaid in many more dollars in work that I have taken on since our mentoring.

This mentoring session was a real turn around point for me. I found confidence. I found value in my work. I learned to slow down, stop preparing so much and enjoy it and then be happy with the end result as it is a reflection of the family and that day, not something that I had to direct and prepare in my head earlier. I love images like that. They are real, its the moments you forget as your children grow and move onto the next stage. It’s the type of work I respond to and as I need to enjoy what I do this is the work I will be offering from now on and only a few posed shots. I feel the posed shots are so contrived and not a reflection of that moment in time. I think it would be great to have both styles to look back on.

There are also other opportunities this year for me and because of Elise I have the confidence to put myself out there and take that work on.

I wish when I first started that I had of done something one on one like this. I spent so much money on online tutorials, props and photoshop actions. If only I had of used that money for one on one mentoring. I did do a workshop in the first 6 months which was great but you benefit so much more from one on one and having the session tailored to what you need to learn.

So if you are starting out, a few years in or wanting to change over from posed or just improve your lifestyle shooting , investing in mentoring with Elise at Le Coco should be the first thing you invest in. You will get out of it more than you expected and hoped for.

Thanks Elise, I am so grateful for your genuine interest in helping me , your professional and hands on manner, and the time you gave me. You gave me much more than I expected and exactly what I needed.

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