I have stayed alive in this industry for 25 years because I believe you Evolve or Die.! I have watched so many shifts in the industry and they bring great change and fear ( always hand in hand) But this change I really love. It’s no longer about the Sell its about the experience it’s no longer about the Photographer it’s about the product service and the connection, it’s all about the story you tell. The story you tell with your images. It used to be about the before and the after that was enough it said look take an ordinary girl and make her look extraordinary with hair and makeup. We told that story for a long time and it worked. Now we see behind the scenes videos the pubic know what photoshop is we are evolving into a this is who we are business this is what we do watch us online learn about us meet us know us. I meet clients now and they greet me like an old friend they watch my videos they know who I am.
Are you shooting the before shot still don’t stop are you shooting behind the scenes don’t stop are you blogging don’t stop now more than ever the connection and the archive you are creating on your blog will long survive the fast moving and shifting algorithm of the facebook newsfeed that most people are not getting. Share new shoots old shoots behind the scenes, videos and images what do you find interesting what makes you stop and watch?
Im going to Las Vegas March 3rd 4th and 5th and I’m going to show live the campaign marketing and stories I’ve been working on that all photographers can share and start doing. I have been educating photographers for a few years now I think it’s time I started educating the public on why they need to be photographed professionally. I am also doing a whole segment on mentoring AND posing. You can watch this class free and live enrol here.
14 years doesn’t it just go bye in a heart beat.
I found a box of medium format negatives and took them to get scanned. These images are between 1999 and 2002 I have had so much fun looking through them but what I have enjoyed the most is the feeling. I actually recall quite vividly how incredibly overjoyed I was developing myself and my craft. I was taking the best photos of the 12 years I had been shooting, I was poor, made no money from photography and I didn’t really care, I was 30 and felt so grown up. I was just so desperate for validation and seemed to always attract negativity like harsh criticism that I held on to and further dramatised ha lucky I sorted that one out gosh that is the hardest lesson. Oh the inspiration I feel the joy the hunger to learn be better I remember with each of these shots the elation I felt of mastering a pose or a connection or a composition. Crossing boundaries of fashion and portrait such a grey area not fitting in anywhere. Trying to be a fashion photographer hating it trying to be a portrait photographer and progress and develop. Slowly watching the digital movement sneak up and threaten the very foundation of Professional Photography as we had known it was frightening. The Unknown.
But I was so hungry starving in fact, to learn, to be better, to strive to push to live and breathe and feel and win. That is what passion is to suffer for your craft. Of course I also learned thats just the dramatic suffering artist that dwells inside of me and you don’t need to suffer to support your self and own a business with great service and clients. But I can’t make apologies for my true self I cry when the sun comes up, would throw down and come up swinging for the people I love, I have always believed that the blue collar worker children had to work harder fight harder run faster, but then my parents always said the world is your oyster and you can have anything you want.
So when I look back I see all the huge lessons the brick walls and the mountains I climbed that were really mole hills and I ask myself today the same question: What do YOU want from this career?
All of these Images shot on Kodak 120 medium format film on the Hasselblad all natural light.
Fact: Charlotte, Nicola, Hayley, Nick and Marie their names werent on the files I remember their names and I remember their stories. What an honour to make pictures of peoples lives.
The Hasselblad was my first camera. I never owned it until this year, you see I had a job as a Portrait Photographer for the first 12 years. I earned $137 a week when I started and I was 20 and I got to use $12,000 worth of camera equipment every day in 1992 that was a big deal. When I left the studio to start my business I had to buy my first camera and the world had gone digital, all I had was $800 so I bought a Canon 10D and it didn’t even shoot RAW. I’m not taking anything away from any of my Canon’s I built a hugely successful business on that 10D then 20D then 5D mark i mark ii and mark iii which I still have 2 of. So why did I go back to Medium format?
This photo isn’t a surprised look what Santa got me photo actually it was I cannot believe I actually bought this and here it is this is real moment. Lets get real really fast NO Phase One aren’t sponsoring me I saved for this and paid for it because I believe in this quality. Also for my big brother I know you have been lecturing me for 10 years to save for a house and I still am but Andy this is an investment in my future. Phase have an incredible set up I have been dealing with Lance Schad from Digital Transitions the whole time he has been so great the support you receive is as outstanding as the service. For those of you considering the big shift to Medium Format yes I highly recommend Phase One and they also offer a very comprehensive finance plan.
In December I was approached by a very big company a company with a beautiful message. They have asked me to represent their company throughout the next year with an international Beauty Campaign this will include a large advertising and print campaign I have said yes I will proudly create more beautiful stories like Jill’s and promote as much self love and self acceptance as I can for all woman all ages. (more details on that soon) I have 5 Photographer friends all shooting on the Phase One and when I trialled one 2 years ago it simply didn’t shoot high enough ISO for my natural light self now the new IQ250 has 50 megapixel resolution for image quality, sensitivity ranging from 100 -6400 and a 14 f stop dynamic range, continuos capture and fluid live view. It is time to return to my roots just the digital 2014 version. I am so glad I started my career here and watched the incredible transition we made to digital photography to come a full circle back to this platform I feel like a 20 year old again ; ) except Im 42 and its mine.
- It was like Christmas
I think this big smile says it all
This is the camera I shot on for the first 12 years of my career. Film Hasselblad
This is my new Camera
My first trial shot of the Phase One ISO 400 Natural Light 1/125s f/2.8 55mm Oliphant Studio backdrop
My first trial shot of the Phase One ISO 400 Natural Light 1/125s f/2.8 55mm on my new Oliphant Studio backdrop
How long does it take before you start saying “I hate my website” I hear it all the time from others too “Don’t look at my website I haven’t updated it in a year.” Then you start to redesign and the hours turn into late nights, days and then weeks. Such a labour and so necessary. The one thing I have noticed as I work my way through new gallery images letting go of old favourites and introducing new work is how much I fall back in love with what I do. Sometimes the pressure the hustle the grind the competition the social media the marketing it gets you down it knocks you back. I return to service of others always but there is also this spark that ignites and that is the love of creating a beautiful image of someone. Sometimes I work on an image before bed and I email to myself and save it on my ipad. I put it by my bed and stare at it. I think about how lucky I am to be able to make pretty pictures for people. For the people I work with every day and the clients I meet. Then I’m not jaded anymore.
Put a new refresh of your website on your todo list this year. Be proud of your online folio. Fall back in love with what you enjoy.
My job is a gift. To me. Every person I photograph gives me something incredible. I am so very luck to have this career and I don’t know when it actually shifted because I struggled for a long time. As you know I am a big campaigner for advertising to the 50 plus market and this year in March (don’t worry full details coming soon I promise) I will do a mentoring session and campaign marketing to show you all the amazing shoots I have done these last four months. This is Mary Beth she is one of my ’50 is Fabulous’ ladies and one of my favourite shoots for 2013 I got to spend the day photographing her and her two best girlfriends from college a life long friendship that spans years and I filmed it also cannot wait to share that.
Anyway after Christmas break I came back to the studio to find a large box had been delivered. In it is this fabulous Wedding Dress and a note from Mary Beth “this is my wedding dress from the 80s and I want you to have it because I know you will do something beautiful with it.” Firstly thank you Mary Beth for giving me this beautiful fairy princess gown I will do something fabulous with it. Secondly thank you for allowing me to capture you and the girls I admire friendship, sisterhood and women that live to empower each other. Im off today to remodel a gown and Glam the Dress.
She bought this dress in Paris
and when she talks about the Paris
She simply comes alive with joy
I didn’t need to make her dance I couldn’t have stopped her
I have already seen how I can remodel this gown. I am so excited to give it new life
This coming month try photographing all your details for a shoot. 50/50 ask a photographer you know to come shoot your details and behind the scenes and then go to their studio and shoot their details and behind the scenes. Heres a tip a wedding photographer does great detail shots. Nikki Closser shoots all my details and Behind the scenes now she has such a great eye for details being a wedding photographer and knows how to make me look good as a portrait photographer. My marketing and Social Media are based on Show don’t tell. Show your clients the details, show them the process excite them with imagery excite them with story telling.
You primary market is Women! Bride Mother Maternity Family. What do Women LOVE? look at these pics below there isn’t a woman that would not fall in love with these images if she’s into pretty things. Stop trying to market on PRICE market on experience on service on the love of your job on the pride you have in what you do. Its good energy and it’s in every image it translates. Fill your marketing with enthusiasm and joy and see how everything you attract changes. I do not live in a Martha Stewart home but Nikki’s shots make it look dreamy and pastel and romantic. We are photographers after all the best gift we have is to tell stories with our cameras. Are you telling yours? We don’t have to have big fancy studios to give big fabulous service.
At first I hated the Behind the Scenes and then I realised the power it carries on my social media. One photo like this speaks so many words.
A bride spends months creating her wedding we shoot every detail. A woman should feel the same about her portrait shoot. Create desirable product and a desirable experience that others want
Clients want to know you bond with you. “If they like you they buy from you”
My friends on facebook always want to know what Im up to. Its a way to constantly promote yourself and your business without promoting yourself and your business. Keep it interesting Show don’t tell.
Images: Nikki Closser Would you rather me make an Advert to try and sell you a video or show you the complete overwhelming joy I experienced making these incredible pieces and then photographing them.
by Sue Bryce Making Portraits makes my heart sing.
Fear repels, negativity repels, anger repels, resentment kills everything. RECONNECT If your heart is not in it get out of it or change it. Tell people why you do what you do. Show them why you do it. Connect with your value and your truth and infuse it into every part of your business YOU ARE WORTH THAT. Because the worst thing that can happen is you will be filled with joy. It doesn’t take long for joy to attract.
I am refreshing, updating and replenishing my website. When I do workshops I tell people all the time replenish this source every year but wow what a big job this is. I am working on new images and new videos and a beautiful Issuu ‘A shoot with Sue’ Our websites are our first line of contact and our online folios and we need to stay current and excited about what is on there. (I don’t think I really need to tell you that you know I’m preaching to the choir) So I guess what I want to share is WHAT is going on this site. We get 30 seconds to hook that viewer and that means the content has to be visual and strong. Videos will hold the viewer 8 times longer and can link to Vimeo and YouTube so you can monitor where the traffic is coming from.
Less words more SHOW don’t TELL and information that communicates well and connects. Be real, be interesting show what you do, show who you are but the most important rule of all. Show people what you are giving them. You provide a service they are paying for it tell them what it is you are offering. This video is for my About Page did I really need a video on my about page. Well yes, I want people to meet me, know me and hopefully like me but mostly I want them to BELIEVE me. Talking about what I love is easy, actually it was quite emotional my voice quavers through this as I didn’t write the answers I just said what I believe to be true for me.
Filmed in my Makeup Room by Alejandra Vidal of www.imaginaledesign.com check her out like the formidable Hailey Bartholomew www.youcantbeserious.com.au she has a beautiful eye and she can capture stories. These two women make my work so beautiful.
About Sue Bryce Portrait from InBedWithSue.com on Vimeo.
This is the constant feedback I hear regularly. What am I worth charging? How do I price myself in the market? What level am I at? How do I compete with Johnny So and So down the road only charging this much? The industry is flooded! No one in my area spends more than this __________!
What is the industry standard? How can I sustain an income? WAIT screeching brakes sound… these two I hardly ever hear. Because most people start with the above blocks and objections and quickly fall in to the negative hole of self perpetuating doom. It’s not fear! Why is Johnny So and So making more money than me I am 3 times a better photographer/person But whenever I’ve been down that whole I have managed to fight out of my doom just long enough to think “I am a creative. Surely I can think of lots of creative ways to get out of this hole”
Some big questions for you
First what is your thru average sale? Number of shoots divided by total income.
What is your Cost of doing business – What is your Shoot & Product profitability ? How much money are you keeping from this average.
How many shoots do you want per week at what dream average?
What is your survival rate? The least you are prepared to accept for a job.
Is your price list wired to drive sales to your required or desired average?
Are you a package price list or a La carte?
Over the last 24 years working in the industry I’ve seen this progression with all photographers $400 $900 $1200 $1800 $2300 $2800 $3300 These were the exact increments in which my sales progressed as I lifted my service product and value. Every time I would hit one level I would turn my focus to the next one. I didn’t see it as a ceiling but rather an umbrella you set the limits and then you come up against your own limits time to reset.
How do you raise your average? You raise your value both in what your product and service is and you raise your internal value system. How do you get out of your own way in what you’re worth and earning/receiving money. Because it is usually us that is blocking this growth. For the first 2 years in my business I struggled to pull a $400 average I had the work just not the service or the self value. I learned to value me by increasing my service to others.
Where are you at on this pricing scale? What are you offering for your current average? Can you sustain a business and income at this average?
If the answer is yes then keep that cog turning if the answer is no you have some pretty big goals to set today. But they are just goals and trust me when these goals start to come to fruition and you see your average climbing YOU are in business.
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Please write all questions here on the blog in the comments so we can take this conversation to the next level.