sue bryce advice

Master photographer Sue Bryce has conducted her entire career in contemporary portraiture without the use of studio lighting — until recently, when she admitted that she was ready to learn a new skill, and that she wanted the CreativeLive audience to learn with her. During her co-hosted CreativeLive lighting challenge with Felix Kunze, Sue opened herself to a new kind of shooting and, along the way, realized how many excuses she (and other photographers) been making, both about their creativity and their access to tools. On the second day of the class, Sue confronted some of them, head-on.

“When you realize your own insecurity, and you embrace it, it’s such an incredible self-realization, and it’s such an incredible journey. So consider, just for one moment, that we stand up here, sharing what we know, not knowing if it’s going to help…I didn’t know what I was capable of until I started to teach it. And so, if you’re feeling that you don’t know something, just remember…you can have whatever you want.”

Specifically, Sue noted, you can have the supplies that you want.

“We got a lot of feedback about polyboards and v-flats,” Sue explained, noting that a lot of viewers stated that they couldn’t access polystyrene or other materials to make light reflectors. But, she said, that’s patently untrue. And even if it is true, there are so many ways to get creative and craft or find the things you need.

“You can find it. You can buy cardboard. You can buy sheets of white paper. All you have to do is be persistent. I know that that’s really frustrating…I know it’s hard.” says Sue. “MacGyver it. Don’t tell me what you can’t do. You can make this work.”

Small studio spaces, tight budgets, or other reduced access are barriers, says Sue, but they aren’t good reasons not to do work. Instead of saying “no,” or “I can’t,” Sue advises, get creative. Look around you.

“There’s always a way.”

Get more from Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze’s ultra-straightforward lighting class here.