28 Days of Portrait Photography

Lesson 73 of 85

Sue's Evolution

 

28 Days of Portrait Photography

Lesson 73 of 85

Sue's Evolution

 

Lesson Info

Sue's Evolution

Hi everyone, welcome. I thought long and hard about what I can share today, because 28 Days was such an epic workshop for me. I feel like I put my whole my working life into a workshop. And yet, the strange thing is is when I keep talking about it, there's always more, like I have more and more and more. I have enjoyed mostly watching people grow and work through this workshop. So, today as an add on to 28 Days, I'm going to tell you this morning why you should join us, and what you're going to learn from this workshop. Interestingly enough, I put a message on the 28 Day study group page about what else you would like to learn from me and pitching was the first one that came up. And it actually significantly changed my business and my path when I learned to sell myself and sell my business. So, I'm really excited today. I started to write slides, and they just come flying out and it occurred to me how much I had learned back in the day when I could not give anybody my business card. So...

, I'm going to take you through my start up as well. I feel like people think that life is just so incredibly and business is so incredibly easy for me now, but you don't realize that everything I wrote 28 Days about, everything I taught you was my first three to four years in business when I started with zero money, no money, in my garage. So I don't want you to think for one minute that it's all breezy and easy now because it's very different for me now. But I still remember very clearly what it was like back then and how I built it up, and that's really what I wanted to show you. You have to remember that this is where I came from. I came from a garage in Caraka. So that's that's about half an hour out of the city in a country town, a rural country town that is known for potatoes and onions, okay? I lived in a 52 year old cottage that was not that fancy, but it was a haven. So it was the most beautiful place to come, but not a beautiful home. I had a two car garage with metal roller doors that I painted white, and for the first three months of my business, I did not have doors in the front, I had the metal roller doors. So before my client would arrive, I would roll the doors up so that they never saw them. And they were two big open doors at the front, so I would put up a little wall so that they couldn't see outside. And this is where the birth of my business really came from. Yet I'd been a photographer for a few years before. I'd been an employed photographer, it wasn't really until I put in this garage studio that I learned about making money and about owning a business. And trust me, it's one of the hardest things to do as a creative is to actually make an income, sustain an income, and believe in yourself to do it. So, today that's what it's all about, that's what 28 Days is about. This is my first studio. I remember, I can still remember the smell of it. I can still remember that blue carpet. And yeah, wow. The memory of that. I remember the very first Creative Live I did two years ago in March, I looked at a picture on the, I turned, you were there Makwana, I looked at a picture of the studio and I just started to cry. I can still recall the fear that I felt when I first started my business, still in my body today. So I'm going to talk to you about how I really got through the hardest part, and that was the first two years. I showed this in my opening talk in Vegas in April last year when I launched 28 Days, it was March, sorry, last year. So it's been 18 months since we launched 28 Days. And in 18 months I have watched everybody working through 28 Days. Now obviously we have the study group of people that are still working the workshop weekly. And then we have In Bed With Sue, where people are contributing constantly. And so I've gotten to watch your trials and where you've gone wrong and where you've gone right, and some of the work that's going through those two Facebook groups are just outrageously good. I want to show you the work that I was producing around that time again, because I feel like this might have got lost in the fray. But I need you to understand that I never said that I was the world's best photographer. I'm a combination of a great connector of women, a great connector of making women look and feel beautiful, I excel at connection, and I've pretty much nailed down posing. There isn't a body I can't pose, but only because I've photographed nearly 6,000 women now, so there's not many body types or tension or anything that I can't kind of, that I haven't photographed before. So I don't get tripped up in my posing. But in terms of being like the best photographer in the world or the best business person in the world, I'm just a work in progress like everybody else. So, I've watched my work evolve over the last 20 years, I've enjoyed watching that. And it's good to go back and look at where you started. Back at this time, I took some really beautiful work, and I took some really average work, too. But I learned that what sells is the connection you have with people, and the providing the good service. So I just want to take you through a couple of the images that really sort of defined my business back then. And, you know you can laugh or you can cry, but the truth is, is every one of these girls have beautiful portraits from themselves back in this time, 2003, 2004. I don't know when I went through that stage of de saturating the face and keeping the eye shadow color, but we all went through a selective color phase at some stage. You know, I learned about what stiff hands are and poses that you don't believe. I learned about poses that are just unnecessary, that really don't have any bearing on body language. I learned about creepy fingers and hands that don't belong, and hands that come out of nowhere. And I learned that the fan is probably the most incredible thing you can bring to a photo shoot. You know, I learned how to educate people to bring the right clothes to the shoot. And I learned how to shoot curves and older women. I learned that I could include more than one woman into a shoot, and sell $5,000 worth of portraits as opposed to just doing one. I learned not to market myself as a family portrait photographer, but to include families in my portrait shoot, because they were a bigger sale. I learned the power of changing outfits, changing clothes, changing poses to sell more work. Because the more variety you give people, the better it is. I learned that the mother and daughter was the most powerful session tool and marketing tool that I had, because it was two shooting demographics. It taught me so much about marketing, connected marketing and selling. Again, that the woman is a woman. She wants to be photographed as a beautiful girl, but at the end, she values her husband and children. If you can bring them in and include them into the shoot you're just making more money. I learned about connection very very early. So, whatever you see wrong with these images, whether it's a creepy foot or something that shouldn't be there or a bad crop or you cropped out the hands at the wrist. I still get that now on my Facebook page, you're breaking the rules. Who's rules? I make my own rules, thank you very much. (audience laughing) And you know, whatever you see wrong, I want you to look at one consistency, and that it is even back then, I could lock down how they were looking at me. I could lock down how they felt in front of the camera, and so even though I was growing through my own posing, I was growing through my business, I was growing through selling, I was growing through how I was shooting, processing, how I was Photoshopping, just like you are, the one thing I learned was that I could make any woman look at me like that. And when they look at you like that, they are giving you everything they've got in that moment. They are vulnerable, they are incredible, they are beautiful, they are in front of your camera, and they are giving you everything. And I'm connecting to it, I'm photographing it, and then I'm selling it back to them. Right? So, I think through these years was probably the biggest struggling years of my life. I learned more in three months of starting my business than I had in 12 years of working in somebody else's studio. I learned what it was like to have employees and be a boss. To have fear, to wonder if I could pay everybody next week, including myself. I learned that you put yourself last. And really, quite remarkable. So you can see a consistency in my work, good and bad, back then. And I feel like showing you this is going to make you realize that you're doing okay. That you're doing really, really good. Because sometimes we look at people's Facebook's and we look at people's websites and they all seem to be doing so much better than us. And they're putting the very best of their work out there, maybe 8% of it. But I have had the opportunity to go into many studios in the last 20 years, and aside from the folio that you see on the website and the seemingly successful studios that you think are doing so much better than you, and your competition that's rocking the world when you're struggling, the average work that most people are producing on a weekly basis is quite average. Okay, so what's going to make you stand out is the service you give, the product you sell, the follow up, and so that's what we want to talk about today. And I'm going teach you how to pitch your way right from the beginning, right through to the end. So, as much as I could pick at this images, the irony is is I'm really proud of them. I feel like a lot of you are around this level right now. It's going to take you maybe three to five more years to just nail it, and when you do nail it, you're going to create an income that will change your life. And a business that will change your life. You know, there's so many stories. Like this, when I look at this one, this single image changed my life. I wanted to be a fashion photographer about the year 2000, because everyone told me I wasn't a portrait photographer, they're like clearly you're into fashion. So I decided to go and do a fashion shoot for a magazine, I got $380, it was the worst experience of my life. This woman came in, she spent $3,800, I changed her life, she changed mine. I remembered thinking, no, I'm a glamour photographer. And I'm just going to bring it back, because I'm clearly out of fashion. When I look at this image, I remember stories. I know their names, you know. I know this girl is Sarah, I know, I remember what they do. I even remember their star signs or their boyfriend's names. They got married, they live in Seattle, you know. Oh my gosh, Hannah is still a friend of mine on Facebook. I remember these girls, this is their senior shoot. I got to share these stories with these women. I remember where I photographed them, how I photographed them, the experience I had with them. I mean, this is a lifetime of work. And, you know, call it whatever you want. Call it air brushed, call it what you want. It's pretty damn cool. I wouldn't change it for anything, not even the struggles. Well I would actually, I would change the struggle, now come one. All right, so training for 28 Days, how did it come about. Creative Live asked me if I could do another workshop what would it be, I said I taught my photographers in 28 days. I taught two photographers to come into my studio, shoot my style, sell my style, and 28 days later they were producing an income. We tracked their income down to the last cent over the first year, and they single handedly brought in our income. Both girls did $7,000 sales in the first, like seven of them, in the first the first two months of their employment. Also, interestingly enough both girls, who I love very much, Chrissy and Keryn, now run their own photography business. They both, Chrissy's had kids, she's had three kids, Keryn has now developed into traveling with weddings around the world. They've both, you know, developed their own businesses, developed themselves. I think it was a really incredible experience to watch these girls leave my studio and then go and start their own business. Because they did exactly what I did, they went out and then they made a tenth of the income they made for me. Because when you make money for yourself, it is so much harder than when you make money for someone else. And I'll tell you why. It has to do with how much you value what you're making, how you're making it, and receiving the money. Now I can give you all the pitch words that you want, but today I'm going to address a couple of other things. Those girls did $7,000 sales in their first month, went on their own and did thousand dollar average in their own studios. What does that tell you? When they were in my studio, they valued it more. When they were in their own space, they didn't. If I can shift that today, if I can shift your idea of what you're worth, then your income will shift next week. This is not a get rich quick scheme, this is not the secret, it's not a secret. You're the one blocking your value. It's not the world income, it's not the state of the industry, it's not there's photographers everywhere. There's always been photographers everywhere. My whole life there's been photographers everywhere. I've been through three global financial crisis, or two global financial crisis and a stock market crash and I was in business for all of them, and I survived. So you know what, it's your value of what you do. So we created this 28 Days based on how we built our studio. And, I found this from the slides when we replayed Creative Live. When we replayed, sorry, 28 Days. This is what Chrissy wrote, I asked Chrissy to give me a quote, and it said, "I remember the first few weeks, I cried a lot." (laughing) "But with Sue, it's sink or swim." Yeah, so I am the school of hard knocks. I bring people into my studio, and I don't deal very well with the need for validation. So I want to get rid of that really fast. You don't need to validate yourself, you're already here. You're breathing air, you're worth it. Okay? Whether you think you're a child of God, whatever it is, you're here, you deserve to be here, you deserve to be prosperous, you deserve an income, you deserve a valuable life. Okay, you don't have to validate yourself. I'm not interested in your need to be validated. I do workshops and there's always a crier, somebody standing there with their camera just crying. Why are you crying right now? Because I need, I don't, I don't know why I'm crying. But I need to validate myself to be good enough to be here to do this job. And I was like, is this the only job in the world where you actually need to validate yourselves to be it? You're a photographer. You don't cry, well maybe you do, being a waitress. Oh you do? Yeah, but only because people treat you badly. You know what I mean. It's the value of your work, of creating work to sell, is one of the hardest things. But, if you get the words right, I don't really adhere to the philosophy fake it til you make it, because I never faked anything. I very much admit to my failings. There's not faking it, I'm doing the best I can with what I've got right now. I know how to make what's really good really good and what's really bad seem a little bit better, because I'm learning, but I'm okay to stand up and say, oh I suck at this bit. But you know, I don't really believe in the fake it til you make it. I believe in practice makes perfect. So when I got asked to do a talk, and I was in Australia, in Canon, Australia. Michelle Tuddenham from Canon asked me to speak to represent Canon because they liked my work and there weren't many female speakers in the industry. I couldn't speak publicly, I couldn't speak to a room full of people. I just suffered from severe anxiety, my voice would quiver and I'd cry and I was just a big drama queen around speaking. So I walked on a beach every day for nearly three weeks. I walked along this beach, and honestly, I think everybody that lived on that beach on the Gold Coast in Queensland probably thought I was crazy because I would walk along this beach and I'd say, my name is Sue Bryce and I'm a portrait photographer. And I would just talk out loud. You know, like next time you see a crazy person they might not speaking to themselves, they might be practicing for Canon. And I realized that I practiced speaking until it became second nature. I practiced selling on the phone until it became second nature. I practiced my elevator pitch. And I'm going to make all of you today do your elevator pitch to me. And the three people watching at home. (laughing) Because I need you to tell me what you do, and I want to believe it.

Class Description


Sue Bryce's 28 Days is the all-in-one portrait photography class that teaches you posing, shooting, marketing, selling, and everything else you need to know to run a successful contemporary portrait photography business. 

This series begins with two sessions of intense instruction on business, pricing, and overcoming your fears. Following the kickoff, Sue delivers short sessions exploring 28 different topics essential to any successful portrait photography studio. Sue covers flow posing, connecting with clients, posing and shooting groups, marketing to your key demographic, sales, and more.

In this comprehensive series you'll learn Sue's inspiring approach to styling, posing, marketing, selling and so much more!

Lessons

  1. Teaching 2 Photographers in 28 Days
  2. First 2 Years: The Truth
  3. Rate Your Business
  4. Year One in Business
  1. 28 Challenges
  2. Fear
  3. Price & Value
  4. Checklist, Challenges, and Next Steps
  1. Day 1: The Natural Light Studio
  1. Day 2: Mapping Your Set and Outfits
  1. Day 3: One Composition - Five Poses
  1. Day 4: Flow Posing
  1. Day 5: Posing Couples
  1. Day 6: Capturing Beautiful Connection & Expression
  1. Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands
  1. First Weekly Q&A Session
  2. Day 8: Rules - Hourglass, Body Language, Asymmetry, Connection
  1. Day 9: Styling & Wardrobe
  1. Day 10: Shooting Curves
  1. Day 11: Posing & Shooting - Groups of 2, 3, and 4
  1. Day 12: Posing & Shooting Families
  1. Day 13: Products & Price List
  1. Day 14: Marketing & Shooting the Before & After
  1. Day 15: Phone Coaching & Scripting
  1. Second Weekly Q&A Session
  2. Day 16: Posing Young Teens
  1. Day 17: Marketing & Shooting - Family First Demographic
  1. Day 18: The Corporate Headshot
  1. Day 19: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare
  2. Photoshop Video: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare
  1. Day 20: Photoshop - Warping & the Two Minute Rule
  1. Day 21: Posing Mothers & Daughters
  1. Third Weekly Q&A Session
  2. Day 22: Marketing & Shooting - 50 & Fabulous Demographic
  1. Day 23: Shooting into the Backlight
  2. Bonus: Shooting into the Backlight
  1. Day 24: Marketing & Shooting - Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)
  2. Photoshop Video: Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)
  1. Day 25: The Beauty Shot
  2. Bonus: Vintage Backdrop
  1. Day 26: Marketing & Shooting - Independent Women Demographic
  1. Day 27: Sales & Production
  1. Day 28: Posing Men
  1. Bonus: Pricing
  2. Introduction
  3. Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 1
  4. Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 2
  5. Marketing Part 1
  6. Marketing Part 2
  7. Money: What's Blocking You?
  8. Bonus: The Folio Shoot
  1. Photo Critiques Images 1 through 10
  2. Photo Critiques Images 11 through 27
  3. Photo Critiques Images 28 through 45
  4. Photo Critiques Images 47 through 67
  5. Photo Critiques Images 68 through 84
  6. Photo Critiques Images 85 through 105
  7. Photo Critiques Images 106 through 130
  8. Photo Critiques Images 131 through 141
  9. Photo Critiques Images 142 through 167
  10. Photo Critiques Images 168 through 197
  11. Photo Critiques Images 198 through 216
  1. Identify Your Challenges
  2. Identify Your Strengths
  3. Getting Started Q&A
  4. Rate Your Business
  5. Marketing Vs Pricing
  6. Facing Fear
  7. The 28 Day Study Group
  8. Selling Points
  9. Interview with Susan Stripling
  10. Emotional Honesty
  1. Sue's Evolution
  2. 28 Days Review
  3. Student Pitches
  4. 28 Days Testimonial: Mapuana Reed
  5. How to Pitch: Starting a Conversation
  6. Your Block: Seeing is What You're Being
  7. Your Block: Valuing and Receiving
  8. Building Confidence: Your Own Stories
  9. Building Confidence: Your Self Worth
  10. Pitching An Experience
  11. Pitching An Experience: Your Intentions
  12. Pitching An Experience: Social Media
  13. Final Thoughts

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

I have purchased four of Sue's courses and love them all. I have learned so much. I found the lesson on connecting with people thru their eyes has made a huge difference in my photos already. Her before and after's made me cry. I want to be able to take these kinds of photos for my family and friends. I just love what she does. She is such a great teacher. I learn much better seeing things done, so this was the perfect choice for me to learn. I love Sue's humor, her honesty, her detailed teaching and sweet and wonderful personality. Her sessions will or should not disappoint anyone. It is the best money I have ever spent on self-help teaching. Thanks a million creative live. You GOTTA LOVE SUE!

JRomkee
 

I have just began this course and I am excited to see how following her model will help me to improve and get my business started. I have been through the first two days and there is lots of information to absorb and things to get in order before I begin the actual challenges. I am thankful that there are photographers out there who are will to reveal there secrets ad are truly invested in others improving themselves in all aspects of their life and not just their photography skills. Thanks Sue Bryce for your passion for empowering woman and your knowledge of creating and sustaining a business by being true to who you and commitment to the improvement of others! I am excited to grow myself and my business, I am confident this will be worth every penny! Were the templates for the email PDF included in this course

Claude Bossel
 

Based in Switzerland, I am an advertising/commercial photographer since 20 years and I am still learning everyday. I have bought several courses on Creativelive, all are great and inspiring. This one is also fantastic, thanks to Sue and her incredible experience and wisdom, you will improve your personality, your attitude and skills that will bear many fruits in your business and personal life. I highly recommend anyone who loves photography or dream to become a full time pro to invest in courses like this one. Thank you Sue, thank you all from Creativelive.