Inspire Me Interview #22} Sue Bryce

Today I am thrilled to introduce you to the incredibly talented Sue Bryce of Sydney, Australia. I had the pleasure of hearing Sue speak at WPPI last year and her presentation was the absolute highlight of the entire convention for me! If you ever have a chance to hear her speak… Go to whatever lengths you must to make it happen!

Sue is a stunning mix of confidence, whit, brains and drive. Her photography is quite literally breath taking and perhaps even more impressive then her photography is her savvy business skills. Sue has built a portrait business from zero to $25,000 per week as a single woman with her bare hands! No matter which way you slice this cake, Sue Bryce is positively inspiring and the perfect photographer to bring ‘Inspire Me Friday’ Posts back to life!

As Sue said to me, “We live and work in this incredible industry, it is fulfilling and challenging and rewarding and frightening all at the same time.  But I do not ever imagine myself doing something else.  Anything is possible when your HEART is willing.”

The Interview…

1. Three things that make you super happy?

Great conversation – Love my Friends & Cats, I love Cats

2. How long have you been a photographer/ been on your own?

22 years on Aug 15th I even remember the day I started

3. What’s in the bag?

Canon 1Ds mark iv – My portrait camera 

Canon 5D mark ii fixed – My video camera 

Canon 50mm 1.2 x 2 – for both cameras very sexy lens 

Canon Zoom 24-105 – the easiest studio portrait lens 

Canon fixed 24mm – For video 

Hoodman Hood & Crane for shooting video

4. How did you tap into your target market so that you could charge what you do?

Women speak on average of 10 – 12 thousand words a day.  With every woman there is 10 more, Her sister, her best friend, her Mum, her daughters, her work colleagues.  This is my secret, I have refined the Power of Marketing to Women and their Inner Circles.  After all who is booking you, The Mother? The Bride? The Grandmother?


5. Best thing you ever did for your business?

Defined my Brand, my style, my pricelist and my product.  I made it easy to understand who I am, what I do and how much I charge.  Most people make this very hard I know who my target market is and my message is clear. I have also made it very easy to buy from me, so it works.

6. You have obviously established yourself in a niche market, do you think all photographers should find their niche?

I do, I believe all the best photographers are Niche defined.  But then I have to ask one question. Do you do different genres because you don’t believe you can survive on just the one you love? This was my biggest hurdle 8 years ago I designed my website, I put NO Families on it, NO babies and I held my breath and guess what?  I got exactly what I advertised for.  Interesting how fear can get in the way.  Also interesting how great passion can create success.  All I know is this: If I talk about what I do with great LOVE, people come to me.  If I was grumbling about ‘hating’ weddings I wouldn’t be successful.  I attract so much more by loving what I do.


7. What snack do you turn to during late night creative bursts?

A glass of Red wine, a Sangiovese.  All snacks have been banned after I saw myself from behind in a behind the scenes video. Ha I actually said “who’s that” and then realized it was me. Oh m,y look what’s behind you – its humbling!

8. Your confidence is absolutely stunning on you! Where did you find that confidence to thrive?

Thank you for saying I’m confident. As a Photographer I am very confident in my studio, as a business women I am powerful choleric because I had to learn how to be.  I am also ambitious and willful, so I seem strong when I talk about what I do and how I do it.  But as a women I am as uncertain & vulnerable as all others and I have a glass heart.

I have three very strong traits – I’m very intuitive and read energy well, I have a photographic memory that is quite freakish and sadly I remember mean people and the things they say.  And the other is a smart arse quick off the mark wit, all are a fun or lethal combination and my biggest down fall also.

9. How much emphasis do you put on yourself to continually evolve and grown?

All species that ever existed learned to evolve or they die.  I started in this industry 22 years ago when we painted on photos. Now I’m a Photoshop Master, then it was medium format film and welcome digital, what a hurdle that was.  I have experienced evolution and change in this industry consistently since I started in it.  So many people talk about this with trepidation, I’m always looking forward saying ‘What’s Next’  . . . How exciting, learn, change.


10. Where might we find you if you’re not working?

I’m always working. I am a walking talking billboard for SueBryce.com but to relax I’m always drinking coffee/wine with friends.

11. Will you tell us about your daily work routine?

I spend a huge chunk of my day on the computer.  Emails and blogs and questions are my first stop of the day.  Then I shoot mid morning, the light is always beautiful at this time and I am fresh and at full power.  I always do a rest, quiet time or meditation after I shoot because I expend a huge amount of energy on people.  Then when I’m rejuvenated I download and process my shoot.  This is my favorite time. Late afternoons are for viewings and evenings are for playtime and creative sessions.


12. I know you’re offering videos with your sessions and you do it all yourself. How do you transition from one to the other during the shoot?

Video first, capture footage then stop. Click into shooting brain, take stills change scene pose and outfit and repeat.  At first this was so hard but I realized after about 3 that the stills don’t have to be identical to the footage, also you are telling a vertical story with a horizontal frame.  So no Vertical shots, this was my biggest challenge I wanted to turn the camera up all the time.

13. Where do you love to go for inspiration?

Movies, Books & fashion Magazines. I don’t watch brain rotting TV, oh except Modern Family – just brilliant.  I love to read Non Fiction, anything I can learn. I watch as many movies as I can I find them so visually and creatively stimulating.


14. What have you always found to be easy with your business?

Service: Making people feel good.  Making people feel special and unique. Listening to what they want, doing my best to provide it for them.  So many Photographers don’t really ASK how people want to be photographed, I mean how they REALLY DREAM of being photographed.

15. What have you found to be hard within your business?

Asking for money, believing my products were worth what the pricelist said and talking money.  This took me years.  I found as soon as I believed what they were worth so did everyone else but that took a long time. I was so worried all the time about money and being good enough and what I was worth.  God help me, that kind of constant resistance is exhausting.  I just learned one day to speak up for myself and not to be afraid of charging and earning.  I learned the power of giving 50 and receiving 50.  I learned to accept the same way I gave, with gratitude and service – this is how I found MY WORTH.

16. Your posing techniques are incredible, what’s one quick tip you would offer to Go{4}Pro Readers and where can we learn more?

Thank you, that’s 15 years of shooting trial and error. The best quick tip – Chin forward and down.  I will repeat this about 50 times in a shoot.  I sell the full posing manual on my website, its $340 and has 81 posing cards. I am currently creating online product with behind the scenes video of me shooting and posing girls with curves and a full suite on business marketing to women selling and Photoshop, everything that people have asked me for. This will be launched June.  www.inbedwithsue.com ‘inside the portrait studio’


HOT TIP!
Sue specializes in Posing and has hundreds of requests for Posing women with Curves so she is creating online videos in how to do this.  These images have NO Photoshop, they are posing only.  and PS WE DO NOT SAY PLUS SIZE . . . we say women with curves!! Great News, www.inbedwithsue.com will transform in Mid June with Behind the scenes videos with Posing Videos, Business Marketing and so much more.

17. What question do you wish people would ask you?

Would you like to go out on a date with me?  Ha. But seriously, I put up my marketing plan people go nuts writing it down, I show posing and I see jaws open but nobody is comfortable talking about their attitude and their thoughts and their beliefs.  I am living proof that if you want to change anything about yourself you must change your thoughts.  Thoughts have power, action is vital to success, the only person ever in your way is YOU. Take responsibility for that.

Oops practicing what I preach.

I do have time for an amazing boyfriend, I do have time.


18. What has been the highlight of your career?

The day I realized you don’t have to be stressed out to earn an income.  My first four years in business I took way too seriously. The more I learn to work from a place of relaxation and joy the more I perpetuate money and freedom.  We are not Rocket Scientists, we are creative photographers.  Relax.  Sorry I have two, photographing a beautiful family and then their Dad died 6 weeks later.  I realized then I capture relationships, I stopped time for those people. These are the single most important memories they own. He didn’t know how much he impacted my path either.

19.  When you’re getting to have “me time” what are you doing?

I walk, I run, I get my hair done, I sit for hours with a white pad and a black ink pen and I CREATE business models, product, websites, shoots that I want to do, awards work.  I never stop creating, this is my greatest joy.  I love to play on Photoshop to try different looks, ideas.  This is not work for me.

20.What’s the most common mistake you see newbie’s making?

They spend all their time trying to be better photographers and they don’t learn how to sell it and market it.  They just think if their work is better people come and its not true.  My brand is beautiful, when I stop marketing it, people don’t come its that simple.  Learn to Listen – learn about connection – once you can capture that you need to learn how to sell it.  Then all you need to do is Market it.  That is when you know you’re in business. I took my business from 0 to $25,000 per week in four months.  At the time I was a good photographer but I didn’t think I was. If I had waited for approval, I’d still be earning $400 a week.

Here are all the links you’ll need to stay inspired by Sue!

Website:  www.suebryce.com

For Photographers: www.inbedwithsue.com

The Posing Cards: in the shop

On Twitter: twitter.com/sue_bryce

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  1. Tina Ryan says:

    Thank you for introducing me to this amazingly talented woman. I added her to my Reader and gobbled up all that was on her blog.

    I tried to find her on Twitter using what you posted above at http://www.Twitter/SueBryce.com and could not find her.

    So I took a stab at how her blog author signature is and voila I found her. Her handle on Twitter is actually sue_bryce

  2. Staci says:

    Loved this post! Wow! Her work is amazing. I always struggle a little with posing women with curves. Her advice is helpful. Thanks for introducing us to Sue!

    • Leah Remillet says:

      You are so welcome! It was seeing her at WPPI that made me want to get Inspire Me Friday Posts going again!!

  3. Wow. So much what I needed today, Sue Bryce is amazing! Off to be more productive and motivated 🙂 THANK YOU

  4. She is my absolute favorite and just going thru her images you can learn so much about posing/lighting/attitude. Thank You for this interview, I always love hearing her thoughts~

  5. Megan Bryant says:

    I love love love her work! Thanks so much for this page!

  6. brigita says:

    loved this thank you so inspiring – she is amazing and so are you for always sharing such a great inspiarion with all of us. Woman power. Thank you

  7. Maryanne says:

    One of the best interviews I’ve read in awhile. I connected with so much said. Now to put some of it into practice…

  8. Fetesha says:

    Fantastic! What a much-needed inspiration right now. And her work is so beautiful! You can feel the passion she has for her art in every photo. Just amazing…

  9. Rachel says:

    Thought this was a VERY inspiring and thought-provoking article; Sue has obviously done a brilliant bootstrap turnaround with her business and I love the quality of information she shared…

    I’m wondering about the difference between the US and AUS economy, what is $25,000 in AUS?

    And I believe this statement “I took my business from 0 to $25,000 per week in four months” is at least a little bit misleading to most readers, because I can’t figure out how that would be sustainable in any way. Was that a one-time bump? How much does Sue bring in regularly now? I know that could be considered a personal question, just thought I would bring it up for others who might be confused.

    • Kathleen says:

      Do you really care how US compares to AUS? That is an incredible accomplishment!
      Maybe she is doing more now, maybe less. Maybe she is only teaching. Who cares?
      Her talent is fabulous and her willingness to share and give back is far reaching. It
      really makes me sit back and wonder why someone would be negative toward this
      creative woman who puts it all out on the table and tells where she has come from
      and what she is doing right now. Read her blog. I believe she is the real deal,
      regardless of what she is producing right now. Her marketing strategy to get to that
      point when she started out is brilliant.

  10. Rachel says:

    Yes, I do care. It’s interesting to me, and it was obviously brought up as a major point in the interview. I think most photographers are interested in exploring how to make more money in a sustainable way for their business which is why I asked for clarification on the specific $25k comment.

    I’ve been reading up on Sue. She’s incredible! I think she has a really unique message for the photography community and I am so glad you featured her here.

    • *Just to specify. The replied comment was not from Go{4}Pro but rather another reader. Sue is an incredible person and photographer and very much worth studying and learning from. Thank you to both of you for your comments and readership on Go{4}Pro.

      • Rachel says:

        Leah, I was actually kind of concerned at the tone of that comment and had lost a little bit of respect for this blog because of it. So thank you for clarifying.

    • I agree! I wasn’t sure how she would be able to charge $3500 per day(if she shoots 7days a week) for photography sessions that an average person would be willing to bye. I think it was a great question as I didn’t realize she was not in the USA. Maybe she sells actual art work and not just the digital files. Hopefully she will respond to one of these posts and clarify 🙂

      • Kat Ferraro says:

        Hi Amanda, Product does come with that but more importantly, it’s not about looking for an “average person”. It’s about finiding the right people. Those who truly value what you do and create. Now, obviously – that better mean that you’re creating something exstrodinary. But these clients are willing to save because they want this bad enough. Just like the person who saves for their Tesla, or for that Louis Vuitton, or the person who decide to go first class just this once. It’s not for everyone, and these companies aren’t trying to sell to everyone – they want the right people who get what they are all about. Hope that helps!

  11. Annette says:

    Really great info. Thank you for posting!

  12. Faith says:

    Great article! Off to look at Sue’s websites now.

  13. all i can say is wow….wow wow wow….you have moved me …ths was the most amazing class i have ever had ….ive been in photography for the past 3 years and i am getting ready to do the leap ….the tricks,honesty,beauty posing ,makeup..and your natural beauty bring me closer to my dream …if some day i can be only half of the photographer you are …i wil die a happy french/italian man …thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge ….god bless you my beautiful photography Goddess !

  14. Kelly Grace says:

    Great interview and a cache of useful info for even the casual photographer.

  15. Emma says:

    I believe the first $25000 week was based in her home studio in New Zealand, just outside Auckland. New Zealand’s economy is not strong at all, I would say weaker than the US and a MUCH smaller population, so $25000 is absolutely amazing.

  16. Studio Style says:

    Although this post is over a year old, there is a lot of great information here. Thanks for introducing us to Sue Bryce.

  17. Bonitiful says:

    I love photography …beautiful job.

  18. Shannon Perry says:

    I want do a “photo shoot” of my beloved cousin who’s been battling a rare unknown cancer and capture her beauty and strength. Any ideas about posing, settings, etc.?

  19. Jun says:

    Excellent job, I like your photos!

  20. Harley says:

    Good afternoon!
    I was looking at pictures on Pinterest; I saw your pictures, I was on your site, I saw the video, I saw more pictures and …… are WONDERFUL! Congratulations, great job !!!
    Sending a Great Hug and peace of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, amen!

  21. Jaspal Bhogal says:

    Very impressed .You are a true entrepreneur and a good example to lot of upcoming young photographers.

  22. Mrgella says:

    Ran across your blog on Pinterest and really enjoyed this first (for me) post.
    One suggestion: consider using BLACK or larger/bold font as it is difficult to read on a phone with or without reading glasses.

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