Unlocking Success with Sissela Johansson
Episode 95: Sissela Johansson
In Episode 95 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser chats with Sissela Johansson, a boudoir and portrait photographer from Denmark who is based in Connecticut. When Sissela relocated to Connecticut, she already had been a photographer for 7 years and had her website and portfolio ready to go. However, it took much longer than she expected to book clients and start making money in her business. As a result, she felt a lot of frustration, as many photographers do. Sissela soon realized that being a skilled artist is not enough. You also must do your self-value work, and your marketing work, and know how to speak from your passion so that people can find you and know about you.
Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear how Sissela overcame her frustration in order to unlock her success. You also might be interested to hear how committing to In-Person Sales has increased her profits. As well, Sissela discovered that honing in on her ideal client has allowed her to let go of aspects of her career that were draining so that she feels energized by her work.
You can find the SBE courses talked about in this podcast here: Self-Value Courses.
And here are two Portrait System Podcasts also mentioned: Empower Body Positivity with Teri Hofford and Episode 47: How Nataliya Lalor Built a Six-Figure Family Photography Business in Two Years with SBE.
In this blog, you’ll find some of Sissela’s soulful portraits, links to her web presence, and answers to some bonus questions.
Get to Know Sissela Johansson
Q: Most artists have a point in their life when they knew this was meant for them. Do you have that moment?
A: It’s interesting because I’ve always been incredibly creative. I sketched and painted from a very early age, and I learn many creative things easily, like sewing and knitting. But I always had it in my head that I was going to be a historian. So much so, that I pursued it from an early age. The day after my graduation party where I was to apply for university (in Denmark you choose a subject from the beginning that you want to dive into, like history), I was reading about the degrees that I could apply for and fell in love with the description of Religious Studies. There was a lot of history in it but also mythology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and such, so I decided to study Religion. I got my bachelor in it, but during my studies, I was miserable.
In that time, I also got a camera in my hands for real for the first time, and I started falling in love with photography. By the time I finished my bachelor and had started on my first semester of my masters in Religious History, I was done. After an exceptionally grueling exam on my first semester which I failed, I decided I was done being miserable. I realized I was creative by nature and not long after I applied to study Textile Design, Handicraft, and Communication. I also opened up my business as a photographer. Everyone around me was like “About time!” They were just waiting for me to realize I was supposed to be an artist and a creative. I only completed half my degree in Textile Design when I decided to come here to the States. And then my life changed completely and photography became my biggest passion. Zero Regrets!
Q: How did you push past fear when building your business?
A: Excellent question! Fear is such an interesting size. I have always been rather fearful, but I have also always pushed through it. When I started building my business, I had a ton of fear of failure. Now that fear has turned into fear of success. But that’s a different story. For me, the most important thing was that I didn’t have an option in my mind to fail in this. In this country, I am practically un-hire-able. I don’t have any work experience besides my business here. I don’t have a very useable degree. So if I want to build the life I want with the flexibility I want, photography is the only way to go in my mind. That enables me to push through a lot of the fear — thinking the thought through and asking “Well, what is the alternative?”
When you are faced with your own survival, fear becomes less important. At this point, when fear rears it’s ugly head I recognize it, acknowledge it, and then I try to be curious about why I am fearful. I ask it questions, so to speak. That way the fear becomes less dominant and becomes more about problem solutions instead.
But, I have always enjoyed doing things that scare me. Coming here, moving my entire life was excruciating, but I did it because it was something I needed to experience. You are not going to evolve and grow as a human if you let that fearful voice dominate your life. I try to use the fear to propel me into action.
To use a very used quote: “But What if I fail? Oh, but darling, what if you don’t?”
Q: Explain how Sue Bryce Education helped you overcome obstacles in your business.
A: The biggest obstacle was realizing my worth and learning to charge appropriately.
I remember sitting in different IPS (In Person Sales) groups on Facebook for a long time, but the Sue Bryce community was the one I frequented the most. One day, I decided that now was the time to start my own IPS journey, so I bought a month worth of Sue Bryce Education, and I just learned as much as I could in that month. I didn’t have much money back then, so $35 was the most I felt like I could afford.
That has since changed, again, thanks to SBE I now know the value of investing in myself and my business. But that one month completely changed my life. It was honestly rather easy for me to implement the high prices. But I think that is because the Danish currency is so different, so 2000DKK is waaaaaay less than $2000. It played a wonderful trick in my brain, and it felt rather natural to raise my prices after having learned about CODB (Cost of Doing Business) and all those wonderful things.
When I one day decide to open my business in Denmark with my current prices, I will have to do A LOT of Money-Value Work (thankfully, there’s a ton of videos for that) because I do have money blocks around charging high prices in Denmark. Until then, I can kind of postpone that discomfort and focus on the current things I have to overcome.
But honestly, that is the beauty of SBE. When I dove into it, I already had a portfolio and was confident in the quality of my work. I just needed the value work. I love that I can go back, look at the videos, and do some really valuable self-work so I not only grow as a business person, but as a human. Safe to say, I have shared the Money Leaks Podcast episode with A LOT of my friends.
Q: Making a connection with your subject is one of the most important parts of a great portrait. How do you make lasting connections with your clients?
A: Ah yes, connection. Connection is everything, and I pride myself on having a great connection with most of my clients. It all starts in the discovery process. When we talk on the phone initially, I ask questions about them, and I tell about myself. It becomes more a conversation between friends than between a photographer and their prospect. I guess, I am not the best business person in that way because I don’t put a time limit on my interactions with my clients.
I share a lot of myself, and encourage them to do the same. For a moment, or a period of time, my client is my friend and I am theirs. So when it becomes time to have them in front of my camera, they already know me and who I am. They know I am not scary. That I don’t judge them. They know that I have their back, and I will hold their hand every step of the way.
During the session, we keep talking. I direct them, gently. I praise them. I make face relaxing exercises with them to help relieve their facial muscles but also to make them laugh. I have a lot of self-irony, so I literally do these exercises in front of them, with them, making myself look incredibly silly — giving them a chance to see me as vulnerable.
Connecting is all about sharing energy and love. Allowing a person to enter your sphere. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I probably share too much of myself, but it has meant that I have met a ton of amazing, generous, loving people, and a lot of them have become my very good friends. They tell me I make it easy for them to be in front of the camera.
I also never tell them to smile. I tell them that they should only smile if they feel like it, and I will never force them to do anything they don’t want. I recognize their discomfort, and all in all, it just means that there’s a very relaxed, familiar atmosphere on set, no matter where we are.
I think some people would consider me unprofessional because of this, but I let the portraits speak for themselves.
Q: Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
A: I see myself as a traveling photographer. I want to be hired all over the world, having the flexibility to be wherever I want to be whenever. I have realized that I have become a person with a lot of different homes that are scattered all over the world.
When you decide to give up a part of your heart to a home, placing those parts in different locations, your heart will always long to be whole, aching towards the parts you have left in other countries. That is my heart. I long to be somewhere else almost at all times. And when I am there, I long to be back. It’s just how it is. So I’ve decided to build my business around that longing. I don’t exactly know how yet. But I know that I want it, and I will figure it out as I go.
I also see my work move in an even more passionate direction. I want to be hired for my heart and not for my skills. By that, I mean that I often find myself in a situation where the creativeness of the shoot must step aside for the need of my client. I am working on attracting the type of client who wants the artistic portraits. Yes, I can do headshots, but I am a very passionate person and I have a very hard time doing things I don’t love to do. A very spoiled mindset, but none-the-less true.
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FULL TRANSCRIPT: Please note this transcript was generated by AI and may contain errors.
00:00:00:02 – 00:00:02:07
You’re listening to the Portrait System podcast
00:00:02:20 – 00:00:19:13
For me personally, I ended up beating myself up so hard because I saw these people and I was like, Why the heck is it that these people can do this? Why is it that they can push aside their their sorrows and their pain and still make it? Why can they push through their discomfort when I can’t?
00:00:22:08 – 00:00:53:13
This is the Portrait System Podcast, a show that helps portrait photographers and people hoping to become one. Navigate the world of photography, business, money and so much more. We totally keep it real. We share stories about the incredible ups and the very difficult downs when running a photography business. I’m your host, Nikki Closser, and the point of this podcast is for you to learn actionable steps that you can take to grow your own business and also to feel inspired and empowered by the stories you hear.
Today’s guest is Sissela Johansson and while she’s originally from Denmark, she now lives in Connecticut.
00:00:53:23 – 00:01:22:14
Sissela really was an open book during her interview, and we talk quite a bit about what it’s like when you see other photographers becoming really successful while you’re still feeling like you just aren’t making the growth you want. This is an honest and raw interview, and it actually reminds me of Sissela ‘s work. Her work is what I would call soulful and connected, and she’s just an incredibly talented portrait photographer. OK, it is my honor to introduce to you, Sissela Johannson. Hey, Sissela, welcome to the portrait system. How are you?
00:01:22:25 – 00:01:23:28
Hi, Nikki, how are you?
00:01:24:04 – 00:01:27:02
I’m doing great. Hey, where are you calling in from today?
00:01:27:24 – 00:01:29:21
I am currently sitting in Connecticut.
00:01:30:03 – 00:01:32:15
Oh, Connecticut, OK? We are not from Connecticut.
00:01:32:22 – 00:01:36:12
Oh, no, no, no, no. I’m born and raised in Denmark. OK, that’s what I thought.
00:01:36:22 – 00:01:38:17
Very cool. And how long have you been in Connecticut?
00:01:39:25 – 00:01:45:12
Well, I came here the first time in 2014, but I’ve been living here since April 2016.
00:01:46:04 – 00:01:48:17
Oh yeah. So only just over five years.
00:01:49:03 – 00:01:51:04
Yeah. Yeah, it feels like a lifetime.
00:01:52:25 – 00:01:55:15
I mean, were you a photographer when you were in Denmark?
00:01:55:25 – 00:02:04:01
Oh yeah, I’ve been a photographer for like 12 years. I think at this point. Oh, OK. I’m trying to count. But. Yeah.
00:02:04:20 – 00:02:35:01
OK, cool. And one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is is you have left us a message on the the application part of the website. So, you know, real quick, I’m not sure if people listening, if you know that there there is a place on the Sue Bryce education website where you can apply to be a guest on the portrait system. And Sissela you’re very, you know, active in our Facebook group and I’ve always loved your posts and just your positive energy and everything, and you know, you just ask good questions.
00:02:35:09 – 00:03:09:24
So I’ve noticed you for sure. And then when you you made a post and when you were applying it through the website to be on the podcast, you had said that you were feeling, you know, a little frustrated because you were seeing posts from people saying how they were making these big sales and that wasn’t happening for you. And you’re just like, Oh, and then some things changed, and then all of a sudden you were making the sales. And I just think it’s I’m just really curious of your whole story and what changed. So just to give people kind of like a rundown of of what really interested me, you know, to get you on so.
00:03:10:07 – 00:03:12:17
So yeah, so this will be good. I’m excited to hear all about it.
00:03:12:25 – 00:03:13:29
OK, it’s a big story.
00:03:15:10 – 00:03:22:28
OK, so you said you’ve been a photographer, 12 years started in Denmark. You moved to Connecticut. So tell us what happened from there.
00:03:23:15 – 00:03:57:04
Well, I moved to Connecticut because I got married. I didn’t plan on finding myself an American husband. But you know how it goes. You don’t choose who you fall in love with them. I fell in love with an American, so and I was very I’ve always been very fluid in my movement, around wherever. So I’ve always traveled a lot. I’ve always I always had a lot of adventure in my body, so I was like, OK, I’m in a position where I can move, so I’m going to be the one doing that. And I came here, we had applied for my my engagement with my K-1 visa.
00:03:57:13 – 00:03:59:02
It’s probably people who have seen the show,
00:04:00:18 – 00:04:32:06
that whole visa process. And I remember the day that I got the visa, it was like March 8th. I’d been to an interview with the embassy in Sweden because that’s the closest embassy, and I was on the plane the same day and I got married not very long after. Wow, that’s a whirlwind. It was a whirlwind, and I like to live like that for better and for worse. And yeah, so I waited like six months for my work permit to come in. And when that happened, I opened up my business immediately.
00:04:32:18 – 00:04:44:16
I was doing some like for the fun of it, shoots t and p type for print shoots. And when I had the chance, I just opened up my business and then nothing happened.
00:04:46:10 – 00:04:48:27
This was like in September 2016.
00:04:49:09 – 00:04:58:21
And let me ask you this, though, when you were in Denmark, were you? Did you have a successful business where you were selling, you know, packages? Or, you know, what did it look like in Denmark?
00:04:59:06 – 00:05:36:04
It was way different. Like back then I was in my early to mid twenties, so it wasn’t an established business per se, it was a business. I paid my taxes and I was a registered and all these wonderful things. But I was also studying at the time I was studying textile design, handicraft and communication, which is way different than than than photography. But. Back then, it was shoot and burn, it was I did some weddings. I’ve apparently that’s the thing. You start out with weddings. I just need some, some small Danish weddings, Danish weddings, are in general small, making it way easier and very, very intimate.
00:05:36:23 – 00:06:11:12
And I was trying to get on my feet as a business owner, but same time I was studying, so it was limited. But here, when I moved here, I knew that I would be pretty much unhirable. I don’t have a useful degree. I don’t have work experience here. Back then, I basically didn’t exist like on records. And a lot of immigrants have gone through the same thing. And so. My ex and I at that time, we were in agreement that photography was the best way to go about it.
00:06:11:24 – 00:06:26:15
And he really supported me and believed in me and he loved my work. He was like, one day you’re going to be the one who supports me. Wow. Yeah, I was very lucky. There’s no question about it. So, yeah, I wasn’t successful in my business before then, either.
00:06:26:24 – 00:06:50:06
OK, so so you decided here you were going to open a business, here you’re doing some, you know, time trade for print, that sort of thing where you’re just doing trades and. And so at that point, you know, did you have pricing or did you have a website? Give us an idea of when you first started out here in the States, what it looked like and what were you shooting too?
00:06:50:20 – 00:07:22:01
So I had a website. I had one back in Denmark, so I had a website that I brought with me. I have no idea how the SEO on that one was. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t very detectable. So I had my website, I had pricing. I started out. I think this was a very short amount of time. I had this pricing because not long after I discovered Sue Bryce, but I think I was like around $400 to $500 for my services as a portrait photographer, but very much inspired by fashion and beauty. That was like where it came from.
00:07:22:12 – 00:07:35:12
Right, right? Yeah. OK. So you said before you found Sue, you were right around four hundred. So. So talk to me about. You know what, what made you decide to change things and just kind of what happened from there?
00:07:36:02 – 00:07:48:04
Excellent question. I was in a lot of Facebook groups and I was not getting any clients. I didn’t know how to get any clients. It’s still a struggle. But now I actually know how it’s just a matter of implementing.
00:07:49:23 – 00:07:51:00
00:07:51:02 – 00:07:54:13
truth. Oh my gosh, it’s like we all know what to do. It’s just, are we doing it?
00:07:54:19 – 00:08:21:24
Oh my god, I can teach this stuff, but I’m not very good at following my own advice or the things that I’ve been taught. So there’s that. But back then, I had no idea. I just thought that if I put myself out there, maybe put a little bit of money behind a Facebook ad, then I would be discovered and I would people would come to me from all over and I would be wildly successful and start being the one who was the main breadwinner.
00:08:22:06 – 00:08:25:16
Like, why aren’t they finding me like, I’m here? Exactly.
00:08:25:18 – 00:08:29:20
Yeah. Look how good I am. Like looking for work. I’m amazing. Totally.
00:08:32:06 – 00:08:39:07
That was that was kind of the mindset that was going on in my brain back then. I was a little cocky for sure, but it just didn’t happen.
00:08:39:09 – 00:08:51:01
I think a lot of people go through that, though I think a lot of people go through that like, OK, my website’s up and my Instagram page done. I have my portfolio built. Like, why aren’t they coming to me? Like, What’s what’s happening?
00:08:52:00 – 00:08:52:24
00:08:53:04 – 00:09:31:04
Yeah. I think sometimes people forget are in denial. And I was there to, you know, don’t get me wrong, that we have to do the work behind it. We have to do the marketing. We have to do the pricing. And we also have to do the self value work. And I think that’s the part that I think is probably the hardest is the self value piece personally. But I think people kind of forget that put that on the back burner sometimes. And once they do it, it’s like, Oh, so so tell me, because you said in your message that you were feeling frustrated because you were seeing all these big sales and you weren’t getting them.
00:09:31:06 – 00:09:32:16
So tell me a little bit about that.
00:09:32:29 – 00:10:04:16
Well, that happened later because for a year I didn’t. I was in this weird limbo of not getting anything like I got if I had a few clients, but nothing happened. And then Natalia La Law, actually, she’s she’s from my local area. She we somehow got in touch and she was like, She’s like, Sissela you need to raise your prices. Like, seriously. And I had been following along in the whole EIPs groups for a while at that point. And she kind of gave me the kick. And then I was like, the audacity. Tell me what I need to charge.
00:10:04:18 – 00:10:08:01
Oh my God. But it was a great kick, and I’m forever grateful.
00:10:08:21 – 00:10:27:13
Well, Natalia is one of our episodes and one of our podcast episodes. Yeah, she’s episode number forty seven. So if you haven’t heard Natalia’s story yet, definitely check her out too. So, OK, so someone tells you to raise your prices and you’re like, Why? Like, don’t tell me what to do? I hate being told what to do, so I can totally relate.
00:10:29:11 – 00:10:37:16
It sounds like her giving you that kind of encouragement, even though at the time might not have felt like encouragement is what you needed. Yeah, I mean, sounds like it.
00:10:37:20 – 00:11:08:12
It was exactly what I needed, and after I got over my my prideful, what do you call it, when you feel insulted a little bit after I got over that part, I took it to heart and I was like, OK, what is she actually telling me here? And I, when I dug deeper into the whole I.P.S thing and Sue Bryce community, I had found it at that point. I don’t remember how, but I had found it and I was observing for a long while. And so she kind of gave me that kick to jump into it.
00:11:08:21 – 00:11:40:24
And I remember my first like I did a headshot session for a real estate agent, and she paid it regularly. I think you should pay like $500 for it, and she got a number of images. Don’t remember how many, but I said to her, Hey, I’m trying this new thing, I’m going to show them to you in person afterwards as a reveal session. So I practiced on her and she actually like, I did the whole thing. I laid out snacks and drinks and all these different things and.
00:11:41:23 – 00:12:15:26
I actually sold a little bit extra, and that was just a trial trial, and then next time I had a session, it was actually a photographer and it was an hour or so away from me. It was also in Sue Bryce community and she was like, Sissela, I want your work. And she purchased my largest collection because at that point, I rework my prices to fit the soup rice model. So my smallest package was like $1400. And I think my largest one, if I am not mistaken, it’s a while ago was three thousand five hundred.
00:12:16:28 – 00:12:22:25
So they bought my big collection and I was like, That’s my first real IPS session, and I was just
00:12:24:27 – 00:13:01:11
actually actually possible. Whoa. And from there on, I did I.P.S and I got some clients. I started like I. I bought one month of surprise. We didn’t have a lot of money back then. It was like he was supporting me, and he brought me so much that he was OK with this being my full time pursuit. Whether or not I put a full time pursuit into it was another matter. But that was kind of where we were, and so for me to spend money on myself was not something that I had an easy time doing so.
00:13:02:19 – 00:13:28:06
I spent $35 on a month of Sue Bryce, and I just gobbled it all up like I have watched as many videos as I could. I implemented as much as I could in that short amount of time. And entirely changed my business. I looked at those value videos were like crack. it is so funny.
00:13:30:00 – 00:14:02:17
I love that, and I started really deeply believing in my work and to a large extended myself. And I started networking and I met people and suddenly I was out there. I did meet people and my business did start. It didn’t take off, but it started slowly. It wasn’t like an overnight success, but it was there and I started earning some money. I started getting some clients and I did charge my pricing and I did not back down on the.
00:14:03:03 – 00:14:33:15
Well, Sissela, you just said something really important and that is that it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not something that just you wake up one day and all of a sudden you have a $2000 average sale. It just doesn’t. And I think that’s what happens sometimes is people people think that, oh, just because, you know, someone mentioned they had one big sale, that person might have had a big sale, but maybe that’s not their average yet. Or maybe maybe their average is twenty five hundred, but they’ve been doing this forever.
00:14:33:21 – 00:14:54:23
Or, you know, they were super fortunate to have tons of time and energy to put into their business. And they spent the last six months just like kicking ass and doing everything. And yeah, it only took them six months. Like, everyone is just on a different trajectory for when their business is going to grow. And there’s so many pieces to that puzzle.
00:14:55:04 – 00:15:28:28
Exactly. And one thing that I noticed in my business was that after the initial like a year or so, things slowed down again because like I did pretty well in the beginning, I had the $2000 average sale I booked really well. The phone calls went well. People were attracted to me and my message back then. And somewhere along the way, I started being miserable in my personal life, and I brought that with me and I no longer spoke the passion.
00:15:29:03 – 00:16:05:12
I no longer felt it. I no longer had the ability to connect with people the same way I had when I started out doing it that way. And I think that was probably the hardest blow. It’s like, Well, I’m on this upward trajectory. It’s going great and suddenly it’s not. And back then, I did not have the foresight to look inwards and see what the heck is going on with me. And later on, I discovered I’d actually been depressed for a long, long time, and it had affected every part of my life, without me knowing, without me accepting it.
00:16:05:27 – 00:16:08:16
Yeah. So that had something to do with it.
00:16:08:22 – 00:16:21:09
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, depression can be very heavy and like you said, you’ve had some you had some big changes in moving countries, country married, starting a new business. I mean, that’s a lot. That’s a lot going on.
00:16:21:19 – 00:16:50:23
Absolutely. And I did not give myself the permission to actually look at it and be like, Holy, whoa, you have. You have gone through all of this. I didn’t allow myself for that adjustment. I thought I was lazy. I was to an extent, honestly, I was, but also that the other part of it was emotionally. I did not give myself recognition for the fact that I had uprooted my entire life and moved to a country with a completely different culture. And even though I spoke, the language didn’t mean that I spoke the cultural language.
00:16:51:11 – 00:17:22:01
Yup, yup. And I think sometimes we forget to give ourselves permission to acknowledge the things that we are experiencing, whether whether small or, you know, it might not be that you, you know, people listening that they did switch countries and got married and all of that. But I mean, it could be it could be anything. Maybe something is going on with one of your kids or maybe, you know, you’re losing a friendship. I mean, it could be anything that could truly affect you to the point where you internalize it and not you don’t cope with it.
00:17:22:03 – 00:17:56:19
And then it spills over into your business. And that’s why, you know, it’s it’s hard for people to hear this. And this is something Sue and I have talked about quite a lot because she will call people out on this big time. If your business isn’t going well, it’s not the economy. It’s not, you know, the clients are cheap, it’s not. It’s you. It’s something that you’re doing or not doing. Whether it is, your portfolio isn’t strong enough or you’re not marketing and maybe you think you are, but you’re really not in a lot of it is that self value piece and what you are projecting out into the world.
00:17:57:17 – 00:18:12:25
You’re not attracting the client that you want and need because you’re not putting that out. And it is. It’s such a tricky thing to deal with. But if you don’t, big changes are not going to happen in a positive way.
00:18:12:27 – 00:18:21:29
Exactly, exactly. And I was not in a positive place and I as Sue so eloquently puts it,
00:18:22:13 – 00:18:24:01
I totally like
00:18:25:23 – 00:19:00:26
my my energy was. It changed from being this optimist lover of every person, every part of life to being you know depressed and desperate. I was desperate for money because I start feeling the pressure of having to perform, having to start making my way, earning my way, earning my keep. And I’ve always been highly independent. And so suddenly I that was taken away from me by the immigration process, and I kind of allowed myself to fall into it.
00:19:00:28 – 00:19:23:17
I allowed myself to be kept and whether I realized it or not, because I lost soul searching recently. And I don’t think I actively realized that it was the easy thing to do. It was the easy thing to allow myself to be kept, even though that that was part of what ended up costing my marriage. It was a very hard lesson. Not going to lie.
00:19:26:20 – 00:20:00:27
So that desperation that stinks. That stinkiness that that it oozes out of your pores. Everyone around you will sense it, whether they’re going to spend money with you or not. It some people that you know you will. It will probably be supportive and feel that you’re going through something, but not everyone knows you. And so they will stay away from you. Potential clients will stay away from you. And I felt abandoned.
00:20:01:16 – 00:20:32:28
There was a lot of abandonment I felt in my life. Even though I wasn’t, I had everyone around me. I’ve always been very, very blessed with a lot of people in my life, and I have a very close family. But. Even though I found friends here, even though I build myself a community here. I felt so alone, and I felt I was constantly homesick. Yeah. And that made it really, really difficult to actually do the things that I wanted to do.
00:20:34:06 – 00:21:37:16
Really difficult. And there are some people out there, and I think it’s really important because when you’re online, you see all these different people doing different things and the ones that are really making it really having that success. Those people are often people who have the ability to push aside their personal issues a little their different personalities. We all know this. And I’m really impressed by those people, but I’m not one of them. Same exactly. And I think for me personally, I ended up beating myself up so hard because I saw these people and I was like, Why the heck is it that these people can do this? Why is it that they can push aside their their sorrows and their pain and still make it? Why can they push through that discomfort when I can’t? What is wrong with me? Why am I not being a good businessperson, why can’t I just do it? And there is this culture today about just do it, and you’re right.
00:21:38:27 – 00:21:55:24
I mean I hate it, I do too, because not everyone can just fiucking do it. It’s just not how it works. Some people are wired differently, and that’s completely OK. Mm-Hmm. Not everyone is going to make it big in business in their first year. Not everyone’s going to make it big in business in their fifth year.
00:21:56:16 – 00:22:28:17
Yep, it’s true. It’s true. We recently had a discussion in the in the Facebook group. Someone was someone was bothered by posts of people saying, you know about that, they had these big sales. I saw that. Yeah, and I’m in a bother. And that’s, you know, this person is so entitled to their opinion and everyone feels differently about things. And I’m of the mindset that we all are on our own journey and our own path. And what takes, you know, someone six months might take someone 20 years, or maybe they never will.
00:22:29:02 – 00:23:03:24
And it’s just because we’re all wired differently, and some of us can pick up and make a really beautiful portfolio in a matter of months. And some people it takes 10 years, and some people can learn how to do in-person sales like overnight. And some people, it takes longer. And I guess I don’t want anyone to tell people that you have to be a certain way or take a certain amount of time. You know, you don’t have to be the most creative person in the world and the most technical person. There are so many successful photographers who aren’t the best photographers in the world, but their clients love their photos
00:23:04:07 – 00:23:05:01
00:23:05:03 – 00:23:32:18
paying what the prices are. And that’s what matters. And in the end, the people who are doing those sales and who are successful, they’re putting the work in, they’re putting the work in with everything, including that self value. They’re not blaming other people. They’re not judging other people for either being successful or not being successful. They’re just looking at their own business and how they can serve and make their clients happy as well as make themselves happy.
00:23:33:08 – 00:24:04:01
I couldn’t agree more. I looked at that whole conversation. I’ve read most of it actually, and I will have to say anyone who is in the Sue Bryce community in that group right now and who participated in that conversation. Oh my God, you guys are amazing. We had this conversation. It wasn’t. It got a little hot sometimes, but I was really impressed with how everyone handled that conversation. It was one of the reasons why I love that community is because we can have these really difficult conversations where we do not necessarily agree with everything.
00:24:04:17 – 00:24:09:09
But it was just a really wonderful conversation. I have to say that
00:24:09:15 – 00:24:20:12
it was it was very respectfully done exactly that. People didn’t get super nasty and catty. And like you said, it got hot sometimes, but everyone’s allowed to have their own opinion around it, for sure.
00:24:20:28 – 00:24:21:18
00:24:21:20 – 00:24:32:03
agree. And you can share that for you. You weren’t successful at this time in your life because it was something that you were doing or not doing.
00:24:32:17 – 00:24:34:20
For your clients. is probably more what I was wasn’t doing.
00:24:35:22 – 00:24:57:12
Yeah, totally. And I also take full responsibility when my sales start to wane like, OK, what do I need to do right now because I know it’s on me? And there is such empowerment in that knowing that I’m the one who can make this better, that I’m the one who can change this, and I don’t have to rely on other people because that’s such an empowering thing.
00:24:57:24 – 00:25:21:18
Yeah, I actually haven’t thought of it that way. I think you’re absolutely right. It’s I’m the master of whatever I want my world to be like. Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm. Oh, totally. You’re absolutely right about that. I feel like I feel like it was actually part of the conversation. I feel like as a creative. So I am a creative photographer. I consider myself, You are right.
00:25:21:21 – 00:25:32:03
You absolutely are. Your work is very beautifully done. It’s very creative. It’s very just soulful. And I love it. I really do.
00:25:32:15 – 00:25:33:13
Oh, that make me happy.
00:25:35:10 – 00:26:07:22
So I soulful.is a good word because I put a lot of my soul into it, and I think that is part of why it’s so difficult for me to sometimes be a business person because I am a creator first and business person second. And I think. I think finding that balance can be incredibly difficult because, as you said, there are people there, photographers out there who are good at what they do. They might not be the next Annie Leibovitz or whatever, whoever.
00:26:08:02 – 00:26:44:23
But they do something that is valuable and that their clients see as valuable. And that has that is so that they are so valid and they fulfill a need and they have found a way to to make something of themselves in a way that gives them that freedom. And I think I’m I love that I love every single moment of that. And yeah, photography might have started out as just a creative outlet, but you have to find the balance in it because you can be the most amazing artist out there if no one knows you exist.
00:26:45:10 – 00:26:46:26
It doesn’t fucking matter.
00:26:47:03 – 00:26:49:17
It’s so true. It’s so true.
00:26:50:04 – 00:27:22:18
So, yeah, for me, finding the Sue Bryce community was really important because it helped me, first of all, see my value and see, OK, I need to actually have these prices because I want to make a living. I don’t just want to exist. I want to live. I want to travel a lot. I have like my friends, a lot of my family’s in Denmark, my parents live in Sweden. I have friends all over the world. Let’s face it, I want to be able to go wherever I want to be, whenever I want to be. That demanded me a level of financial freedom that I can’t get from being the struggling artist.
00:27:23:03 – 00:27:27:17
And I hate that narrative. I’m so done with that narrative. Oh yeah.
00:27:28:04 – 00:28:09:04
Oh yeah. Well, you know, in just one more thing about that, the post that you know, the person in the group was that I think she used the word like like nauseated her to see people making these posts about money. And when I see the money posts, you know, money can bring a lot of guilt and shame and resentment to people. And I know I went through it Sue talks about it all the time. She’s got, you know, we talk about it in the podcast episodes that I’ve done with her here. It’s on her website. She has the money talks and all of that. And when I see someone posting that they had a ten thousand dollar sale or $20000 a month or whatever it is, I’m thinking, Oh my gosh, think of all the life experiences they’re going to have with that money.
00:28:09:06 – 00:28:42:06
Like, Yes, good for them. I get so pumped. And that’s like one of the reasons I love doing this podcast so much is it’s not just about the money, it’s yes, it is money. But having that money allows you to visit your friends in Switzerland and your family in Denmark, and to travel and same with me and to give my kids these experiences that they would never have if I didn’t have money. So, yes, it’s about the money, but it’s not. It’s about the experience. So to me, when I see ten thousand dollars, I think, wow, that’s like ten plane tickets or that is, you know, a new four wheeler.
00:28:42:16 – 00:29:01:17
And you know something for my kid to be able to like, ride in the dirt. Like, I’m totally going off on a tangent with all of this, but I guess it’s just such people have different outlooks on money. And if you can shift your outlook to a positive instead of a negative, it can change everything.
00:29:01:27 – 00:29:31:23
I completely agree. And one of the like that post actually resonated with me. Not the whole nauseated part. That’s a different side, but the whole seeing these posts about money. I go back and forth on it. I sometimes I see them and I am wildly ecstatic on their behalf, like, Oh my God, that’s so freaking amazing. Like, these people are actually doing it. And other times, I don’t feel it, and I’m like,
00:29:33:08 – 00:29:36:15
Oh yeah, which I think that’s normal to. I mean,
00:29:37:00 – 00:30:00:02
but then again, so what happens when I when I do that now is I kind of look in what’s going on like, OK, Sissela, why the heck are you having this reaction right now? What’s going on with you? What’s going on in your brain? And I think about it and usually is because I want what they have. Mm-Hmm. And I can’t have that right now. Not if I keep this attitude, I can’t.
00:30:01:27 – 00:30:12:06
I’ve experienced that so intensely with different situations like, OK, why am I like so upset right now with this? Oh, that’s right, because I want it.
00:30:12:26 – 00:30:29:01
Exactly. I crave this. I want this OK, right? Then find a way to get it. But that doesn’t involve jealousy and that doesn’t involve stinkiness. And yeah. Being jealous of people who have actually been able to make it.
00:30:30:01 – 00:30:33:09
I think and I’m not, I’m not saying that this is the poster.
00:30:33:18 – 00:30:36:10
No, no, no, no, no, no. That’s not. Yeah. No, this isn’t often
00:30:36:12 – 00:30:58:09
times that is the case. You know, and and you know, but maybe it’s not for some people. So I shouldn’t assume that that is and I think a lot of us did assume that. And you know that that’s not OK either. Like, I think we have to just be careful about that. But for me personally, that is one hundred percent what it is when I start to feel angry or envious or jealous. Absolutely. That’s what it is.
00:30:58:26 – 00:31:25:24
Same here. Absolutely same here. I will say, though, so I was I did that one month of Sue Bryce education back in 16 or 17 at this point. And I can be a cheapskate. I don’t always put money behind myself, which is I’m working on that because I’m totally worth actually spending money on myself. And yeah, I need it needed for education, needed for a lot of things, even those shoes that I crave, I need them sometimes, too.
00:31:27:12 – 00:32:05:12
But I pursued a lot of different mentors, mentor groups, and I found a lot of different ones. Not a lot, but some different ones. There was like a couple that stood out, and I really loved being there and loved participating in that community. My only problem was that the focus on money did become too much. It was too much about the numbers and not about the art. And that’s one of the from for me because for me, that is really important. The arts is really important to me, and I felt like listening to all of that, however amazing it was for these people who made these sales, who did that, who were so fricking successful.
00:32:06:18 – 00:32:35:21
I had to step back and reevaluate what I considered success. And I actually withdrew from from those community as instill in them. I just don’t participate that much. And I this is early in the year and spring, and I found the Portrait System Podcast again and I started listening. And then I there was that week, I think, the free week
00:32:38:00 – 00:32:47:21
and I signed up and then I signed up for a month and then within with a like after like half a month. I signed up for the year
00:32:49:08 – 00:33:22:24
and part of that, and I’m not going to lie. I actually haven’t watched that much on it, but I have been in the user group and that has been very valuable. I have I have gone back to there and I’ve I suddenly found a place where I could balance the money and the creativity because I recognize within myself that in order for me to be the business person that I want to be, I need to be the creative person that I want to be. And it isn’t very useful for me to kick myself constantly because I’m not a good enough business person.
00:33:23:18 – 00:33:56:00
Totally, totally. It’s not going to change. That’s who I am. So instead of being upset about that and kicking myself while I’m down, I have recognized that I need to balance the things. I need to be happy in what I do and what I offer, and the message that I send out in the work that I send out because honestly, I try it. At some point I tried like changing my whole aesthetic. It happened kind of automatically and I had to. Rail it in again. I had to look at it and be like, this is not me. People want this. I recognize that people love it.
00:33:56:18 – 00:34:11:05
They’re good pictures. It’s not me. So what is me? And it is really hard recognizing that I don’t necessarily want to do what people want me to do.
00:34:13:00 – 00:34:19:06
I want to be hired for my heart and not for my skills. I can take great pictures in almost whatever style you want,
00:34:21:12 – 00:34:35:09
but that’s not what I want to be hired for. I want to be hired because people see my work and they’re like, Oh my God, I want to be that. I want to see myself like that. I want to see myself through her eyes and.
00:34:36:24 – 00:34:46:21
Standing up for that in yourself takes a little bit of guts because it is not going to do it. You’re not going to go the fast track that way.
00:34:47:20 – 00:35:09:26
Yeah, definitely. And you know, Sissela, I know we’ve talked a lot about just, you know, the whole family and all of that. I know people want to hear about your business, too and just about what what it is that you specialize in and focus on. So would you mind like, who is your typical client? And, you know, just tell me about your work and what you shoot.
00:35:10:02 – 00:35:20:19
OK, so my typical client, oh, that’s I have asked myself that a million times, and I’ve just actually recently started really honing in on who my typical client is
00:35:22:04 – 00:35:55:07
they are creatives themself, whether or not they actually do something creative or they somehow resonate really deeply with it. They come from the ages around 20 to, I would say, around 45. That’s my target demographic at this point, people that actually really resonate with my work. And so the work that I do, I started out with the Sue mindset of of empowerment and and helping women see their true beauty and all of those things.
00:35:55:20 – 00:36:21:29
And then recently, I discovered that that was actually not necessarily what I did. It is what I do. It’s not what I want to market myself as because I took on the clients, my clients, pain on myself a lot, all of their body issues. I saw it and I internalized it. And eventually it had built up to the point of breaking down in front of my therapist.
00:36:24:10 – 00:36:54:18
It was pretty and it happened. So I had a long talk with myself about it and I co-create art. So the clients come to me because they want to see themself as a piece of art. And together we sit down whether virtually or in person, and we make that vision come to life. We talk about how they see themselves, whether they’re on location or whether they’re in studio.
00:36:55:04 – 00:37:12:06
We talk about colors. We talk about scenario. What is it that they want to say with these images? And so it’s become about co-creation. I co-create art. Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm. I don’t know if that made any sense at all. Oh, yeah, absolutely.
00:37:12:14 – 00:37:22:10
Well, and let’s talk about the logistical part of it. Yes. You know, like, so do you have a studio? Do you offer hair and makeup to do packages, all car like all that good stuff?
00:37:23:03 – 00:37:54:03
Oh, that good stuff. I don’t have a studio or a borrow studio. Sometimes I have a really good friend of mine who’s amazing photographer who says, Hey, you can shoot here. Awesome. So sometimes I have access to that. I’m very, very lucky. Other times I shoot for my my home before that was what I usually did like before my my whole divorce thing that was what I did, and now I’m open to doing that again. I also go on location or I come to my clients. It’s really individual. It’s up to the client, what they resonate with. Some people like, You know what, I need to get away from my kids. So, yeah, I need to come to you.
00:37:54:18 – 00:38:28:09
Other times, it’s no, you know what? It would be really, really beneficial for me if you came to me. Great. That’s what we do, then. I don’t mind driving. I love driving, actually. So now my clients are coming from I’m coming to my clients all over the state, sometimes out of state, and that’s been really great. I offer hair and makeup if they want it. I focus less and less on it because I have found that I have a really tough time really narrowing down the style that I want the makeup to be in. And I’ve found that it’s because I want less, less, less, less less and I want more.
00:38:28:13 – 00:39:00:15
Actually, I want less overall makeup and I want more shine. So I like the highlights. I like the dewy look. I like the skin looking like skin. So it’s hard for me to feel like the makeup fits exactly my vision. So it’s sometimes it’s just better not. And some people I’ve discovered don’t recognize themself with makeup, so it’s a conversation that happens every single time. Do you wear a lot of makeup? How much makeup do you wear? Do you recognize yourself with makeup and most of my clients? I don’t know why, but most of them are like, No, you know what? Actually, I don’t.
00:39:00:17 – 00:39:38:28
I don’t want a lot of makeup. I just want a very natural look. And even the times where we did a very natural look with the makeup, they’ve been like, that’s still too much. So sometimes the best solution is actually just say, OK, then well, moistured face a little bit of mascara, a little bit of whatever, and that’s it. And some of my best work has been with no makeup. I know it’s totally like outside of what most photographers usually do, but I really like it this way. It resonates really deeply with me because I do keep my editing of the skin to a minimum, though it takes a lot of editing to make a skin skin look that natural.
00:39:40:00 – 00:39:52:09
Yeah, no, I love this. I love this, and I love that you have your own vision and what you’re putting out there and you’re attracting the clients that want to be natural. Yes, I mean, that’s just how how it works. And I was like, I love it,
00:39:52:21 – 00:40:21:04
and it’s a lot of fun. And so far I have a session fee. I’ve pretty much kept to the Sue Bryce style, though my packages has changed a little bit from hers. So I have a session fee that started out with three fifty. That was like back when I started doing apps and then due to another mentor, I ended up charging seven fifty with a $500 print credit and somehow that confused the crap out of me. And I figured if a confused mind says no, what about if I’m the confused mind?
00:40:23:07 – 00:40:24:12
I can’t imagine that being good.
00:40:24:20 – 00:40:26:08
So right, right? I hope
00:40:26:10 – 00:41:05:12
it’s funny. I actually went back to 350 and then I did some calculations about what I want to be doing with my clients, how I want to be doing it, and sometimes I do want to buy a dress or a prop or something that is going to make this stand out. And so I and I’ve started offering editing, and so it’s like not offering editing. I’ve started outsourcing my editing parts of it. The skin part and the backdrop part because I want to be able to offer these things and do do these things. And OK, then I realized that I need to have a higher session fee and now it’s five hundred doesn’t offer any print credit and I am working on being very comfortable there.
00:41:06:01 – 00:41:15:27
Yeah, that’s great. So, so since it doesn’t, since that session fee doesn’t offer any print credit or anything, where do they go from there? Is it just a la carte from there or do you have the packages still?
00:41:16:03 – 00:41:50:05
I have packages. I have three main collections. My eight image collection doesn’t include any box. My eight image collection is $7500 and my 16 image collection is two thousand seven hundred and can either be a box or an album. And then I have my three. thousand 700 collection with 25 images that are also either books or album, and they may if they buy that one, they recently added that they will be a VIP member, which means that they will be able to come in forever.
00:41:50:19 – 00:41:57:26
As long as I’m in business and have a complimentary session, have their session fee waived, basically.
00:41:58:12 – 00:42:00:15
OK, very cool. And what do you sell most of?
00:42:00:28 – 00:42:22:28
I sell my middle collection the most. I have found that personally, I really love albums. I don’t know why that happened in the beginning. I just really love the boxes. And then I started offering albums and I saw them and I found my album vendor. That is, they’re so versatile so I can like, I have beautiful silks or beautiful velvets or whatever, and I didn’t think I would love a velvet album, but I love it.
00:42:24:06 – 00:42:28:28
Oh, that sounds great. I’ve shifted to liking albums more as well from the box.
00:42:29:04 – 00:43:03:00
It just really resonates with me. And when you open up an album and you have a full bleed image, it’s just so impactful and I love every single part of it. So I definitely sell more albums now because that’s what I speak from. That’s that’s the passion that I speak from. I do offer wall art a la carte, and they’re all framed and everything, and I don’t sell a lot of it and I know why. It’s because I don’t particularly resonate with wall art, and I know that’s where the big sales are. But you know what, if I can consistently pull in two thousand seven hundred dollars per client, then I’m actually pretty content.
00:43:04:03 – 00:43:31:20
Yeah, yeah. I mean, everyone has their own and this goes back to what you said before is everyone has their own. Goals and needs, and some people do this part time, some people do it full time, some people are supporting their family, some people are just looking for a little bit of extra fun money. I mean, everyone has their own what is OK for them and twenty seven hundred dollars average, it sounds pretty incredible to me.
00:43:32:12 – 00:43:44:12
I will say that’s not my current average, though. A lot of my clients do buy that, but I also have some headshots, things and things coming in, being in the mix. And that makes my average, I think currently around 1800.
00:43:44:21 – 00:43:46:25
Still, that’s that’s amazing.
00:43:47:00 – 00:44:17:02
I’m pretty. I’m pretty satisfied. It’s I need I need consistently $1400 every single session because of life and living expenses. That’s like my that’s where I need to be. And that’s why my smallest collection is 1700. I don’t count my session fee any part of this right. The session fee is pure. I wouldn’t call it fun spending, but it is fun spending like it is. That is where where I can. It’s creative spending.
00:44:17:04 – 00:44:21:27
This is where I can create the session and really curated and something that I recently started doing more. And I love it.
00:44:22:02 – 00:44:45:23
Yeah, yeah. You know, I kind of I waver between eighteen hundred and two thousand dollar average myself. That’s why it’s kind of just where I’ve stayed for for a long time. And and it’s funny and we’re very similar, although you sound like much more of a creative than I am. But the average the, you know, not wanting to deal with wall art, I don’t really resonate with you. So, yeah, I can I can relate for sure
00:44:46:04 – 00:45:23:20
because of it. I’ve actually recently added it off only, and it doesn’t. I don’t necessarily show the price on my product guide, but if people like Sissela, I don’t care about prints, then I’m not going to push it down their throat. It’s like, OK, then if you want to chose, you need to buy a minimum of five and they’re $220 per digital. And that works really well with people who does headshots and who wants hot shots and things like that, or models or actors or people who who don’t necessarily resonate with the whole shebang.
00:45:24:09 – 00:45:58:25
And I honestly, I love that. I love not having an overhead and I am branching into personal branding, but I’m trying to make it my own and my take, my creative style and add that to personal branding. And I’m really excited about it and my heart is beating really fast because of it. So that’s my indicator that something that’s right, like when my heart started beating fast, when I talk about it, then I’m like, OK, yes, yes, this is what I need to do as well. So I want to balance between personal branding and my more typical portrait sessions, and this is also an excuse for me to photograph more men because I love photographing men.
00:45:58:27 – 00:46:31:27
Men are so amazing in front of the camera and are often easier to work with. It’s just how it is. There’s less often less body issues. And while I I worked so much with, I’ve been such a therapist for so many of my clients that at this point, sometimes I just want an easy session. Sometimes I just want to not deal with the body image, not be. The therapy has not internalize all their self images because I can’t fix it.
00:46:32:03 – 00:46:36:09
I listen to Terry’s podcast episode Yes, Yes, Yes, Oh my god, I love Terry.
00:46:37:24 – 00:46:39:01
She is amazing.
00:46:39:15 – 00:47:19:06
She’s amazing, and her her space for four that is is really profound and amazing. And while I was listening to it, I thought a lot about it, and it really came back to the conclusion that I’d made before. I don’t have enough space to also deal with that. And it’s a hard realization because I want to take all their time and I want to take all their self-worth and sell body images, and I want to I want to put it in my hands and cradle it and hold it and nurture it and make it go away.
00:47:19:19 – 00:47:26:06
But I can’t. Mm-Hmm. And that’s OK. Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm. That’s a resounding yes.
00:47:27:09 – 00:47:42:23
Absolutely. It’s gosh, it’s so wild to hear you say that because when I was a social worker and a therapist and it’s like the self-talk you have to give and sometimes it does with the work that we do, it does spill over into photographs and we have to be prepared for that.
00:47:43:02 – 00:47:45:09
Exactly. Mm-Hmm. Yeah.
00:47:46:05 – 00:48:02:08
Wow. Well, it sounds like you have just made some really just incredible steps towards having the business of your dreams. And that came with a lot of work and a lot of self-reflection and beautiful photos.
00:48:02:20 – 00:48:38:10
Thank you very much. I’m definitely working on it. And it’s I recently I started seeing the clients that I want come to me automatically. I’ve seen an increase in my sales after coming back to this country. I was in Sweden for four and a half months during COVID after being separated. I just kind of needed to just run for a moment. And so I came back because I realized I wasn’t done with America yet, and I came back to the people that the community that I built here and did all the self work and putting it out there, doing all the thinking.
00:48:38:12 – 00:49:17:23
And now the clients that I want, the type of clients that want to co-create that are inspired by these things are naturally coming to me. I have run some portrait calls recently for water portrait sessions and some of these people like. They’re absolutely amazing and they want to be the center of this vision that I have, and it just makes my heart sing every single time. Like the other day, I had this young single mom twenty one years old, and she wants. She wants it. She wants to spend this money because she really values that and she sees it and doesn’t matter how old she is or what her or her financial situation is.
00:49:17:25 – 00:49:48:05
She just wants that. And that. Makes my heart soar, it makes me it makes me feel so honored because I know how how precious money is, especially when you’re a single mom, especially when you’re that young. I know how precious it is. So for me that she comes to me and wants this and wants to spend this kind of money, and I’m very careful with educating like it’s it’s like I drill it into them. This is this is what I charge.
00:49:48:16 – 00:50:15:02
I’m expensive. If you want an album, this is what you’re going to spend and. When they then still book me and still say yes and they hug me and thank me and I, I feel so honored and so privileged that these people are coming to me and suddenly the co-creation is everything. Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
00:50:15:27 – 00:50:20:03
Absolutely. Oh, I feel like I could talk to you all day about this.
00:50:20:18 – 00:50:22:23
I know I’m very passionate about these things.
00:50:22:26 – 00:50:24:15
I’m like, Let’s go get a glass of wine,
00:50:25:02 – 00:50:31:06
please, please. Yeah, yeah. If you ever come to the Connecticut area in New York, please let me know I will take you for a glass of wine or more.
00:50:31:08 – 00:50:36:24
Yeah, yeah. Well, if you’re ever in Michigan, not that people come to Michigan very often, but it’s very beautiful where I’m at.
00:50:37:23 – 00:50:59:00
I’m actually thinking of starting to connect more with photographers around the country because I want to see more of the country. And so I want a road trip more. And so I am thinking of meeting up with photographers around the states and connect with them, maybe create with them and just really get to know them. So, yeah, it might actually be a thing.
00:50:59:11 – 00:51:36:29
Let me know if you do come. It’s really cool being part of this, this photography community. It’s, you know, obviously it’s an international thing. And there have been so many times when I’ve been traveling and I can just like post in the group and be like, Hey, you know, is there anyone in Maryland or, you know, is anyone in going to be in France like that wants to meet up? Or even when I book this huge personal branding gig And I needed five different studios around the states and I was able to get, I think, four out of the five studios from Sue Bryce education members who rent from them.
00:51:37:05 – 00:51:52:24
And it was just the coolest experience. And I feel like any time you know, you could be in any random city and post in the group like, Hey, is someone going to be here? Do you want to shoot together or have dinner or whatever? I guarantee someone’s going to be like, Oh yeah, no problem. Exactly. Really cool to be part of.
00:51:53:04 – 00:52:29:18
I couldn’t agree more. We actually we’re few photographers here in Connecticut that follow the Sue Bryce methods and we are talking about like meeting up more and things like that. And it’s just so empowering, like having having photographers where it’s not about competition, it’s about community, it’s about honing in on this beautiful, beautiful community. We’re not each other’s competition. On the contrary, if we each and every single one of us educate our clients about what is industry standard, what is common to spend, what is reasonable to spend, then it will that make life so much easier for us and for all the new photographers out there?
00:52:29:28 – 00:52:46:01
Totally. I love that. I love, love, love that. Well, on that note, I still have a couple more questions to ask you that I always ask at the end of each episode. Okay. And the first one is what is something you can’t live without when you’re doing a photo shoot? Connection.
00:52:46:18 – 00:52:49:21
I gave this a lot of thought because obviously I listen to the podcast before,
00:52:51:15 – 00:53:32:06
but its connection is vital if I haven’t connected with my client prior through a consultation or something similar or a person that’s in front, my camera doesn’t even have to be a client then. The images will not turn out as nicely. It’s so important for me to connect on a deeper emotional level with the person that’s in front of my camera. And I think that is like one of the things that people tell me is that it’s like, Oh my God, Sissela, how do you? How do you get that connection through the eyes? For example, you can really see they’re so like, Yeah, that takes time, and that takes that takes vulnerability and that takes effort, and it is vital for the outcome.
00:53:32:26 – 00:53:39:00
Yeah. Yeah, I can see it in your photos. Definitely. Yay, I think that’s where I got the soulful comment from you.
00:53:39:02 – 00:53:56:25
Thank you. I’m very happy to hear that it’s so important to me. It’s a picture can be great if you have all the technical details, right? But if you don’t have that deeper connection that comes through communicating that comes through connecting with with the person in front of you, then sometimes not all times, but sometimes it will fall flat.
00:53:57:12 – 00:54:00:13
Mm hmm. It’s true is definitely true.
00:54:00:20 – 00:54:02:10
Did that sound like snooty?
00:54:02:29 – 00:54:04:06
No, and not at all.
00:54:04:08 – 00:54:06:05
It’s true that, yeah,
00:54:08:21 – 00:54:13:17
but yeah. So connection is definitely the most important things for me at a photo shoot. Awesome.
00:54:14:10 – 00:54:17:02
OK, number two, how do you spend your time when you’re not working?
00:54:17:24 – 00:54:21:22
I would like to be one of those people that says I’m not working,
00:54:23:13 – 00:54:53:27
but I’m not because I know that if I if I need, I need that balance. Sometimes I I beat myself up about not working enough, honestly. But I need a lot of downtime. And I spend my downtime binging Netflix or reading. I’ve recently gotten back into reading. I was a huge reader as a kid, and now I’m like back into it and I don’t want to read. I don’t want to read any books that has anything like educational to say to me, You just want to disappear into a world that isn’t my own.
00:54:55:02 – 00:55:11:27
So, so lot. Love reading a lot of Netflix, a lot of traveling when permitted. I go back as much as I can to see my family and friends. I’m very close with them and just in general, like hanging out with people that I care about hanging out with my cat. Mm hmm. Awesome. Yeah.
00:55:12:12 – 00:55:16:14
All right. So let’s see. Number three, what is your favorite inspirational quote?
00:55:17:09 – 00:55:43:01
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this one, and the first one that I thought about was like a beautiful poem about body image, but that didn’t really resonate with me as loud as this one did. And it’s from Gabby Bernstein. I don’t know her, but I love her quote, and it says, don’t wait for a time when you’re free of fear, feel the fear and do it anyway. And that’s kind of how I live my life. I love
00:55:43:03 – 00:55:44:07
that. Me too.
00:55:44:15 – 00:56:24:29
I have so much fear in me. But I tried anyway. Enhanced it. Exactly do it anyway. I wouldn’t have been here in this country if I didn’t push past my fear actually have on my my wrist. I have it too. And in Danish says motte, which means courage. And I got it when I was like 21 and I is like in ruins like Nordic ruins and its hand poked. And every single time, I need a little bit of reminder of having courage and pushing past my fear a kind of rub on it. And I used to so much since I got it as 21 year old, and she’s a great reminder to push past the fear and do it anyway.
00:56:25:01 – 00:56:53:04
Because if you don’t push past your fear, you will never get to the places that you want to be. Fear is not your enemy. Fear is the most amazing motivator. And if you learn how to use that fear, if you learn how to use the fear of loss or fear of success for me is a huge thing. Still working on it? Um, if you if you learn how to work with the fear, you will go to places beyond your wildest imagination.
00:56:54:19 – 00:57:02:12
You have the best voice. I’m like, I want to go somewhere beyond my wildest imagination. When you just said that, I was like, Take me there, like,
00:57:03:00 – 00:57:03:15
00:57:03:17 – 00:57:11:05
this like beautiful voice. I feel like you can do like. I don’t know. Narrating a book or something? I don’t know. Voiceover stuff.
00:57:11:07 – 00:57:15:02
Oh, that sounds like fun. Yeah, I would like to do that. That could be fun. Maybe that’s the next thing.
00:57:15:04 – 00:57:24:26
Yeah, totally OK. Number four, what would you tell people who are just getting started? And that was actually a really good part to that. But what else would you tell people?
00:57:25:17 – 00:57:54:24
Listen. Shut up and listen. Listen to people who have been there. Listen to your clients, to the people who is going to be in front of your camera. Listen to what people are actually telling you. Shut up for a moment and just sit there and be in their space, hold their space and listen to them. Because if someone comes to you and this is like no practical stuff, if someone comes to you and they want s head shot and you have this crazy vision in your head. Amazing. However, it may be
00:57:56:11 – 00:58:17:09
if you don’t listen to them and hear, Hey, I just want a head shot and you’ll end up being disappointed and you end up disappointing them. You will end up miscommunicating and you end up with something that doesn’t feel right. And so sometimes you just have to listen. Educate yourself.
00:58:18:03 – 00:58:30:19
Yeah, that is amazing advice. Amazing. I think sometimes people don’t take the time enough to listen. They’re just so worried about what they’re going to say next. I’m guilty, too. I do it too.
00:58:30:21 – 00:58:42:09
Exactly. And I actually I struggle with this a lot. I mean, yeah, me too. Like, yeah, sometimes I’m a talker. I don’t know if you noticed, but I like to talk. I’m probably one of these people that actually liked to hear the sound of my own voice. I can see why, but
00:58:44:16 – 00:58:46:01
it doesn’t sound like that in my head.
00:58:48:12 – 00:59:14:01
First time I heard myself on and on. Mike, I was like, Wait, is that me? This is weird. This doesn’t sound as weird. It takes to use different matter. But I talk a lot and it is still something. Some of the biggest things that I’m working on with myself is just kind of hold space for space for other people and not think about the next reply and just freaking, listen. And it’s a work in progress, and that’s OK, too.
00:59:14:12 – 00:59:22:13
Mm hmm. Absolutely. Well, on that note, thank you so much for everything. Hey, hey. Where can people find you to if they are looking for you online?
00:59:23:00 – 01:00:00:19
They can find me a few places. My website is bySissela. com. And my Instagram is portraits by Sissela. So same spelling. I also have. I have a bunch of different Instagram profile, but I’m not going to share those. I also called photography by Sissela so that I think those are like my main places. I try to stick to a few social media outlets because I am growing increasingly weary of social media, especially how much I have to keep up with and just keep on running and screaming into what feels like an abyss.
01:00:00:21 – 01:00:07:24
And it just, yeah, I don’t my Instagram. I update my Facebook less regularly than my Instagram, and that’s usually where you can find me.
01:00:08:13 – 01:00:18:18
Awesome. Well, thank you again. Thank you for just sharing everything this was. This was a really, really interesting, thought provoking conversation. So I appreciate everything that you shared.
01:00:19:00 – 01:00:31:06
Thank you. I’m really happy to hear it, and I could go on for hours about this. I love talking with people about things that feels a little heavier than just everyday conversations. So thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.
01:00:31:19 – 01:00:33:22
Yeah. Well, thank you. And we’ll chat soon.
01:00:35:07 – 01:00:36:02
01:00:36:27 – 01:01:09:18
Thank you so much for listening to the Portrait System Podcast. Your five-star reviews really help us to continue what we do. So, if you like listening, would you mind giving us a review wherever you listen? I also encourage you to head over to SueBryceEducation.com, where you can find all of the education you need to be a successful photographer. There are over 1,000 on-demand educational videos on things like posing, lighting, styling, retouching, shooting, marketing, sales, business, and self-value.
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