Make 2023 Your Year to Thrive!


Take action now to build your portrait photography business

Join our step-by-step program, guided by three expert teachers and a supportive community of mentors and peers.

If you love portrait photography, this incredible course is for you. If you want the freedom of owning your own business, or are looking to increase revenue for your existing business, the 12-Month Startup is a step-by-step guide for achieving your goals. The program is led by world-renowned photographer and educator Sue Bryce and two of her protégés, your breakthrough coaches, Cat Ford-Coates and Saray Taylor-Roman. Sue, Cat and Saray have all built six-figure businesses with The Portrait System business model. Even if you are starting with nothing, you can join now, and you’ll learn everything you need to know to launch a sustainable, successful business. Say goodbye to your day job forever.


Sue Bryce is a proud Kiwi, a professional photographer, an educator, and speaker. With 30 years of experience, Sue Bryce is one of the most recognizable photographers in the imaging industry.

Her contemporary portrait style transcends past stereotypes and has changed the face of portrait photography and photography businesses internationally. Bryce created her own ground-breaking educational platform in 2014, in which she uses her signature techniques to mentor and empower thousands of photographers and businesses around the world. In 2015 Bryce was greatly honored to be chosen to represent Canon USA in the Explorers of Light program.

Portrait of Portrait System mentor Cat Ford-Coates


Cat Ford-Coates is an accredited Fellow Master Portrait Photographer. She specializes in business mastery, destination, and studio portraiture. She has photographed clients in: Venice, Barcelona, Munich, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Charleston, Mexico, and Costa Rica as well as has a thriving portrait studio in the mountains of western North Carolina. Cat Ford-Coates is an official Mentor for The Portrait System for Portrait Photographers. She offers 1:1 guidance to help business owners comprehend the material fully, provides accountability, and supports her mentees in a way which allows them to confidently build their businesses from a sustainable foundation.


Saray Taylor-Roman is a Master portrait photographer with The Portrait Masters. She reached Fellow Status in 2019 with 50 silver merits and the winning image in the Teen & Senior category. Saray specializes in Personal Branding and Fine Art Dancer portraits. Regardless of the type of session, her favorite moment is when her clients see themselves through her lens and, for the first time in their life, love what they see. She has been supporting Sue Bryce for workshops, folio builds and The Portrait Masters Conference both domestically and abroad.

WHAT'S INCLUDED IN the 12 Month Start Up

As a member of The Portrait System, you have access to our 12 Month Startup through your member portal on The Portrait System website. Each month, Sue Bryce will introduce and share insights about the monthly topics. Then, go in-depth with live coaching sessions from Cat Ford Coates and Saray Taylor-Roman, who will draw on their real-world experiences establishing six-figure earning portrait studios—mistakes and all—to guide you. Tap in to our membership community for further discussion with Cat and Saray, and leverage our community of peers and mentors to master the skills you need to run a successful portrait photography business. Topics covered in the 12 Month Startup educational course include:

Graphic for portrait photography money and pricing course

JANUARY—Money & Pricing

Learn about all the different financial aspects it takes to run a profitable and successful business—money, value, and pricing. Don’t become one of the 50% of businesses that fail in their first year because they run out of money! You’ll learn tried and true methods to be successful with money, so that you and your business can thrive, not just survive. Those with existing portrait photography businesses, you’ll learn the three areas you can improve to make more money.

FEBRUARY—Portrait Genres & Products

Learn about all the portrait photography genres you can leverage to earn revenue. Also, learn about all the different products that you can potentially offer to your clients. This month, you’ll come to understand how to build cohesion among your brands and products to set you up to be successful in sales. For those ready to expand, we’ll go deeper into your messaging and marketing, working on clarity, and how to show value and create desire.  

MARCH—Service & Client Experience

Learn what it is that makes clients come back again and again, and refer their friends. It’s all about experience. You’ll go through and learn about all the touch-points with your clients so that you can make sure each one is positively memorable. Those ready to elevate their business will work to optimize each of the eight client touch-points.


The client consultation is the most important piece of the puzzle. Learn all the different types of conversations you will have with clients, write scripts, and practice them until the words roll off your tongue effortlessly. The consultation is where you educate and empower your client to make the best decision for them when it comes to the salesroom. When you empower your client this way, you will have great sales! Those with existing businesses will work to refresh and optimize their sales scripts, brush up on key selling points so you can better train up your sales associates.

MAY—Marketing & Networking

Learn how to book in clients and get bums on seats for your portfolio build. You’ll learn how to connect with people at a deep level, making friends with them, so they’ll want to refer their friends to you. Doing the networking and marketing legwork in the beginning of your business expands your personal network, creating a strong foundation for your business so you don’t have to put in the same level of effort down the line. For those ready optimize their marketing and networking, we’ll take a close look at your social triangle—your online presence—making sure it is active, up-to-date, and congruent.


It’s time to get into the details of your workflow from top to bottom—from the client journey to file management. When your workflow is seamless, your business will run smoothly, make your client experience amazing, and free up your time so you can focus on those areas that make you money. Once it’s all set up and done, you can let it roll, but for established photographers, it’s great to reevaluate your workflow quarterly to elevate your experience and update your efficiency and efficacy.


Learn how to create the lighting looks you love. You’ll learn each type of lighting, one at a time, both in the studio and outdoors, starting with natural light and then moving on to constant light and strobe lighting. You’ll also learn how to bounce and control light with v-flats, curtains, and reflectors. For those ready to elevate their work, you can get experimental and truly master light.

AUGUST—Posing & Styling

Learn all about hair and makeup, wardrobe (including DIY hacks), and how to make your clients look their best by directing their movements down to the fingertips. There’s no right or wrong here. Everyone has their own philosophy around posing and styling. For those ready to go further, learn how to use posing in your marketing, including sharing behind-the-scenes of your posing experience and results.


In this crucial month, you’ll learn how to get over the blocks that keep you from earning and keeping money. When you value yourself and your product, you can create a sales environment that joins clarity and conviction with intention to communicate to your clients the value that they receive from you. As your confidence grows, you will make more money!

OCTOBER—Brand & Style

As you continue to master your craft and build your portfolio, you will naturally gravitate toward a certain style and lighting look. At this point, you’ll have so much experience that you’ll be ready to go deeper into experimenting with style, realizing your brand, and honing your signature look. For those ready to scale, you can upgrade your folio and your experience and consider bringing on associate photographers.

NOVEMBER—Launch in Style

This is when it all comes together, and you can go public in a big way. Learn how to create campaigns and events to launch or re-launch your business. This isn’t about getting it perfect. Perfect never happens. This is about taking that step, making the leap, getting yourself out there, and officially launching in style! You’ll be creating buzz, raising brand awareness, and getting those bookings rolling in.


Celebrating your success is an important part of setting yourself up for more successes to come. This month, we’ll celebrate and learn from your successes, all the hard work you’ve put in, how far you’ve come, and how far you’ll go!


You’ll have access to The Portrait System Members-Only Facebook Group together with a global community of portrait photographers. Inside the group, you can:

• Watch Videos posted by your breakthrough coaches on the lesson of the month

• Match up with an accountability partner, so you two can support each other through the whole course

• Share your process, including your challenges and your victories

• Ask questions to the group and to our awesome coaches and mentors who want to see you succeed




You’ll also have access to additional lessons on these topics throughout The Portrait System, and you’ll receive these practical and useful PDFs that you can save and print so that you can reference them whenever you need to:

  • Camera Basics Guide
  • Studio Setup Guide
  • Posing Guide
  • Curves Posing Examples
  • Couch Posing Examples
  • Ottoman Posing Examples
  • Complete Lighting Guide
  • Photoshop & Lightroom Guide
  • Makeup Guide
  • Confidence & Networking Workbook
  • Pricing & Product Guide
  • Contact Sheet Examples
  • Contact Sheet Templates
  • Zoom Sales Consultation
  • TPS Marketing Guide
  • Sue’s Next Steps and To-Do Checklist for Each Section

As long as you are a member, you’ll have full access to the entire 12 Month Startup course so that you can review course video lessons whenever you want, and you can spend as much time as you need on each lesson.

And remember, you’ll be going through this amazing step-by-step instructional guide with the caring support of breakthrough coaches and a group of peers and mentors, who all are working together to help each other and you succeed.

You’ll learn everything you need to know to open your very own working, successful, life-sustaining portrait studio, so that you can start earning money from your photography craft, give up your day job, and set yourself up for a sustainable, long-lasting career as a portrait photographer.


You can make a positive impact on the world with your artistic ability. You can empower people and make them feel beautiful and seen all while building the business of your dreams that supports you and your family.

Why keep dreaming and accomplishing nothing when you can be doing and growing and making positive change in your life? Join The Portrait System and gain access to the 12 Month Startup, so you can learn the next steps you need to build your business and take daily action to make 2023 the year you give up your day job and become a successful entrepreneur.