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Building Confidence: Your Own Stories

Lesson 80 from: 28 Days of Portrait Photography

Sue Bryce

Building Confidence: Your Own Stories

Lesson 80 from: 28 Days of Portrait Photography

Sue Bryce

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Lesson Info

80. Building Confidence: Your Own Stories


Class Trailer

Day 1


First 2 Years: The Truth


Teaching 2 Photographers in 28 Days


Rate Your Business


Year One in Business


Day 2


28 Challenges




Price & Value


Checklist, Challenges, and Next Steps


Day 3


Day 1: The Natural Light Studio


Day 4


Day 2: Mapping Your Set and Outfits


Day 5


Day 3: One Composition - Five Poses


Day 6


Day 4: Flow Posing


Day 7


Day 5: Posing Couples


Day 8


Day 6: Capturing Beautiful Connection & Expression


Day 9


Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands


Day 10


First Weekly Q&A Session


Day 8: Rules - Hourglass, Body Language, Asymmetry, Connection


Day 11


Day 9: Styling & Wardrobe


Day 12


Day 10: Shooting Curves


Day 13


Day 11: Posing & Shooting - Groups of 2, 3, and 4


Day 14


Day 12: Posing & Shooting Families


Day 15


Day 13: Products & Price List


Day 16


Day 14: Marketing & Shooting the Before & After


Day 17


Day 15: Phone Coaching & Scripting


Day 18


Second Weekly Q&A Session


Day 16: Posing Young Teens


Day 19


Day 17: Marketing & Shooting - Family First Demographic


Day 20


Day 18: The Corporate Headshot


Day 21


Day 19: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare


Photoshop Video: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare


Day 22


Day 20: Photoshop - Warping & the Two Minute Rule


Day 23


Day 21: Posing Mothers & Daughters


Day 24


Third Weekly Q&A Session


Day 22: Marketing & Shooting - 50 & Fabulous Demographic


Day 25


Day 23: Shooting into the Backlight


Bonus: Shooting into the Backlight


Day 26


Day 24: Marketing & Shooting - Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)


Photoshop Video: Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)


Day 27


Day 25: The Beauty Shot


Bonus: Vintage Backdrop


Day 28


Day 26: Marketing & Shooting - Independent Women Demographic


Day 29


Day 27: Sales & Production


Day 30


Day 28: Posing Men


Day 31


Bonus: Pricing




Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 1


Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 2


Marketing Part 1


Marketing Part 2


Money: What's Blocking You?


Bonus: The Folio Shoot


Day 32


Photo Critiques Images 1 through 10


Photo Critiques Images 11 through 27


Photo Critiques Images 28 through 45


Photo Critiques Images 47 through 67


Photo Critiques Images 68 through 84


Photo Critiques Images 85 through 105


Photo Critiques Images 106 through 130


Photo Critiques Images 131 through 141


Photo Critiques Images 142 through 167


Photo Critiques Images 168 through 197


Photo Critiques Images 198 through 216


Day 33


Identify Your Challenges


Identify Your Strengths


Getting Started Q&A


Rate Your Business


Marketing Vs Pricing


Facing Fear


The 28 Day Study Group


Selling Points


Interview with Susan Stripling


Emotional Honesty


Day 34


Sue's Evolution


28 Days Review


Student Pitches


28 Days Testimonial: Mapuana Reed


How to Pitch: Starting a Conversation


Your Block: Seeing is What You're Being


Your Block: Valuing and Receiving


Building Confidence: Your Own Stories


Building Confidence: Your Self Worth


Pitching An Experience


Pitching An Experience: Your Intentions


Pitching An Experience: Social Media


Final Thoughts


Lesson Info

Building Confidence: Your Own Stories

Before we go back to our list of pictures, there's a couple more things I need you to write down and confront first. Some will apply to you, some won't apply to you, some you'll resonate with immediately, others you might not pick up til later on, but there's a couple more things that you've got to acknowledge first. Especially if you're struggling to work out what your confidence blocks are. We finished with your creating stories in your own head. We had a conversation over lunch about Narcissus. Read the Greek mythology Narcissus. Narcissus looked at his own reflection every day, and then he fell in the river and died. Then the wood nymphs were crying and the river asked the wood nymphs, or the lake asked the wood nymphs, "Why do you cry for Narcissus?" They say, "'Cause he was so beautiful." And the lake said, "Was he? "When I looked at him, I only saw myself reflected "in his eyes." You know? The story of narcissism is that we all have egos and that we have narcissism. We spend mor...

e time, especially when we feel very undervalued and inferior, we spend more time worrying about what people think of us then what we're giving. This is what I'm trying to say in your pitch. Your pitch is screaming ego, or it's screaming... It's not screaming service, enjoy, and I love doing this. It's screaming, what are you thinking of me, what are you thinking about me, how am I standing, how do I look, are you judging me, am I good enough. The voice of self-doubt gets in the way of just about everything. The voice of fear gets in the way of everything. The voice of self-hate gets in the way of everything. Reset the voice of self-hate by start thinking about what other people are thinking about you. That's your story. When you go back through the slide, I want you to hear YOU are creating Stories, YOU are believing your own Stories, YOU created these stories. Okay, you've created these stories. You've got to try and challenge that what you're seeing, to try and just for one minute think that you're the one seeing this, and that there is another way and you can find it. Sometimes, I'm very good at identifying my blocks now because I'm not afraid of any of my blocks. I feel them come up, sometimes I analyze them. I'm very, very, very, very fortunate that I have a lot of friends where I can sit down, put this on the table, and say, look, I've got this real block right now. For me, my friends, Tiffany and Mark, I had a block about something that somebody said recently and I couldn't move through it. I'm not interested in why the person said it to me or... I'm interested in why it upset me. I put it on the table, we're at dinner, and I said, I've got this problem, I've got this block that I can't just break through, and this was said to me and I can't move past it. They really helped me pull it apart from other perspectives and see if from the perspective of the person who said it, that if I had a really healthy self-belief, would I still feel this way? Maybe it triggers this, and then before I knew it, the insight to what my block was, was really apparent. The biggest hurdle, I think, is that people don't know what their blocks are. You know what your block is, it's the thing that you get stuck on every single time. It's... I mean, there are a lot of stories around your block about receiving. You've told yourself, I heard your reason. Gifts have been used as a weapon. I heard a therapy answer. Right. Like you've analyzed it in therapy, even if that therapy was yourself. You've realized people have used that. The bottom line is not that somebody used gifts as a weapon. The bottom line is that you have a problem receiving. Yeah. Okay. That is your block. Not that other people used you, not that other people use gift giving to get something, but that you can't receive. Bottom line, you. You. You have told a story around that. You believe your own story. You made that story up. Okay? When we are confronted, stop and say, the faults comes down to me and what I'm seeing if I can't find a way to pull it apart. But don't email me and say, what is my block? 'Cause I don't know, but if you email me and say, my block is. Then I can answer that question, but I don't know how to answer what is my block. You're the only one that knows it. But it'll be in one of the things that we talked about. Confidence. I love the fact that most people describe me as a strong, confident woman. Confident I don't think is a word that I would describe myself. At all. Confidence is not a word that I would use to describe myself. I love the idea that you think I'm confident. What is confidence then? 'Cause if I think about what is confidence, is it about being self-assured, is it about being... Okay. I want you to write confidence on a piece of paper and I want you to write everything you are truly confident about. Okay? I am confident that I have photographed enough women that I am going to give a great photographic experience to anybody I photograph. I've done it, it's tried and true. I am confident that if I get you alone in my studio with a beautiful dress and a makeup artist, I'm gonna take the best photograph you've ever seen of yourself. That I'm very confident on that. I am confident that there is nothing I can't work out on Photoshop 'cause I've been playing with it for years and years. I used the first version of it. I am confident that I'm going to... What else? What else am I really confident about? I want you to write the things that you're really truly confident about. Notice that none of those things are who you are. They're things you do, right? I am confident in doing these things. If I speak about the things I'm confident about doing, I sound confident because I'm very confident speaking about them. How many people have you ever looked at and said, I'm gonna take the best photograph you've ever seen of yourself. I mean, that's a pretty bold statement. I believe it. I believe it. Most people have bad photographs so they're gonna love the photographs that I take of them. I'm gonna do my best to take the best photographs. If I miss, I'll try again. I won't stop. It is my goal. My sole purpose is to take the best photograph you've ever seen of yourself. None of that confidence has to do with me. I'm not confident that I'm attractive because sometimes I'm not. Sometimes you walk in the room and you're the prettiest woman in the room. Sometimes you're the ugliest and the oldest. Sometimes you're the thinnest, sometimes you're the fattest, sometimes you're the youngest, some... There's always gonna be someone prettier, younger, smarter, richer, thinner than you. So you can't be confident in how you look. It's only in who you are, and who you are is not your physical self. Who you are is what you give. I have an incredible empathy for all humans and animals, for any living being. I feel everything people feel. Okay? I am also a very selfish, grumpy person when I'm hungry and tired. You ran into me when I'm hungry and tired, you will not like me at all. And rightly so, none of us are perfect. If you meet me, and I'm tired and hungry, and you get in my face, and you're like, oh, can I have a picture with you or can I... I'm gonna be like, really? I don't have compassion for you right now. I don't have compassion for myself. I'm tired, I'm grumpy, I'm done, and I need to go home 'cause I'm gonna be horrible to you. It's not who you are in that moment 'cause we don't know where people are at. We don't know if you didn't get any sleep last night, if you just broke up with your boyfriend, if you lost somebody you love. Everyone has a reason for being grumpy or tired or hungry. So again, what are we talking about? What is confidence? It's so... People say, I just don't have the confidence. I'm scared of rejection. Okay, self-hate, yes. I have a lot of self-hate. If I feel threatened or if I feel in a way that people are going to reject me, my self-hate comes up and says, yes, you'll get rejected, you get rejected all the time. Then that voice inside you goes... (whimpers) Then all of a sudden, you just feel your confidence drain away. That's just self-hate, you can deal with that. That's your voice. I believe when you speak through your true power, you find an enthusiasm that is so real and authentic, you don't need any confidence. Even an introvert becomes an extrovert when they're excited about something. My big brother is an introvert. I'm an extrovert, he's an introvert. As children, he would say, "Mom, Mom, "Sue's next door at the neighbors house." Mom would have to come, and I'd be sitting at the table having a cup of tea in somebody else's home. I was four. We grew up, he's shy, he's quiet, he's shy but when he's excited about something, you can't shut him up. He is the shyest, most beautiful, gentle man but when he is on his soapbox, when he's passionate about something, it's like a different person. I think, wow, even an introvert becomes an extrovert when they're enthusiastic. I have to ask, when you're pitching, what is the part that gets you most excited about what you do and are you pitching with that voice? Are you holding that energy in your heart, in your mind, in your whole being when you are pitching and selling your work? Or are you thinking about what they're thinking of you? Are you stuck in what they're thinking of you and telling yourself a story? Or are you simple getting excited about what you do? Now, I don't need anymore to sell what I do. I know what I do so well that I say it with complete enthusiasm. I feel very enthusiastic about what I do. I'm so enthusiastic about being a glamour photographer that if somebody embarrassed me or said, I think what you do is disgusting and humiliating to women, or I think it's horrible and over photoshopped, or I think what you do is a lie, or if somebody... Or why do you charge so much? If somebody challenged me about being a glamour photographer, I don't have a block around any of those criticisms. I've heard them all. Because I 100% believe in what I do now. I'm like, are you kidding? It's the greatest experience. It is the greatest experience to stand in front of a camera, and feel pulled down and vulnerable, and completely out there on your own. Then have somebody turn it around and show you how beautiful you are. Like, seriously? People look at the back of the camera and they're like, how are you doing that? And it's like, it's you. You don't see that? That's the coolest thing. I do that. Wow! Think about that when you're taking photos. Don't think about, I hope she buys the $1200 package. Is she gonna buy the $1200 package or if she doesn't buy the 1200, I'm screwed. Think about the gift you're giving, but you gotta find the value. So what excites you? I'm excited by the fact that people see themselves. I'm excited by the fact that most people actually know how beautiful they are, but are shocked when you can show it to them. Okay, so there's not a lie there. There's not the... It's you took a picture of me on how I feel in the mirror that I've never seen in another picture. I'm like, yeah. That's cool. That is so cool, but everybody has a different value. Yeah, Kristen? So, the question is, if you don't have the enthusiasm or you feel like you can't find the enthusiasm, does that mean that you are in the wrong field? Mhm. It does. So if you can't find anything that makes an introvert just screaming at the top of their lungs on the hilltop, that means you're doing the wrong thing? Pretty much. I'd say so, yeah. If you are not excited about what you're doing, you should consider going and doing something else because how could you possibly make an income if you're not excited by it? My brother, when he started building, my introverted brother, he would email me from Australia at four in the morning. I would say to him, "Why did you send "that email at 4:00 a.m.?" He would say, "Well, I start work at five "and I'm so excited about what I'm doing, I can't sleep." He would get up at four to make coffee and to answer a couple of emails 'cause he was so excited about building this building. He just wanted to get up here and just go every day. I remember thinking, can you image wanting to get out of bed at four... I don't want to get out of bed at four in the morning. Wow! To be that excited about something. Okay, let's just debunk that. There's a couple of things around that. One of them is you're close, but you're not that close. There's my friend Jamie who was doing photography but ended up oping up a juice bar. Then there was my friend Susan who was trying to shoot when she wanted to video. Then there was my friend... People in the industry, doing things in the industry that are close but not quite really close to finding their true path. I feel like once you speak through your true path, yeah. Now, you are going to lose faith in what your true path is very quickly 'cause everyone does. You can reconnect to it. I do. I lose faith in what I'm doing monthly, even after 25 years. Sometimes you just get a horrible comment on Facebook, and you think, I can just delete this Facebook. Just go and do something else. There's just some days you just wanna give up. You get a hard client or someone doesn't spend money in it. It's awakening you to the fact that you're disconnected or awakening you to the fact that you've lost your mojo or your flow. That you're overworking, that you're pushing too hard, that you have a new block to face. Then you realize that again, same you, different attitude, you realize that there's just... The work is never done. Ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. But there is a significant flow in change when you shift, and if you reconnect, you get the flow again. You pitching again from enthusiasm. I so often go into businesses and they're failing, and I'll say, "When were you the most successful? "What were you doing?" They show me what they were doing a year ago when they were making 80 grand a week or 80 grand a month. I'm like, what's the difference between then and now? They just look at me and everybody said the same thing. "I guess I was just really excited back then." I go, "And you're not now?" They go, "No." I go, "Well, at least get excited. "What did you change? "What are doing now that you should... "Are you overworking, for starters?" It shocked me how many people were simply just burnt out. I put a slide in here, it's coming out called Restoration. I went to Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Thoreson's workshop last month. I did it because I wanted to have an artist break. I wanted to do a fine art workshop that was based on just getting reconnected to fine art. It wasn't about portraiture or selling or anything like that. It was about fine art. She said a word that just made me instantly cry. Instantly. She said restoration. You need restoration. She didn't say rest. 'Cause I feel guilty about sitting on the couch for five minutes. Rest is not a word you should say to me. I'm the type of personality if I'm not working, I'm not making money. If I'm not making money, oh my god! Oh, I'm freaking out! I'm all over the place, I'm just like, go, go, go, go, go, go! The only thing that'll stop me is getting sick or getting hurt. Then I'll lie in bed going, I don't have time to be sick! Then I think, what am I pushing so hard for? For what? More money? What? Then I'm like, push, push, drive, drive, push, push, drive, drive and then I just lose my mojo and that's it. My whole will to live just goes, psh. She said restoration and the word restoration just brought instant tears to my eyes 'cause I thought to myself, I need restoration. You need to go into a cave for one week and not give, give, give, give, give, give, give to everybody. Which means I need to receive more. I now acknowledge what my restoration is and my need to restore the passion and drive and enthusiasm that I have for my business. For my career. Then I can pitch with enthusiasm. Without that, there's nothing. Do you have a question? I know that aha moment for me is what you were just saying earlier, that I feel good that I think I have chosen the right path. I was in comfortable position and I get so excited about being in front of the client and taking them from that first shots where they're kind of stiff and shy still to the end process of that session. I get so excited about showing them the pictures and doing that, and also, in the sale process when they do the reveal wall. That really, really generally pumps me up with so much joy and excitement that I know I'm doing the right thing. That's great.

Class Materials

bonus material

Business Checklist
Keynote Part 1
Keynote Part 2
Posing Guide: Set Map and Outfit
Posing Guide: Flow Posing
Posing Guide: Couples Posing
Posing Guide: Curves
Posing Guide: Teen Posing
Posing Guide: Family Posing
Posing Guide: Over 50 Demographic
Posing Guide: Beauty Shot
Posing Guide: Posing Men
How It Works
Styling and Wardrobe

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

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


Pure gold. Sue Bryce is likable, talented, funny, and an amazing teacher. She calls you on your BS (your excuses for why you aren't succeeding), gives you business, posing, marketing, pricing and LIFE advice. The class is 58 hours long - and you spend the majority of it looking right over her shoulder, through her lens and watch her walk through many, many photoshoots. She verbally and clearly repeats several critical formulas for success so it's imprinted in your mind. Her advice is crystal clear and your photography will dramatically improve after this class. Before Creative Live, you'd NEVER have had the opportunity to shadow a photographer of her quality... hands down the best photography class I've ever taken.


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

Student Work