Industry News

Portrait Master Sue Bryce Shares Her Wisdom—A Palm Springs Conference Recap

September 14, 2017

By Jacqueline Tobin

Courtesy of Sue Bryce Education

Imagine there are 400 fashionably dressed attendees convened in one room as gifts are being passed out and squeals of joy are coming from almost every seated row in the room. Is this an Oprah taping, you ask? No, but it sure felt that way at Sue Bryce’s very first The Portrait Masters Conference earlier this week (Sept. 10-12), where the energy was electric and sustained itself for three days straight.

Hosted in Palm Springs, California, no one seemed to mind the 104+ temps because they got to see and hear their idol Bryce share her words of wisdom in the categories of lighting, printing, posing and branding, among other topics. She brought her friends too (other top-notch educators that frequent our annual WPPI conference), including Peter Hurley, Lindsay Adler, Susan Stripling, Kelly Brown, Michele Celentano and Joel Grimes. There were shooting bays (like the one above) all around the grounds of the show hotel with gorgeous models, gowns and backdrops.

And if you couldn’t get there, no problem: Sue Bryce Education (owned with Bryce by George Varanakis, Craig Swanson and Aaron Anderson) live-streamed the conference on its site (in partnership with Digital Product Studio) to give photographers and enthusiasts anywhere in the world an opportunity to learn the latest photographic techniques and business tactics.

In addition to live learning, online viewers got to witness demos of imaging products from participating manufacturers at the Conference’s Technology Expo—including their two main sponsors, Canon and ShootQ—as well as Hahnemühle, Westcott, DVLOP, Finao and Graphistudio, which gave out 400 beautiful presentation boxes with one of five striking black-and-white portrait studies photographed by Bryce herself. They were brought out on stage as 44-inch canvases by each subject in the photograph (see below). “Each print was shot in 15 minutes and we didn’t do any hair or makeup for any of the subjects,” Bryce told the audience. “I found a connection with each of them and told their story through their expressions.”

By the end of the conference, one simple statement Bryce had made on day one still rang true, further bolstered by every speaker and session during the three days: “When your value is in alignment with what you are creating, you are unstoppable.”

Visit the website for more information on next year’s show, speakers and a newly launched Portrait Masters accreditation program.