Empowerment Through Print: Lessons Learned From Sue Bryce

November 1, 2016

By Laura Brauer

When studio portrait photographer Sue Bryce taught her first workshop in 2009, she didn’t foresee her future in mentoring. “I didn’t know the call to teach would be this strong,” she says.

Mastering business can be a daunting task for photographers—something Bryce says she was all too familiar with. “We creatives need to learn to price [and value] ourselves,” she explains.

Each Tuesday, Bryce live-streams a class from her Los Angeles studio to the members of her online education program. Her topics include posing, sales, marketing, retouching and printing. Bryce’s business model is centered on what she coined the “Reveal Wall,” printing a complete top package of prints to show her clients in studio, right at the sales session. The crux of this approach is making flawless prints, so Bryce shows her students in real time how she prints using her speedy Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 and PRO-4000, which she calls her studio’s “best investments.”

“Printing changes the way you see your own work,” Bryce says. “It’s one of the most powerful examples of being a photographer.” It increases the value for clients, too—Bryce has found that showcasing all of the prints up front is the best incentive to sell more robust packages.

Photographer Emily London found Bryce’s online education when she began to pursue a professional career. Today, her mission is akin to Bryce’s: to empower women through beautiful photography.

London began printing her own Reveal Wall two years ago. “Before that, I really didn’t have a trackable average sale, as my studio was still in its early stages,” she explains. “But overnight, my average sale jumped to $2,000.” Comparing it to her digital sales, she makes about $400 more per shoot from her printed Reveal Wall.


Emily London’s Reveal Wall, inspired by Sue Bryce’s model. Photo © Emily London


Emily London in her studio. Photo © Emily London

London keeps her overhead costs low with a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer of her own. She credits Bryce with teaching her the importance of downloading paper profiles and getting her colors on point. When she switched from a printing lab, she says the difference was “night and day”: “Instead of struggling with muddy or discolored prints from the lab, I have fine-tuned the process at home, so now every job comes out perfect for my clients.” Color on the PRO-1000 is precise thanks to its 11-color ink system with high black density, enhanced detail in shadows and a broad color gamut. London loves printing at 17 x 22 inches, a size that she offers in her Black Label Collection.

Printing a Reveal Wall has elevated London’s studio, and she says it works for a few reasons. Her clients love the tactile prints, and never ask for “just digitals” anymore. They also get to take home their package the same day as the reveal. “They leave their sales session on a high, and talk about it for weeks afterwards—which is great for referrals,” she explains.

And while London, like many photographers, has adopted Bryce’s techniques, she has made it her own. “One thing I do differently is that I don’t keep it a surprise,” she says. “I sell it as part of the experience. When I tell my clients that this is what they are going to experience after their session, that’s the part they get most excited about.”

—Sponsored by Canon