I have to admit I was rather bummed a couple years ago when I learned that Sue Bryce would be coming to Creative Live. Up until her debut I thought I was the only one who knew about her and I had been following her forever…. now the cat would be let out of the bag. As predicted, she hit Creative Live and jaws dropped across the country.
You can hardly scroll Facebook without stumbling across Sue inspired images. Everyone strives to replicate Sue Bryce even filling closets with gowns for clients and I don’t think thats a bad thing. Even Sue admittedly strives to emulate Annie Liebovitz. I wanted to be Sue Bryce for so long. It’s the greatest form of flattery, but now I just pull inspiration from the photography diva. I have been a fan of hers forever, but learned she is one of a kind. So far, no one has been able to nail what she does so well.
So, why the overwhelming draw to Sue? What made her take the photography world by storm? Her gorgeous images… yes. Her incredible before and afters….yes. BUT, then I thought, she makes it look so easy. When she started out it was a corner painted a shade of grey or white, a window and a piece of styrofoam. No expensive lighting equipment, no expensive backdrops, no gels or fancy locations or team of assistants. It was just styrofoam and posing. I think we all fell in love with her because she made it look easy… accessible to us all.
I watched her on Creative Live working through posing her clients and thought “ok, piece of cake. I can do that. Just look for triangles and work to get that connection in eyes.” It couldn’t have looked easier and I was inspired. It didn’t take long to realize what comes natural to her and looks to easy in reality takes LOTS of practice. The slightest misstep can make or break the pose.
THEN… she came back to Creative Live to demonstrate editing (my passion) and I couldn’t wait!!!!! I would finally be let in on some of the secrets!!! Unfortunately, I was disappointed. There are no secrets when it comes to editing… the clone tool, some dodge and burn, and warp/liquify. She uses the same tools of the trade as everyone else, but once again makes it look so darn easy. BUT THEN… She met Lara Jade (another of my favs) and introduced Alien Skin. Of course, I had to have it and immediately added it to my arsenal of actions, tools and plugins. While, I do like Alien Skin and use it from time to time… my images never look like the those of the Diva Sue, but my images don’t look like hers before they go into Alien Skin. Which is still the question that eludes me (Why????)… is it her capture, her Raw processing, some editing which we haven’t been privy to yet??? I don’t know….
The Sue Bryce Phenomenon has been incredible to watch and the evolution of Sue has been interesting as well. She once shunned studio lighting, but has now embraced it. However, I understand she is shooting with a leaf-shutter lenses (Phase One with a 55mm LS lens) which is a boutique item and very expensive. It allows for flash sync up to 1/1600th of a second (drool). She has moved away from painted corners and now shoots on Oliphant backdrops which rent for hundreds of dollars a day and have been used by miss Annie Liebovitz. She has certainly changed her look… she has slimmed down looks beautiful (but I thought she was always a beautiful woman). She is now using the healing brush!! Her success has allowed her to expand and grow and I look forward to seeing what she has in store and to continue to watch her evolve. Congrats to her!! She is amazing and I know will continue to inspire.
For the rest of us…. nothing is easy… it’s hard work. We will continue to struggle, find our path and refine our craft!!
(An image from 2012 – posing practice – headshot for Revision Skincare)