The importance of finding a photography mentor, Sue Bryce


September 15, 2010 by N@

As one of our youngest judges in the International Aperture Awards, Sue Bryce brings freshness and a keen eye to the panel.

Sue is part of the new breed of photographers that are embracing the latest in technology and techniques to deliver Moving Portraits to her clients with Video Fusion.

Sue Bryce FNZIPP II AAIPP is a Portrait Photographer specialising in Stills and Video Fusion and a Photoshop Master.

The winner of NZIPP People Photographer of the year 2007 and  Highest Scoring Print 2008. As well as APPA Highest Scoring Print 2009 AUS.

How long have you been picking up a camera?

20 Years

Did you always know that you wanted to be a photographer?

Yes I started in a Prolab as a Photographic retoucher at 18 and always had a camera.

What is your speciality as a photographer?

Portrait is my Business, Contemporary Glamour is my Genre. My specialties are Posing and direction but I think that is mostly connection I know how to empower my client, and create trust so they give me what I want. And Photoshop

When your not shooting for clients, what kind of images do you like to shoot?

My awards images are my passion I like Dark intense illustrative imagery that communicates, evokes, and tells stories.

How did you first get into judging?

I am a FELLOW with the NZIPP the natural progression for a photographer that is winning in the Awards arena is to keep growing, win awards gather accolades learn from mentors and then ultimately become one. Judging helps you give back everything you’ve learned.

Do you think there are extra considerations to be made when entering an International versus Local competition?

No I would assume the standard is to push yourself past what you think you are capable of every time locally or internationally the goal here to create with a camera what your mind is capable of visualising.

It’s been said many times that entering a competition is more than just winning. What do you take out of a competition when you enter?

Well for starters I’m addicted. To conceptualise and create a story with an image that communicates so strongly you can watch five judges discuss it and even understand it to a point that they are telling your story out loud is simply the most unbelievable experience.

Then to be awarded and recognised amongst your peers is the greatest honour but the pinnacle for me is winning GOLD. For me as an artist Gold is perfection and it truly is a High. It took me fours years of entering to achieve Gold now this is my goal every time.

What are the first 3 things you look at in your images when you enter a competition?

I LOVE IT: If I can work on an image for hours and still love it I know the people seeing it for the first time will be captivated. I also don’t enter an image unless I truly love it then if it fails I still love it and that’s all that matters.

COMMUNICATION: To tell a story and create an image with depth and emotion to me is so important I want people to be moved by my work, they might even hate it or feel uncomfortable but they will never be passive about it.

And third TECHNICAL: All illustration and story and mood aside if you technically fall down with a print either in Capture, image quality or Print quality you will be pulled apart. Remember there is 5 masters up there that know everything there is to know about image capture and photoshop get your basics right.

What advice would you offer photographers entering a competition for the first time?

Use your GUT instinct and except good advice from a respected award winning mentor. I had a Mentor, he was my first Boss and award winning Portrait photographer and judge when I was ready to enter my first Nationals. I took 15 images that I loved and I went to him and he talked about the reaction he was having to the images. What he liked and didn’t like about them. Then he left it up to me to choose the final selection and make the changes I could make to them.

From my first competition I won 8 awards from 8 prints because I was mentored. From that day on I watched all the judging. I was a sponge for knowledge, I learned the way the judging is done, what they liked and criticised. I watched the level of illustrative work winning awards I learned and I practised until I was good enough, I have never stopped evolving I’m still always trying to be better than last year.

You can find out more about Sue at

Entries to The 2010 International Aperture Awards close on 15th October.


4 thoughts on “The importance of finding a photography mentor, Sue Bryce

  1. Clive says:

    Love your work.
    Your passion, love, dedication to learning and the thought you put in shows. Only someone with all of that can produce this level of work.

  2. joe Buissink says:

    Very nice work Sue!!!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Hi Sue
    Great work, you are a winner in more than one way.
    I think i need a mentor.
    What is a good way of going about getting a mentor?
    Do you ask some one who’s work you admire ?
    I think you would be a fantastic mentor Sue!

    cheers Aileen

  4. Alexandra Nixon says:

    Hi Sue!

    Thank-you for the help! Im with Aileen! How do you go about getting a mentor?
    Great work! Ill be following your work from now on!

    Alex 🙂

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