We had the good fortune of connecting with Suzanne Barnes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suzanne, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factory in the success of my business has been stepping out of the norm and unapologetically being different. My business is different from 95% of the photographers in the Houston area, in the fact that I’m not a “shoot and burn” photographer. Shoot and burn photographers meet their client for the first time the day of the shoot, and send a gallery of images to download. And that’s it.
On the other hand, I am a boutique photographer and portrait artist. I focus heavily on my client’s experience from the very beginning. We meet for a planning session so I can learn my client’s vision for their professional portraits, and plan designs and displays for their art. After the session, I throw my client’s a Reveal Night Party, where they see their images for the first time in a cinematic display. Then we go through the photos one by one, and create mockups of what their images will look like on their walls, in albums, and other beautiful displays!
Being different has not only been successful for my business, but also allows me to develop much deeper relationships with my clients. I very quickly become their go-to photographer, because that level of service in the photography industry is almost unheard of.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
There’s nothing like seeing your art hanging on a client’s wall. To know that those portraits give them such joy gives me such joy! I don’t feel as though I sell anything. I just serve my clients, and serve them well.
I didn’t start out as a boutique photographer, though. I began as a shoot and burn photographer, back in 2013. I didn’t know a better way existed. But then I got involved with a photography business community online, and after several courses, restructured my business plan.
Because I knew I wanted to provide a deeper level of service and commitment to my clients, the transition wasn’t that hard for me. It was for a few of my clients, though. My new pricing structure felt expensive compared to my previous business model. But, the clients who stuck with me were absolutely thrilled with the new way of doing business, and even more thrilled with their art!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since I’m located in The Woodlands, we’d have to hit up The Waterway and have a bite and a margarita at Cyclone Anaya’s. I’m a big fan of their fish tacos! We’d also have to hit up the unique shops at Old Town Spring, and stop in to sample some Corkscrew’s BBQ. And although it’s a drive, the Seawall at Galveston is one of my favorite places to play and eat!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my loving, super supportive husband. After we married, we moved shortly after to Texas, and I left my teaching career behind. He has fully supported me as I started my own business, changed my business model, and is the #1 dad when it comes to me being out on nights and weekends for sessions and reveals. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his love, patience, and encouragement these past 9 years. Thank you, Burell!
All Images ©Sweet Nothings Photography, LLC