Corporate MBA to Full-Time Photographer with Karianne Munstedt

March 30, 2020 Artist Spotlight

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Top Takeaways

Being a great salesperson can also mean you are authentic and true

Find your vision of what you want and push through the fear

More for more – don’t discount, give more instead

Invest in a coach or mentor and earn from what others have done before you

Get to Know Karianne Munstedt

Q: What has been your biggest breakthrough in business?

A: I spent so much of the first 2 years of my business running away from “sales.” I didn’t want to come off as sales-y. But once I realized that as a service business, it is ALL about sales – and that I can be a salesperson on my own terms – then it all just clicked for me! I can be nice and authentic and true to myself and be a great salesperson. In fact, those qualities are what will make me a great salesperson! It shifted my way of thinking and made sales fun!

Q: What is your average sale currently?

A: $2,700

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Karianne’s Bedroom Studio

Q: Most artists have a point in their life where they knew this was meant for them. Do you have that moment?

A: I knew that I was meant to photograph women after my first photoshoot with Sue 4.5 years ago. It was a defining moment for me. I saw that a photo session could be fun and confidence-building and that having portraits of myself that I loved could change the way that I think about and talk to myself. I wanted every woman out there to have that same experience.


“I learned everything I know about posing and making props from watching Sue Bryce videos.”


Q: What does the Sue Bryce Education community mean to you?

A: Sue Bryce Education was the original photography community that I joined when I set out on my path to becoming a photographer 5 years ago. I started out of the gate with higher prices and doing in-person sales, all because that was taught by Sue. When I need to figure something out or when I am looking for inspiration, I visit the SBE FB group. I learned everything I know about posing and making beauty props and so much more from watching videos on the SB website.

I’ve attended all of the Portrait Master Conferences, and I’ve been inspired beyond words by the amazing speakers. I’ve learned about lighting from Felix Kunze, family posing from Michele Celentano, and retouching from Pratik Naik, all from being introduced to them through the SBE community. I’ve also been very fortunate to be photographed by Sue a few times, so not only do I have the amazing photos from those sessions, but I also have more confidence because I’ve been able to see myself in a new way. And finally, many of my photography besties are from the SBE community! I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot, but it’s safe to say that the SBE community means A LOT to me!

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Karianne’s First Year Portraits

Q: How did you push past fear when building your business?

A: I’ve faced more fear over the past few years of building a business than I ever have in my entire life! For me, pushing through fear is a 3 part process. First, I keep the vision of what I ultimately want in my mind at all times. I don’t have to know how I am going to get to a certain goal, I just need to have a solid idea of what that goal is and the rest will fall into place. Second, it’s all about baby steps. For example, I am not a natural networker. In fact, in the early days, there were networking events that I walked into, had a panic attack, and walked right back out. It’s still not easy for me, especially when I visit new groups for the first time. Now, I just tell myself, “Just try. Go for 5 minutes. If you don’t like it after 5 minutes, you can leave.” And then after 5 minutes, I’ve gotten over the initial panic and I’m OK. It’s about giving myself permission to go slow and take baby steps. And third, I reframe my thinking. If we go back to the networking example, one of the reasons I would get so fearful to attend was because I hated the idea of having to be sales-y. Now, I’ve reframed my thoughts to “what new friend can I make today?” or “what can I say to someone to make their day?” I now look at networking as relationship building, and that helps me to push through the fear.

photography studio setup, photography backdrops, studio space ideas, studio layout

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting Sue Bryce Education?

A: Three years after starting SBE and building my business on the side, I quit my corporate job and went full-time with my business!

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Karianne’s Studio

Q: Explain how Sue Bryce Education helped you overcome obstacles in your business.

A: I built my business using the SBE model, so literally for every obstacle that has come up, I initially learned how to respond through Sue’s teachings. There are too many to list, but one that comes up often is “more for more” or in other words, don’t discount, give more instead. Just last week, a client asked me to discount a package she was planning on purchasing. Sue popped up in my head saying “more for more,” so to keep the sale that I wanted, I offered my client a couple of additional images, and she was thrilled with that compromise.

Q: Making a connection with your subject is one of the most important parts of a great portrait. How do you make lasting connections with your clients?

A: I understand that being in front of the camera is one of the most vulnerable places a person can be. So I myself am very vulnerable and authentic with my clients, whether that be in person or through a social media video or post. That shows my clients that I am a safe space and that they are safe opening up to and just being themselves with me. Because of the deep connection I make with my clients, they all become friends!

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Q: For someone starting out on their photography journey what advice would you have for them?

A: One, learn the business side. We are business people, and our business is photography. Two, invest in a coach or mentor. Learn from what others have done before you. Three, price for your value right from the start.


“Nothing is a regret, only an experience.”


Q: Do you regret any decisions you have made in your business?

A: No. Somethings definitely haven’t worked, but nothing is a regret…only a learning experience.

Q: Everyone has a favorite shoot – tell us about yours and why it’s your favorite.

A: Every time I photograph a new client, it typically becomes my favorite shoot! But one that really stands out to me in the past few months is a personal shoot I did with a friend and her 17-year-old daughter. Her daughter is her only child and has been her world for the past 17 years. She getting ready to leave for college this summer and while she has been a dancer for her whole life, she won’t be dancing anymore when she goes to college. For the daughter, I wanted to photograph her beautifully as a dancer. I pushed myself with new poses and used studio lighting for nearly all of the shots. I wanted both her and her mom to have these beautiful images to celebrate this time in her life. At the end, I photographed both mom and daughter together so they would have beautiful portraits together. Mom was in tears she was so happy with everything. She will cherish those portraits and memories forever. I am so grateful to be able to give that to others.

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Q: What fellow artists in the industry do you gain the most inspiration from?

A: There are so many to choose from, from big names to many of the photographers who are part of the SBE world. But my biggest inspiration came from Platon at the 2018 Portrait Masters. He said something along the lines of, “Don’t just take pretty pictures. Take a stand.” That has been my guiding principle ever since. Of course, I want my clients to have beautiful portraits of themselves that they love and are proud of, but even more than that, I want my clients to see themselves in a new way. I want there to be a positive internal shift in the way my clients see and talk to themselves as a result of their photos. I’ve had that internal shift myself as a result of being photographed, and that is now my goal for each and every client that I photograph.

Q: How has Sue Bryce Education changed your life for the better?

A: Through SBE, I saw that you could be successful as a photographer. Not only was Sue an example, but there are so many members who were wonderful examples of success as well. Because of the education, I learned through SBE – sales and marketing and pricing and IPS and more – I built a 6-figure business right from the start. I was blessed to become pregnant during my first year in business and because of all that I had learned and created, I was able to make enough money so that my husband could stay home and raise our son (and my stepdaughter). My clients have become friends and my life is so much richer in friendship than it ever was. I love the life I have now.

Q: Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

A: I see myself on stages, speaking to women about giving up perfection and just being real/authentic. I will also still be photographing clients, but I’ll also have 1 or 2 associate photographers and 1-2 assistants working under my brand.

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Karianne Munstedt of Karianne Munstedt Portrait

Karianne is an artist and nurturer, fiercely motivated by using her talents to make women feel confident, empowered, and whole. As a child and young adult, Karianne had very low self-esteem; she countered this by attempting to be perfect, but never took the time to understand who she really was. She continued down a path of perfection that led to many endeavors that weren’t right for her.

Karianne started a journey to get to know her real self in her 30s. On her spiritual journey, she connected back to the thing that brought her joy as a child…photography…and discovered an innate talent to capture a woman’s true inner beauty.

Through her own transformative portrait experience, Karianne gained the confidence and self-love she was lacking. She now provides that experience to other women to help them love themselves in portraits. #realisthenewperfect Personally, Karianne is a wife, mommy, stepmother, and doggy momma.

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