Luxury Caribbean Island Photoshoots with Felicia Schuette

October 18, 2021 Artist Spotlight

Episode 98: Felicia Schuette

In Episode 98 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser chats with Felicia Schuette, an architect and portrait photographer based on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire. Felicia is an accredited Portrait Masters Fellow who has won countless awards for her breathtaking maternity photos. Felicia has created a top-of-the-line luxury brand on a tiny island, and she does it all with the bare minimum of equipment and a deep desire to reach perfection in her compositions.

Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear how running her numbers gave Felicia a precise understanding what she needed to charge. She also shares a powerful experience of her pricing being challenged which gave her so much confidence and clarity about her value. You’ll also hear how finally setting her prices in stone gave Felicia firm ground for fine tuning her offerings and raising her prices even more. And you’ll love all the great ideas Felicia shares about how participating in community gives so many great opportunities for one-on-one networking.

As always, Nikki brings great perspective. This time she shares how Felicia’s fine art photography business model compares and contrasts to other portrait photography business models. She reminds us that there are infinite ways you can brand yourself to achieve your personal business goals. At the same time, we can all grow and learn from each other’s experience.

Here are links to some things mentioned in this conversation: Episode 26: Emma Bercusel, Portrait Masters Award Galleries, The Portrait System YouTube Channel, The Portrait Masters Instagram, 90 Day Challenge, and Nikki’s New Course: Personal Branding: The Contemporary Headshot System!

In this blog, you’ll find some of Felicia’s breathtaking maternity portraits, links to her web presence, and answers to some bonus questions.

Get to Know Felicia Schuette

Q: What has been your biggest breakthrough in business?

A: My business shifted when I took the courage to say “no” to assignments that didn’t resonate with me, like outdoor shoots, events, and bigger groups. In the beginning, it was challenging and scary to turn down inquiries, which I deep inside didn’t want to do anymore but that meant potential income. This meant a longer phase of financial hardship, but slowly, I built a portfolio of client work that enabled me to only show what I wanted to shoot. Along with that, I set in place my international pricing standard that Sue teaches, and every year, I raised my prices to an amount that made me slightly uncomfortable. And on the practical level, an absolutely useful tool to get my brain sorted and to break the whole learning process into digestible steps was the 90 Day Challenge, which I did like three times.

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

A: There were times when I was so paralyzed with fear that I literally couldn’t get out of bed or participate in our SBE community because I couldn’t see other’s accomplishments as motivation or proof that success with a portrait studio is possible, but it only made me feel worse.

At these times, I did what I was able to — one baby step at a time, and I listened as much as possible to the self-value, fear, and self-confidence videos of Sue. I feel for me, it was a gradual and slow journey of re-programming myself, starting to let go of beliefs that stand in my way, and getting up to do the work.

I feel I pushed past fears by confronting them — first the smaller ones, and slowly bigger ones. As well, focusing on my service, what I can wholeheartedly give, helped me shift the focus from myself and my fears to love, and I realize a certain stubborn, continuous persistence seems to be part of my character.

At some point I discovered the excitement and joy of growth and challenge. And sure, there are more “scary” challenges ahead.

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

A: Pretty much everything! From more self-love, value, and care for myself to more awareness and knowledge of the power of thoughts and manifest-action. Mastering my craft, having a routine, and my service, price, and product structure and visuals in place. Building a portfolio that I love, an adorable client base, being more part of my local community with my skills. Being an inspiration to others, starting to live more balanced and healthy in general, choosing to work on being happy — no matter the situation. And last but not least, I am speechlessly blown away at having achieved Accredited Fellow and winning awards and categories — even with Golds — as well as being featured in magazines and once on a magazine cover as well. SBE helped me truly start walking my path and start finding myself, my joy, and my voice.

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 feel like it all comes down to my energy, focus, respect, and communication, meaning to say, I fully focus on my client. Either it’s messaging, conversations, consultations, shoots, reveals, and even during retouching, there is a strong focused energetic connection. When I am low in energy or feeling temporarily unwell, I rather take care of myself first, and I send a short update that I will reach out asap, rather than taking care of my client in-depth with only half me being actually present in my mind. This strong focus and being sensible to energies are demanding. After a shoot, I tremendously enjoy the retouching “me-time,” which feels to me like the opposite and complementary energy to when I am shooting. Besides all this, I am genuinely myself, nothing is off topic, everything is normal to me. Either I am excited about the assignments and joyfully engaged with my clients, or I won’t take it on. Also, I stay professional, loving and very clear at all times. When I’ve messed up, I take responsibility and ask how I can make it good. I feel true connections are built upon trust and honesty.

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

A: I truly love what I do and hope I can be creative till the end of my days.

I enjoy motivating, inspiring others, in particular, in joint venture campaigns. And I have a bigger dream which I want to work out. That has to do with combining the uniqueness of the location of my chosen home, Bonaire, as well as implementing cross-disciplines and combining these services with my passion, portrait photography. And I have capturing Sue Bryce, Michelle Obama, and the Queen of the Netherlands right up there on my secret wish list.

As well, I find joy in talking to other business women, they come to me for a branding portrait, and more often, I find myself having ideas for their businesses. I might develop in this field some more.

Furthermore, I somehow get very energetic when directing a “project” — coming up with ideas or working conceptually. In this context, I want to develop more in fine art enlargements.

Also, I would love to involve myself more in the portrait industry. My vision isn’t quite worked out yet, but it might involve public speaking and inspiring others — possibly workshops.

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Felicia Schuette of Felicia Schütte Portrait

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Click Here to Read the Podcast Transcript

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Please note this transcript was generated by AI and may contain errors.

00:00:00:02 – 00:00:02:07

You’re listening to the Portrait System podcast.

00:00:02:13 – 00:00:14:19

I rather create one masterpiece that is perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, than doing a lot because it bores me. I think that’s a core. I’m getting bored.

00:00:17:09 – 00:00:47:10

This is the Portrait System Podcast, a show that helps portrait photographers and people hoping to become one. Navigate the world of photography, business, money and so much more. We totally keep it real. We share stories about the incredible ups and the very difficult downs when running a photography business. I’m your host, Nikki Closser, and the point of this podcast is for you to learn actionable steps that you can take to grow your own business and also to feel inspired and empowered by the stories you hear.

Today’s guest is Felicia Schuette, and we have such a great show for you today.

00:00:47:22 – 00:01:17:29

Felicia lives and runs her business on a tiny Caribbean island called Bonaire, and she is definitely the definition of making it work. Felicia has won countless awards for her portraits, particularly for maternity photos, and she does it with the bare minimum of equipment. She even jokes about her supermodel shooting space and old equipment. What I love so much about her, aside from her kind and fun personality, is that Felicia does not need anything fancy to create some of the most breathtaking portraits I’ve ever seen of pregnant women.

00:01:18:16 – 00:01:30:27

She is such a successful business on a tiny island, and she’s always brainstorming about how to grow and even bigger. OK, let’s get started with Felicia Shutter. Hi, Felicia. Welcome to the portrait system. How are you?

00:01:31:14 – 00:01:37:28

Nikki, how are you? This is so amazing that I finally talk to you again. I’m well, thank you.

00:01:38:10 – 00:01:42:10

I think the first time we met in person was at the very first portrait masters, right?

00:01:42:17 – 00:01:44:29

Absolutely. 2017, right?

00:01:45:15 – 00:01:50:24

Yes. So you were there with your crew, Bettina and Carranza from your island, Bonaire? Am I saying that right?

00:01:51:04 – 00:01:55:20

Yes, you totally are getting that right. And we were like the three musketeers. So yeah,

00:01:55:22 – 00:01:59:17

I think it’s so cool that you came all the way from the Caribbean, and it’s just, I love it.

00:02:00:01 – 00:02:26:10

It was actually really incredible because I was kind of longing to do that, but I didn’t even know how to start, where to start. And Carranza actually started that whole thing and she messaged, messaged us and was like, Yes, because I follow Sue Bryce since 2012 and then slowly. But I think Bertino first jumped on that boat and then Carranza and we became really, really like a little local fort, like the Sue Bryce Caribbean girls.

00:02:27:02 – 00:02:50:26

Yeah, I love it. I have a million questions for you because I say that’s a lot, but sometimes people will be like, I can’t make a good living with photography because of where I live or whatever. When you live in this tiny little island and you even said during this recording before we actually started recording that we might lose power because that’s how it works, where you, you know, so I just I have a million questions for you.

00:02:51:07 – 00:03:01:09

That’s good. That’s good, because honestly, I was like, What can I contribute to Sue Bryce education portrait masters to all of you? What not has been said already, so I’m actually really curious.

00:03:02:01 – 00:03:35:24

OK, I’ll start then. So your brand, everything that I look at, your website, your Instagram, every photo that you post, all the awards that you’ve won in the portrait master, you’re a fellow as well for the Portrait  Masters accreditation, which was incredible. You are the definition of a luxury portrait brand. I mean, just everything about what I see and what you do in your branding is so luxurious. But here’s what I love. Even more is that you are so friendly and approachable on top of it.

00:03:36:02 – 00:03:44:16

So it’s not like you’re so like luxurious that no one people might feel intimidating, but your work is unbelievably incredible.

00:03:44:26 – 00:03:51:09

Thank you, Nikki. It’s really it’s getting hot here. Hot flashes. Thank you.

00:03:53:04 – 00:04:25:18

Yeah, you don’t see me blush, but no thank you. And I actually it’s so funny because I think I’m really very much myself and I say strange things and do funny stuff, and it’s just the way I am. But it was so interesting. I just had recently a client and she reached out and we did her maternity and then we did her motherhood. And then she taught me at some point because really, it’s I can almost say every client becomes so much a friend that I don’t know how to handle them all anymore. But she said, like, Oh, I’m so glad I reached out to you.

00:04:25:20 – 00:04:59:04

And I ask her, like, why wouldn’t you not? And she said, Yeah, I looked at all your things and I was really scared. I said, scared of what I don’t know, but I was so intimidated like good that you tell me that because maybe I should do a few more. How do you call those lives or those things? Because I was really, really surprised that she was afraid, actually to reach out. And I also remember in the past I used to very in the beginning, I was here on Bonaire. I had to find a beginning and I was a managing director of an internet cafe I.T. company and people taught me that I, when they come in, that I look so unfriendly.

00:04:59:22 – 00:05:06:13

The resting bitch face kind of thing, and I have just I’m super concentrated guys know I’m doing really good, you know?

00:05:07:00 – 00:05:37:13

Yeah, yeah. OK, so you bring up a really good point, and I think this is something that’s really important for all of us, for everyone listening. The way that we come off that we think we’re coming off an across in our brand might not be what the clients are seeing because I know you’re super friendly and approachable and the nicest person. You know that you’re that. But if you’re not showing that in your brand, because maybe I just have it in my head because I’ve met you in person and you know, your energy is just so easy and friendly.

00:05:37:15 – 00:05:52:02

And so I think that is a really good something to listen to that feedback from your client and put yourself in your marketing more. Put yourself, do some videos. Do some lives. Do you know anything to get yourself into your branding more.

00:05:52:21 – 00:06:12:26

Yes, I think you’re totally right, and I was very surprised. I have to say, because I do have on Facebook a few lives. I have actually on my Instagram. I was on local television a couple of times and you can see me. I’m the way I am. I’m not super luxuriously dressed or something. So I was surprised at this point in time, but I will take that on that advice, for sure. Thank you.

00:06:13:03 – 00:06:20:06

Yeah, yeah. OK, so real quick for people who don’t know your brand. So your Instagram is Felicia Schuette

00:06:20:12 – 00:06:40:14

portrait actually on Instagram? I love the this is complicated. It’s sure to. In German, it’s an u, but it doesn’t exist. So if you translate it to English, it’s ue. And I make it more difficult that on Instagram, it’s just ooh. So shoot, shoot, basically. But I think on others I had. But it’s missing my own mind.

00:06:40:19 – 00:06:43:00

But will you speak many languages, right?

00:06:43:15 – 00:06:44:10

A few.

00:06:44:20 – 00:06:46:22

I mean, that in itself is remarkable.

00:06:47:04 – 00:06:49:09

Yeah, you have to survive. You’re right.

00:06:49:28 – 00:07:06:20

It’s amazing. It’s incredible. But I just want to spell it for people who want to check out, you know, who they’re not driving while you’re while you’re listening. So it’s f e l i CIA. So Felicia. And then it’s c h u e t t e portrait. So I just wanted to throw that out there.

00:07:06:22 – 00:07:11:00

Yes. And sometimes it’s just u without the e. OK, gotcha.

00:07:11:29 – 00:07:35:16

OK, so anyway, the way that you like, portray your brand, everything is done so well and so beautifully. I mean, everything is just like, perfect the way you showcase your folio boxes and your wall portraits and just your images and everything is done so well now. Are you a designer? Did you do all of this yourself?

00:07:36:06 – 00:08:03:27

Well, I’m a one one woman show, basically, and I think I have a very big advantage, possibly because I’m an architect. So I studied architecture in Germany. Before that, I think what is called high school in the states, I went so after primary school, I went to a middle school and then I went to a further school that was with a How do you say that? It’s my main core of the what I chose was

00:08:03:29 – 00:08:06:21

your major, your university or college?

00:08:06:23 – 00:08:38:27

No, not even the university before it was something in between middle school and university. I think you could call it a kind of high school, and it was a specific school and that I could choose and I chose you achieved a high school degree that allowed you to go to university, but you also achieved a profession and that was called a technical assistant for anything that had to do was basically design. So during that school, I already was connected to, yeah, photography in a way, painting, technical drawing and all those things.

00:08:39:09 – 00:09:06:28

And then after that, I went to university in 1993 till 2000, and I studied architecture and I finished finished. Architecture was a masters. So I have, I think, a long journey of zero, let’s say, design architecture. All that. And looking back to it, because I prepared myself a little bit for this recording and I was like, Wow, that has been actually gradually building up onto each other. But when you’re in it, you don’t see it. No.

00:09:07:00 – 00:09:21:15

Right, right? Yeah. Oh my gosh, this is so interesting. OK, so Felicia set the stage before we go any further, set the stage for the listeners of what your business is like. What do you shoot? How often are you shooting? Do you have a studio like that sort of thing?

00:09:22:00 – 00:09:53:00

Okay. So yes, pride predominantly. I’m a portrait photographer and I really love to shoot maternity, which you will see all, all the way. I also do motherhood, so means really the mother and the baby or mother, father and the baby. I don’t put babies in baskets, and I have a lot of respect for babies and moms. I don’t have children, so I do, of course, touch the babies. But I always say safety first, so I don’t really not trained with babies myself.

00:09:53:18 – 00:10:28:17

So besides that, I call it my three Bs. So it’s beauty boudoir branding. That is also something I really love to integrate, I have my 40 over 40 campaign and it can be beauty boudoir branding or a mix of all, also actually for every for every client inquiry if they don’t really know what they want. I right away say like, Oh, we can do a mix of all, you know. And besides that, and this is just on the sideline and there’s the connection back to being an architect, I on request was object I really adore and that don’t hurt my eye.

00:10:28:25 – 00:11:03:00

I do real estate photography, but you don’t find it anywhere. It’s locally here. No, that’s enough. And I love campaigns, so that comes a little bit from all the way in the beginning when I was just playing around like, but we don’t have it really here, like if I could get my fingers of some kind of creative shoot fashion campaign thing. I love that. I love to do complex things. Also, again, the architect in me, I have to make it. I have to make a project out of everything. And sometimes it’s like, Felicia, can you just chill and do a 15 minutes branding shoot if it’s requested?

00:11:03:12 – 00:11:08:20

No, OK, I’m totally opposite. I’m like, I like efficient and

00:11:09:08 – 00:11:14:27

good for you, Nikki. I need of mentoring from you to get my brain flushed out.

00:11:15:14 – 00:11:26:20

I know everyone’s so different with that, with the level in which they like to create versus, you know, how much they want to spend. It’s funny. OK, so do you do this full time then, or you still have your full time architect job now?

00:11:26:22 – 00:12:01:15

I would say by now. I think since the last two or three years, I’m pretty much full time portrait photographer and I say, and you will, if you go to my website, you’ll see it right away, the split into architecture and photography because I’m like, I don’t want to handle two websites. And I take on very, very selected clients, usually some of my past and do only the architectural concept because that’s what I love for everything else. There’s a lot of other professionals on the island, so there is maybe one architectural project per year as a as an impromptu pre-designed design object.

00:12:01:23 – 00:12:03:19

OK, so yes, photography.

00:12:04:22 – 00:12:16:09

OK, so from what I saw on your website, it looks like you have a $500 session fee and your portrait collection start at three thousand. Is that dollars

00:12:16:23 – 00:12:25:24

that sent us dollars to ask yourself, OK? Yeah, I’ll have to just open because I read somewhere as soon there is a how do you call the dollar sign or the euro sign?

00:12:27:12 – 00:12:33:21

As soon that is in front of a price, it looks more expensive psychologically wise. I don’t know if it’s true, so I just put the numbers.

00:12:35:04 – 00:12:43:10

Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. Interesting. I’ve never heard that, but I think you’re probably right and I think about it. I’m like, that makes a whole lot of sense.

00:12:44:05 – 00:12:44:20


00:12:45:00 – 00:12:53:04

OK, so here you are and this tiny little Caribbean island and you’re charging, starting at three thousand thirty five hundred.

00:12:53:16 – 00:12:54:21

Yes, that’s for the boxes.

00:12:55:04 – 00:13:18:17

Yes. OK. Let’s talk about this because I know there are people out there probably like what the what you know, because that’s an excuse for people that I don’t live in a town with a big city or where there are wealthy people everywhere or, you know, that sort of thing. So let’s let’s talk this through. First of all, who are your clients? Are most of them local? Are most of them coming traveling to you? So let’s talk about that.

00:13:19:05 – 00:13:50:26

At this point in time, they’re locals. Most of them also. Maybe it’s Pacific. The Bonaire is belonging to the Netherlands, so we have also people who a lot they get born here, go to school, go to Holland, come back on vacation. So I call them still local. OK. Right? So everything that comes from Holland has been here is local from me, and I want to expand to possibly also get visitors, meaning tourists. And that’s something I just stepping into. Might be might be a topic for another for another podcast at some time.

00:13:51:11 – 00:14:28:09

And locals, we are kind of multi multi nationalities are on this island. So and there’s a nice mix. So locals are really the Bonaire-iums locals. And then we have the ones that come from Holland are not born here but live. Here are also locals. And then you have Latinos. They love this whole thing. And we have also people from America, from Germany. So locals are different nationalities. And it’s also really interesting if others are in similar situation like me, like how to see how the different nationalities and mentalities react and what they want.

00:14:28:11 – 00:14:32:02

And it’s just such a journey. I’m still discovering myself

00:14:32:12 – 00:14:53:03

well, and this is the reason I asked a local or not because I thought about that. I thought, You know, I wonder if Felicia has tapped into the tourist market yet. And so it’s interesting that that’s something that you’re tapping into. And once you feel like you’re ready, let’s have you back and we’ll talk more about that. But okay, so most of the people live on the island or have lived there in the past and are coming back, not most.

00:14:53:06 – 00:15:03:07

That’s also that’s what I refer to them as local. So we have the locals that are living here or those who left, but. Back on vacation, that’s all locals, because they belong on all.

00:15:04:07 – 00:15:30:26

And now I want to focus on a couple of things with you because one, your technical skills, your lighting skills, you’re posing all of it. They are like, masterful, just top notch. So I want to talk a little bit about that and how you do it. But I also want to continue talking about your pricing and how you’re charging and how you got up to this amazing average. So did you start at the beginning charging three thousand for your starting package?

00:15:31:09 – 00:15:32:07

You know the answer.

00:15:34:11 – 00:15:34:26

I have a

00:15:34:28 – 00:15:35:13

feeling I know.

00:15:36:07 – 00:16:07:17

Of course. You know the answer? Of course not. So I maybe need to go back in time a little bit. I started working for myself in 2012 before I was an employed architect, and then I had a camera, you know, the girl with the camera for everything. And then I made the jump because I just wanted to grow and there was no growing possibility for me anymore. And when I started 2012, I really jumped into the deep blue. There was no backup plan or nothing. No. I quit my job. I was done and there was nothing. I had a rebel camera.

00:16:07:19 – 00:16:40:27

With  a kid lens and the girl was a camera, right? Everybody was like, Hey, do you come to the birthday party of my son? Bring a camera? And that was all for free? Mm hmm. Typical story like so many of us, and in 2012, I had to write a business plan. I had to make a company because I’m a foreigner, so I put photography in there and a lot of other things that I thought I can do. And then, OK, now come to the birthday of my son, and it’s like, Yeah, but now it’s you know how it goes, and now I’m charging for it, right? And it was this I like.

00:16:40:29 – 00:17:01:13

I picked a number out of the sky. It was like some. I think maybe I started at 150 dollars. Ask me, shoot and burn. Yes, I admit. And very quickly I noticed how I am charging. I want to up my skills. That’s where it actually started. I wasn’t even thinking of money because I had no idea I was running straight to bankruptcy.

00:17:02:22 – 00:17:10:26

Most people don’t realize it’s you know that if you’re not charging enough, no, you’re going to go under. Your business is not going to succeed.

00:17:11:29 – 00:17:43:03

But I was not worrying about that. I was worrying about to get better. And that was 2012. There was no online education now. You can bury yourself in an online education, but I was like, I want to up my skills. How can I learn? There was one professional photographer on the island, maybe two. They’re all into underwater photography, and I asked him if he had his doubts teaching me because we all know that state. Probably if you’re act Fear-Based, that’s also something that comes back. Maybe in our talk today and he was Fear-Based.

00:17:43:05 – 00:18:13:23

He didn’t want to teach me not to have concurrence. OK, so I searched the internet and of course, you find YouTube. And the problem was YouTube was like only bits and pieces. Nothing comprehensive. And then I found creative live on creative live I found Sue in 2012. So I’m a long term student here and was all the learning, of course, develop the understanding for pricing. And yeah, there was also Susan Stripling, our Excel sheet guru. And very quickly, very quickly.

00:18:13:25 – 00:18:27:05

I was those two main teachers for me. I chose those two and for life, basically, I run my numbers well, you know, the whole process. If you really run your numbers first, you die and then you resurrect,

00:18:29:03 – 00:19:03:29

yeah, something like that. And then I really sat down and then all of a sudden a thousand two thousand three thousand four a shoot, you know, becomes more than reasonable, almost too little and side line at some point people people direct you not into weddings. So I was doing weddings for a while, just five, I think, or six, I don’t know. And then I went back to portrait photography and there actually, it’s a little interesting story. So it was my last wedding, basically because I had my prices up to, I think, the smallest package wedding for hours.

00:19:04:01 – 00:19:35:06

I don’t know, two thousand two hundred and to six thousand that was I had small and medium notched between two and six thousand, and then I had an inquiry that lady wanted to have everything the engagement shoot and then the wedding coverage and then a photo shoot in the national park here. And I don’t know what. So it became a calculated and became over ten thousand dollars. I was like, Yes. And then the wedding planner reached out to me and exploded over me. And this is a very interesting thing.

00:19:35:08 – 00:20:12:10

Also for people maybe who struggled with pricing, I at that point put the pricing, but wasn’t comfortable yet. So and you will attract an incident or incidences that will reflect that back to you. Five hundred percent. So I had my $10000 calculation was like, yes, but same time, like, Oh my God, she calls me and she makes me small, like a little mouse. It was her words. I don’t know if that’s the same in probably not. Anyway, that makes sense, yeah, yeah, and I remember and that is physical, I remember I was sitting and had her on the phone and I was shaking, I was shaking, I couldn’t breathe, I was paralyzed.

00:20:12:29 – 00:20:45:06

But but it was OK because she I couldn’t talk anyway. She was just talking for 15 minutes. What a bad person I am and how old they are and so on. And while I know it came from a place of she was not charging enough herself as well, if I may say. right. And then something very remarkable happened, and I think that may relate to these 90 seconds. I at some point because I couldn’t speak, started just profoundly breathing. And all of a sudden this calmness came over me and it was something I will never forget.

00:20:45:27 – 00:21:16:04

I feel it now. Even I feel my whole body’s vibrating as I speak to you. So I had to brace because she didn’t let me talk and I, while breathing the calmness came over me and I realized I know exactly what I’m doing. This is all calculated on on real numbers. I know for that what that bride wants. It’s a reasonable pricing. And when she was done talking, I said, OK, my dear, it’s calculated. It’s based on facts.

00:21:16:09 – 00:21:46:03

If you think it’s not for your client, that’s fine. However, we shouldn’t judge our clients. If you think you have a bride who wants my services feel very welcome to reach out to me. But this is my pricing, and I know very well where it’s based on and that came from inside. And well, long story short, I never did a wedding anymore, but I gained a very great experience within myself and I think I had to experience it. Mm hmm.

00:21:46:20 – 00:22:20:27

Yeah, that’s such a powerful story. I think we all at some point. Anyone who has significantly raised their prices. I think we all go through that at some point where we have this moment, this like shift. OK, so for example, an episode twenty six Emma Burke herself, she talks about how she had an experience where someone was shaming her over charging. Seventy five dollars. So she went down to fifty dollars. Yes, and she ended up having this sort of experience that really helped launch her into her $2000 average from having that experience.

00:22:20:29 – 00:22:43:25

So we all go through something personal that helps us just really, truly get through that block of what our value is, you know, and finally understand that I deserve. I deserve what I’m charging, and if people are either going to charge it or they’re not, obviously, Sue talks about this all the time and all of the videos, and I’m so glad you had that experience because I mean, look where you’re at today.

00:22:44:04 – 00:23:09:24

Yes. Yeah, I can only agree. And it comes either because you have already a healthy value understanding of yourself or you do the work so you run your numbers at least two. It doesn’t maybe have to be in detailed detail, even though of course it helps. But if you’re run your numbers of your business and the numbers of your living, you get very, very good understanding of what should be a minimum.

00:23:10:18 – 00:23:21:06

Mm hmm. Mm hmm. OK, so from from here, when you were charging it, I think you said 175 or 150 or something. How did you get up to that higher price? Did you just go for it?

00:23:23:04 – 00:24:00:29

In the beginning, I would say between 2012, and I know exactly when it became more solid in 2016 so that I will call all the learning, the pre orientation, learning everything, mix and match and totally chaotic phase. So there I was, maybe from 150 to 500, which is still a joke. And then I made the jump to the wedding was 2000. So at least that was a moment where those numbers kind of became familiar. And where I really noticed this is getting serious now, and that is also maybe something nice to share and may help others.

00:24:01:16 – 00:24:37:22

So I had still this before. Like when a client comes in, you know, I checked him on Facebook. Like, does he have money? What a stupid thing to do, actually, by the way, because if he has a big car doesn’t mean he spends money on photography. We know this whole topic about what is actually value, what is valuable to someone. But I was still very like my pricing went up and down was my judgment over my client or my personal well-being. If I felt good to charged more, if it was less, it was less so. Between 2012 to 16, I was somewhere between 500 and maybe 1000, basically for portraits.

00:24:38:16 – 00:25:12:03

And in 2016, there was year a local market like a fair. It was a wellness market and I did the jump. I said, Look, I want to participate. I have to do with wellness. I just declared, I’m a wellness business. I got a little stand outside here on the local market, and at six, 2016 I had an intern, which was also great because I was in the. Position, I could create marketing material and all the things, and the point I want to make is I was out the first time really was a stand, so I needed material and I needed my prices.

00:25:12:10 – 00:25:24:12

And I couldn’t say this client, this prizes and deadlines and prizes, but I needed to literally written in stone. So what I did, I sat down and said, OK, Felicia, small and middle large three prices.

00:25:26:21 – 00:25:58:02

And that was I remember I know my starting price was, I think, 10 images for twelve hundred dollars. And then maybe I think two thousand two hundred and three thousand three hundred four, I think it was twelve, twenty two and thirty two, something like that. And that was a key moment because the moment you write it down and you give those, I had little business cards. So on one side was the contact and everything and on the rests on the back side was the three packages. I gave it out and out it was and it only went up from there.

00:25:58:04 – 00:26:28:06

So I literally every January raised my prices just to that little, you know, when it starts feeling uncomfortable. So I was kind of comfortable with the lowest, but the middle and upper was uncomfortable and that helped me in the years to a raise where I am at. And I have to say since 2020 Covid, I did not raise my prices. I left it. And but the prices actually are the same since all of 2019, 18, 19.

00:26:28:23 – 00:27:00:15

But I changed my packages. So what they get, so the three thousand I have now  for three years and then the next four and five thousand ten, 15, 20 images. But what I gave changed a little bit. So I’m always fine tuning because I’m comfortable with three, four and five thousand dollars more feels uncomfortable. It’s really yourself. It’s nothing else. It’s a hundred percent yourself. But for example, I used to for 10 images. I don’t know when and how it used to be four or five outfits.

00:27:00:17 – 00:27:09:24

And I don’t know. In the last year, it developed to be 10 images, 10 outfits. Do you know what that means, you know? Oh yeah, it’s like a six to eight hour shoot. It’s crazy.

00:27:10:15 – 00:27:43:09

Well, one thing I notice about your work, so you know, obviously you have dominated the maternity category and who said that? Who said that – dominates? But I am saying that personally, just scrolling through you have let’s just say you have a lot, you have a couple of golds. I mean, you know how hard it is to get a gold like, you know, not most people don’t get golds, so you anyway. And when I scroll through. So if you go to the Portrait Masters dot com and you click on the awards, you can see the past category winners.

00:27:43:11 – 00:28:20:19

And when I was scrolling through the maternity photos, I was looking at the top 20 and it was like Felicia, Felicia, Felicia, Felicia. But here’s the thing I really, really love is they all look different. Yes, it’s your style. You can tell it’s your work because of the way you light it and just just things about it. But a lot of times when people submit like, you know, a couple of the same photos from the same shoot, which is a small variation, it loses the wow factor where you bring it consistently with different wow factors based on how you’re styling it and just like diversity and expression and props and everything.

00:28:20:21 – 00:28:30:09

So you are just completely, always mixing it up so I can see how if a client is getting 10 photos with 10 outfits like you are putting your all into that?

00:28:30:22 – 00:28:55:21

Yeah, but I need to be a little bit more efficient. So like now, the 10 images, I brought it down to five outfits two backdrops, but they can add on. But then it’s additional outfit for 250 additional backdrop 250 and find out styling two hundred fifty dollars. So it has to be in balance was what I give if I have a six, eight, 10 hour shoot fine with me, but that can then not be three at three thousand right. Does it make sense?

00:28:56:00 – 00:29:03:12

Yeah, I love that. And you’re setting boundaries around it. Yeah, where I think sometimes people will just like, throw it and, you know, throw in the extras and that sort of thing where it’s no,

00:29:03:18 – 00:29:04:22

no, no, I’m done with that.

00:29:04:24 – 00:29:09:13

Yeah, OK. So then how often are you shooting? How many of these shoots are you doing per month, let’s say?

00:29:09:28 – 00:29:10:13


00:29:12:06 – 00:29:43:14

I think that’s exactly the core you’re hitting there because with the intensity, like I said, in the beginning, everything becomes a project. I can’t handle a lot. So if if I would be able to do every week one, let’s talk three thousand dollar sale, I would be really happy. However, it’s not. It’s my average, the lowest package is three thousand, but my average is continuously around two thousand since 2017. So I’m pretty steady in my nineteen hundred $2000 average.

00:29:44:10 – 00:30:00:24

But it’s not because of the amount of photoshoots, because honestly, I on that level and that high level was 10 outfits, 10 pictures, I can do only two a month because it’s a lot of preparation, a lot of communication. Sometimes I need to build head pieces or whatever

00:30:00:26 – 00:30:02:13

happens in the editing, too.

00:30:02:26 – 00:30:40:25

Oh yeah, retouching, if I if I retouch 10 images on competition standard, that’s not done in an hour, at least not with me, and I love to edit my own pictures because for me, it belongs together. That’s why I am. And that might also come again from the architecture. I want to go more towards even less images, but higher quality that I just implemented fine art. Exactly. I just did the step two months ago on a price list. I have fine art images, and there it’s starting at one for two thousand five hundred and then depending on the sizes, right, so the next big one, two, three, four and five.

00:30:41:07 – 00:31:18:00

And I honestly, if I may just bring it to the universe and speak it out loud in front of everyone, because that’s the first step. I seriously want to go to two enlargements that go towards $10000. That’s my goal. I don’t know how long I will need for that, but you know what I mean? I’m I rather create one masterpiece that is perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect. Then doing a lot because it forced me. I think that’s the core. I’m getting bored. I like architecture. I plan one house for one person on one location, and that’s maybe also where the diversity might come from.

00:31:18:02 – 00:31:26:13

I that’s at least an intention I want to create every time, at least something a little bit different. Else, I get bored.

00:31:26:29 – 00:31:57:03

Right, right. In this book, I love this. I love this so much, because this just goes to show that using this business model, you know, and just pricing yourself at industry standards works different for everyone, but we can all be successful doing it. So, for example, you want to create this one amazing, fine art piece for each of your clients, right? And you can do that and you do really well. And I also I want to I want to go back to your pricing in just a second. But of course, like, that’s incredible and that works for you.

00:31:57:09 – 00:32:31:28

Whereas for me, like in my personal branding course, I’m teaching people how to shoot to sell more, to sell more images, a with a variety and efficiently based on different outfits and backdrops and, you know, just different different variables there. But my goal is I want to get as much variation in as quick as amount of time so that I can sell more of those photos and help with that client to just make their branding incredible. Whereas yours is a totally different experience for a client, and I have been the client that you’re talking about, so Sue did my maternity photos.

00:32:32:02 – 00:32:33:17

Yes, I am an will.

00:32:34:11 – 00:33:05:29

All I needed was, I mean, one she gave me. She gave me way more than one, but she could have taken my favorite one from each of those, and I would have paid her as much as anything because those that one portrait of me, it brings me to tears. Just thinking about it with each of my babies just was so worth it to me. And so again, it’s two different business models that work in two different ways that we’re both super successful at. And you just have to choose what you want to do and what works for you.

00:33:06:09 – 00:33:42:23

Yes, I can agree. It’s really about oneself. I try it. You know, I had in the beginning the was it the twenty twenty to thirty image box is the biggest ride. And I did that. What you’re saying? The biggest possible variety in outfits posing backdrops. But it killed me. Even if I have already two images with the same outfit, I don’t want to retouch the second anymore. I don’t want to do that. So I went down from 30 to twenty five as the biggest package. Now I have 20. I’m like, Actually, I want to do only 10 for the box, you know? And then for five thousand, I’m just throwing numbers here.

00:33:42:25 – 00:33:55:27

But I it’s my mindset. I know it’s just my mind to get to those prices and I have my blockades, of course, but I feel I feel like less less images and more into it if it makes sense.

00:33:56:07 – 00:34:12:02

Yeah. Well, your branding is so on point with everything that you’re saying. It truly is. It feels luxurious, but you had mentioned that you’re averaging right around two thousand or a little bit more than that. So is that if your smallest package is three thousand, what’s bringing that average down? Are you doing a la carte?

00:34:12:12 – 00:34:58:07

Yes, I have. And that is my probably my personal block still. But I have an entry price for one image digital only printable about 228 by 36 centimeters for 750 images. And I do have people coming in. They just want this one digital image because that’s really all they can afford. And sometimes even that’s a payment plan over half a year. But my small community and that’s something that consistently I have built up over 10 years now, they will come back at some point and then maybe they spend three thousand or did you know you did not? On my website, I have that actually, my I have three options the reveal box starting at three thousand.

00:34:59:01 – 00:35:18:12

Then I have my enlargements and then I have digital options, and it starts, like I said, one digital for $750, three for fifteen hundred and five for two thousand. That brings down my average of people go for digital only. But if they want wall art, they have to jump to me back, right? Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

00:35:18:26 – 00:35:35:28

OK, so now let’s say someone is just getting that one photo. Are you showing them unretouched unedited and they’re choosing which one? And then you are making it amazing? More sorry, more amazing than it already is. Or are you just choosing the one and you show it to them? And that’s what they get.

00:35:36:06 – 00:36:17:25

There has been a change since Covid before I was still doing the so-called reveal ball from school. And for example, if somebody just really wants one, I would show them three to four retouched, ready. And sometimes there’s an upsell, sometimes not. I think I can safely say I never had someone who did not buy. So they buy at least that what they said or more. Since COVID, we all had transitions and now I’m actually right now. At that point, I have a mix between either a Zoom reveal of un retouched images or I send out proof sheets was saying proofread on it and either they know exactly, and it depends a little bit.

00:36:17:26 – 00:36:49:06

I feel the person you feel it, you have women. They know exactly what they want throughout, from wardrobe to how many images for what. So I know already I don’t need to spend time on the Zoom. You know, they know what they want and it happens within the same day. I get it and this one, you know, well, people are more needing guidance. I may do the Zoom reveal, but by now I’m so comfortable because I get a lot of things right in camera and the things that don’t get right. I explain to them they will be unretouched.

00:36:49:19 – 00:37:22:19

They will be things you may not like. Most of them I can fix. So ask me, like wardrobe malfunction is the biggest. Sometimes maybe shine when I haven’t seen it on on the skin. That’s most of it. Basically, because everything else, I pretty much get on point and I tell them also, the skin is not retouched, so I will work on the lights and shadows. I’m not saying wrinkles. Of course it is light. It’s no our lines are lack of light. And if you have dramatic light, you may have showing that more.

00:37:23:03 – 00:38:00:03

So my clients are very, very well educated and that goes throughout my whole process. I’m clear as Crystal and I repeat myself 10 times to have clear everything, especially the pricing, and that goes for the same for the reveal. So back to your question, if somebody wants one image, I know the person knows very well what they want. I show them maybe four six at top if somebody wants one, but I feel there is some stretch to it. I may show even 10 and they may are buying five, you know, so and if somebody, for example, wants a box of 10? Same thing.

00:38:00:05 – 00:38:26:01

If I feel they pretty much know and I really show them the top of each outfit, it might be maybe 12 or 14, but it could be 30 or 60. If I feel like, wow, there’s a lot of great ones and a photoshoot usually for me takes longer than anticipated because we are all into it and up to it, and I lose track of time so it can happen. I have to admit that I show 50 60 unretouched and they may top up to the next package.

00:38:26:13 – 00:38:54:25

OK, this makes sense. Well, first of all, I want to encourage you to get that number up for that fine portrait because an especially, you know, I know you have I’m assuming that you’ve made a name for yourself locally. Of course, I would love to see you open that door to two tourists, for sure. So I again, I would. You want to talk more about that, but I want to hear about how you create this art. Your portraits, because I think I remember you saying you have quite a small studio. Is that right? Yeah.

00:38:55:23 – 00:39:01:04

Tell us about this. Yeah. Well, I will have a studio tour coming out. I guess

00:39:01:12 – 00:39:18:17

that’s right. Yes. OK, so that’s what I do. Want to thank you for reminding me of that when this airs this recording. I’m not sure yet if it will be out yet because it’s still in production, but I’m so glad you brought that up because people will be able to see your entire studio, right?

00:39:19:00 – 00:39:47:00

Yes, I can verbalize it briefly. But then, yes, that good. Just briefly, I have, and I’m so blessed I have next to my house. My way to work is literally 10 seconds. I have a little apartment and that apartment consists out of two small bedrooms that is really like, you have a double bed and you can walk one metre around. So I think it must be some 16 square metres, which I looked it up for you as some hundred seventy two feet. And that’s twice

00:39:47:02 – 00:39:48:11

72 square feet, right?

00:39:48:19 – 00:40:22:02

Yes, at twice. So I’m sitting now in my little office where I have my workstation and a little vanity where hair and makeup used to be before COVID. Now, my clients go to my hair and makeup artist because I try to keep minimum contact. And then I have in the middle a tiny bathroom, so just a little bathroom and a little little little tiny entry. And then it’s the same room next to it. That’s my so-called studio. So I have on the floor a six by nine drop and a six by nine drop vertical.

00:40:22:14 – 00:40:31:14

And that’s basically it. Then I can just walk around. I have my my upper boxes to one side and you will see it in the in the studio drawer. But that’s the space I work with.

00:40:31:16 – 00:40:50:05

Yes, I can’t wait to see it. And I think this is a block from people to that they have to have this big fancy studio in order to produce fine art. And you don’t. I mean, I’m guessing that your studio is quite beautiful and that you’ve made it really beautiful within that small space. But I mean, that’s like just over 300 square feet. I think altogether, because you said one hundred seventy two square feet twice, right?

00:40:50:15 – 00:41:04:27

Yes. And then the bathroom and the little tiny step in entry, I calculated somewhere between 38 to 40 square meters, which comes somewhere of 410 to 430 square feet. I didn’t measure it. But yeah,

00:41:05:06 – 00:41:09:23

yeah, I mean this. This is just proof that you do not need a lot to create fine art.

00:41:10:10 – 00:41:13:22

No that I can safely say it’s incredible. Now I’m living proof.

00:41:13:27 – 00:41:20:01

Tell us, I know this is going to be in your studio tour, but just give us the over and that you used studio lights, correct? What kind of equipment do you use?

00:41:20:16 – 00:41:27:27

That’s a good question. Actually, I have to look it up now. I’m really laughing. And if I tell you that, maybe I don’t want to gonna to win gold anymore?

00:41:28:24 – 00:41:37:12

No, OK. I love that you don’t have like, are you sick when I’m guessing this is what you’re saying that you don’t have, like the top notch, most expensive gear of all time.

00:41:39:07 – 00:42:09:09

I had to look it up honestly, because once I did a workshop online for another platform, I was invited anyways. So I have a a second hand. I think it’s a new, newer, newer strobe and I got it second hand with the soft box around its double diffused. It’s about one meter 50, and I don’t even have a backup battery because that thing is so old that I can’t. It’s not a joke. I’m panicking here. It’s so old that I cannot get a backup battery for it.

00:42:09:11 – 00:42:33:03

So don’t ask me from when I cannot even find it on the internet anymore. That’s my main light. Before I got that second hand, that was, I think, in 2018, maybe 19. Before that, I worked with my two speed lights kind of speed lens. I have an older one, both I forgot I had to look it up. It was, I don’t know the numbers, an older one and a newer one, which is also now old.

00:42:34:19 – 00:43:08:06

So that’s my light, and I move that around all over the place. So when people ask me, what lighting was it like? I no, but I have a systematic, of course. So I have my main lead, which I use most of the time. I don’t have a lot of space to back off. That’s my problem. So I’m when I need to do a full body length, for example, Olympus and was my behind literally either in my cupboard or in that little entry area. That’s no joke. And the person is already reaching over my backdrops, so I have a lot of retouching to do, but it’s what it is.

00:43:08:08 – 00:43:30:06

But you make it work. Yes. And honestly, like I said, I want to go to a higher prices and not necessarily more clients. So that’s also actually a question I have out here, like the average actually is not the only number we need. We would actually need also an average, depending on clients. Somehow, that makes sense. Yeah.

00:43:30:08 – 00:44:05:02

Yeah, because if someone’s average is 10000, but they’re only doing two shoots a month, yes, that’s quite different, then. Yeah, yeah. So it’s for someone who is now, especially because like my shoots are start to finish, including hair and makeup, two hours tops with six outfits wearing. So I’m doing a couple of those I used to do 10 a month. And now, yeah, with doing the podcast and just some other things, I’ve scaled it down to like four or five a month in order to fit in everything, and that works really great for me. But if I was spending the amount of time and energy and effort that you are, there’s no way that I could do 10 a month.

00:44:05:04 – 00:44:06:00

I would die.

00:44:06:28 – 00:44:48:10

That’s why also we are jumping back, we come back to the light, but I don’t want to do more than two clients because it goes so in depth that, oh, maybe three, but also something interesting. We come back later I discovered why and actually for this podcast, that has to do with my personality also. But so I really prefer a few clients and even more, more high end. That’s where I want to go. But back to my studio lights, I have my strobe, my second hand newer, and I have two or three lights. And it’s really interesting because I think I optimize this space because the value of working close from home right now is more important to me than anything else because of course, I dream.

00:44:48:12 – 00:45:20:10

I said that also in the studio tour, I would want a space. I can fill a space that’s five times bigger, easy with all my wardrobe alone. My husband always complains. When I bring you wardrobe and it’s in the main halls, like, when is this going in your studio? It’s like when we organize it. Yeah, it’s really funny, but I optimized it. So I have on my right hand side is a white wall on my left hand side. Just one window on the right hand side is a reveeal war, which served me as a reveal wall, drawing shooting.

00:45:20:12 – 00:45:52:04

It serves me as there is my meeting powder, there’s hairspray, there’s clams, there’s all the little things you need. There is also I always, always have a visual. Every photoshoot is well organized, so I really have each outfit combined with each backdrop. I want the lighting and I have like a little kind of coach. So BL’s backlight. So I on one look, I see what I had planned out because I know if I don’t look at it, I go wild and I’m ending up somewhere.

00:45:52:06 – 00:45:53:09

What was not the plan?

00:45:55:05 – 00:46:25:21

So there’s my plan. And also the upper shelf is my speed light position because I don’t have space for too many light stands and all those things, and I don’t have them half of my Three light stands are all broken because in this climate, everything corrodes all the plastic breaks. It is terrible, so I laid my speed light on the upper shelf. That’s my bounce. That’s my my, my base light, my base base layer, base layer. That’s the one that’s reflecting backwards and upwards.

00:46:25:23 – 00:46:49:24

That’s my base layer. And then my main light is my newer octo box. And then I have my backdrop angled 45 degrees a little bit in the corner. So behind I have one speed light on the light and most of the time, and that creates either my backlight and a bounce it towards the wall. So I have my whole white. Bed sheet? Yes.

00:46:50:02 – 00:46:57:06

Oh my God. You are hacking the shit out of this and I love it. I can’t wait to watch it. I cannot wait to watch it serious.

00:46:57:10 – 00:47:06:11

That’s why I said, like if that gets public, there’s two ways either you know, I lose credibility or everybody loves it. Oh no,

00:47:06:13 – 00:47:24:24

I’m looking at your work. The fact that you’re hacking it is like it makes it even a million times better. So if you go to the portrait systems YouTube channel, yeah, the portrait system on YouTube, if it’s not there yet, it will be there soon. Again, not sure exactly if it’s out when this interview comes out, so check back if it’s not fun.

00:47:25:09 – 00:48:03:29

Wow. Yeah, the Ford Light position is I have one more small, tiny, little wobbly light stand, and there I have a strip box that I also got second hand. And so one of the speed lights has then to go on the strip box and loses its extra position, if that makes sense. So I have actually four main positions of light. And then I play around and sometimes I do an overhead. I have a boom arm that literally cannot be screwed tight anymore. You’re going to laugh, really. I reveal all my secrets here. And so for that boom arm to keep it in place because I cannot lock it anymore, I have to have a counterweight that is dive lets from my husband.

00:48:04:08 – 00:48:05:11

So you’re going to laugh?

00:48:07:10 – 00:48:10:05

Yeah. So that’s my lighting and my backdrop. Oh God.

00:48:10:07 – 00:48:22:12

Yeah, so good. OK, I just want to shift gears because we don’t have a whole lot of time left, but I want us to hear about how do you get your clients? What would you say is your your number one source of clients coming in?

00:48:23:03 – 00:48:26:21

Is this going together? Was marketing a little bit and we can get that together?

00:48:26:27 – 00:48:27:27

Sure. Yeah, go for it.

00:48:27:29 – 00:48:58:17

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I’m not. I’m not a networker in the sense of going to the classic network events. It freaks me out. I tried it a couple of times. It just doesn’t work. I’m freezing. But what I really love to do, so I have a different kind of networking, which I may call one or one relation building, and that goes over since I live here. So it was, I don’t know, hot, but we’re now at 20000 thousand people. I think back then it was about half.

00:48:59:00 – 00:49:35:16

So a lot of locals know me or know me via vibe. So this one on one relationship building, I think, is one of my strongest things I could develop for my business. And that can be anything from the midwife to a wellness centre to a reiki thing to a farm who does goat cheese, hair and makeup artists so that our businesses business relationships. But these are all women. So actually, there’s almost all my relations are also those who come for shoots and have their own networks.

00:49:35:18 – 00:50:07:29

And Sue says that right? What do women do best? Talk, talk. So I think that is a big base, and I did not build that overnight. Like I said, 10 15 years, what I really love to do is also corporations. I have invented corporations here some 15 years ago before I even just started my business because I love this photo session, I called it. It was fun shoots, and 15 years ago I already asked someone, Hey, can you do hair makeup? And it wasn’t even a thing. And so I’m very strong in that.

00:50:08:01 – 00:50:40:18

So relationship building one to one. And then already for years, I kind of see where I can contribute to the society. And every second year we have an animal shelter auction. It’s a fund raising and artists donate their work. And I say, like, I’m an artist, you know, like, was it market? I’m in wellness. I can always find a reason to bring it to a certain topic where maybe somebody says, like, I what I do have I to do with animals because I’m not predominantly shooting pets, because I have dogs myself and I cannot do that here anyway.

00:50:40:20 – 00:51:11:18

So every second year I donate a photoshoot with me, and last time I think I was the highest bid. I don’t know what it was two thousand dollars at that point. It was before COVID three years ago. So people get to know me. There’s everyone sitting at this auction who has a business or who can spend money and donate, right? So that was a big one. Even it was just one event. And don’t get me wrong, I am a hermit crab. You cannot get me out. My friends never see me. You have to drag me now.

00:51:11:20 – 00:51:16:01

You have to drag me into public and it’s like a vampire. Like, oof the lights, you know?

00:51:17:27 – 00:51:56:10

And then many years ago, we had an organization. It was called Bundu. That was for weekend everybody helping people in need, doing something, painting a house, doing. And I was photographing that. It was a long time ago when I was still doing events and everything, you know, but that made people know me. People know me that I don’t know. So that works. Then also, since a couple of years now I’m teaching. I used to teach at one school. Now I teach at the bio media school, which also. Filmed my studio tour, and I teach once a year a workshop for basic photography, and I made sure to involve television and newspaper.

00:51:56:21 – 00:52:15:08

So I was, I don’t know, every year at least once on television, on local television, explaining how to teach the youth. And there’s parents and children, that’s the next generation. So it’s one of my things in my guilt and shame area is bragging, so I hope it doesn’t come across as bragging.

00:52:15:18 – 00:52:18:04

No, not even close. We want to hear it all.

00:52:18:09 – 00:52:33:21

Yeah, but it’s really this television newspaper. If people have problems with that, just turn it around from, Oh my god, are going to be on television. It’s about like, how can you contribute to your local community? As small as it is? It’s very powerful.

00:52:34:03 – 00:52:35:11

Yeah, yeah, it is.

00:52:35:16 – 00:53:11:02

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s I think there’s also a saying, maybe you know it, but what can be bringing you up can bring you down very fast as well. So I have always, always on Facebook. You do not see one bad post of me. I do not accept anything which goes like washing dirty laundry or something. So I’m very aware of me as a person, being my own brand since beginning. Maybe it’s also again, this you know how an architect is presenting himself and as an architect, you always represent the client no matter what.

00:53:11:16 – 00:53:52:07

And that just is in my blood. So that comes to Facebook and Instagram. I do my posts. I try blogging. It’s a dead thing for me. I know it’s good, but I just I focus on what I love doing. Very simple. And then those little markets. And there’s maybe a Christmas market before COVID, of course, or fairs, and it’s maybe once a year only. But that’s when the people see me. And I really love my own campaigns and I, I sometimes get lost in executing them because I have all these great ideas, like my 40 over 40 and then now I have a wellness campaign coming up in preparation to targeting more.

00:53:53:01 – 00:54:10:02

It’s a trial. I did a post on Facebook the other day and to open this door to how can I get tourists because I do not want, for example, a one day cruise ship, tourists. That’s not what I want, you know, but I want to build relationships with

00:54:11:21 – 00:54:42:00

how to say, higher end vacation habitats, habitats. Yeah, that’s a great idea and offer a wellness product that has been my dream for the last four years. I didn’t do anything, but so now I’m doing an old campaign in October where I involve a small team of different wellness stations. And of course, it has to culminate in the photoshoot because that’s my thing, right? And I want to Right because I really strongly believe in this looking good, feeling well, feeling well, looking good.

00:54:42:02 – 00:54:56:20

It all goes together. It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s a circle once you start. So that’s my marketing slash where I get my clients from. So it looks like it comes all from Facebook and word of mouth. But there’s this whole thing. What I just told you behind it.

00:54:57:06 – 00:55:18:17

Yeah, that’s great. And it’s I love that you’re not just doing one thing and relying on that, you know, you have such a great variety of things that you’re doing, and it’s really exciting and I can’t wait to see where you go. We definitely have to have you back on, you know, once you start to grow this, this fine art, you know, pricing more. So I’m excited for you, Felicia.

00:55:18:25 – 00:55:23:16

I’m also excited. I have no idea where it’s going and the pressure is on now, right?

00:55:24:27 – 00:55:28:25

Yes, it is. No. You know, you’ll get there. You will look how far you’ve come.

00:55:28:27 – 00:55:30:20

It’s incredible. True. True.

00:55:31:14 – 00:55:45:05

All right. Well, just for time sake, I do have to get to our last segment of the show, which is I have four questions and I always ask at the end of each episode and the first one is what is something you cannot live without when you’re doing a photo shoot?

00:55:45:24 – 00:55:55:24

Yes. And I have thought about it because I knew that was coming, and it’s so contrary to so many things I hear. I need silence.

00:55:58:05 – 00:56:29:28

Mm hmm. Seriously, next to my spider belt and a lot of other things and a hair elastic, but silence music drives me crazy. I am so with you on this, I go, Oh, he can I kiss and hug you? And I had only once in all my clients where the client was like, Where’s the music? I was it up. I did not even come to the idea, and then I noticed it, and I did research on myself already. And actually just lately I was researching and just for you today.

00:56:30:00 – 00:56:35:01

I researched again and I figured out I have a sensory processing sensibility.

00:56:36:25 – 00:56:41:15

We could not be more in tune with this. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Yes.

00:56:42:11 – 00:56:45:15

For light and sound, it drives me nuts.

00:56:45:23 – 00:56:48:29

Yes. Felicia, we have to talk about this more later on.

00:56:49:14 – 00:57:20:04

Yeah, and you know what? Yeah, the last portrait masters I was in 2018, it was so unfortunate. I missed the whole talk of Felix because I was in bed with a migraine because it was unbearable for me, the the sound and action in the area and I loved to be there. I can just not cope with it. And I even look further. I’m crossing with empath and also clear sentients. I just know things. I can even sense it. When I have a scorpion in the house, it drives me crazy.

00:57:20:26 – 00:57:21:15


00:57:21:18 – 00:57:52:06

We’ll have to talk more about this. Yes, absolutely. Migraines are Sue and I were just talking. I was just visiting Sue recently and and we were talking about light and sound and just all the different sensory processing things that happen. And I can’t have certain light. Like if there’s an overhead light on, I can’t have it, another light coming from a specific direction. I’m fortunate that I don’t get migraines. I just it’s like really uncomfortable. It makes me feel like out of control in my body. I don’t know how to explain it, but

00:57:52:26 – 00:57:53:18

I feel I know.

00:57:53:29 – 00:58:12:02

Yeah, but with music, it’s I put it on just because I feel like I have to have something, but I put it on low and it’s just there to kind of break the like. I don’t know what to say, whatever during hair and makeup and that sort of thing, but if I had my preference, it would be silent for sure as soon as everyone leaves. It’s off.

00:58:12:14 – 00:58:43:12

Nikki, try it because I think it’s about inner comfort. I never, ever even thought about it, and I hear it so often that people say, I need music. I need music to get the client in the mood, or I need music to feel better or whatever empowering if somebody has it my blessing. But I, I don’t know. I just bring that to the shoot. I have never like I said, once somebody ask for it, just try it or put it every time a little or a little lower, a little lower till it’s gone. I’m sure you don’t need it for what it’s a focusing.

00:58:43:14 – 00:59:15:18

Also, I focus 100 percent on my client. There’s so much going on already. I guess if you cannot stand it, I would say, you know, bring it down to zero. Seriously. No, and also like I can, for example, when to sit somewhere, and I have I have to view the light. I turn always with the back to the light source. I cannot stand. You, you develop a lot of strange habits. And I till recently I thought, OK, I’m just not normal and people tell me, you’re super sensitive and you’re you’re annoying and you’re exaggerating. Like, for example, I

00:59:15:20 – 00:59:16:23

cannot stand very real.

00:59:16:29 – 00:59:25:20

Oh, I cannot stand a ventilator next to me somewhere. A television talking to someone and in the distance, the screaming a child. And then there I go.

00:59:25:22 – 00:59:28:00

Crazy flying must be hard for you.

00:59:29:09 – 00:59:35:21

I haven’t had to go. Yeah. 2019 was the last time, but earplugs is my savior.

00:59:36:05 – 00:59:47:07

Yes. Yeah. Noise cancelling things for sure. It’s funny. OK, one last thing about this move on. You know how I have. I don’t know if you I don’t know if you know this or not, but tonight is I’m ringing of the ears. Oh, tinnitus

00:59:47:09 – 00:59:49:13

was. Yes, I had that. I used to have. OK.

00:59:49:19 – 01:00:12:09

So OK, if you got rid of it, I need to know your secret. But so they recommend this white noise. If you give me white noise, I was going to shoot myself and I had my my babies. When they had to have white noise. It was so hard for me, but I just had to deal with it. But white noise for me is like the worse I’d rather hear my ringing than hear white noise like such a weird sensory thing.

01:00:12:24 – 01:00:45:06

OK, weird. Yeah, maybe the frequency isn’t isn’t going well, but for all people out, there was migraines. There is one killer meditation. It is actually what I had to look it up. Maybe I put it in the Facebook group. Yeah, there is one meditation. It is actually a sound, but a very low sound. And when I feel a migraine coming up, I immediately stop everything. My key to migraines is stop everything, no matter what, go into relaxation 15 minutes. Worst case an hour of that, and I’m back home without medication I refuse medication.

01:00:45:08 – 01:00:45:27

It’s a sound

01:00:46:06 – 01:00:53:20

interesting. All right. Moving on to OK, number two, the question is, what do you do when you’re not working? How do you spend your time?

01:00:56:05 – 01:00:57:05

Do you know my answer?

01:00:58:01 – 01:00:58:24

You’re always working.

01:00:59:16 – 01:01:21:09

Yes. Yeah, because when you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like working right. So I’m always learning. I’m so obsessed with learning. And if it’s just a podcast here I love, I have not even listen to everything from our masters. I love Richard Wood, I love Pratik and I love Felix, you know, and I mean, Sue, of course.

01:01:22:24 – 01:01:53:03

But learning, learning and besides that, one of my main values is really personal growth. So I’m really big on learning. Yeah, awareness. Yeah, I do love meditation just sitting in silence, and often I don’t do it. But so these are my things to connect to myself, my inner source. And from there, everything is coming everything. I used to say that before an architecture like, where do your ideas come from? Literally in my sleep? It’s not a joke.

01:01:53:12 – 01:02:20:24

It’s not a joke. I have a problem. I let it rest, and the solution comes in my sleep. So I love also to look at inspirational things. I love Pinterest, Instagram. I just love everything beautifully, visually appealing. And besides that, I’m just a homebody like already mentioned a cave woman. So I love my home. I love my garden. My dogs chill. And I discovered lately Netflix, which is really deadly because I don’t need to tell what happens.

01:02:22:19 – 01:02:31:19

I love movies. I love good movies, really good movies. And if I get a crappy one, I’m like, Oh my God, look at that light and my husband is like, Can you please just stop

01:02:34:03 – 01:02:35:11

the funny, funny?

01:02:35:13 – 01:02:40:13

Yeah. OK, number three is what is your favorite inspirational quote?

01:02:41:07 – 01:03:15:13

Yes. Also that, honestly, I needed to decide and I have two because I’m kind of a quote maniac. I love to put quotes to posts because I know my client. I know what may resonate with them and the image. So I am constantly, always looking for quotes already. Also, since I don’t know, a long time, I had my first quote when I was 16 on my mural from Zenica even forgot it. But something like this every day, like a life itself. But I found a quote because I was asked to put a quote on the portrait master on the Instagram for my last feature.

01:03:16:00 – 01:03:50:02

And I was like, That is what I do and what a lot of people do. And it is, as we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way from Mariam Mahathma. And that one was like, and literally and symbolically, we are doing that. Right, and I was like, Wow, this is an amazing quote. Yeah, beautiful. Yeah, it’s really I have a second quote and my own my own mission. The second quote I really love and that’s I’m a Gemini and I have two names I have two pose.

01:03:50:04 – 01:04:34:12

And this is the other side thinking is hard work. That’s why so few do it from Albert Einstein. I love that quote now because it is the source of everything. Thinking is the source of knowing oneself it is controlling is a hard word, but, you know, making sure your emotions go the right way and it is everything, everything and it’s hard work. And the third one is actually remember in the Portrait Masters 2018. Sue put up this huge board, it was white and we all had to write down why we do photography, why? And I got my sentence out within one second in my brain, and it’s portraiture is a journey within sight, not within myself and within the client self.

01:04:35:24 – 01:04:42:17

So portraiture is a journey within. Let me take you by the hand. So that’s my personal mission statement. And love it

01:04:42:26 – 01:04:50:24

now. I love it. Awesome. Me too. OK. Number four is what would you say to people who are just starting out?

01:04:51:29 – 01:05:06:09

Oh, I did think about that, and I think it depends on what level you are. If you’re a total beginner and you love taking pictures but actually don’t really know what you’re doing, the 90 days challenge. Top number one

01:05:08:10 – 01:05:09:10

out of the question

01:05:10:25 – 01:05:41:28

and then followed by or if you already know photography, I would really look into all the areas of self awareness knowing oneself. What are your weaknesses? Supposedly, because there are really your greatest strengths in architecture. We also always used to do that when there’s something where you think you beat your head on it and why doesn’t it go? Don’t work against it, work with it. Make it your advantage point, make it your strengths and then follow your heart seriously. Because follow your joy, joy, joy, joy.

01:05:42:00 – 01:06:12:17

I’m listening a lot to Abraham Hicks since especially the pandemic, she kept me like, It’s a brainwash. It’s it’s understanding. It’s finally working on your belief system that is just not yours most of the time. So follow your joy. Meditate if it’s just sitting still for 15 minutes and whatever you know, let it go and go. Let it go. All is good attitude. And then the next is really learn. Learn from the best.

01:06:12:19 – 01:06:29:01

Go through the portrait masters and sue bryce education. It’s at your fingertips. It is in readable, by the way. I’m very curious with your branding, even though I don’t do really branding so much, but you’re that must have been such an adventure. Nikki, I’m so happy for you. Oh, it

01:06:29:03 – 01:06:33:22

was so fun. It was so fun to put it all there. And I’m a hack too. So I just tell everybody everything I do

01:06:34:22 – 01:07:07:28

now, so learn from the very best. Go straight to the top and forget all of the rest and whatever your area is. If it’s landscape, then look for the masters. Practice, practice, muscle your craft and then the next one is really go easy on yourself. I have been so hard on myself and still am. Be patient. Be sweet to yourself. Talk to yourself. You’re your best friend. Start doing that because everything else life wasn’t meant for that. Life was meant to enjoy, to experience, to have fun too. To get the best out of yourself, you don’t serve anyone at anything.

01:07:08:00 – 01:07:30:00

Not yourself. No one else if you play stupid. So stop that and do one step at a time. And I love Nemo more. Just keep swimming to it because it’s a process. I do this for 10 15 years and I had my doubts that I couldn’t get out of bed, literally just do one step, go up, shower, you know, just whatever.

01:07:30:16 – 01:07:35:21

Go easy. Yeah, that’s all. Really, really great advice, Felicia. So thank you for that.

01:07:36:07 – 01:07:36:26

Thank you.

01:07:37:08 – 01:07:42:00

All right. So one more time, if people want to find you, your website, your Instagram, how can they find you?

01:07:42:20 – 01:07:51:12

OK, so my website is a generated name. It’s a, and it’s only one e in the middle.

01:07:51:27 – 01:07:54:29

OK, so creative and envision blend together.

01:07:55:01 – 01:07:59:18

So yes, thank you for saying that. Yeah, OK. And that brings you further.

01:07:59:25 – 01:08:01:15

And Instagram. Is your name correct?

01:08:01:17 – 01:08:24:09

Yes. Instagram, as you can find me under Felicia Schutte, but it’s only one u to be nice and confusing. And then we have Facebook and its Or I think if you put in Facebook just literally the portrait, you should find me and the easiest if everybody forgets everything, just Google photographer Bonaire and then you find them all and you find me there.

01:08:25:13 – 01:08:40:28

Perfect. Awesome. Well, thank you again for spending your time with me today and telling everyone what you know. I can’t wait to watch your studio tour on the portrait system. YouTube channel. And we’re going to have you back again once you get, you know, more things going.

01:08:41:04 – 01:09:01:19

I hope and I thank you and the whole gang. So much for inviting me, having me talking to me. It’s a total pleasure and I want to just compliment you because I’m listening to these episodes and you’re doing an amazing, amazing, beautiful, beautiful job. Was this it’s I think it’s natural. Born, you are natural. Born for this?

01:09:02:06 – 01:09:11:24

Well, thank you. I certainly love doing it. So thank you. Thank you. All right, my dear, I will see you soon. Hopefully, if not online, for sure. And I’ll talk to you soon.

01:09:12:09 – 01:09:14:22

And I know it was a lot chaotic, but I hope it’s good enough.

01:09:15:17 – 01:09:21:21

Oh, stop. This was perfect. You’re wonderful. Thank you, Nikki. All right. You take care.

01:09:22:06 – 01:09:24:25

You take care with your kids and everything. Thank you.

01:09:24:27 – 01:09:27:09

Well, thank you. Bye, girl.

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