Rosaura Sandoval: Masterclass Profile

I feel like I’m living the American Dream. I’m a the youngest of 6 children of hard-working immigrant parents from Mexico – illegal at first but eventually they became US citizens. We grew up dirt-poor in East Los Angeles with food stamps and government assistance though our parents made it so we never went without. Hard work was always valued more than art or education, so much so that my father didn’t want me to go to college. All he knew all his life was work, hard work, that is how you get by. Education and art do not feed families and only waste time not earning money. When I was 12, I remember this kitchen conversation with him and at the end I told him that I would go to college even if I had to join the army to pay for it.

Well I didn’t have to join the army, I worked hard, was accepted into ABC in Edina Minnesota. It stands for A Better Chance and is a national non-profit organization that takes talented minority students and gives them a better chance at breaking the cycle and obtaining better education. I worked hard and ended getting a full scholarship to Stanford. I wanted to study art and photography, but I studied Industrial Engineering so I could make money right after school – my father’s comments always in my head.

I graduated college (first in my family), went to Japan for an internship with Hitachi and on the way back decided I didn’t want to do engineering. I wanted to work where I could have flexible hours, wear jeans and be around creative people. I found video games! I started in accounting.  🙂 I worked in the industry for 15 years at Crystal Dynamics and made my way up to producer, managing mulit-million dollar projects! I met my husband there and when we had our first child I knew I couldn’t continue in the very testosteroney, crazy-schedule environment.

My sweet husband bought me a Canon 20D and a 50mm lens and said, “You’ve always wanted to be a photographer!” So I dove into learning on my own and devouring everything on the internet. I started with portraits and weddings but didn’t really know what I was doing. I attended workshops the hardest ones I could find – did Foundation Workshop twice! I made myself into a wedding photographer and I was really good at it, always learning but getting paid. My average wedding was $5000. I did that for 9 years. I love people I love weddings and the fashion of it all and the dancing, of course. I didn’t love how much time it took away from my little family or how wrecked I was the day after and not being really ‘present’ with my family on the weekends because of it. My kids were growing up and I was missing a whole bunch of it – it made me sad.

I literally woke up one morning and I told my husband, “I am going to go back to portraits but do it like Sue Bryce this time!” It was August 29th, 2014 – that morning I brought “28 days”. I devoured it. I practiced. I was excited. It was so much harder than I thought. But I kept practicing on myself and my friends. I was pretty terrible at first. The hands, the shoulders, the chin, WHAT?! 3 months later I did my first portfolio shoot with the intention of actually using them and showing it to people – it was a makeup artist and she did her own makeup. In total I did 7 portfolio shoots where I gave them the images in trade. I worked with an up’coming makeup artist so I didn’t pay her just gave her promo images and helped her with her website. I didn’t just pick 7 random people tho. They all had to be social butterflies with lots of FB friends, talkers, people who would evangelize for me. They spanned the races, ages and sizes, one mother-daughter.

2015 I officially started charging. I had Sue’s starting prices but giving double the images and I gave everyone at least a 50% discount WITHOUT them even asking for it. And if people came in just for a quick headshot, I would only charge them $350 like I did at the start (well at the very very start I charged $250)! I was doing it but not really understanding or accepting my value. Then I met Sue in LA for her December 2015 added workshop. I had tried to go to her earlier workshops but they sold out so quickly. I was thrilled to meet her because I needed help. I thought I needed the most help in posing but it turns out I needed the most help on myself first. I learned I had a lot of money blocks & self-value blocks. I hadn’t done my taxes and I had stacks of uncashed checks on my desk. I couldn’t tell her my average because I wasn’t even tracking it. (It was $1,121, I just did the numbers for this write up). My mind was blown.

2016 was a wonderful year of growth and love for myself. Sue’s Self Value talks are a must. Listen to each 7x!!!!! I shot my last wedding May 2016 and it feels amazing!!!! I have my weekends back with my family! Working with Sue this past year attending the Sales and Marketing intensives and being a part of her mentee group was a Godsend! I got right with the IRS and did my taxes. I now happily cash my checks and love tracking my sales averages! I ended 2016 with a $2650 sales average and I know it is going to keep going up thanks to Sue!

When I look back on my journey I always felt like an outsider – from being from an immigrant family trying to fit in, from being a Latina from East LA going to an all-white affluent high school in Minnesota, from being one of very few females in my engineering classes at Stanford, from being a woman in the male-dominate gaming industry. I became a people-pleaser to the nth degree. Always trying to gain approval and fit into other people’s idea of what life should be like. With Sue’s encouragement, come-to-jesus talks and education, I have broken the cycle my life has had of trying to be what others wanted me to be. Especially after being asked to attend her Master Class with 6 other fabulous photographers (Saray Taylor-Roman Michelle Taylor Jones Ashleigh Taylor Henning Cat Ford-Coates Lenka Jones Marcus Hoffman ) I feel free to step into the light and shine in my own way. Honestly I was completely floored and frightened when I found out that we would be the ones photographing and being lived-streamed. I panicked a little & my old self doubt came in. But I know Sue doesn’t do anything lightly. I knew she picked each of us for a reason. And I know each of us will continue to grow and flourish and reach out to our communities to spread the love.

Being part of Sue’s Education has changed my life and I’m eternally grateful. I’m super excited for 2017 and can’t thank you Sue enough for what you do for all of us and continue to do. I am not the best photographer but I am the best version of me right now and I know I will continue to evolve and improve and grow. It won’t always be easy but I embrace it all and I embrace myself and the process. Thank you all for reading this and please do yourselves a favor and do exactly what Sue says. I promise you it works! And it will change you from the inside and out and change your business and life! Thank you Sue Bryce!!!!!!

Here is a sample of what I shot at the Master Class. Thank you Bethany Tubman Johs for being by my side the whole time, you are so wonderful and helpful! xoxoxox”

~ Rosaura Sandoval