There’s no doubt about it – Suzette Hibble is an amazing photographer who is elevating female entrepreneurs with her photography business, SHE Photography, A Suzette Hibble Experience. Suzette creates images that tell a story about each entrepreneur – who they are, what they do, and what unique talents they bring to their clients. Such skillfully executed personal branding of a company’s leadership can bring a woman’s story and contributions to life, all of which can greatly support a company in achieving its goals. By supporting female entrepreneurs through visual storytelling, Suzette is promoting diversity and innovation – two crucial components driving progress toward the Next Economy.
Green Alpha is grateful that our COO, Betsy Moszeter, recently participated in the powerful SHE Photography experience. As you might imagine, Suzette and Betsy had lots of time to talk during the full-day photo shoot and we were fortunate enough to capture some highlights.
Betsy: I’ve been hearing that the rate of entrepreneurship—a cornerstone of economic and job growth—has been on the decline in the U.S. since about 2000. Meanwhile, the rate of female entrepreneurship is growing and making a major impact on the U.S. economy. This diverse, powerful workforce is a truly tremendous thing! How did you decide to focus your photography talents on this growing group of female entrepreneurs and businesswomen?
Suzette: I started out as a kids’ and family photographer – given that I have a young child, this made the most sense. But what I found was that I was continually drawn to women as my favorite photography subjects. It was difficult to find a market of women who simply wanted beautiful images of themselves, so I stuck with kids and families to earn an income, and photographed women friends as a way to feed my soul. Until, one day I stumbled upon personal branding, and immediately knew, this was my niche market: personal branding for women!
Betsy: What do you think are the most powerful qualities often embodied by female entrepreneurs?
Suzette: Women tend to be very passionate about what they do. They bring both a masculine and a feminine essence to the workplace. While able to be directive, goal-oriented and committed to success, women are simultaneously connected to their hearts, their passions and desires. This connection helps women to truly create lives and careers that feed not only their families, but their souls. I think I am a mirror for these women – they are drawn to working with me, because they see the authenticity in my other subjects, as my work captures the essence and unique nature of each woman.
Betsy: As an entrepreneur yourself, what challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Suzette: I have to say I was more challenged in the corporate world, where I was an employee. I often worked with teams of men, and while I enjoy the company of men, and there are some great male leaders, something just didn’t fit. I felt as if I was constantly trying to prove myself, stay longer than everyone else, work harder, etc. I was unhappy and suffering. When I met my husband, he noticed that when I took a break from work, I was so much happier and myself. He suggested I leave my corporate job and follow my passions – he had confidence in me and promised that the money would follow. I didn’t even know what my passions were at the time, I was cut off from myself and what I wanted. So, I tried a variety of things. I became a painter, a birth doula, and eventually landed in photography. And, he was absolutely right…I found my passion and the money followed. While the path since that day has been one of hard work, it has never been a struggle.
Betsy: Tell us about your greatest achievement in your business!
Suzette: I feel this career path has been a series of wonderful achievements, each growing me in a new way. However, right now I am most proud of the fact that my clients (and their images) have been featured on the cover of DeW (Dental Entrepreneur Women) magazine two-, going on three-months in a row. It’s wonderful to both see my clients find success and to know that my images are helping pave the way.
Betsy: Do you have any secrets for what makes some photoshoots more impactful than others?
Suzette: There are a number of things one can do to plan for a shoot and get the most bang-for-your-buck, so to speak. If you already have your logo and colors selected for your branding, take some time to select outfits that coordinate with your company’s colors. If your clothes fit your branding scheme, they will seamlessly fit wherever you choose to use them: on your website, social media or in print. It’s even better to go a step further and hire a stylist to go shopping with you and make sure you find some flattering outfits that fit the color of your brand. I use Oksana Starling, who is both a stylist, and a hair and make-up artist in the Denver area. She has an amazing eye for selecting clothes that fit your body shape, works well on camera, and also works well with your brand palette.
I also highly recommend that clients use a hair and make-up artist for their shoot. Within the SHE Photography experience, I include hair and make-up services, which are carried out of a couple of hours in the morning, followed by the actual photo shoot. For an additional fee, clients can hire the artist to stay all day. It truly makes a tremendous difference to have an expert eye on you all day, constantly arranging your hair, necklaces and looking for any details that might show up unexpectedly as we go. Find one that has experience with on-camera make-up, as the application is slightly different than for a night-out. Betsy, as you experienced, not only is Oksana great at that, but she’s also a complete pleasure to spend the day with!
Lastly, I suggest people buy additional props that can be used in your photoshoots, like pens, notebooks, vases, phone covers, etc – these help to add to the cohesiveness of your end result and marketing materials.
Betsy: How has your creative process and approach to business evolved over time?
Suzette: I use to go for ALL of it. I was a kids’ and family photographer, an event photographer, I did headshots, weddings…you name it, I did it. I did not want to eliminate any potential clients by putting myself into a “box.” I resisted it until after a few years of doing it all, I was burnt out, and unclear about my vision and purpose. After giving it much thought, and again leaning into my knowing that women had always been my target market, I rebranded as SHE Photography, personal branding for women. This was the best decision I have made in my business! It took away all the work I didn’t like and opened up space to take-on the clients I wanted, at the price I wanted. My business has taken off since this shift, and 2017 was been my best year yet.
Betsy: When you don’t have your camera and light meters in hand, what do you love doing?
Suzette: Aside from spending time with family, friends and photograph, I would have to say my biggest passion is travel. Having a child in school means I can no longer travel on a whim like I did back in the day; however, I have been integrating some incredible photography opportunities into my travel. I just returned from a week in Mexico, where I photographed a retreat center, its participants, and staff. I also worked within the community to photograph a school, community farm, and training programs. This allowed me to spend two days working and five days doing what I love most: exploring, doing yoga, sitting on the beach, and eating fresh, organic food to nourish my body.
The full and original article can be viewed on PacificCommunityVentures.org
Visit the Invest With Values - Resource Directory to access leading investor information, opportunities, organizations, events, groups and tools.