We had the good fortune of connecting with Cherie Sutton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cherie, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite quote, the one that has stayed with me the longest, and seen me through some really rough times, is, “When you know better, do better.” It is by Maya Angelou. The whole quote is, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”.
I saw it on the Oprah Winfrey show in my early 20’s. It’s been so long ago I can’t recall if Maya Angelou was a guest on the show then or if Oprah was repeating the quote, but it struck a chord with me. It was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. I was living in a foreign country and going through a very hard time in my marriage, on the verge of leaving with my young son.
I didn’t know how things were going to unfold. But I heard that quote on TV and worked it into the narrative of how to move ahead. I could simply obtain anything I needed. I had it in me to do whatever it takes. And as I know better, I will do better.
It has served me well many times over. I don’t always do better when I come to it, but I am always trying to learn the lessons, grow as a person, and do my best until I know better. What I like about it is that it’s one of the most basic, sensible pieces of advice that can be followed by anyone and it can be applied to nearly any situation.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love portraiture so much. In my photography business, I primarily photograph seniors, headshots and families. I enjoy different genres for different reasons. I love the headspace of a high school senior. They’ve worked hard to get to where they are and are so optimistic about where the future will take them. It’s infectious. I can’t help but be excited with them not just for them. Families bring their connection to the session. Every family has different dynamics, but it usually comes back to love. It’s amazing to be a witness to how people love and interact with each other. Headshots and personal branding excites me because I am working with small business owners, not big corporations. I am working with folks who are working hard to get their name out there, to be liked, known, and trusted. And they are trusting in me and my small business to have their business’s best interest at heart. I especially enjoy working with women and veteran owned businesses, as I am both myself.
It’s not been easy. There is so much to know. About business, about photography, about developing a style, and an authentic voice audiences will respond to. It’s somewhat overwhelming. I hope to never lose the desire to learn and grow and be more. Investing in myself with educational experiences, and mentors has been huge. It’s made all the difference in helping me realize I really want to do more than take pretty pictures.
A photograph can change someone’s opinion of themselves. It can remind them who they are. It can inspire who they want to be. It can be a celebration. It can be someone’s greatest memory. A thousand different things. Photographs are powerful. I have been working on new sessions this year specifically aimed at building confidence in teens and tweens. As well as providing makeover sessions for women, to help them see themselves in a better light…literally and figuratively. Though I celebrate all women of any age, I currently have a special campaign for women over the age of 40, called 40 Over Forty. It’s my goal to photograph 40 women over forty simply because they deserve to be reminded how wonderfully made they are at every age. We don’t stop reaching milestones in life, we just stop celebrating them. I want to change that.
One thing that I think sets me apart is that I am a print artist. I want my clients to have physical tangible photographs, in whatever form that holds meaning for them. It means so much to their family legacy to have photos to hold in their hands and literally pass down through the generations. It is my PSA to the world. I say it every chance I get…print your pictures. Your kids and grandkids, friends and family need you to do that.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My husband I grew up on the western slope of Colorado in a pretty small town. We enjoy taking people to the places we loved growing up that aren’t around the Denver Metro. Places like Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and my personal favorite place, Ouray.
Around Denver, we like to go to the mountains, the state parks, and to cool restaurants. We tend to be fond of small places more so than big chains. A couple places we really like are Dae Gee Korean BBQ, Cuba Cuba Cafe & Bar, and Tacobe: An America Indian Eatery.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my Shoutout to everyone who has ever taken a chance on me. Every client I have worked with, every friend and family member who has believed in my dream and supported me with recommendations and hiring me for themselves. My husband and kids who are my biggest supporters. Anyone who’s ever been a cheerleader for me. Mentors and enthusiastic fellow photographers. I owe you all so much. It’s the love and encouragement that keeps me going when I feel like giving up.