We had the good fortune of connecting with Sunnie Heers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sunnie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has been such an important foundation of my business. I think one of my favorite quotes I’ve heard is “it’s better done than perfect”, which just means that it’s better to start something instead of procrastinating because your work isn’t perfect. When I first started out I didn’t know how to edit or make my photos look like the ones I aspired them to be similar to. I started taking photos of my friends, did free shoots for couples, and learned everything along the way. Quitting my other jobs was also a risk but it pushed my to make photography actually happen. If I wasn’t getting inquiries, I brainstormed other ways I could attract clients and reached out to them. Another risk I took were financial ones in the beginning. I saw a workshop in Iceland hosted by photographers I looked up to so much like Anni Graham and India Earl. I put down the deposit and then freaked out about spending money that I didn’t have. However, all of that turned out to be an investment and the lasting connections and portfolio work have been amazing. Additionally, in 2019 I decided to move my business from Las Vegas to Colorado, just as it was taking off in Vegas. I didn’t really feel aligned with the type of shoots I was doing there and it was my dream to plan and shoot epic hiking adventure weddings. The first few months were terrifying as I wasn’t getting many clients at all, but slowly and surely that built back up and I’m SO grateful I took that risk!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I would say that my work differs from other wedding photos because there’s an emphasis on capturing my couples as art. I love to do giant landscapes in epic places and have the bride and groom stand in a place that makes them look like they are part of the natural landscape. Additionally, it’s all about experience for me, even more than producing pretty photos. I specialize in adventurous elopements, which I categorize as being less than 20 people. Sometimes it’s just the bride and groom, and sometimes they bring their friends and family along. I work with the couple to find out what their dream day would be like, and pick an intimate location they’d love. I had one in July for a couple whose passion was backpacking. We hiked out to a Alpine Lake, she put her wedding dress on and they said their vows with the prettiest reflection in the back. After we drank their favorite beers and picnicked and then hiked in the dark with headlamps back. It was a day that was authentic to them, and the experience was what mattered- not just the photos.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Colorado has so much I still haven’t explored and everyday I’m in awe of this beautiful state. If I was to plan a weeklong itinerary, some activities on there would be Rocky Mountain National Park, skiing in one of the amazing mountain towns and grabbing beers at a local brewery, visiting the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and spending a day in Denver enjoying all the yummy restaurants and cool museums.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would have to give my shoutout to my dad, Chris Heers, who is my everyday inspiration. In 2007 he quit his 20+ year successful job as a car salesman to pursue his passion for singing and songwriting. It was a difficult time but he didn’t give up, and now has several albums, has hit the charts for a few of his songs, and plays regularly all around Las Vegas. He inspires me to be creative, never stop learning and growing, and to pursue what I love to do.