Blair's Prop Shops
Like I said, some of you may not have Ah, big studio to work in, and that's okay. I'm gonna show you now my next project that I just were actually still finishing up. I started it last year, and it takes a while because I'm obviously very much I'm very much a working photographer. Very much like to do a lot of things myself, so it's hard to find the time to do it. But just say I wanted to shoot outside, but I really wanted a controlled environment. How are you gonna create a controlled environment outside like there's just you can't do that? Well, you can if you build something like my prop shop. Now, it took me two years to figure out all the schematics of how I wanted it. I don't know if I did it this way. It wouldn't work. No, this is not gonna work. And I finally got to lay down and then then I built it. This is my outdoor. This is I call him a prop shop. This is my prop shop. And I absolutely love having a prop shop. That working on those days where it's kind of gloomy outside or ...
if it's raining, you know. What do you do if it's raining? Well, this is what I do know. Is this feasible? Can every Does everyone have one of these? No, but it took me nine years to get there. Every space is based off of a 12 by 12. So is 12 12 foot wide, foot deep. And like this first set here, I'll show you the first set in just a second. But let me get the schematics of it first. The ceilings are this beam right here that this this white being right across in here is 13 feet tall because I figured that I needed to be at least 13 feet toll to allow a good light transmission to come from underneath Back inside. If you make it too short, there's not gonna be enough light to get some of your subject. So is 13 feet tall. And then I put gravel around in the front of it so that when the light is outside, son is gonna come down, hit the gravel, go back inside and act as a reflector. I messed up, are almost messed up. When I started and put white gravel was like Nice. Know what that would do? Is like Cantlie. That's bright. Walk outside on the concrete one day when it's super super right outside and you know what I'm saying? Um, so this said here, This is rough cut lumber on the back and on the left side this is rough cut lumber that I got from a sol meal. It's very cheap. Brought it back. Now that's the walls, painted it the one in the middle. I cut each one of those boards just to give a dimension. Give it a little bit of a different variety. What I'm gonna do now is to continue painting these televisions and make that whole corner just a wall of painted televisions that are white. Why would I do that? I don't know why not? Because they're there. And I can get TV's free on Craigslist all day long, and I can paint him and make something work there. The big clock on the right. I made that of the decking boards and boards that she would build a deck out off. I made a big clock and I love the clock. It's just something different. I can stand people up and they're standing in front of a big clock. Pull him off of it a little bit, shooting an aperture of 3556 So you can still kind of telling us oclock. But you can't really tell that it's something that I built. I love that. Get a lot of great response out of that. A lot of great response chandeliers. Now this one is one of my favorites. Now let's just take this background on the right hand side and the one in the back. These are weather resistant, 100% because what they are is linoleum flooring. Those are pieces of linoleum flooring that I get a so you can get him his remnants. You could buy really, really cheap linoleum, and when I do is, you turn it over so its face down. And that's what you paint on. You paint the backside of it because it's normally pretty smooth. Even if it has texture, it doesn't matter. It's pretty smooth, and it will withstand all sorts of elements, all sorts of elements. Um, now, with that being said, the pain that we use every dishes, regular latex paint and what I found. This is another thing I want to point out at the top. You see how I've got it? They're All I've done is I've taken a two by four. I've laid the two by four down on the ground. I take the backdrop, Put the edge over top of the two before I take another two before put it on top of that to kind of sandwich it in between. And then I put a lot of screws all the way down through it. So that one about hanging up, it'll stay there. And then I don't connected at the bottom. Because what I've learned is as things expand and contract so down here, don't screw that back. Drop down to the wall because it will expand and contract. While idea was that took that rough cut lumber cut. A little strip painted the same. Color it on there. And you're good. This old piano. It's one of those freebies. The shutters over here got those shutters from Habitat Restore. I got every one of those shoulders right there for $40. 40 bucks can't beat that. The couch. TJ Maxx used the leopard print. I don't like leopard print a. Paint it pink. Some of the images I mean that I love that love. That Chevron is huge right now. Chevron is like the man. I mean, it's also has been around for years, but for some reason somebody made it popular again. And I love it. I say, What's sad to about our society? This girl right here is beautiful issues. She is a plus size model. She came in. She was like, Yeah, I do some modeling and I shot her senior picture and she said, Yeah, but I'm a plus size model and thats sad. Our society is going and she's a plus size model. It's crazy, crazy. But anyways, having things to shoot with makes my job so much easier, obviously so much easier. Now look at this next one. This is where my friend at the junk yard comes in handy. Now this is a hodgepodge of different things, but again, this is a fence panel on the left hand side. My friend was tearing down offense from one of his rental properties, and I said, Well, we have that. He said, Are you serious? Yeah. So I covered the wall with fence panels. I go to the junkyard to get all these various accoutrements and items and without whole wall right there with everything from the scrap pile. If I've got 100 and 50 or $100 in and I'm doing really good, I don't have much more than that involved. Is there some of the images I get from there? It's just rustic. It's it's riel and this image. This girl here, her father owns a huge Mexican restaurant in our area, so I donated a large print to hang up in there in there with my name on it. All that and they went crazy about went crazy. So you can use these sets not only as shooting a very wide angle to get the whole set, but you can come in like I did on this, this image right here, and get a much tighter version two and take advantage of all those textures in the background. This one here, this is another bay, so it's two sided. That image is just on the beginning. There's three bays on one side, and on the opposite side there are three bays there, the one in the middle says Barn, citing So barn siding. It comes in cheat and sheets that lows, and it's a four by eight sheet. Nail into the wall and dry. Brush it with some pain. That one on the left is their doors. That that that I built out of that scrap wood cut little medallions to go on it painted it. And then I found a guy that used to do stucco, and now he needs extra money. Does have a job. He did this stuck up for me the right side again. Linoleum, dresser, linoleum Paint the floor. When you're building sets, build them through your camera, put your camera up and look at it and figure out exactly where things need to be. Don't do it just by eye, because when you pick your camera and look at it, you're like, Oh, man should have brought that in a move that up. I love, love, love this type of stuff. Look, some of the images here. They're simple, but just the how the color harmonies work. This was before I painted the floor before I paint in the floor plus size model. That's so that just makes you met. Here's the latest one that I'm working on. And this is again those pieces. Little know Liam and this one here, like, way painted a hot spot in the middle of it. So it's brighter in the center and we've got another one scheduled to go over here. I mean, I'm absolutely loving my job loving my job off the wall sets about one of these years ago. This thing was like, ridiculously expensive, but I think I quit using it because those turn of it, I pulled it back out. I use it inside Now throw it outside. I don't care if it gets messed up something like that that I use now, Now, this next 10 yeah. This has been one of biggest hits so far this summer. I was in the junkyard and I saw this and I went drug this thing out of a big metal pile. How do you get on the tractor and bring the track? Oh, up there and literally drag it out myself. I know the guy well enough that I could just use the equipment on that. So this is a scoreboard from the local high school. One of my local high schools. So the kids love the fact that this is from their school. This next kid, this is not this is from his competitors, er or his rival. He doesn't know that that came from South ruin. And I don't tell him that I don't tell him that now. Yeah, exactly. And again, I'm not moving quick, but I want to share all this information with you. We're gonna open up questions in just a few minutes. But I don't want us to get to four off task cause I really want to show you guys this stuff. Who would like to have an old country store to use, like the front of an old country store? Pissed Picture some old timers out of old country store. That would be the perfect setting sometimes. But we don't have our own country store. Well, I didn't either, but now I do. I took that rough cut lumber and I built the front facade. It's just the front of what looks to be a store. It's really only about this deep. I built the front built two deg put the top over it like this Coca Cola cooler over here. I was at a guy's house doing some images for his family. I saw this old Coca Cola cooler out in the field. Mike, that babies coming home with me. So I asked him, and I said, I set the tone is like, Hey, man, that old thing is probably rusted all the pieces, you know, I don't even really know what I could do with it, man. Let's see if I could take her around on that thing one day. I said, probably too far going. I'm sure I'm going ahead in building the doubt in his mind. I'm manipulating to get what I want. Sorry, but I am. I got that for books. Now I've got a guy in town that brings me things all the time cause he found out that I needed stuff. He shows up all the time with all the old crap, like here. I got this for your store. And if I don't use it, I throw it away and don't tell him. But I don't want to hurt his feelings, but he'll just bring stuff and drop it off. Only thing I paid for their on that whole porch was the was a Coca Cola court. Now look the way you can stain that would to make it look that way as you take number two steel wool. All right, open up a whole pack of like 12 of them little steel wool pads throwing on five gallon bucket. Poor apple cider vinegar in there. Fill it up so that it's completely submerged that still will completely submerged. Leave it alone for 24 hours and it will create a chemical reaction and turn this liquid brown. And then you just you just rub it all over the wall, has steel wool, and it makes your would look really, really old. Really, really old. But asked, one of my favorite says, I follow me on this one. This one's We're gonna get deep here. We're gonna get the walk outside. Look on the top of your home. You'll see a piece of white PVC sticking up out of the roof, and that is an exhaustive it for your toilet. Now what goes around that is this little collar. It's called an exhaust vent collar. I bought these from a plumbing shop, and there it was terrible. They were made out of galvanised you don't use them anymore. So they were just sitting there. I bought it for cents apiece. Brought him back, built me a place to put him put him up. Now what sense does that make? I don't know, but I got him for 10 cents apiece and I made a backdrop out of them. So it's pretty cool. It's got a lot of texture and I love it. I love it when he used lighting with it, it's there that she's shaking her head. And she's either saying, man, your creative or you're an idiot, one of the 21 of the two electric meters from like an apartment I got you that does make sense. Maybe that she pulled those out off or something. But yeah, I love that love using that thing. Same thing with this girl. You can put plain Jane or go wherever. Now this next one kind of got me in the Miss And I'll tell you what My communication station, all these televisions I had and I was like, Well, why don't I just use these for something? But what happened is is now I've got a plethora of people that air dropping stuff off behind my studio because they think that is a dump. Seriously, they bring all kinds of random stuff. So what I don't want I do have to throw away. But I go out there on Mondays and, like, see, what kind of good is you've got today? I bought this one. This was one that I did spend money on, not just for a prop I told my wife was for a problem. But it was really just to fuel my desire for big shrugs. Most people wouldn't realize, but I drive a big F to 50 diesel truck this lifted with 37 inch tires and wheels up. You would never imagine that for me. But that's me. I love big trucks. I bought this truck from a guy for 2500 bucks. I drove this trade was Dr Herbal. I put insurance and a tag on it, and I put my logo on the side of it, and I drove this thing around town for like, a year and 1/2. I would go out to lunch. I pull up, get out. I mean, it's like this little guy was spiked hair driving a big rig, but I like to create that contrast People like that was me. I love it now. Found the guy that came to the studio one day and he was like, Please tell me that's your big truck out back. And I was like, Wow, this room is on fire. What He's like, I've been looking for that truck 24 years and I was like, Jackpot. Yes. He said, Is it for sale? You bet it is. You've been looking for that long, actually sold it to him and made a good bit of money off of it. So Fortune just happened to work out that way. This is a prime example of people dropping stuff off old fencing and file cabinets. It's out there, I say. You know what? I'm gonna force myself out of my comfort zone. I'm gonna use it. Why not? What's wrong with that? So I forced myself to see how I can use it, and I made it work. Now that chain link fence that I showed you earlier, I put a new gate up because I defense my area in my studio was broken into right. As soon as I got a remodeled. They cut a big hole in the ceiling and it rained that night and flooded my entire studio. So there are well again. Really? Come on, man. You're killing me here. Um And then when I got a prop shop, done, someone push the barbwire down and jumped in and stole a bunch of other stuff. So it's like I can't win for losing, but that chain link fence I figured out a way to create some artwork and make a usable image out of that, right? So that's the power of lighting. That's the power line. Everything that comes to the U. S. Or comes anywhere normally is own a pallet, a wooden pallet because something you can do with with a Saturday afternoon, a little bit of inspiration, a little bit of hard work. What about a pallet said, show you how to create it. You go collect and accumulate old pallets from various stores that are getting rid of them. Bring him in and that's my wolf in the back of Got a wolf dog. I'm just kidding, but lay them all out and you just start cutting him into debt in a different angles. different angles. You make a base cutting with different angles, and then just take your nail going to start Tamala before you know it. You got something you can use is that's pretty cool, and it's relatively inexpensive. I got the idea. I was shooting some images at a workshop in Kansas City, and there was nowhere to shoot nowhere. And I said, Let's go behind your your building here. But there's something back there. Oh, taught all those pallets like, Yes, let's do that. Let's go grab some leaves or some leaves in there. We're gonna make this work. And then from there I created an alliance with the junk yard, man. Now the junkyard. This guy is a convicted felon for harboring weapons of mass destruction and possession of a firearm by convicted felon. But he and I are like this because I know how to befriend people in a genuine way. I went to him and no one else in town even pay him any attention. And I extended. And a man that were you. Blair, this is the deal. You've got something I want. I love toe. Have one of these old trucks. Here we sat down and talked to him. I'm very approachable and the way that I approach people normally I can get through to them and I said, Man, what would it take for Meteo borrow? One of these trucks said, I don't really want to buy it cause I just want to use it for a couple of years and then maybe just give it back to you, thinking he would say, Well, that's stupid But he said, Look, I don't care He said, What do you want it? And I said, Well, today would be great And he's like, All right, he yells in the back, Hey, Frank, get that, Get that unibody Ford taking over here to Blair's studio. He dropped it all. I didn't even have to pay him anything. He dropped it off and I've had that truck for two years now and I'm getting ready. Call him and say, Hey, look, I would come out and search for something else when you come get this one and it'll work. But I got a truck that I can use. You know how many girls come on there cowboy boots and they want that country's theme thing going on all right. Why did this? I said way. He'll give me one of those. Maybe give me a car. So I got a 1940 Chevrolet from him. Bring that bag. We dry brushed it painted both sides of it, and I got an old 40 Chevrolet. That's that's got the British flag. Got a garden on the other side. That's a pretty cool look right there. Pretty cool. Look, I'm loving that and it's virtually free, right? Virtually free. I say. Now you need ideas. You know, Just sit. I don't just like Okay, let's let's get a car. Doesn't happen that way. I mean, you have to pace yourself. So if you need a night, if you need ideas, look at Pinterest. Look at window displays. When you when you go to a mall and then when you're there, take a picture of it for inspiration, have that picture printed and then get you a corkboard somewhere in your studio. Get your little court board or bulletin board and take that. Take that picture, put him on your bulletin board. That's exactly what we did. This is one that these air images that we used for inspiration that you know, for a set that we want to design, we knew we love the colors. I couldn't just sit at my desk and say I'd love to have something that was kind of teal purple, pink. That's why people hire designers when you build a house because I'm going the house now and my wife's like, Okay, there. What do you want to do in the, you know, down in the theater? And what what color do you want to use? I'm like, I know I need to see something to get a visual inspiration. I can't just say I love to have Moco with a hint of ground coffee beans with a hint of yellow like No, it doesn't happen that way. I have to see it and say, Oh, I like this, But I'll do differently. I would change this and this and put this in there, and then I would like it. So everything doesn't appeal to everyone but finding some like this. And they said that we that I have an example to show you what was inspired from this is this one. You see the colors, see that, see the difference there like same color. Here's very similar. Same field, same feel. It doesn't look the exact same. But it gave me a go to gave me a go. Buy something toe work on something to work for and towards.