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Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 5 of 33

Branding Q&A

 

Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 5 of 33

Branding Q&A

 

Lesson Info

Branding Q&A

with music in my area. Country music is the staple, you know, live in the South of country music. That's a staple Now myself. I love bands like Three Doors Down and Shah Veil and you know more of your alternative. I got some guitar. I'm not like the one where you wanna, like, bang your face against the glass right here, but that's what I like. But sometimes, you know that can be deemed a little offensive if possible. So what I do is I use Pandora, Pandora radio, our slacker radio or something like that, and I type in a keyword, and I make sure that I get the non offensive versions, you know, so you don't hear him dropping the bad words throughout the studio. So I've tried the whole deal where you put in a play list, you build something on ITunes and a playlist, and that's cool. But after about a week of listening the same songs, you're ready to throw that thing out out the window. So that was a great point. You'd never want anything to be offensive. But the bad thing is about music. Is...

those kids I've got? Prime example. One of my dance studios was this little girl was singing a Rihanna song, and I'm not gonna repeat the lyrics and I look over at her. It's playing at some photographs and she's other friends and she's over there, like doing a little shake thing going on. My, What are you doing? You sit down here five years old, you do not do that and she's not there singing the lyrics to it. But I feel like creepy old dude if I got that plane in my studio, you know, even though they're listening to and their parents were fine with it, don't you cross it? And that's what that raises a good 0.2. I mentioned this, I think yesterday, Teoh someone here. I said we were going over something to the keynote. You know, now I'm conservative. Believe it or not, I may strike you as the other come, but I'm very conservative. I want to make sure that I follow the right path in life. And I said, Hey, I just want to make sure that in my keynote, you know, there's nothing that's deemed offensive or you're gonna ruffle any feathers because I want I want to be. I want to be friends with everyone. Oh, no, no, no. You're fine. We've looked through it, you know? Everything is fine and same thing with music. If there's any little thing throughout your business or even your life, especially your business, that someone could take to be offensive, why you didn't put it in there? You know, if it raises a question and makes you think about it, don't even put it in there. Just skip. Go to something else. Just go completely to something else. Look at this. Hey, players, I'm gonna enter just really, really quick. Is there a difference between changing my style and my brand so that it matches the personality of the client? Is it all right to change that way? Is it possible to change both of those? I mean, up to a certain degree. You know, I'll give you an example here of what I would do if I have a client that comes in. Obviously, they love my style. They love what I do. And they say, Well, Blair, you know, maybe instead of going that extreme, you know, maybe can we tone it down, tone it down some You know, I'm not going to say Well, you know, I'm sticking true to my brand lady Clare Philipson. Tired? He told me I gotta be me. So you either like it this way? That way. She obviously likes a little. She likes you and she likes you enough. So I think at that point, as long as you don't change 100% willing to change 30 maybe even 40% to match what they won't, because bottom line is they're still paying you. They're there because they like something. But once they get there, they may not like something quite as much. They thought so. I absolutely think that it's okay to change one, if not both of those. As long as you don't change it. 100%. Don't let that client come in and say, Let Blair. I printed out some examples of some work that I like. I really like this, but this is your style. But I really want this. Don't just say say, look, you know, I understand we're coming from and I respect that. But as an artist, you know, I only know how to do one thing here. I can't change who I am. So you know, unfortunately, we may not be the best fit for you, you know, for each other. Great questions. You have any more questions? We have a question from M James T X or M school them. Well, I probably am games in Texas. So when starting your business, should you have all of the material produced and ready to go or that something that evolved? So you've been doing this for nine years. What did you start with? Yeah, I am James T. X from our what? I'll tell you this. You're never gonna if you try and lay everything out and get started for me personally, think that's wrong. Way to go. I think the reason that I feel so good about my business and even as a person is because I didn't have all those things available to me when I first started. You know, I've had a struggle and I may have wanted this, but I didn't have that yet. I only had this, but it was good enough, and I took this and use it as a learning tool to produce this. So the moral of that story and to answer your question. I think your best work comes from being unprepared sometimes, especially in photography. I think your best work comes from not having the correct tools that you need. It forces you to go out and be creative and forces you to do them. Because as a creative type, a lot of the creative types, they're not very time sensitive. If it's not a crunch crunch, I've gotta have it. I gotta have a gotta have it not gonna planet your planet. Not gonna have it ready. So I think it's good to struggle for a little while. It certainly has not hurt me in any way. Um, you know, so, yeah, absolutely. The question was from pro photographer. How did you develop your logo on? What are the ways that you utilize it for branding and marketing? Yeah. Great question there. I get a lot of questions about that. How do you come over the logo so hard? Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. And for me, the logo was It was one of those things pretty easy. Um, a lot of people struggle with it, and I get it. I like to draw. I like to draw abstract art. Just weird stuff. It doesn't make any sense because I can call it art and people can call it trash. But I'm like, No, no, it's art. So I sat down one day and I drew my initial, and it was at the time of the wings were popular like I saw a lot of stuff with wings on them and things like that. So I just kind of outlined it and it looked really ridiculous because I'm not an artist when it comes to drawing, look terrible like a bird and, like, died and gotten really wet and been out ran over a few times. Well, then I hired a designer, someone that does that for a living, and I said, Look, this is kind of my idea, but now I want to see I want to see what you can do with it And she said, Well, this operate. She said, I'll send you for examples And then from there you can change two of them, and then we could change one up. So I've found someone that that's what they did. That's one area that I was not afraid to spend a little bit of money because I knew that's the one thing that people gonna see. I wanted to be recognizable, so I spend a little extra money on it. Make sure I got it where I wanted. So if you're struggling with a logo, now would be the time if you're just getting started out or even if you want to rebrand yourself. You know, if you've been using the same thing for years and years and years, rebrand yourself. If you want to gain some new clientele, move into a different direction. Maybe you've had a midlife crisis. You're gonna go get that sports car repairing, rebrand yourself and but higher that out, that's what I did. I got the base of it. But then I hired them out to clean it up and make it look really pretty. Thank goodness. So more questions. Do we have another question from SAT One. So they've been doing photography for a long time, but they have. They're just turning it into a business, so people are used to not paying them for their photography. Duminy tips on how toe transfer that now that they're trying to change it to a business. Yes, do Do you have a DeLorean, you're gonna need it. I'm gonna get you in touch with something that happened. I'm just getting can't go back back to the future. Um, yeah. I mean, that's a tough one. And I think we can learn a lot from that. To answer that question in the second, we figure out the best way to do that. You see what they're saying right now? They're saying, man, you know, we've been in it for a while, and we really need to start charging. But we've already laid all the groundwork, so we're kind of messed up now, that's what I was saying earlier. They're gonna have to work so hard to get to where they should have been anyways. And I don't mean that in a condescending way because I started the same way when I first started. I would just Oh, yeah, just whatever you want to give me for it. It's tough. It's a tough cycle to break. But I think to answer that you're gonna have to go towards a new client till you're gonna have to go towards people that really may not know you. You're almost gonna have to reinvent yourself rebrand yourself as a whole new studio, maybe, or some of the best practices I've ever had have been from. I used to do something this way, but I come in tomorrow and I do it this way. So we used to follow this, but I went home that night, rewrote it. This is our new way, and you just slam it down and you say that's what we're doing. I'm gonna ruffle some feathers along the way. I'm gonna lose some people. I'm gonna make some people mad, but that is how I have to do it in order to survive and feel good about it. But let me tell you, there's nothing more frustrating, not more on motivating than to go out and do these awesome senior sessions. Awesome sessions and not getting paid for it. I've done it and it stinks. It stinks. That's why you wait till we get the cells portion. You guys gonna like, Why didn't I do that years ago? So answer that question. You're gonna ruffle feathers, but you just have to put a plan of action in place, and you have to stick to it. And you can't sway from if you lose friends along the way. That's fun. Go to go to them and say, Hey, I wouldn't ask you to work your job for half of its wage. So food for thought. Good question. Question from Sloan. This kind of a fun question? Not really. Question Do goody bags to seniors at the start of a session, Like a bag with water. Small sample products, lip gloss. What do you include? That is a good question. Um, we we don't really give them a whole lot going into the session. And the reason is I give them and this I don't want to make this sound like I'm arrogant or conceded, but I give them me. I basically go into that session when I first meet them, sit down and we start talking and I break down all the barriers that they had preconceived in their mind that this is gonna be awkward. This is gonna be uncomfortable. I'm not really sure about this, so I spent a good bit of time before each session. Whoa. I spent a good bit of time of free session sitting and talking, and that is kind of what I give them. I don't necessarily have a tangible good. I think that's a great idea, however, but I feel like for me that the start of a session, it works a lot better. If I sit down and talk with him for a little bit, just we call it in the South. Shooting the breeze is shoot the breeze with one another job back and forth a little bit, So that's that's what we do. That's what we do know about you guys. Any questions at all. Anything that comes about? Oh, she's being brave. Everyone she's picking up microphone. Yeah, what's up, like myself, who's been kind of back and forth and discount transitioning into into professional, more legit. And so you know you don't have a studio, you're not completely full time. So it's like putting that branding and that marketing where, you know, you just almost don't have that physical space. Do you really want people coming into your house, your living room? You know it? Yeah, you know, maybe some people, but maybe not everybody, you know. So it's kind of like we'll turn that out and get in that you know, I'm I'm obviously I'm in a place There's no star books for 50 miles, you know? So you just gotta figure it out that my advice to you would be and anyone else that would find themselves in that similar situation. My advice is, is just to keep shooting. You know, that may not be on this thing with retired me. There's never an answer. That's like, Oh, well, then I'll just follow that and that'll be my key to success. But, you know, I was very much in your shoes and my key toe, at least a small level success that I think I have was keeping was to shoot all the time. And I didn't really turn down a lot. I would keep shooting, and by doing that, it's almost like doing an internship. You know, when you first get out of high school and do you think that Hey, I want to be a nurse and you go and follow a nurse for about three days, and after the first day you go home, you're like, uh oh, it will be a nurse. I don't wanna do that. Well, we are on an internship, basically all the time. Was a photographer were first starting because we'll go and do this job will say, Oh, my gosh, that was really, really tough. I don't want to do that anymore. And then you'll go on that you'll go on that job where you're like, You know what you're driving home. You like I could see myself doing that again. I'm going to kind of follow that, and then you will find something else. I don't like that I like this. I don't like that. So if you quit on it, you're never gonna get there. But I just think the more that you shoot the mawr time, you will have to, you know, to develop this marketing pieces, develop your brand. So, you know, like so, like, if you're not bringing someone into your house, it would you, then you just bringing okay, I'll meet you it at this location, and and so then you're just gonna be bringing and doing things kind of outside if you're not, you know, meeting inside, kind of. And I've got I've got a great solution of that. I've got a whole program section they dedicated to locations and things as well. But when I first started, that's that's what I had to do. I had had a public park up in Salisbury, which is about 20 minutes north of me that had a lot of beautiful greenery. And you know, that quintessential gazebo that I've never used but you know, had running water, a little stream and big rocks and things. And I knew that I felt safe going there. I knew I felt safe taking my clients there. There was no one ever gonna run me off on. And then I had another guy that I befriended that had a space that was like the most perfect set up photography ever. And he said, You know, Hey, that's fine. If you want to bring people over, I understand you don't really have a studio. I don't really mind if you bring people over here sometimes with May. I had, like, five spots all run around my little core area, depending upon the person's style, the senior style, you know, I could take her to the more urban I could take him to the more country I could take her to the more clean part, I could take him to the more graffiti ish type stuff. So you know, I think getting out and scouting is something that's really important to get in your car, jump on a bicycle one day and just take off riding. I mean, in your area. Just you'll start to look at things a lot differently when you start thinking of okay, I've got to find somewhere I've got to find somewhere I've got to find Somewhere all of a sudden things will start opening and you're like, Oh, I can use that. Oh, I can use that. But until you start getting in that panic mode, that's why I was saying it's good not to have it all laid out. Because until you get into that panic mode and you're like, I gotta find something right now, I gotta find something. All right, This could be perfect. What I want to do is go here. Here. You're gonna kill. Sure. Him This way. It turned this way. Just like that. Yeah, this table's gonna be beautiful. It's gonna be awesome. Until you get in that panic mode, you're never gonna be there. So unfortunately, I think just keep struggling. Let's create must people like, oh, get rid of the struggle. May I might keep the struggle. Yeah, moving backwards, Blair. Good job. Play that kind of somewhat answered your question. Maybe ish, if not, we can always. Like I said, I'll make myself available. Not in that way to all of you after long after we are done here in the next few days as well. So and this is Ah, another point here. I forgot to show this one earlier. When we're talking about now, this is actually told you this is a senior program, but this is a wedding piece that I have. I would like to be diverse. Imagine. And I'll put it into the context of a senior place. Let's say that I wanted to get my work in front off a lot of seniors and I did a market share with someone and they own a dress shop for prom dresses. I know that somewhere that I want to be now I just gotta figure out how can I get my work in front of all those girls that are gonna come in there because I wanted to see it. And in a world where everyone wants something different, they all want the same thing. It's crazy. We all say I want to be different. I want to be different. I want to be different. But you look at two teenage girls to seniors in the mall and they're dressed alike. They both have the same boots on. They get a concert. They're both wearing a jean skirt boots and low Kabul cowboy hat. In my area, I was like, I want to be different. You know, where you got the same thing. That's like when those boots first came out, those were like, the ugliest thing that ever someone. That's where they got the names. Oh, so ugly. No offense to Ugg boots. I think they're great. I'm just using that as an analogy. But every girl in America one of those things, and I'm like, I'm trying to sell pretty pictures and I could only sell 10 of um, you got ugly boots and everybody in America Bison. Where am I going wrong? It's just through their branding, but getting back to that problem store. I want to get my work in there. Well, so does everybody else. So I walk in there and there's a loose sight business card holder, you know, maybe like acrylic And there are 35 photography cards in there from various photographers all over the place. You know, there's the tire for photographer there, down a dozen. So I said, All right, pull my pants up. And I said, All right, I'm gonna go in there with something different. Same thing I did this at this venue here instead, off a business card we design and eight by 10 that shows images that are the type of images I like to shoot. So I'm gonna attract the client tale that I won't. And next to those 35 business cards behind him is gonna be an eight by 10 from Blair Phillips. Retired fee. So what do you think is going to stand out more? And don't say this one. Come on, we're on lob. We're live here. This is going to stand out more. Did this cost me a lot of extra money? No, not really. But if I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna be the best that I can be. I'm not gonna be the best at it, but I'm gonna be the best that I possibly can so that when I go home at night, I can say? You know what? The stuff that I put up in their it looks good and I'm proud of it. How many times? Like I said, Have you given somebody something you're like? Well, yeah, I just don't This this really a good representation? But it'll work. Why are we spending the effort and finding our brand? That's what we're going for. We're getting halfway there and then closing the door, right? Makes sense, right? Yeah. So I love I'm enjoying having an internet so involved to you guys were like, Yeah, that's great. But I love here from the Internet because, you know, doing this there is six people here, and I feel like we've connected really well. But the audience out there is like doing a webinar. You crack a joke and nobody laughs. And you're like, E. I think that was really ignorant. So I'd love to hear a little bit more from from the Internet as well. Like a karate kick, for sure. The karate kid. Yeah, back just about crashed the microphone. And that would not have been a good way to start off your first day. I just had to buy these last week, so I know they're not cheap. Only the best that created live to

Class Description

Are you ready to add a new, lucrative dimension to your photography business? Join award-winning photographer Blair Phillips for an introduction to everything you need to know about taking portraits for high school seniors.

In this three-day course, you’ll learn about how to market yourself to the high school audience, no matter where you live or who you know. Blair will discuss his signature techniques for effortless, versatile posing. You’ll also learn everything you need to know about both off-camera and natural lighting, including how to create foolproof lighting setups, even if you’re working without an assistant. Blair will also cover strategies for creating a productive workflow and working confidently in a wide variety of settings.

By the end of this course, you’ll have be equipped with the core marketing techniques and one-of-a-kind photography skills needed to connect with high school seniors, give them results they’ll love, and grow your business.

Reviews

David - Muse 10
 

As an experienced photographer myself, this class was both helpful and inspirational…we're never too experienced to learn from someone. Blair is really a lot of fun to watch and listen to. He has a way of making things fun with his high energy and dry sense of humor. To be completely honest in my review of this class, the lighting and posing sections, while VERY good, have been done over and over again by lots of photographers and didn't offer much in the way of new ideas. The real value was in the customer service and marketing techniques presented here. Blair's use of video as a marketing and communication tool with his clients is very unique and sparked TONS of ideas I would like to implement in my studio. His simple pricing structure and the way he presents it to his clients is also unique and has helped me rethink some of my own methods. "That being said" (Blair should appreciate that phrase) this class is totally worth the price and will continue to be a good reference for me. Some photographers are excellent at their craft but are dry teachers; others are great teachers but their "real-life" work doesn't live up to their classroom presentations. Blair is the real deal and makes this class very exciting.

a Creativelive Student
 

Blair is great. This class is packed full of great info and is a genuine good hearted person.. Really like his approach with high school seniors. I recommend it.

a Creativelive Student
 

This has been my favorite class on Creative Live. I loved how Blair explained exactly how he landed dance and sports contracts. This class was packed full of ideas for marketing and selling products. There was just so much great information. Thanks, Blair!