Branding Q&A


Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info

Branding Q&A

With music in my area country music is the staple you know live in the south of country music is a staple now myself I love bands like three doors down and shoot a veil and you know more of your alternative you got some guitar I'm not like the one where you wantto like bang your face against this 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 or slacker radio or something like that and 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 you know the bad words throughout the studio so I've tried the whole deal where you put in a playlist you build something on itunes and a playlist and that's cool but after about a week of listen to the same songs you're ready to throw that thing out the out the window so that was a great point you 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 rhianna song and I'm not going to repeat the lyrics and I look over at her it's playing out some photograph and she's other friends and she's over there doing a little shake thing going on like what are you doing? You sit down here five years old you do not do that on and she's out there singing the lyrics to it but I feel like creepy old dude if I've got that plane in my studio you know, even though they're listen teo and their parents are fine with it don't you cross it and that's that raises a good point too I mentioned this I think yesterday teo to someone here I said we were going over something to the keynote you know, now I'm conservative believe it or not, I know I may strike you as the other calm, 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 I'm a kino you know, there's nothing that deemed offensive or you know, going to ruffle any feathers because I want I want to be I want to be friends with everyone oh no 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 even 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 there's something else. What is this? Hey, players, I'm going energy 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 alright to change that way? Is it possible to change both of those? I mean up to a certain degree, you know? And I'll give you an example here of what I would do if I have a client 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, you know, tone it down some, you know? I'm not going to say, well, no, I'm sticking true to my brand lady claire phillips retired, he told me I got to 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 one hundred percent willing to change thirty, maybe forty percent 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 as 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 one hundred percent don't let that client come in and say, well, 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 where you're coming from, and I respect that, but as an artist, you know, I only know how to do one thing 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 question you have any more questions? We have a question from m james t x or am I going to school him? No way? Well, I probably am james in texas thinking about it, 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 whatever I'll tell you this, you're never goingto if you try and lay everything out and get started for me personal thing that's wrong with a 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 tom sensitive. If it's not a crunch crunch, I've gotta have it. I've got a house, you gotta have it just not going to play that you're playing, I'm 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, you know, so yeah. Absolutely the question was from pro photographer how did you develop your logo on what are the ways that utilize it for branding and marketing yeah great question there got a lot of questions about that how do you come up with a logo so hold on thank you. Thank you. Yeah and for me the logo was it was one of the sailors pretty easy a lot of people struggle with and I get it I like to draw I like to draw abstract art just weird stuff that 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'm just kind of outlined it and it looked really ridiculous because I'm not an artist when it comes to drawing it looked terrible like a bird and like died and got 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 could do with it and she said with us 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 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 going to see I wanted to be recognizable so I spent 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 clients they'll move into a different direction maybe you've had a midlife crisis you're gonna go get a sports car repair and 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 jiminy tips on howto transfer that number thirty changes to a business yes do do you have a delorean you're going to need to get you in touch with someone that happened I'm just kidding I can't go back back to the future 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 was 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 the 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 going to ruffle some feathers along the way I'm gonna lose some people I'm going to make some people mad, but that is how I have to do it in order to survive and feel good about it because I 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 went to get the cells portion you guys going like, why didn't I do that years ago? So answer that question you're going to 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 was kind of a fun question, not really question do goody bags teo seniors at the start of a session like a bag with water, small sample products, lip gloss on what do you include that is a good question way 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 an 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 was going to be awkward it's gonna be uncomfortable I'm not really sure about this so I spend a good bit of time before each session well I spent a good bit of time a free session sitting and talking and that is kind of what I give them I don't necessarily get 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 just 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 diskant transitioning into into I guess professional more sure legit and so you know, you don't have a studio you're not completely full time, so it's like putting that branding in that marketing where you know you just almost don't have that physical space do you really want people coming into your house living room? You know, if yeah, you know, maybe some people would maybe not everybody you know, so it's kind of like we'll turn that out and getting that my you know, I'm I'm all this I'm in a place there's no star books, ferocity, miles you know? So I just gotta figure it out not not my advice to you would be and anyone else that would find themselves in a similar situation my advice is just to keep shooting, you know, that may not be in this thing with retiree there's never an answer that's like, oh, well, then I'll just follow that and that won't be my key to success, but it was very much in your shoes and my key toe at least a small level success that I think I have I was keeping was 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 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 won't be a nurse I don't wanna do that well we are on an internship basically all the town was a retired from we 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 and you'll go on that job where you're like you know what you're driving home like I could see myself doing that again I'm going to kind of follow that and then you'll 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 going to get there but I just think the more that you shoot the mohr tom you will have to you know, to develop the marketing pieces developed your brand so you know, like so like if you're not bringing someone into your house it would you then you just bringing ok I'll meet you at at this location on and and so then you're just going to be bringing and doing things kind of yeah outside if you're not you know me by 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 twenty 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 going to run me off on dh 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 me I had like five spots all run around a little core area depending upon the person 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 morgue graffiti ish type stuff so you know, I think getting out and scouting is something that's really important to get in your car jumped on a bicycle one day and just take off riding I mean in your area just you will 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 up you know 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 right? This could be perfect when I want you to do is go here here you tilt your head this way and turn this way just like that yeah this table's going to beautiful is gonna be awesome until you get on that panic mode you're never going to be there so unfortunately I think just keep struggling create most people like oh, get rid of the struggle may I keep the struggle? Yeah moving backwards blair good job play that kind of somewhat answer 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 for the next few days as well, so yeah, 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 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 of 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 going to 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 mine 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 ugg boots first came out. Those were like the ugliest thing there ever someone that's where they got the names oh yeah oh ugly no offense toe 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 ten of um you've got ugly boots and everybody in america bison where am I going wrong it's just through their branding but getting back to that prom store I want to get my work in there well, so does everybody else so I walk in there and there's a lucite business card holder you know, maybe like acrylic and there are thirty five photography cards and they're from various photographers all over the place you know, there's a tire from 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 designed an eight by ten that shows images that are the type of images I like to shoot, so I'm going to attract the clientele that I won't and next to those thirty five business cards behind him is going to be an eight by ten from claire phillips retired, 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 loving this is going to stand out more did this cost me a lot of extra money? No, not really, but if I'm going to do it, I'm going to be the best that I can be. I'm not gonna be the best at it, but I want to 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 there and looks good and I'm proud of it, how many times like instead of you giving somebody something you're like? Well, yeah, I just don't this this really 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, too. 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 think that was funny, or they think that was really ignorant, so I'd love to hear a little bit more from from the internet as well. They liked your karate kick, for sure, the karate kid, yeah, back, just about crash 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 on ly the best creative live, too.

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.


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.


Loved watching Blair Phillips. He has so much energy and is very entertaining to watch. He was extremely well prepared and did a fantastic job.