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Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 18 of 33

Eclectic Locations

 

Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 18 of 33

Eclectic Locations

 

Lesson Info

Eclectic Locations

you may have found your sand saying, Well, I don't I don't really want a studio or I don't have a studio. Or I don't think that the studios in my repertoire of what I'm looking for on that's totally okay, because the first several years of my business, I don't really have a big variety of things to use. And I found myself struggling and having to go out and find various things in the community to use. And this next segment is definitely gonna show you how to get your priorities in check. And that's what that's what I'm gonna ask you to do, is gonna ask you to really sit down after this next segment and make sure that your priorities Aaron check both on a personal level and a business level. It was next guy here. This is someone that after I've coached this guy for three years, he finally finally finally has his priorities together. I mean, he's got, you know, everything is fault has fallen into place for this guy. This is a joke, by the way. Gallons in a mobile home and he has a I just...

thought that was really funny. Yeah, he's got his priorities together. But anyways, moving forward opportunity is definitely not always knocking on the door. And we know that from personal experiences and watching what other people go through, and it's never gonna be there. Every every time you turn around, there's not gonna be a great opportunity looking for you and what I've learned in my life as opportunities always look a lot bigger as they're going away from me and a lot of the opportunity sometimes that I wish I would have taken. I'm still kind of kicking myself in the rear because I didn't give it a good chance and I didn't do it. And that's why I get a lot of credit to my wife and my family back home because they motivate me to go. You know, they say, Blair, no, you need to go and do this. You need to take this opportunity and I'm like out. It's gonna be really hard. I just don't know if I could do that. It's like creative allows that out, man. I don't know if I could do that for three days, like people are gonna get so tired of hearing me and said No, you've got to go do it. So had I not. I would really regret later in life, you know, not coming here and meeting you folks and going through this experience and sharing with all of our online viewers. So what does? Opportunity isn't always knocking pertained to it means for a senior session. This is not a great opportunity right here as a photographer. That is not a really good opportunity. Nor is this one. Everything is all wrong. So some days, this is what you're gonna end up with. And I don't mean just don't mean the people, but your location, your lighting, everything is not gonna be right all the time. And that's what I ran into. And I was like, Man walked right outside my studio. There's really not a lot of opportunity here. So what I'm gonna do, do I just say, Well, this is what I have. So this is what I gotta work with or get in my truck and say, you know what? I'm gonna go find something to make something happen, because if it's not here, it's got to be somewhere. And I guess I used to get so accurate with people, they say, Well, I would like to see you come to my town and do that. We don't have that in my town. I don't have this in my town. This stuff that you have here, I'd like to see you kind of my town. And I say, Well, you know, I could do it because my town has way less opportunity than yours does, actually. So I would love the opportunity to do that even when I'm walking the streets right here in Seattle Last yesterday, even when I was walking over to the grocery store here. Man, I saw all kinds of stuff around here that I would love to shoot with. And it's out there. You just got to get yourself out there. But there's a few things that you need to do while you're doing it, and that is what I'm gonna share. This next thing you can't just walk out and start photographing random places just because you see an area say, Oh, that's gonna be great. It's gonna be great. But when you find these eclectic locations, they don't only work for seniors. That's what I sought them out for and said Hey, for my seniors, this is gonna be awesome. But then I said, Wait a minute. What kind of use the same location and use them for weddings. And why can't now I take Children there. And then if I'm taking Children, why can't I turn these same areas and just make it my style with families? I mean, why could I not do that? And then wait a minute. This will be really unique. What about a maternity? What if I brought a maternity to this location? It doesn't make sense at all, But that's even more reason why I would want to do it. I want to kind of push the envelope and stretch my boundaries a little bit. So some of locations that I've found these things are readily available. They're just sitting there. And I saw him a road by this place one day just riding. I saw it, went up surfing the block, came back around and I said, You know what? I'm gonna come back tomorrow with a plan of attack. I want to figure out how to gain access to this location, because let me tell you every where you're gonna go, not everyone's going to say Oh, sure, no problem. Rain. Do you come any time? You, Anytime you care. To a matter of fact, here, let me even give you a key to the gate so you can get in here any time. It's very likely that's not gonna happen that way. But things to consider. This is one thing that drives me crazy. A lot of photographers. They'll just jump out there and they're like, Yeah, I'm gonna shoot here, here, here, here, here. But we don't think about the liabilities of things. Everything is a liability. And I'll tell you, how much is a liability even in my own office. I have having employees there, and I was gonna play a joke on her the other day. I was gonna pull her chair out from underneath as she got ready to sit down. Then I got to thinking I was like, No, if I did that, it could be serious repercussions. She could hurt herself. I'm gonna feel terrible. Think about safety of people nine out of 10 times when you're out on location, you're never really thinking about things that can go wrong. And it's sad to live life that way. But we almost like being paranoid or being aware of your situation, your surroundings. You all know I'm teaching my daughter that when she grows up that I don't want you to be scared of things. But I want you to be aware of the things that can happen. What can go wrong here? Even standing in here, one of this whole light bore fell down. That would be terrible. So that's why I'm standing in the middle in case it does little following you guys. I thought ahead. I'm kidding, but things to consider. All right, What about insurance? You know, a lot of photographers. This is something that we don't think about. We have insurance, but what type of insurance do you have? You know, it's another expense. Which is why you have to add it into your calls. Cost of goods can't sell photography for pennies. You have to charge a decent amount of money. And this is why you have to educate yourself and knowing. Hey, if I'm gonna have to buy this stuff, I'm gonna have to charge so I can make money with me. I have a $2 million blanket policy. And that's a blanket policy. Meaning anything that goes on that I'm doing outside of my office, I'm gonna be covered. You have to think. What if a senior? What if you're walking down the sidewalk and a senior, you tell her to stand in a certain area and let's just say she gets bit by a snake. I mean, that can happen. And I'm not, You know it can happen. That's why I always go into that situation. First. Check it out. You know, make sure everything is safe, and then I'll bring her in and say you stand here prime example of why I've gotten told you how to rip my pants off at a wedding one time right outside the church. I literally took my pants off and had to run inside because of the fire ants. If I would have told my bride, Just go stand right over there. Sweetie, I want you to just write in. There will be fine. And then she standing there all of a sudden. Ah, What? What does that make me? A little light makes me like an idiot. And then she and her friends were like, I don't know why you brought her out in this field anyway. Then there, on turn on me and they're gonna be mean and it's gonna turn out pretty bad. But first thing, kid, I know this seems really stupid, but trust me, she thing on locations, there's gonna come a day when you're gonna need a first aid kit. This has happened to me where someone you know may scrape themselves. I may cut myself jumping over something I don't know you made. Girl may have a blister or foot carry some sort of a first aid kit with you. And again, I'm not trying to sell a stupid here and make a joke, but things can happen, and you have to expect the unexpected, and carrying that first aid kit will definitely help you. Another thing that I carry in the truck with me is wasp spray, like for yellow jackets and stuff in the early spring. In the summer, you get your seniors into some you know, some interesting locations, some urban settings. You gotta look around, look above you. Besides, you look all around. There may be a big wash nest and you put your senior and then she bumped against something and they all flood down an attacker. That's not gonna be a good day, because you're gonna have to reschedule, not because she got stung, but because you're gonna have to reschedule. I'm kidding because she got stone. So again, you know, that's kind of a lot of people say all that's stupid. You don't have to worry about that. But it's a society we live in. There's so many people. They're looking to prey upon someone else and gain from something that they've created. People see that you have a level of success. There's there's ignorant people out there looking to bring you down, you know, and that's just the way of the world. A portable changing room When I first started, I used to have the seniors changing their car. It's no big deal. It was like Just park your car over here, like on location. Just just I'll turn my back and I'll be fine. What if you get that weird girl or that weird guy one day? You know, for us guys, I'm a 35 year old man. It's kind of awkward to be around senior age girls that are changing clothes that those two things just do not mix. At least in my family. It doesn't take that variable of risk out. Get rid of it. I've got a portable changing room. It folds up just like a reflector. I don't remember where I got it. I have to do some research and find out exactly where I got it. But this thing is just full. It pops out, their head sticks out of it. You know, it's about this wide. It's got a zipper on the back. They stand in and they can change clothes. Bulls. Right now you got to think ahead. Gotta think all the way around Other things that a lot of people I think don't think about is a backup camera. A lot of people don't think about bringing an extra camera. Even if it's an older camera that you may have used a couple of years ago, it could at least get you out of out of a jam. If you never know, you may overlook that you didn't charge your batteries. Get halfway through your pushing the but nothing's happening and you look down and say, Oh my gosh, I forgot to charge my battery. How in the world is I'm gonna look to a client's go look terrible. Carry a backup plan. Spare media card. The reason I'm telling you guys this, but because it's happened to me, that's what I'm telling you. Spare media cards. I got a set of those. A set of twins. They were high school seniors. They were in their prom dress. I got him out on this location. It was perfect. About two miles from the studio, the guy was getting ready to lock the gate and lock us in there. But I have a way to get out. I'll shoot there all the time, which will show in a minute. And I had to leave. I got there and I was like, I forgot a media card. I had to make up something to say. You know what? I want to run back to the studio right quick and grab something. I think that will add a lot of value to this scene right here. Yeah, I'll be right back. All right. I'm not a liar, but I just have a way with words. Media card is gonna add tremendous value to this year, right? Now what I do is I stuck to media card in an old media card holder and they're up in my sun visor in my truck. So no matter where I am, if if something happens and I needed media card, have a back up and then I have a back up back up back up because you're gonna get in a situation like that, you're going to get there. Also, when you're scouting locations, pay attention to where the sun is in relation to the background. So if you have this really cool urban setting and you're there 10 o'clock in the morning, pay attention. Which way the sun is going so that you know that at three o'clock is going to be terrible because the sun is going to be facing right towards it. So you know that your best opportunity is gonna be at, you know, 11 12 10 in the morning. But you don't go there in the afternoon because it's just gonna be all wrong. Your client's gonna be facing this on, and you want their back to be facing this on. So it's the little things to think about like that. That a lot of times. We all you know, and I'm guilty of it to overlook it, we get in this fast paced world that we're living in, but hopefully over the past couple of days, you realize, Hey, I need to slow down a little bit and get some things in order and make sure that have a backup plan for everything. And I noticed this place. It's probably three years ago. So this video, I'm going to show you as an old video and, uh, look even sillier than I do now remember I told you yesterday I was like, Man, I hate going back and seeing myself like two or three years ago, and I looked even worse. So what's it gonna be in three or four years? I look back and like, Oh, I don't want to see those pictures. I understand now why women do that. Oh, gosh, Don't pull that out. Don't do that. But this was a video that will put together explaining and showing a visual because I can tell you. Yeah, went to this guy's place and I asked him permission. And he said that was cool. And we lived happily ever after or I can show you a video that makes even more perfect sense and what I love about this video so near and dear to my heart. Because this I scripted it to be the exact way that it went down. Exactly that happened. So this next video, this is kind of the birth of my senior business. This is where everything changed for me. And I got outside of my little box that I was in my little walls and I said, You know what? I don't have to do it the same way that everybody else is doing it. Maybe there is a future in this. Maybe I can go out here and find some locations. Even though I live in this crappy town with 3500 people to me, sometimes a smaller the town is even better. You know, people say, Well, that small town you live in, you need to get over in the big city. And I'm like, Well, hey, we could get it done there, too. I'm not a man of excuses, So check out this next video shoot in a studio for about 3.5 years now. I really, really want to get out of the seniors, but I just feel like in the studio kind of limited. There's so much more opportunity out there that I'm missing out on, and I'll ever hear these photographer saying There's just no opportunity in my town like that. There's no opportunity because I'm not making anything happen. Shooting in the studio is definitely important, but I just feel like there's so much potential that I'm missing out on out there and I just feel like I'm being contained by these walls. I'm gonna find some unique locations. I'm gonna take a risk on the O. So I'm heading down to this plumbing shop that I saw yesterday. This is definitely place. I'm gonna have to have permission, because the worst thing I want is to have my senior and her mom there and someone come up and ask what I'm doing and get kicked off. That looks very bad to me. So I'm gonna be myself. Just plead my case and see if the guy actually let me shoot there. So just see what happens. Hey, how's it going? Good. Good. I am Claire Phillips started body. I know you were a little busy here This. I got one of those weird questions for you. I'm not a salesman, but I'm a photographer right here in downtown Landis and I do a lot of getting into a lot of high school senior work, and I noticed your place here. That's gonna send a little weird, but it would be a great opportunity for some pictures on. Got a little bit of my work here, and I didn't know if you would ever just kind of throw the idea around of Let me just bring some folks over from time to time and use your place for some pictures. What race? Well, that'd be great. I just Anybody Anybody driving? Yeah, well, I appreciate that. That would be great. It's just a different opportunity here than I've seen other places. And we're just trying to find some areas and making my own. So I just show you a little bit of kind of what we do. So you haven't understanding us not just your average everyday senior work way. Try and put girls in places that are unassuming, You know that you normally wouldn't think of way still makes sense. Traditional stuff is well But that way you kind of have an understanding of what we're looking for. We used take urban settings and actually turn them into something. So, you know, normally photograph during the day way could come in and make sure that we're out of everybody's way and definitely wouldn't wouldn't bother anything. So really, that's all some Thank you. Thank you so much. Good deal. Thank you so much. Thank you. Good deal. That is, That has such meaning to me, that video, because that is that has been my life for the past few years is learning how to be that person that can go out and take a location and make it my own. And when I went to that guy, you know, no one in town really likes him. He's not a real likeable guy. He's a very controversial guy, the guy that owns this plumbing shop. Now I don't know why he has so much junk around his plumbing shop, but it is absolutely a perfect place to shoot. And I have made a lot of money over the past three years shooting over there on the only bad thing is that the town someone has complained enough, and now they're making him clean some of that up. So now, unfortunately, instead of going to his place, I'm going to just probably have to walk out my back door and shoot now because I'll be able to get a lot of the things that he doesn't want any more. He's agreed. He's agreed. I've talked him down to selling me a lot of that stuff for scrap metal prices. So anything that's metal, you know those big metal things. He's like one of the scrapyard. Give me, then that's what you want to give you an estimate, like a dollar per £100. So it's really cheap. Nothing. But that's how it went down. That's how I gained access to that particular location. And now again, depending on where you are, you're not gonna be able to do that every time. You know, I've been to a couple of other places and they're like, Well, I don't know, But I will tell you this. I've never been anywhere where they said, No, get out, Don't ever come back. I've always been able to figure out a way to make myself get in there, even if it meant cutting a hole through the fence. When they're closed, I can get in there, so I will not take no France. I'm kidding. That would be trespassing. And that does not look good on a client. That's another thing, too. You can sell. You can say, Look, I've done the legwork. I went out and I'm sought out these locations, and I've gained permission. These people in my community, they entrust me. They believe in what I do. So they won't need to do that. They want me to succeed. You have a question? Yeah, that's kind of interesting that when you go out and look for those interesting places, what exactly you're looking forward, your Giro wrong And what what considers interesting to you, right? And you know, that's a That's a good question. And that's a tough one to answer to, because everyone style is going to be very different, very unique, you know, And I may look at something and say, Oh, man, that would be so cool. Just the textures. I'm mainly looking for textures. That's what I'm looking for, a lot of texture on, not only just texture of one piece, but I want texture with several other pieces co mingled in with it. So instead of a blank wall, I want I want a wall. But I want other things inside there as well. Allow me things to pose with because it's posing with the air. There's only so many things you can do, meaning If I'm standing here with nothing to pose with, you know the guy. There's only so many things that you know that a guy can do standing in one spot. But if I have the wall that I compose with and then I pull this over, it opens up another room. Aiken do four or five different posters with the table. So if I have something that has that and then something that has a stool, I can use all three of these in that one set. So I'm looking for objects that I compose with. That's a big thing. Is things to pose with Mikey Wedding shooters. It's really it's really difficult to be super super creative in a field out in front of the church, and that's all you have is just a grass field. Everybody just stands up. You can turn this way this way this way, this way, this way That's with. But in the end of the day, you're still standing up in a field. But if you were in a cityscape and you had a park bench had a garbage can, you had three bicycles in a bike rack. You had a statue. He had an old, broken down car. Things to pose with make it really nice. I guess what I'm looking for is a lot of texture and things to pose with together. So that's a great That's a great question going to those locations. I don't necessarily do pre shooting, but if you're just starting out, that's probably not a bad idea to do. Take your camera with you. Take an image of it, you know, and go back and really look at it and put some ideas of your own together for posing. But me, You know, at this point I've been doing it a while. So a problem I can go into any situations with. You know what turned that couch upside down and put those pillows on the other side, flip the cushions out layer on the cushions, gonna figure out a way to make something work, but, you know, early on, yeah, pre shoot, go out. This is what I love to do. I used to get him a motorcycle, and I would just ride in areas that I've never even been in, jump on a motorcycle, just take off. And because I love riding my motorcycle, I didn't care about burning gas like I did in my truck. So I get on there, just take off one Sunday morning. I just go this before I had our daughter and I'm like, man, I never even knew this place was out here. And if I saw something, I get off, maybe snag a picture of it with my IPhone and make a note like, Hey, this is off of highway 73 near, you know, uh, South Point crossroads, because I wouldn't know where it waas. So I think appreciating is definitely good idea. You know, there's never a bad idea. Always try. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. And don't continue to try and use a location that is giving you a lot of difficulty. If it's a location that you tried photographing a few times, but it just you just don't really like it. And you're not really inspired by Leave it alone. Go somewhere else. Don't put Don't Don't worry with it. Now. What I did was when I went to that plumbing shop, it really opened my eyes and said, Hey, I can start to find all kinds of locations now and even that places on Lee, a mile and 1/2 from my studio. So even on my way back home, I started noticing these areas that I could photograph one old gas station. There's an old gas station that no one used anymore. It was for sale but had been for sale for quite a number of years. So I was like, Well, wait a minute. I can make take this gas station and I compose people in front of gas pumps on top of the gas pumps. Why not? There's no right or wrong way to do it. So I've got the element of lighting posing, and I've got a pretty cool location that we can hit and I can make it my own and I can sell it. And it really blew my mind that people would pay me to do this like I'm serious. I have so much fun doing this stuff. And then when we left from there and we do a u turn, come back up right before you make a right back off in the distance. There was an old abandoned house. Wait a minute. This could be good. Not funny. Back story about this old abandoned house here is had to do some research. I went on G I s which is a public website. And you can see you can type in partial of property, find a parcel property and see who owns it. And I saw him on it. It's a guy live right across street. So I go over there, you know, knock on a door, Feeble old fella comes to the door. How can I help you? Sahn, You know, I mean, this is going to sound really weird, but, you know, would you never care if I took, You know, images ever had this old house like hey said so I don't care what you do. He said my son Billy shot himself in that house 22 years ago. I don't care. Go ahead. And I was like, Cool. So you don't mind if I shoot there and it was kind of awkward at first, but it's, like, No, don't care at all. It was kind of sad, but, you know, I don't tell my senior that's gonna be laying on the carpet that, you know. Hey, guy Billy shot himself in here 22 years ago, and that's cool. No funny funny about this one in the middle. That's carpet and put this girl in the year and got her on the ground there and she said, Man, it smells like cat pee pee in here. And I was like, Yes, because cats live in here and they be on the floor. I guess so. It was kind of awkward, but I wanted there was some for breathe after that session of like, I don't worry about It's all good back. Yeah, so you gotta be careful with that, too. But I went through this house and inspected this house front to back top to bottom, jumped up and down on the floor, kicked the walls. You also you saw my ninja kick yesterday, so I gave it the test. I mean, I went in there and tried and tried to tear something up just to make sure that we're in this old house. One for the rafters fall down, one of the roof caves in and I'm trapped and I kill someone in there. You have to think about that. It could be a career ending move, you know, both financially and physically. So that's what I was saying. Going back. And you gotta know your liabilities. Know your limitations. And don't push the envelope too far just because you want to get in a certain area. Cheerleaders. I started taking cheerleaders over there just because it didn't make sense. I would shoot through the windows and shoot where it made no sense whatsoever. But that is what really put me on the map in the town that I'm in because it didn't make sense. People said this guy does some of the most random stuff, but that is what seniors like. They don't like normal. They want something way over the top. But be careful not to go way over the top, if you know what I'm saying. Don't take it too far. Unless your brand reflects that. If your band reflects, you know, some sort of heavy metal bang your face against this glass table, then you can take it that for. But if your brand doesn't reflect it, don't do it. Don't do it. And then I said, Well, wait a minute. If I'm shooting here, I can go five minutes down the road and be back in this downtown area. That's what inspired me in Minneapolis. I said, Hey, you've got a great downtown. Let's just shoot downtown. We'll see what happens. And by doing that, like over here, look at these air old bills that are there called Beals. But it's, Ah, billboards you see in New York City Post no bills. That means billboards don't post any of that stuff. Don't stick it anything. I mean, look at the texture. Look at the color. Somebody's put these these posters up and they've painted at the top and it's ran down. I mean, I can't create that stuff. Well, I take that back. I can't create that stuff, but I don't want to, because somebody else has done it for me. So it's so easy just to get out and explore so encouraging. Maybe this weekend, you know, even with the family, take a stroll get outside, walk around, just survey your area, find out who owns it, and then you're gonna own it through some awesome photography. So open up another door for me. I just have people that say, you know what? Can you come to my home and take pictures? And I'm like, I don't know, What kind of house do you live in? Where do you live? What does it look like? And I found myself being kind of judgmental. I'm like, you can't really ask people that because they're not gonna understand why you're asking that, you know so But now that I can take any location to make it my own might, Sure, let's go forward. We'll make it work. And if I show up in your house, doesn't have any opportunities, then we'll go to your neighbor's house or we'll go across the street or Aiken very softly and suddenly say, I look, we have warned this place out, and we were only photographed two locations at their house and like, Look, we have worn this place out. What? Don't we jump in the car? Let's take it a step further. There's a spot right down the road I think that we can do some amazing stuff with. I just want to give you all that I can. And then you would know by no one your area kind of a backup plan of where to go to if one thing is really not working out that great. So I started going to people's houses and then people started having animals, and I mean the man that was like a dream until the flash goes off and the horse runs through the fence jumps across the road. That didn't happen, though. That didn't happen. See, even things like that you have to think about you don't just start doing I know because I used to board and break horses back in the day. I had as many as head of horses at one time, and I know that sometimes a light can just make them wig out and go crazy. So if your client and the horses here don't put your light right on the animal, better the light way off, like that way and just give it a flash and the horse is probably gonna go. Do you like that right there? If you turn that right in his face and flash at the very 1st 1 He's he's gonna go crazy. So and then slowly start to incorporate a little bit closer a bit closer, a little closer with a closer in this particular animal. He didn't groom on the flash. They started getting kind of crazy on us, so I said, All right, no problem there, Skipper. We're gonna put you right over here. I put the light over there. We use a reflector. There's old. I mean, girl with cowboy boots, there's a tractor. I mean, I don't have one of those yet, but check this out. I've got my guy, That junkyard waiting to find me one. I'm waiting from the finding one. And when someone brings one in the type that I'm looking for, I'm looking for old Massey Ferguson. Picture this. I'm gonna pressure wash the whole thing using hot water and, uh, a grease agent to get rid of all the grease and then I'm going to paint it bubble gum pink. Now who has a bubble gum pink tractor? I think that would be so cool when the girls like we have a lot of country type girls in our area. We live in the country, so they bring their little cowboy boots and all that stuff. That's gonna be awesome, right? Yeah. They're going little rabbit trails, getting off subject here. That's a profit. Same thing, but yes. So don't Don't be afraid to go into clients, homes, but when you go into their home, have a backup plan in case their location sucks because I've been on some and it's like, Yeah, I've got all this beautiful property and you show up and they've got, like, three day and looking azalea bushes and you're like, Oh, yeah, a lot of opportunity here. You're obviously not a photographer because you know nothing about what you're saying here. So we photograph a few there and I say, All right, let's let's kind of go somewhere else. So take a look at some of these images from that plumbing shop. Guys got the old ambulances out there. I mean, these things that have so much contrast, so much texture of love. Um, and inside there, that's where I got the pipes from. Those things were just sitting there. I would never go and buy a piece of pipe that cost me $800 to sit in the ground. That's crazy. I'm never gonna do that. But I will get one that somebody's cut the corner off with a tractor or something and get that one for a deal. But love these ears and loading dock with all these corrugated pipes behind them. And again, parents didn't understand why I was doing it. But the parent that parents went along with it cause the seniors liked it. And when he saw the images, they love it. They told their friends they told their friends Wow, it goes on and on. And brides. This is where my style really changed when I went out and now I had my lighting. But now I had use of locations. I was like, Wow, this is gonna really, really work here. So now I take my locations and I start mixing my brides in because Oh, yeah, the bride's they go there, too. What I did was I would shoot my safe images at the studio and my brother portrait images that that I would do for Grandma and Mom. Grandma was not going to understand this kind of stuff. Grandma is not she's going to like, what guy As he owned dope or something. Gotta be. Grandma's not understand it, but my bride's air conditioning. I'm conditioning them to know that. Hey, on your wedding day, we're going to kind of push the envelope a little bit when I'm gonna push it too far. But we're gonna get out there and we're not gonna photograph only right there at the church going to go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house. We're gonna go a long way. So this has helped me condition my brides and knowing a sky's the limit. Whatever I say goes, If I get, I show what I do. If I get a bride that comes in and she brings her mom and stay right, I'll be right back. Hold on. Don't go anywhere. And that bride comes in and her mom has got We're gonna pretend this is a white sheet. I've had this happen like I saw on the Internet. If you cut the inside of the sheet out, you can put that on up or anything dress and we can lay that on the ground and then put the dress over you know what I do with that sheet. And this is honestly, how would do it like Mom? Give me that. That out of here. And he's no Sheedy. Crazy. I'm just kidding. But really, we're good. So you have to say no, and you have to prove a point, but then you have to kind of be nice about it. So I'm like, I don't get the white sheet, don't get those checklists of what they want and even my senior's coming in. You know, I don't really get a lot of feedback from them, you know? Well, okay. I want this, and I want that Senior don't know what they want. They just won't look cool. And the parents, you know, ask them what they won't. But maybe just take, like, one suggestion. Don't open it up. All right? Give me a bunch of your ideas. She's not a photographer. You are. So don't worry about it now. This junkyard deal. When I first went in there, I thought to myself, Okay, this is gonna be a nightmare waiting to happen. You gotta think about this to somebody could get cut. Someone could hurt themselves. And then, you know you're in a mess, so I recommend doing what I do. Carry a few tetanus shots in your bag with you. So before you go into that area, just ask your client. Have you had a That's a joke, By the way, do not give immunizations or shots. I'm going to record your creativelive. Does not endorse or condone this activity that was just to wake you up after lunch a little bit again, going back to that this rock quarry. How many people do you know that working a rock quarry, that runaway rock quarry would say, Yeah, bring your seniors out here and let's photograph like That's no, they're never going to do that, but they have a patch right up front that doesn't get back into the rock quarry. And I've done some work for one of the guys that works there, and I went to hell in Denison. Man, listen, what are the chances of you guys like just grabbing like one little little scoop of those great big rocks and just like throwing up up in the front where nobody's watching one day and just leaving a big pile of their from your work with these like That's no problem. They put the big scoop of these rocks out up front, and now it looks like we're out in the desert somewhere and I've got a place to take seniors. That's not very dangerous because I went out. Make sure, you know, put him on a great big pile of rocks and let one of those big boulders starts a role or something. And again, you know, I'm thinking now, like a 35 year old when I first started, I thought, like a 16 year old 17 year old, I didn't see the danger in things. And it's weird because my my grandparent's I used to think you're talking about Just let me go. There's nothing wrong with skydiving without a parachute because I'm gonna I'm gonna fly down and my friend has when I'm gonna jump on his back, What could go wrong? Well, now look at him and say, You know what? You guys were absolute geniuses, because everything you told me is so true. And I'm an idiot, and I didn't believe any of it. So you gotta You gotta pay close attention that this rock quarry I'm able to produce images that looks like it's not in my town, and it's just by getting out, making friends and using my resource is now. It's not about using people, either, all for things back to these people. But let me say this when I went to this guy for the rock quarry. Don't offer up all your goods just yet. Don't go in there and say, Hey, if you guys will let me shoot here I will give you a 30 by 96 portrait of your family and I will frame it. I will hang it in your home and I'll give you a lifetime supply of what? Don't offer up anything. You play the poor man cards that look. And I'm just trying to trying to do something. You know, if you could help me, that'd be great. Sometimes I stutter a little bit, which seems to help Kidding, But, you know, play. Play that card for a little while. You're not doing anything wrong, But if they are really hesitant and then they say, Well, what's in it for me then? Then you can work on a compromise, you know? Say what? Do you have Children? Yeah, Well, you know, Let me let me photograph your Children here and show you what it looks like and show what I'm trying to do. Have you offered that up? And for this guy here on the rock quarry just has a good gesture. I did that. They had a new baby. And I said, You know what, man? Since you helped me out, look, bring that little whipper snapper in here in the studio. Let me rattle off a few shots for hooking up. I didn't do a full old session, but I did about three different sets and I gave him a few eight by tens. It was no big deal. We posted the images online for him because it wasn't true session and he actually ended up buying, buying a good bit of prints from it. I gave him the three free ones, but he end up saying that making money off of a good gesture, so something to think about. I take a lot of my high school football players over this rock quarry area, and it works great in the late evening girls and their prom dresses doesn't make sense at all. And it looks like We're in a completely different area. I want to show you this next image I showed you that finished image Don't share what it looks like before. So you can take these these areas here, like on the left and the right. Look at the difference in lighting. This was shot right before he was shot, right after same thing here, using your imagination when you're out riding around, visualize things. So I look at this and I see this same thing. But by adding lighting, look at the difference that can make. Now you can put someone there. It's still gonna be a beautiful picture with natural light and a reflector. It's gonna be beautiful. But then you can add lighting with a more dramatic pose. And you can have that. This is all private property. But this is next to my studio. Whenever the guy that owns it, he's an attorney. And I said, You know, he listened. Somebody snaps their leg. They're not going to sue you or anything, and I've got no problem. He's a big proponent of what I'm doing anyway, because I'm cleaning up the streets. That's what I tell people said, Look, I'm cleaning the streets up, Man, My old truck here, a little bit of lighting. You got it. You can import a sky with the use of lighting if you if you're using lighting and your skies white cause there's no dimension in it. Now, since you're using lighting, you can import and drop a sky in there and it doesn't look so fake because everything matches everything. Opportunity to goodness gracious. If you guys had to go and shoot some of the places I have before, you would definitely have quit probably a long time ago. And I'm surprised that I didn't quit a long time ago as well. But I stuck with it, and as a result, I'm really happy with what I'm doing now. So imagine you show up to shoot a wedding. One of your high school seniors. You did a great job. Awesome. Now, three years later, she's getting married. She loved your style, and she really was. She really liked about your style with your locations. That's what she was really in love with. She said. Oh my gosh, Blair, I'm not married and I don't want anybody shoot my wedding except for you because I love you and you're awesome. Okay, fine. We'll work it out. So you show up and this is where she's getting married. And you pull up in the parking lot and you're like, All right, I'm going to take my glass. Topped. I don't think I'm believing what I'm seeing here because all these high expectations I had last night, they are completely gone. You've done it. You showing up to a location, you get pumped up about it with me. I listen. Turn three doors down on. I'm jamming. I'm riding in the truck. I'm jamming. I'm ready to go. I went from being real nervous to now I'm pumped up. Let's get this thing going on pulling the parking lot. And it's like everybody just slips slashed all four my tires. So what do you do? You accept it for what it is. No. You go somewhere else. People getting married right here on this Left. This is This is ridiculous. But I go and find areas just like this right here that are three buildings down from the church. It's the back side of an old store and I take it from here. I use lighting supposing and turn it into this. I'm not supposed to be able to create create wedding images like that for the senior that I shot. I'm not supposed to match her images from her senior session because my location didn't allow me. I'm not supposed be able to do it, but instead I'm like, Look, we're not doing this. This whole get up you got going here. I appreciate your church and all. Actually, I was the Moose club. Yeah. If you get a call from the moose club, might want to pass on that one. Just saying here, why would you ever want to use something like this on someone's wedding day? That is not indicative of a wedding at all. Well, do you think that metal building is No. This guy here throwing down in there? It makes sense to me, and it works. And it became my style here. Used Teoh. Never picture doing that because I know you have to keep everything clean. Proper, prim, Just like me. No, you don't have to. It could be different. Put your whole wedding party in there. You can be careful with stuff without going too far. You can be really careful without going too far. Same things here. I see this as a potential liability. You know, this is going to go bad, but same thing. I'm photographing the senior. We're definitely gonna use that. We're gonna figure out a way to make that work always. Now, this is something I put this in here because I quit. I quit using a railroad track. Railroad track is very popular, and I don't know why I've done it. You've done it. You've done it. We've all done it. We've all eso cool photograph on the railroad track. I'm not a trained, but I'm gonna take pictures like a train. All right. I quit doing this. Probably two years ago, when I had a visit from the Norfolk Southern Railroad. They were doing a sweep through our area, passing out little pamphlets of information about safety on the railroad track and making their presence known that if I see you on the rubber track, I'm gonna arrest you. He comes in and I'm like, Oh, yeah, no problem. That's like, so you know, we would never you know, we don't We don't really use the railroad tracks or anything. And I was like, he turns around and I had this image hanging up in the studio as a 30 by 40 framed print. I was like, It's basically like over here. Yes, sir. Oh, no, no, no. Like, were were established. Geo were very safe. You don't have to worry about Oh, yeah? Like what is that? I was like, That is something you do not need to worry about, sir, that as a result, you know, I started thinking, What if you have someone on railroad tracks and trains? Coming was like, OK, ding ding being And I hear the train horn coming. All right, everybody, help all she gets cold. You never know. You have to think about the unexpected. What if What if they're shoe gets wedged in there somewhere, somehow, and they can't get it all fast enough. Somebody gets hit by train. I mean, yeah, welcome to Blair Field photography, where we get people killed by trains. I mean, that's not gonna be a good look, either. So again, you have to think about it. And I think with kids with having a child, it really opened up my eyes and I'm teaching my daughter the same. I don't want to teach her not to be scared, but I want to show her what could go wrong if you don't listen to my guidance. Not saying that's gonna work. But instead of saying no, I'm not gonna go photograph you on the railroad tracks said no. When he client for a second and say, Let me tell you why I'm not gonna photograph you on the railroad tracks and tell him that the liabilities of it don't just say no. Tell him that you know that it's dangerous and expressed home. Why is dangerous expressed to him? Why this girl here She was getting married. Same thing, terrible looking, little places getting married. She was getting married at the V F W building, which that is only a place that is good to have a pancake breakfast. I'm just just throwing it out there. Nothing gets the V f w crowd. We still love you guys. You guys are awesome. But we don't like your buildings when we're shooting. Okay. No offense, no offense. But we use the road now. And with lighting, I'm just going anywhere. I'm using the leading lines leading towards her a tire shop. Seriously? What? You're never gonna get a tire shop for pictures and a screen door that somebody left out by the dumpster. I get my safe images. Okay, listen, I get some safe images, three or four safe images, and then I spice it up by doing something really stupid. So I grabbed the screen door put out there, poses a screen door, cram your bouquet down in there and there you got it.

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!