Eclectic Locations


Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info

Eclectic Locations

You know, you may have found your sense and, 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 and my repertoire of what I'm looking for on that's totally ok, 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 going to show you how to get your priorities in check and that's what? That's, what I'm gonna ask you to do is I want to ask you to really sit down after this next segment and make sure that your priorities are in check both on a personal level and a business level. Well, this 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 hasn't, so 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 going to 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 opportunities, sometimes 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 going to be really hard, it's something I can do that's like, creative man, I don't know if I can 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 is opportunity? Is it 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 going to end up with, and I don't mean just don't mean the people but your location, you're lighting, everything is not going to be right all the time and that's, what I ran into and I was like, man will walk right outside my studio there's really not a lot of opportunity here, so what I'm going to do do I just say, well, this is what I have, so this is what I got to work with or get in my truck and say, you know what? I'm going to find something make something happen because if it's not here, it's got to be somewhere like it used to get so aggravated with people, they say, well, I'd 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 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 going to share this next time you can't just walk out and start photograph in random places just because you see an area see all 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, from my seniors, this is gonna be awesome, but then I said, wait a minute, what kind of disease, same locations and use them for weddings and why can't now I take children there and then if I'm taking children, then why can't I turn these same areas and just make it my style with families mean, why could I not do that? And then wait a minute, this would be really unique 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 have found, these things are readily available. They're just sitting there, and I saw him. I rode by this place one day, just writing, so went up, sir, for the block came back around, and I said, you know what? I'm going to 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 everywhere you're gonna go, not everyone's going to say, oh, sure, no problem, rain, you come any time, any time you'd 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 going to 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 I have an employee there and I was going to play a joke on her the other day I was going to pull her chair out from underneath you get 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 going to feel terrible think about safety of people not out of ten 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 then 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 what if this whole white bar 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 um 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 two million dollar blanket policy and that's a blanket policy meaning anything that goes on that I'm doing outside of my office I'm going to be covered anyhow to think what if it's senior what if you're walking down the sidewalk and a senior you know, you tell her to stand in a certain area and let's just say she gets bit by a snake I mean that 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 I'll make sure everything's safe and then I'll bring her in and say you stand here a prime example of what 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 youto just right in there ll be fine and then she standing there all of a sudden huh? What what does that make me a little like fix me like an idiot and then she and her friends are but I don't know why you brought her on this field anyway then they're 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 a girl may have a blister on her foot carry some sort of a first aid kit with you and again I'm not trying to sound 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 mia's wasser spray like for yellow jackets and stuff in the early spring in the summer you get your seniors into some you know some interesting location some urban settings you gotta look around look above you look beside you look all around there may be a big washing ernest and you put your senior and then she bump we get 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 has 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 there looking to prey upon someone else and gain from something that they've created people see that you have a level isi says 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 did you get that weird girl or that weird guy one day you know, for us guys I'm a thirty five 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 it's about this alive it's got a zipper in the back they stand in and they can change clothes falls right now you gotta 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 in extra camera even if it's an older camera that you may have used a couple of years ago you could at least get you out of out of a jam if never know you may overlook that you didn't charge your batteries you're halfway through you're pushing the button nothing's happening and you look down and say oh my gosh I forgot to charge my battery how in the world is that gonna look to a client's gonna look terrible carry a back up plan spare media card the reason I'm telling you guys this but because it's happened to me that's why 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 gal is getting ready to lock the gate and lock us in there but I have a way to get out I 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 had to make up something to say, you know what? I want to run back to the studio right quick and grab something they don't have 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 going to add tremendous value to this year, right? So now what I do is I stopped to media card and an old media cardholder and they're up in my sun visor in my shop, so no matter where I am, if if something happens and I need a media card, I have a back up and then I have a backup, so back up, back up because you're going to 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 ten o'clock in the morning, pay attention which way the sun is going, so that you know that 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 going to be at eleven, twelve, ten in the morning. But you don't go there in the afternoon because it's just going to be all wrong, your client's going to 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 a lot of times we all you know, I'm guilty of it to overlook that we get in this fast paced world we're living in, but hopefully over the past couple of days, you've realized, hey, I need to slow down a little bit and get some things in order and make sure that I 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 is an old video and, uh, look, even sillier than I do now remember I told you yesterday was like, man, I hate coming back and seeing myself, like two or three years ago, and I looked even worse, so what's it going to be in three, four years? I looked 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 is a video that will put together explaining and showing a visual because I can tell you, yeah, I went to this guy's place and 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 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 has done 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 thirty, five hundred 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 way we could get it down there, too, I'm not a man of excuses, so check out this next video I've been shooting in the studio for about three and a half years now I really really want to get out of those seniors, but I just feel like I'm 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, I just feel like I'm being contained by these walls, I'm gonna find some unique locations, so I'm gonna take a risk on I'm heading down to this plumbing shop that I saw yesterday this's 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 and just plead my case and see if the guy actually let me shoot there, so just see what happens. Hey, I was going to write you good, good, I am claire phillips started body, and now you look a little busier this I've got one that's 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 seniors work and I noticed your place here it's going to sound a little weird, but it would be a great opportunity for some pictures. Andi, I've got a little bit of my work here, and I didn't know if you would ever just kind of throw the idea around and let me just bring some folks over from time to time and use your place for some pictures what race were the same thing you want to be? Well, that'd be great, I just want to help young people. What, anybody? Anybody striving crime? Yeah, well, I appreciate that that would be great it's just a different opportunity here that I've seen other places, and we're just trying to find some areas and make him our own, so I'll just show you a little bit of kind of what we do, so you have an understanding us, you know, not just your average everyday senior word way trying put girls in places that are unassuming, you know, that you normally wouldn't think of ways still make sense in a traditional stuff is well, but well, you kind of have an understanding of what we're looking for were 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 all right 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 very likable guys 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've made a lot of money over the past three years shooting over there now 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 of 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 and that's what you want to give you this time like a dollar per hundred pounds? So it's really achieved nothing but that's how it went down that's how I gained access to that particular location. And now again, the panel where you are, you're not going to 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 s o 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 want me 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 for when you die around and what what consider interesting 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'm a look at something and say, oh man, that would be so cool just the textures are 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 wantto want a wall, but I want other things inside there's 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 as a guy there's 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 realm aiken do for five different posters with a table, so if I have something that has that and then something 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 like you 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 because everybody stands up you could turn this way this way this way this way this way this way this way 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 apart bitch had a garbage can you had three bicycles in a bike rack you had a statue had an old broken down car I mean things to pose with make it really nice so I guess what I'm looking for is a lot of texture and things to pose with together 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 take your camera with you taken 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, like, you know what turned that couch upside down and put those pillows on the other side, flip the cushions out layer on the cushions. I'm 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 on a motorcycle and I would just drive in areas that I've never even been in jump on my 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, just go this before I had our daughter and having a man I never even knew this place was out here, and if I saw something that get off, maybe snag a picture of it with my iphone and make a note like, hey, this is off of highway seventy three near, you know, southpoint crossroads, because I wouldn't know where it wass 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 the location. That is giving you a lot of difficulty if it's a location that you tried photographing a few times, but it's just you just don't really like it. 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 ly a mile and a half from my studio. So even on my way back home, I started noticing these areas that I could photograph one point 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 it really blew my mind that people would pay me to do this. Like, I'm serious as 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 is an old abandoned house wait a minute. This could be good now, funny backstory about this old abandoned house here is I had to do some research. I went on g I s which is a public website and you can see you can type in a parcel of property, found a partial property and see who owns it. And I saw you on it. It's a gotta live right across street so I go over there, you know, knock on the door, it's feeble old fella comes to the door. How can I help you, son? You know, I mean, this is gonna sound really weird, but you know what? You never care if I took, you know, images ever had this old house is like hey said so I don't care what you do he said, my son billy shot himself in the outhouse twenty two 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 I don't care at all that was kind of sad, but you know, I don't tell my senior that's going to be laying on the carpet that hey got billy shot himself in here twenty two years ago in that school no funny funny about this one in the middle that's carpet and put this girl in here got her on the ground and she said, man, it smells like cat pee pee in here and I was like yes, because cats living here and they'd be on the floor I guess so you know, it's kind of awkward, but I wanted there was some febreze after that session of like, I don't worry about it's all good back yeah, so you gotta be careful of 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, kick the walls you also you saw my ninja kid yesterday, so I gave it the test. I mean, I went in there and try to try to tear something up just to make sure that we're we're in this old house, one for the rafters fall down. What if the roof caves in and I'm trapped and I kill someone in there that's the thing about that it could be a career ending move both financially and physically so that's what I'm 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 started taking cheerleaders over there just because it didn't make sense I'll shoot through the windows and she 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 the glass table then you can take it that far 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 could go five minutes down the road and be back in this downtown area that's what inspired me in minneapolis? I said, hey, you 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 like billboards you see in new york city post no bills that means billboards don't post any of that stuff or don't stick it anything I mean look at the texture look at the color somebody's put thes these posters up and they painted it the top of its 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 someone else had done it for me so it's so easy just to get out and explore so I encourage you maybe this weekend you know, even if so what's 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 it's opened 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 you live in where do you live? What does it look like? And I found myself being kind of judgmental and 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 like sure let's go for it, 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've only photograph to locations at their house and like what? We have worn this place and I'll tell you what want to jump in the car and 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 but no one your area kind of a backup plan of where to go to one thing is really not working out that great, so I started going in people's houses and then people started having animals and I mean 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 asthma nia's forty head of horses at one time and I know that sometimes the 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 feather the light way off like that way and just give it a flash and the horse are probably gonna go do like that right there. So if you turn that right in his face and flash it the very first one, he's he's going to go crazy, so and then slowly start to incorporate a little bit closer a bit closer, a bit closer, a bit closer and this particular animal he didn't groom on the flash. He 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'll put the light over there will 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, though I've got my guy that junkyard waiting to find the one I'm waiting for him to finally won. And when someone brings one in the type that I'm looking for 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 girl's like we have a lot of country type girls in our area you live in the country so they bring their little cowboy boots and all that stuff that's going to be awesome, right? Yeah, they're going with little rabbit trails getting off subject here that's a proper same thing but yes, oh 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 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 here obviously not a photographer because you know nothing about what you're saying here so we photograph you 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, love um and inside there that's where I got the pipes from those things are just sitting there I would never go and buy a piece of pipe that cost me eight hundred dollars to sit in the ground that's crazy, I'm never going to 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 because the seniors like that and when they 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 going to really, really work here. So now I take my location and I start mixing my brides in because oh yeah, the brides they go there too what I did was I would shoot my seif image is at the studio am I brought a portrait images that I that I would do for grandma and mom grandma's not gonna understand this kind of stuff. Grandma is not she's going to like what god is he owned dope or something gotta be grandma's not gonna 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 work pushed the envelope a little bit we're not gonna push it too far, but we're going to get out there and we're not going to photograph on ly right there at the church want to go over the river and through was to grandmother's house we're going to go a long way so this has helped me condition my brides and knowing eh sky's, the limit whatever I say goes, if I get my share, 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 going to 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 upon anything dress and we can lay that on the ground and then put the dress over it you know what I'd do with that sheet and this is honestly how we do it like mom, give me that that out of here and he's no, she'd be 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 be nice about it so I'm like I don't get the white sheets don't get those checklist of what they want and even my seniors coming in you know, I don't really get a lot of feedback from them, you know? I will 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 want but maybe just take like, one suggestion don't open it up like 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, ok, this is going to 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 asked your client, have you had it it's a joke, by the way, do not give immunizations or shots I'm going to record your creative love does not endorse or condone this activity that was just a waking up after launch a little bit um again going back to that this rock quarry, how many people do you know that work in a rock quarry that runaway rock quarry would say, yeah, bring your seniors out here in this 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 when donna said, man, listen, one of the chances you guys like just grabbing, like, one little full 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 them for me work with you don't do that, no problem, so he puts a 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 will not make sure you put him on a great big pile of rocks and let one of those big voters starts a role or something. And again, you know, I'm thinking now, like a thirty five year old, when I first started, I thought, like a sixteen year old seventeen year old, I didn't see the danger in things and it's weird, because my, you know, my grandparent's, I used to think gosh you know what 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 one I'm gonna jump on his back like what could go wrong gosh well now look at him and say you know what? You guys were absolutely 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 is 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 would let me shoot here I will give you a thirty by ninety six 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 look and I'm just trying to trying to do something if you could help me that'd be great um you know 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 you offer that up and for this guy here on the rock quarry just as 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 whippersnapper in here in the studio, let me rattle off a few shots for hook you 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 that 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 prince from it. I gave him the three free ones, but he ended up not 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 in 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 the finished image don't show 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 you can put someone there it's still gonna be a beautiful picture with natural light and a reflector? It will 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, some whenever the guy that owns it he's an attorney and I said, you know, hey, listen, somebody snaps their leg, they're not going to sue you or anything, and I've got no problem he's, a breed proponent of what I'm doing anyway, because I'm cleaning up the streets that's what I tell people say, 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 fear using lighting and your skies white because 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 school goodness gracious 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 says, 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 glasses off 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 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 too now pumped up let's get this thing going on pull in the parking lot and it's like everybody just slit slashed all for my tires so what do you do? You accept it for what it is I knew 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 our three buildings down from the chairs on the back side of an old store and I take it from here I use lighting supposing and turn it into this now 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've got going here I appreciate your church and all that was the moose club yeah, if you if you get a call from the moose club might wanna pass on now 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 a style here used teo 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 could be really carefull without going too far. Same things here I see this as a potential liability. You know this is going to go ahead, but same thing I'm photographing the senior we're definitely going to use that we're going to 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 s so cool photograph on the railroad track I'm not a train, 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 road track I'm going to arrest you so 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 you know what he's like he turned around and I had this image hanging up in the studio as a thirty forty framed print I was like it's basically like over here yes there oh no no no like we're you know we're an established tio we're very safe you know 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 so as a result you know I started thinking what if you have someone on railroad tracks and trains coming was like okay bing bing bing and I hear the train horn coming like alright everybody hop all she gets cold you never know you have to think about the unexpected what if what if their shoe gets waged in there somewhere somehow and they can't get it all fast enough somebody gets hit by train I mean yeah welcome to blair film 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 want to teach her not to be scared, but I want to show her what can go wrong if you don't listen to my guidance not saying that's gonna work, but instead of saying no, I'm not going to go photograph you on the railroad tracks, I said now when your client for a second and say, let me tell you why I'm not going to photograph you on the railroad tracks and tell him 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 on ly a place that is good to have a pancake breakfast I'm just just throwing it out there nothing it's 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'mjust going anywhere, I'm using the leading lines leading towards her a tire shop. Seriously, what? You're never going to use a tyre shop for pictures and a screen door that somebody left out by the dumpster I get my seif image is okay. Listen, I get some seif image is three or four safe images, and then I spice it up by doing something really stupid. So I grabbed the screen door, put up their 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.


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.