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Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 19 of 33

Locations Q&A

 

Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 19 of 33

Locations Q&A

 

Lesson Info

Locations Q&A

I notice you do a lot of color pictures in the really colorful you do Black white CP tone mixed color with black and white. Yeah, Yeah, that is interesting. I think the reason that I have so many on here that are that are color is for me. I'm drawn mawr to the colors, vibrant, vibrant colors. But throughout a normal session, if there's 60 images that we deliver just here for a regular senior session, I would say that probably 10 of them would be in a true black and white. Because the software that we have, we can always go in. As we're showing the client, we can always just hit the black and white button and show them what it would look like in black and white. But if I added a lot of them in black and white, I can't click on a button and showing what looks like a color. I have to go back to the original, work it off and then show them. So I leave a lot of mining color and you know they're gonna is part of my brand. You know, I think I'm more known for the vibrant colors and the textur...

es and eso for me. I kind of prefer more of the color. But for, like, tight head shots and some of the serious moods, I will shoot some black and whites. Just depends on your personal preference. But that is a good question, cause a lot of these are color, and I think it leave them that way to for show purposes. I think they're prettier to look at sometimes whenever they're in color. So great question, Randi. What? We have lots of good stuff. Good segment. All right. First question up is from Charlie, and he asked, How do you get the time to do these shots on a wedding day? Everyone always seems to be in such a hurry to get to the reception. Yeah, it's education, Charlie. That's the biggest thing from day one. When a client calls, they are educated on what it takes. Get these kind of images. So you have to educate your client into knowing that. Hey, you know, before we get to go into four, you know, we'll let you know that what you see here is not easy to get, and it doesn't just happen. This is gonna take a lot of work. It's gonna take a lot of work on your behalf to be able to make this happen. So I start every single mountain, every single one of my weddings. I start 2.5 to 3 hours prior to the ceremony time, and that allows us plenty of timing to go out and do everything that we need to do. So you know, if it means that you have to give them an extra hour of your time to be able to get what you won't, then then go for, you know, Then go for it. And don't be afraid, Teoh. Pull back and say, Man, I really don't want to be there. But for seven hours. But I guess I'm not to give him one more hour. But if you want one more hour is gonna be an extra $250 for me to create what I want to create like no so education is the biggest thing. You have to educate him. You have to educate them and put the fear of the Lord in them. And you say, Listen, this is what I say. I say so help me if you're not ready at three o'clock when I get there, you are. You're gonna be in some serious trouble. Look at him and tell him that and their consultations. Say, if you're not ready, so help me. You just be ready or else I'm just kidding. No, but seriously, be ready because I let him know you're only hurting yourself with may. I'm going to get what I can get. So you're only hurting yourself if you're not ready. So education is the key to everything. Educate and communicate. What else do we have? Okay, this next question is from Marky Mark Photography. I'm wondering if he knows the funky bunch, right. But anyway, he's asking, what do you do for locations like that run down gas station? As far as getting permission to shoot their do, just go guerilla style and shoot without telling anyone. Yeah, I definitely definitely do not recommend that, because again, it looks terrible to your client. If you're there shooting and you'll know you'll know if you're not supposed to be there because you'll see somebody pull up your black hole. This is about to go crazy right here, and they pull on the guy says, Excuse me. What in the world do you think you're doing? I guess my Southern accent. Do you think you're doing, boy? And that doesn't look good. Doesn't look good to your client. Doesn't look good to you because then you like an idiot. So what I do is I went to there. There was a hobby store next to that area is a hobby store. And I went in the hobby store. I said, Sir, who owns this building? And he said his three sisters that live in New Orleans I'm not really worried about three sisters from New Orleans coming up and running me off of a gas station. So with that one I did, I went on, I wind it. I went in its public, basically. I mean, it's right on the main road pulling take my images and I leave if someone would walk up, you know, don't get attitude with them. Say, you know, sir, I'm terribly sorry. I meant no harm whatsoever. I asked, try to go through the appropriate channels and I heard that you were in New Orleans Way would never damage anything. Even when I'm here to be honest with you. I'm doing you a favor, but I pick up some of this trash that people throw out. So turn it into a positive and say, actually clean this place up for you. You know, subconsciously, I didn't even realize it, But I'm doing you a favor. And then if they say, get out of here, then saying no problem, we're along somewhere. I got 38 other places that even cooler than this. Yeah. Never, ever go completely rogue style. At least have some ammo in your belt that those ladies showed up and said, I'm calling the police for trespassing, and I'm gonna say, Well, you know, that's cool. Do you think I'm leaving? Here's one of my cards that they want to come get me because I knew all the police in town, and they all love me. And they don't know you from Adam's hat, man. So they're gonna be on my side. But, you know, if you want to call him my friend got all the numbers on speed dial. If you want him, that's another good thing is get the police in your town when you're Yeah, I got that. Um, there's the second part of that question I was going with, But I cannot remember. Awkward. You get permission to shoot? There are just guerrilla style telling anyone when I said, Have your ammo ready. At least I did go and talk to someone around there and I can put that connection. Yes, sir. I asked. You know, Dean, over here at the hobby shop, he told me that you guys living in New Orleans so at least have a have a little bit of a backup plan to go to. Yeah, absolutely makes sense. All right, so we're gonna continue on the location theme because there's a lot of questions on locations. The next one is from pro photographer and saying in the circumstance, after talking after watching the plumbing shop video, he asked after talking with the property owner, would you also get written permission? You know, that's a good idea. But with him, the time I would get written permission is that there were multiple owners. He's the only owner of the place, so I'm not worried about someone coming up and asking me, you know. Do you have permission to be here on my property? Well, sir, you know Tony Korea. He's the only person that owns this so that there are multiple owners. That's when you wanna have something in writing from someone that is one of the owners. And, you know, make sure that all everybody's on the same page. Make sure that one owner doesn't say yes, and then the other one knows nothing about it. Even it means you don't get access to that location to the ground were put together. But yes, great question. And I feel like that. So that's a really Fallon answer that, like you're just saying, like just that little bit of leg work will save you so much headache in the long run and also establishes again. You're trusted place in your community, people that know you. And then they talk about you more good things can come. And I'll tell you, something else has been good to from those locations is people have started that they started seeing me of these location. And now everywhere I'm at people blow the horn. Blair people know they're like, Hey, man, I saw you have a day out their own 29 yard girl out there on that fire truck and doing that. I would like to see those. So everybody is growing to expect that and they're gonna talk about it and they're going to run with it. So we have another one. How we sure, dio, Do you ever pay to use someone's property? Absolutely not. Now I never do that just because I feel like there's there's enough out there that you can gain access to without paying. You know, I just I don't believe in paying someone to use the property. It would have to be. It would have to come with his own photographer if I did that. Like you know what I pay you. You're gonna take the pictures to write. So personally, I think there's enough out there, not toe have to. But that is a very valid question in a very good point, you know, if you found yourself without a lot of leg leg work time and you don't feel like going out of scouting if you wanted to offer up some money for the perfect location, that was just absolutely perfect. You know, if it's within your cost of goods, then throw it in there, throw it in there okay. It looks like Roger has another question for safety. You're always trying my liability. Yes, you really in a safe and sound a liability release, right? It's all in our model release form. Everything in there has been documented in our workflow that everything is covered. So in the very initial, like when they first come to the studio, we have them sign off. One everything. We haven't paid their session fee. It's all in the modern release form that they sign. So that's why we do that. Very first, we don't wait until afterwards or after the pictures were taken, you know, and we flip that thing ever. And that whole back page is full of all the general liabilities that takes it off of me and kind of puts it on back onto them. So it's very important tohave all that stuff done and have the proper workflow have the proper paperwork because you just never know. Like I said these days, I mean, it's it's a scary world we live in, and you can lose your business in the blink of an eye blink of an eye, one little pick up. Your whole business is going everything you've worked for back just a little bit to the beginning of the segment. But it's art by Anna. And you had kind of a checklist of things that you you wanted to cover and one was a permission slip from parents if the parent didn't go on location and you have them sign a permission slip, Can you talk about that a little bit more? Yeah, The reason I put that in there is that something I did like the very first year I started working with seniors because I said, Well, you know, do I asked if I didn't know what I was doing, So I said, Yeah, that's fine. But then I realized like, Well, I need to have some sort of permission toe, take them to a certain area and this is what was stupid guys. But why reason I put that in there? I'm glad you asked that question. I would actually put a senior in my own vehicle and drive them to a location, and I didn't realize I was like most Harmon, that I'm just saving their gas money. That's probably one of the stupidest thing I could have done. What if I got into an accident and I don't have my LLC set up. I didn't have everything set up so that if something did happen, they could come after me, But they could come after everything that I own. Well, you've got to make sure you have all your stuff set up just right, so that something does happen on Lee. One thing is liable. Not everything that you own. So I would have a like a permission slip that gave gave me permission to drive them much like a school would have for your child to get on the activity bus. But really, the more I started doing, I did it for about two months. I had a conversation with my insurance guy and he literally just about punched in the face. He was like, You're doing what any Grammys like, What are you doing? He said, Don't ever put clients in your own car. And I was like, What? Just seems crazy to have them drive. I want to get separate. It's like I don't care, he said. Think about it. I was like, Oh my gosh, that is so stupid. So there's two things that I do now. Number one. I don't even let a client see what the inside of my truck looks like. I'm like, No, get away. I mean, once you near my truck, so they drive their own car. If we're gonna location, that is a must, an absolute must. And a parent always has to be present the whole time, not drop her off and then come back and pick her up. A parent has to be present the whole entire time. Reason being, you know, for me. What if I get a girl from from a high school that just has, you know, everything is not clicking all the way. She's kind of one of the weird girls. And she gets this obsession that she's, you know, something's weird and she says, Well, Blair, you know, he he came in the dressing room when I was changing clothes, and I didn't want to tell you about that, mom, but it was It was kind of weird. And then her mom's like it. He did what? Of course I would never do that. So I make sure Mom's there. I never going to dress in room. I never crossed the threshold. You've got to think about it. So Mom or Dad or grandma or guardian has to be present basically right by her side the whole entire time. So great question. And I feel like I was a really legitimate answer as well. Ready? Yeah. Let's jump back in. And I want to share one more little story, and then we'll move on. We'll move away from some of those wedding stuff trying to kind of co mingle it a little bit. In case there were some of you out there on others. A lot of people you shoot seniors and wedding. So trying to coming with just a little bit of the two. All right, let's take this wedding, for instance. Great location. This is going to a rocking wedding here. We're in a photograph. Every image out in the parking lot. This is gonna be awesome. No, this is where my senior mind kicks in. I'm like, All right. It's a senior in a prom dress senior and a prom dress. And she's got all her friends and a prom dress. This is not a wedding. This is not a wedding. This is not a wedding. We go into the town, I say, Hey, man, listen, I got a bunch of hot girls out here. He'll come remove this Rennes Inter van so I can use this area. You can check him out in this old guy like, uh, okay. And he comes out, moves the rent a center van, and I use his area for wedding pictures. Same thing here is I'm looking for texture and color, but when I was saying texture and color, but here I'm probably only gonna do one or two poses because there's not a lot to pose with that There was a bench or a table or something there. I would use it more, but I'm able to use it May be to work now. This? Oh, yeah. This was back when I was a rogue photographer. Like the first year I started, and I realized this thing, it was the door was shut and I could not get it open to save my life. And the reason for that because they didn't want people in their These business owners knew that this place was a liability. The roof could have caved in because look at all the water inside. But I realized that if I got there not kicked it really, really hard, I could get the door open, which is what I did. I kicked the door hard. We went in and I made it work. Now I have learned from my mistakes, which is why I'm showing you guys this stuff. I've learned not to be that rogue photographer any more, and you'll be amazed at how many people you see in your town that do that. They're shooting in areas and you're like, My gosh, what do you doing? And I never thought about it. I never thought about it. I just saw location there. I was there. I was on it, loved it, took the guys in there. And I go back by this location now, and it's It's terrible because it's for sale. But in the middle, you look back inside now and the whole roof has caved in, and I mean, you can't even go in there. No one wants to buy it because it's terrible. So it's been for sale for like 15 years, and even little things you confined like that's a pallet over there. That was a palette that I raised up. I brought my own chair that day because I knew I would use it. Uh, old ladder, I grab the ladder, throw it up. It's something opposed with oppose them with it. Then I put them, own it, make it your own. And I know from experience being in this area. Oh, guys like we're gonna go right around the corner here, too. I think there's, Ah, there's a cool garage door over here that we're gonna use. But I know from experience. By going there, I start to know where things are. So if I get over on the east side of town, I say I get my back up plan is the north east side of town. There's this little district right in here in the south side of town. All right, cool. The southwest part of this town. There's a cool little area right in here, and I can make it work. You're walking about people will work for you. I want by this whole tire shop. And I said, man, look at this blue door. This could work and running their own like Hey, how are you, sir? I'm blaring. I'm shooting a wedding today or I'm photographing a high school senior today and a quick question for you, man, What are their chances? I know it's probably aggravated. What are the chances if I helped, you could just help you pick this thing up. And I just pull this door to for, like, five seconds to get a really, really awesome image. And these people here, they're going to remember you each and every one of them, because I point out the name of your business. And any time you have a flat tire, they're coming right here to General Tire. I can promise you make fun with it. You know, the guys like, Look, I don't have time for that and say OK, no problem. Sorry to bother you, but not out of 10 times in my All right, Let's do it. I'll help you close the door, you make it happen. And then from there Hey, there's a perfected street here. Let's go use the street. Why not? So don't get so complacent in Well, I don't have that. I don't have all those cool sets that you do like you got the Dream studio who couldn't create pretty images there. Don't do that that's being negative, you know, and take all that negative energy that we all have, because we all have it. In the next two hours, we're all gonna be negative about something. Could be something we're gonna negative about. You know, my foot hurts. My head hurts. I'm tired. Nobody want to hear all that. Keep that to yourself. You know, make this a positive world. And the opportunities that aren't there, tournament opportunities make stuff happen. It's you and me against the world. And that that's pretty much it. That's how everything is gonna work from here on after. I feel I feel terrible for my daughter because it is her against the world. Can you imagine what this place is gonna be like in years from now? That's what I'm trying to talk her. I'm gonna tell her light. Look on a picture. Photography is bad. You don't want to be a photographer. Okay? I'm kidding. Should be whatever she wants to be, but yeah, it's it's not not an easy world out there, So why don't we go back to the Internet and see if you have a few more questions there? We love the questions. There are quite a few people that would love clarification on insurance. A lot of people are just starting out. They don't have all the paperwork in order. Or perhaps they don't have all the money to do an LLC or incorporate. So what are the best first steps to get basic insurance? Where do they go in? The best thing to do is you have to find an insurance agent that can explain things to you in a way that you can understand them And not a lot of insurance agents. They want to impress you and they get into talking about the lingo. You know, you gotta have this. There's a and you've done it. I know you have. And I've done it too. Just like rainy. You could tell me a story like, Do you know that place I'm talking about this over and and after a while, if you keep trying to explain it, I'm just gonna say Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Over the But yeah, yeah, I don't a bit more know what you're talking about A man on the moon but I'm just gonna agree with you and that's what we do. Women going on insurance office as they start throwing out All this lingo were like, Oh, OK, OK, OK, I got you. We have no clue. So if it means shopping around several different insurance agents before you can understand them, then that's what you do. And then a blanket policy. He'd be amazed at this. A $2 million blanket policy is probably. I want to think that I spent about $800 a year for a $2 million blanket policy and that and that's probably don't even on the high side. If I had to guess, I don't know. But I think it's around $800 a year now. That's not my business insurance. That's a a blanket policy for when I'm away from the away. But your accountant, you want to make sure that you are saving the most money you can own. If you have employees through payroll taxes, why do you need to be set up? Is an s corporation what you need to be set up as an LLC limited liability corporation? Your set up is an LLC. Then that means that person is Onley limited to this one particular business. I don't have everything under one blanket so that if someone sued the pants off of me that they could get my business, my house and my daughter, you know, like that's not gonna happen. So do your proper homework and go and talk with everybody you can and, you know, reach out to those photographers in your area that may have been doing it for a long time. And if they won't befriend you than you, don't worry about it. But if they wield and say, Look, man, I need some help. I need some guidance here. I'm not trying to hurt you. I'm trying to make photography a better thing here, and most of the time, they're probably going to say, Yeah, I'm sure you are, buddy, but we'll see you later, and I never want to be that guy. So anybody that approaches may give off when I want to give what's another one, just to let you know, people are really liking your philosophy in life. Like what you're saying, Even saying Blair for president probably wouldn't be here right now. We're not gonna be Oh, all right, let's go back to all the actual questions here. Let's see. Do so People were wondering. OK, so you're in a small town. They're using a lot of these locations on your own. And, you know, there might not be another photographer doing exactly what you're doing in that town. But people who live in larger cities that have a lot more competition where, you know, they're doing very similar style of photography. Do you have any agreement when you find that really perfect location and you talk to that plumber and start a really great report and business relationship with them? Do you ever have, like, a kind of like an agreement? Hey, like, don't give this to anyone else, please. Can this be my little secret? Do you her? Can you do that? I'll tell you how I do it. And it's through your being genuine and is through your personality and what I did. Prime example. This guy, the plumbing shop is a really wiry guy. I mean, he's wide open, just like I am. And I figured out a way, like I said before, to feed his ego to make him feel like someone is paying him attention like, yeah, I am I am somebody around here and this is a true story. I told him. I said, You know, man, I love this area. I said, you have just done such an amazing job with accumulating all this crap. You know, great job, man. Parent would be real proud. And I said, Man, if there's anyway, you know that maybe you would never let anybody else come in and do this said I'm not trying to be crazy, But, you know, this is a dog eat dog world. You know me, what I've expressed to you, no one is gonna take care of your crap the way I will. Like, I'm gonna treat this crap like it's my own crap, you know? I'm saying, right. I said, other people are gonna come in and they're probably gonna rearrange everything and move soft and breaks off. I said so. You know, just between you myself on the fence post, you know, Is it cool? Like if I'm the only one here? He said, you know. What do you mean? Part of the air was fenced in, but he had a big field full of old fire trucks, and I said, Well, there's some other people said when they start seeing these images, they're gonna be over here messing with this stuff. And he said, Oh, don't worry about I'll take care, buddy, True story. This man shows up in my studio one day walks and red in the face. You see Blair breathing hard and he's like, Yeah, just ran this big girl off over here and he has no feel turn. I'm like, Oh, don't you know, easy. He's like, Yeah, they're taking pictures with the fire trucks Just like he said And he said, Don't worry about it They pulled out his phone and he went and got no trespassing sign and wrote on the bottom. Except Blair Phillips photography. I swear to you guys drove him in the ground and when you really But I was so obnoxious. I mean, you write about it was just like all in the ground, and I felt so terrible. But a backstory of that it is going to be harder in a metropolitan area, you know, like here in Seattle. If I walk out of here, there's a beautiful park right down here with a lot of very nice homeless people that are recognized yesterday. I didn't recognize him, but it's a lot of people there and I can't own that area, You know, I can't say, Hey, you have a camera in your pocketbook. I think I just tell you, with a camera you need you need to get to step. All right, You can't do That's a public place. So what you have to do there, you have to pour on your customer service. You have to pour, own the lighting. You have to elevate your posing at the elevate your work. You're gonna have to do it bigger and better than the person that's alongside you is going to do, you know, And they're gonna be watching you. When you roll out your lighting on your light card, they're gonna be watching them like and then when you're not like me trying to take pictures of you seeing what you're doing, and before you know it, you know they're gonna be nipping at your heels. Want to do what you're doing. But I'm telling you, it feels good to try to be the top dog. I'm not the top dog. I don't wanna be the top dog, but I want to try to be the top dog. I'll never get all the way to the top. I'll get really closed and then somebody kick me in the forehead because it's so large, as I mentioned yesterday, and I will get kicked back to the bottom. But then I'll keep out. Climb right back up and I'll keep going. And along the way I'll pick up some things that I overlooked along the way. So the moral of that is, if you are in a large area, there's no way to completely overcome that. But the only way to completely overcome it is just don't fall victim to it. Don't be a hater. Don't talk bad about people trying to use your own area. You're not the first person to ever photographed there. I can promise you, you know, you're not the first person. What else we got got one more. I just like the way you network with your community. We're making friends so down to earth, that get out there and make friends if anything ever goes down in my town Oh, I'm covered. Trust me. I got I got home is everywhere. Everywhere. All right. All right. How about the next question from a ninja Flasher asking, How much time do you actually allocate for like, one photo session on location? That's a very good question. To an average senior is two hours, two hours. And, you know, if it's more than that, then I'm losing money because, you know, kind of calculated. Okay, every hour that I'm open and my studio is costing me X amount of dollars because I have to factor in the overhead factor in payroll taxes, unemployment, taxes at the pay, you know, insurance, everything and all that stuff. You look at what you're making or you look at the total sale and you have to subtract all those things out of it. And then when you're done, if you have anything left over than that, your profits So two hours is what I allocate, and that allows me plenty of time just to chill out and not have to rush and hurry and hurry to get done. Because I got to get to my next one and it keeps him on a schedule, and I let them know, Hey, listen, we got two hours, so if you want a dilly dally around and mess around for 30 40 minutes. It's just gonna burn. You have 30 or 40 minutes of your shooting time. Um, you know, I don't see any need to go any more than two hours personally, because I can get a wide variety in two hours. I mean, and that's even traveling to some other locations. So when I'm traveling those locations, try and pick a location that may have four or five opportunities within one space. Don't drive 35 minutes across town to get to this old born that's torn. It's about to fall down, and you love this one shot right in the middle of this born. You know, find a barn has got 45 different opportunities around it and then find a an area that same one that has opportunities next door to it. Use your use your head a little wisely and be very efficient. But two hours you're shooting more than that, unless you're really charging some crazy money. You're wasting time, in my opinion, in my opinion,

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!

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