Unconventional Marketing


Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info

Unconventional Marketing

When we roll into unconventional marketing because there are obviously conventional marketing that we can do, obviously we all know that your basic avenues of marketing where we go get this printed, we try this because we know this has been done and we know that it gives some sort of success. Well, with me, a marketing budget is something that was not always there, and I hear from a lot of people and they say, well, maybe you take fifteen percent of your overall sales and that's what your marketing budget would be, and for may I say, if I took fifteen percent of my sales and put it in the marketing, my lights would be turned off so that's, how it once for me, you know, and I do better now, obviously, but I know how it is to not have that money to market with, but I think that you can market a lot smarter and a lot harder and not really have to spend a ton of money, right? And as we all know there's, a lot of people when they first get started, you know that we're not we don't have a we...

bsite quite yet, you know, there's, nothing wrong with that, you don't have to have a website to get started in photography sometimes it's not necessarily a bad idea to start without a web site it's unconventional you start without a web site and you see how things go and you figure out your brand and you figure out how to brand yourself how do I want to be? Where do I want to fit in? And then you get a website so just because you don't have a website it is unconventional but just like with all the marketing to share unconventional sometimes gonna be the best way to go why follow the same path that everyone else has followed? Jump off the beaten path, make your own path you know? So what a lot of people are doing now and some of this is a little redundant, but I'm gonna show you how I'm using something an avenue to the fullest extent of his advantage and I'm making it work for me and we're not going to talk about anything derogatory and I'm simply talking about facebook so don't get your feathers ruffled here just about facebook these are some of the things I'm using and this is a form of marketing. Facebook is a free avenue for me to get my work in front of people and I'm using my vantage things you can do encourage your clients to check in when they come in and you can't just say hey check in when you come in they're not going to go through the effort of doing that you have to give people something in order to receive something these days again, it's our society it's sad but it's true we have to give in order to receive so the checking and lets everyone know where they are so it shows up on their feet hey just checked in blair phillips photography and then they can click right on that and it takes them to my page they can start exploring well, what's my friend doing there what? What is she giving? Because I don't want the same thing she's getting I want to be different, but secretly I want the same thing she's getting because I want to be just like her, ramona said yesterday. Everyone wants something different yet we all want the same thing now offer deals for multiple check ins in our studio we have a little son in the dressing room it's a print eight by ten with an easel back that we get from h and h color lab and it's, a nicely designed piece with an image and it says if you check in three times, receive a free eight by ten for your session they're gonna be there three times anyways they're going to be there whenever they check in for their their session they're going to be there for this are for the order appointment and then they're going to come back to pick up the order so expressed some hey, look, you're gonna be here anyways, if you just use your phone, give me your phone. Don't be afraid to take their phone and do it for him. Mom's a lot of times they don't know how to use that stuff. They have a facebook on ly because they want to be nosy and check on their daughter or their son grab their phones, they look, mom, you don't even know what you're doing. Give me that thing. Let me check in about fourteen times for you. We need to figure out how to set on auto repeat, then just have him check in and black films the tiger for every day, like it's, their job, you know? So, you know, figure out clever ways to use facebook to your advantage don't just posten image and say here's, my latest work figure out different ways, tiu, you know, different avenues of it. That is simply just one of the easiest ways that we've found. It doesn't cost you a lot of money. It doesn't cost you any money whatsoever to do that, and there you have it now they're also all types of different social media aps there are apse that you can download and by that can help you pimp out your facebook page and make it look a lot nicer than it already is. So if there's something that you're looking to do, like if you don't have the website yet and you say, well, I'd really like to get to that point, but you know, I just don't I don't know where to go right now. I've got something in here later, I'll show sharing with you where to go, but use your facebook to your vantage, make your facebook look better than everyone else's, facebook so just food for thought now, as we know, I am really, really big on creating partnerships and I'm really big on giving back to the community and I'm really good with the community given back to me so every where I go everywhere I go, I have my ipad with me now I also have my phone, but I found that the ipad is more impressive when you're showing images it's bigger it's, you know, just allows for a better screen so it's very common for me to go into a business and when I walk in, I'm like, okay, this is somewhere that, uh, need to market with a prime example I went teo, I forgot even where I was, I think, was in a restaurant and this lady comes up to me and it was very awkward because she wanted to hand me some business cards I was like okay I'm trying to eat lunch it's kind of rude number one but she said hey really quick I just want to give you something next time you want to get your hair cut you know which is pretty soon because you look like a goat by now she said here give me a call she said I'll do you first one for free just come check us out that's all along I was like okay well I went home and that night was put all this stuff out like you know that sounds like something I would've done that sounds like somebody that knows their target market that has those in their pocket when they see someone that might be their target clients they're going to go after it sounds like I was pretty impressed by that because it takes you know, some nerve to walk up to a complete stranger in a restaurant and just say you know hey real quick I just want to give you now I'm not recommending that us photographers do that I'm not saying that that's the way that we market but she marketed that way for her business that was her business and as a result when I needed my haircut I said you know what I think one of the same girl for a while but you know what why don't I give this girl a chance she went out on limb called her up yeah come on in she says a matter of fact bring your wife with you I'll do her here you know complimentary as well I walked in there getting my hair you know she says come on in we'll wash your hair and I'm like I just washed it this morning on us way do that here were upscale salon on like whatever I'm sitting down you know and I start talking as if my head's in the bowl s so what do I know what she's like like lady telling a wrong one ish like I don't know how to be quiet on she says you know do you care for lavender or rosemary and I'm like now look if you bring in some kind of a dancer out here while I'm getting my hair cut now I'm not interested in that so she wraps this hot towel around my news and she starts massaging my scalp and I'm like oh this is all right here is like I'm glad I came here and you know when she was done she's like okay you can get up now and I'm over there like like where you could get up it was the most amazing experience I had getting my hair cut and I said you know what before I leave huh I'm gonna give it back to them on a sunday denise before I leave I will run back one out of the truck right quite right back. Okay, I said who owns this joint anyway? And she said I gave and marissa here you know, I was like, can you grab gave and marisa's another may sound crazy kind of like when you came to me and said, I know this sounds kind of crazy grab gave him marissa I'll be right back just like okay, she grabs gave him versa I'll come back and when the ipad and I said listen, I'll tell you right now is blown away with service I got here because is exact same replica of the type of service that I offer in my studio and I said, I want to just take a look at some of these images scrolling through him like, oh my gosh, do such great work if I would've told him yeah, I didn't really nice work like yeah, but you do that's cool, good for you but by showing them I said, hey, what if what if I could get get just a small little table put in here and I could just throw some albums out because our brand reflects one another I could send people your way if you have the occasional client could send my way, I would greatly appreciate it well, they were dumb enough to say yes so I had some albums printed sent him out there and now I get a ton of business from them tom business people sit in their lobby, they have those old outdated magazines but then write the silent too they have pictures people are nosy, they want to look at people so they flip through him every single page my name is on the bottom there's business cards out everything is there so I'm putting my work in front of people without spending a lot of money no, yeah, I did have to buy the albums, but I call it h and each color lab when they were having a special a sale on albums and I racked up I'd put a little bit of money aside and I said when that sale comes to snatch up about three four albums, throw him out there so that is one small little idea of marketing that I'm going to give you throughout this next hour and actually think we're gonna make this segment a good bit longer. I think we got about four hours on this when you guys good with that you're like no, not this late in the day but eso a hair salon never be afraid to market to someone I would walk in the bread store and figure out a way to get my work hanging in the bread store people are going to be in there not everybody's going to be your client but someone that comes in well I'll give you another great example of how we're using remember I told you use a marketing piece but use it in a way that it's not not supposed to be used take this image here this is a marketing piece from a change color lab this is basic like an announcement or card that you would get but we're using it in a very unconventional way away that you're probably not supposed to be using it we basically punched those little holes in there with the hole punch and we lace it up so it looks kind of like a corset and on the inside of that is a high school senior just kidding I school senior I was going to go with that for a few minutes and see how long it took. Now this is ah mature uh you know, mature lady but what this is we give these two a plastic surgeon again this is unconventional marketing you open it up down on the bottom is his logo and we make this appear as though it is coming from the plastic surgeon but actually we give it to the plastic surgeon to give to you them so it almost looks like he went to blair film's photography and bought you a session and had it all wrapped up so that when you get your work done on and you feel really, really good about yourself your augmentations done what better way to say thank you then here go get a professional photo shoot done. I'm gonna take care of the session fee for you I am giving a session away for free but it's coming from a qualified client a client that's going to go to a plastic surgeon have worked on they obviously, you know, they care about their appearance and they're not afraid to spend a little bit of money so that's my target market now look, same thing goes with high school seniors. I could use this in a very similar way and I'll show you how we do that in just a few minutes now. Randy shared with me something quite interesting earlier while we were on a break that or ian has thie is the third largest parade. Portland portland has the third largest parade. I guess in the country, right? Yeah, well, I don't know about where you guys are, but where I am and small town parades are people really looked forward to the parade. We have a christmas parade, thanksgiving day parade our christmas parades are the biggest around around the holidays christmas whatever you celebrate on dh, we go to the holiday parade and we do it in an unconventional way do does my brand strike you as the kind that is going to sit atop the back of a sixty five mustang and rolled through town waving it people probably not that's just not me so I would rather just not do it so I could miss out on the opportunity and must feel say well, okay a parade you're gonna goto a holiday parade toe advertise photography that makes no sense at all but yeah, I'm going to use every avenue I can think of that doesn't cost me a lot of money I'll give you a breakdown here holiday parade the entry fee I want thing the entry fee was one hundred fifty dollars okay that's you know that's not just something you can throw away I mean, these days that's half a tank of gas and the and that's um I'm supposed to be a joke but you guys are supposed to laugh at but I let's rewind that these days is a half a tank of gas. Alright beer all day one hundred fifty dollars for your entry fee on what I did was I went out made partners and I was riding by this place when they have always been enthused with big trucks as you saw in the slides before I bought the big rig and there was a guy here mr gibson he's very meticulous a ride by on all of his trucks are always lined up just perfectly in the evening and someone's out there detail in um I mean, these things look amazing in his personal shrug that's a nineteen I think it's a ninety two model with, like three million miles and it looks brand new I mean, he keeps this thing spot on perfect so wheel in there one day and first thing he says man, I like you trust money got a big truck yeah, I'm a little guy I guess they got that little guy big truck syndrome so what of it? I'd love to hear that diesel engine purr yeah that's right and it's so funny have you ever found yourself doing this? If you speak to someone from a different nationality or you speak to someone like myself that has a southern accent you automatically kind of become that person so like if I'm talking to someone this from ireland before in ten or fifteen minutes I'm speaking like I have an irish accent and they're like, okay, what are you doing? You're you're not making any sense here either that or I feel like they can't understand me I speak louder so if I speak louder than suddenly they will understand me which is totally wrong as well mr gibson was a very, very country fellow very country fellow he basically with light one cigarette after the other they had a very raspy voice like mine because of you know me not feeling well but I have to match his personality when I get out of the truck I can't get out of truck and approach mr gibson and say hello mr gibson on blair phillips blair felicitas griffey nice to meet you, sir no I feel is a like well yeah but if that's what she wanted to you come on down has found me I have to approach feel and I have to get into character and I have to you know, say hey feel I was going everybody instead of hello feel how are you, sir now if I'm greeting someone here a creative lives one of the executives that I would not come to say hey everybody you know no but I know it again in the character when it's appropriate hello sir, how are you? Nice to meet you so I can wear many hats now pulling his business I get out hey, everybody, how are you? And we start just kind of, you know, talking for a little while, you know we're breaking through barriers I'm asking about his trucks, let him know I'm interested in what he does I'm complimenting his truck's asking about his business things like that before you know it I said, well, man this is this is going to be a really odd question but have you ever thought of driving one of your truck just through the holiday parade I said do you know how many people goto a holiday parade that are looking for a long distance truck driver? Have you ever thought about that everyone there needs a long distance truck driver not really but it was a joke you know you got I'm killing the jokes today, buddy but you know he was like, well, nobody I've never really thought about that and I said, well, you know it's just good advertisement it's always good to be out in your community let people know you're there you may have that one guy that owns a large corporation and he's really mad with his current trucking company and he sees the robot he said write that name down I'm going to call him and next thing you know, you could have a three million dollars in business next year so why don't we do this field? I didn't ask him will feel what were you charged to do this? I said feel look this is what I can do for you, buddy let me throw a couple gallons of gas in this old thing here and we borrow one of your flatbed trailers well deck this thing out why don't we roll through the holiday parade and we just make a statement like I'm listening I'm listening I'm gonna show you how blair phillips retired p does the holiday parade this was the very first one I did don't pay attention to the graphics I didn't film the video the newscasters it's live television so I'm getting press and pay attention to the to the newscasters they don't even know what to say so when you watch this don't judge but just pay attention see if my brand reflects this video partner with the d j I'll talk about that in a minute to terrible font by the way never used that before it gets too loud in here this is blair phillips photography they actually have a deejay on their plate they're located in downtown planned this way three thousand eight you okay being scared? I fall off the back of that jamie's right there on the back of that truck I would be holding on for dear life especially if you were trying to do any dancing or anything they put you in the party mood that's a happy sound is everybody even those two drunk women on the bat on the newscasters they didn't know what to say the best they could come up with was they don't even know they know who they don't know who I am but they said, well they put you in a party mood that's for sure that's a happy sound so are connected with the even them that had their hot toddies going on. I connected with those ladies and everybody was so cool to see, you know, we have the older people there that were sitting in their chairs covered up, and then we had people that were just sitting there to catch candy like that's what everybody does candy out and nothing says visit my business like a cold, hard tootsie pop, right? So it's funny, you could see a wave to start all of a sudden we're coming this way down the street and you see these people in here and I'll stand up for a minute and then by the time we get down there like, oh, yeah, that's what I'm talking about, yeah, and they're dancing like even the older folks we get him up out of their chairs and they're dancing like you're all right. Now we're going to get occasionally those couple, they're like, I cannot believe that, but they're not my target. Fine. For the most part, people love it, so I partnered with the deejay and I said, listen, we need to pump some music in this town. I've got a great avenue for you, you get on the bag place in music, we're off to the races now this is a staple people have grown to expect me to do something similar that we change it up every year the theme but we always have music some of the parade there at night we have lights going and it's my brand is reflective too I am now moving on if you're going to do any type of a show like where you go to aa women show or a holiday show a pram show any time so show a state fair a county fair one I know what you don't put photography in a county fair well I do and I do a theme I do something that's really over the top so that when those twelve thousand people come to that county fair and they get their corn dogs and whatever else don't not do something and punish the people that can't afford you just because it's in an area where most people you feel like I won't visit you don't put it out there because there will be people that well like it so don't just assume that everyone like now that's not my target market there's gonna be people in there that will be your target market I go to the county fair is an average citizen you know it's not county fair doesn't mean you know you have to ride there on a bicycle or a skateboard I mean there's very well to do people that go to a county fair but look at this image here, all right, left side image then there is that there are three twenty seven inch I max there's a couch from the studio there's my doors I got black carpet and this image on the bottom, right? Because they're thirty about fortis print on foam core that our pearl finish now why on earth what I go through all that? Why would I get to booth when everybody else is just going to get one and used the standard table with the table skirt like everybody? Well, why would I want to go through all this effort at a prom show? Well, because there's thirteen other photographers, they're advertising their business and they all have the same set up. They have a ten by ten with a little black curtain, a little black skirted table and they're standing there with their business cards out and a couple of little alba ls and maybe a bowl of breath mints and we've taught our kids all our lives and not take take candy from strangers, so they're not going to come up. If I'm going to be there, you best believe I'm gonna bring everything I can what we did in this event as we set the buy max and we had people sign into their own facebook account send us a friend request and the log out of the account so almost every one of those girls and guys that were there, they were there now they liked our business page and we've got him on our business paid we communicate with them was that a lot of extra effort? Absolutely. Did I have the same feeling going into this that I had seven years ago when I went on my first bridal show? Absolutely not. I was that guy that sat there at the table that they gave me I was like, if I ever come to this again, I'm gonna have something way better than this. I went back to the drawing board and I said, you know what? So what it's gonna take me two extra hours to set this up? I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it now this next one I'm in the process of working on I've actually been trying to work on it for about two years now it's going to come to fruition this winter because I'm going to make this happen we'll see the need for especially getting into the high school sports contracts that dance studios, the pre schools, all those things I'm doing to diversify myself, I'm telling you this is going to be super popular check this out now follow me here this is one of those that it does cost a little money, you know it's not something that just you know, you want to run right out and do that's. Why? I've been saving for this for a couple of years now, but everyone is seeing those old airstream trailers, right? Everybody's seen those things are like a big potato on wheels. All right, well, I had the idea. I saw makeup company at a show one time and now it was not going on makeup show. All right? It was a bridal show, but they had instead of having their booth, they had one of these things that was completely tricked out on the inside. And I said, wait a minute, I can find themselves on craigslist for, like, two and three thousand bugs and I'm just going and gut the whole inside out. I could do all the work myself. I don't have a mobile marketing trailer. So when I call my high school's teo to try and gain their sports contract or these dance studios do you know how hard it is to get a dance studio owner to leave her studio and come to you like it's? Just not gonna happen. It's not gonna happen, but I can call him. Hey, listen, I'm gonna have my mobile marketing set up, my mobile marketing trailer is going to be in your area on wednesday. And I want to know what the chances if I could just get grab ten minutes every time if you're not one hundred percent happy with what you're getting now photography speaking and they say ab so lute ly swing in you got air conditioning running you go in and get him you bring him out you've got a bar not that kind of bar but a bar where you have all your work out I've got prints hanging up I've got a television we have a couch have furniture this bolted to the floor and I've got a mobile marketing trailer again this is extreme I get it but I'm going from one extreme to the other and just showing you some unconventional marketing ideas this is gonna happen for me now tailgating for high school football games in my area is not popular which is even more the reason that I am going to start tailgating when I get my airstream trailer I'm going to the first one I'll probably set it up around two o'clock I well that bad boy in and park it right up front drop the trailer go backto work well about six o'clock before everybody starts showing up I'm there turn the generator on fire up the lights, I got television's going, I've got music going families can come into the trailer see my work see what's going on and now I'm going to be I'm going to create a tailgating scenario I'm gonna put chairs out in front will throw the awning out I'm gonna have my high school my little rock stars are going to want to come and hang out with us they're going to market is just going to create a hangout I'm not looking to advertise my business and hand out business cards I'm putting my name in the community I'm creating a safe environment for people to come and hang out and it's out in public so there's not a lot of liability there their parents were there and I think it's gonna work out great I think it's gonna work great so all kinds of school functions and now when I go to that prom show instead of getting there like four hours early and setting everything up, I'm going to be able to just back that rig right up in there, drop it down and leave and then everybody instead of going in those ten by ten they're going to want to come right outside as you enter and they're going there and we really intrigued with what I've got going on I even thought about getting the whole thing wrapped in like a final graphic and I don't know I got to check to see how much that's gonna calls I made it up just painting the thing myself I got a spray. I got a commercial sprayer, man, I'll get there one sunday and spray it, spray it and every car that's around it, too.

Class Description

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

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

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


a Creativelive Student

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


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