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Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 1 of 33

Where I Came From

 

Senior Photography: Break the Mold

Lesson 1 of 33

Where I Came From

 

Lesson Info

Where I Came From

This has been a long time in the making. And when I first got the phone call that said, Hey, you ever have creativelive? Yeah. Who hasn't? And so what? You know, we like for you to join us for creativelive. I said, Oh, my gosh. Freedom. And I'm gonna have to sit down for just a minute. You sure you have the right number? But I got really nervous in the beginning, but now totally cool. I'm good. I got in yesterday. They took great care of us. Um and I'm here ready to do my thing. And I think what makes this not quite so nerve racking is this is what I do. This is who I am. This is what I do. I've been doing it for nine years, and I look forward to going to work every day and being put in compromising situations and compromising positions and happen to figure out a way to create something that is sellable. And that's what a lot of you guys have to do is well, we go out and everything is not perfect. Every day. At least not in my world. It could be in yours, but it's not a perfect world. ...

So I go out and I figure out a way I basically dig the biggest hole that I confined and I'll get into it and then I have to work my way out of it. And that's really how my life has been up to this point. And that's why I'm so excited to be here because I figure out ways to make things work and probably in ways that probably shouldn't be able to do him. But I kind of have, ah, like a little cheat system that I use. And I say all right, if I have to do this first of all, what is the most efficient and the most easy way that I can do it? Because I'm a one man band. I'm not really a good musician, but I'm a one man band. So how do I How am I gonna make this work? So I appreciate you guys and the online audience. We have a tremendous amount of material to cover in three days, so your head is literally gonna be spinning after three days, but in a good way. So I want you to prepare a large notebook and because your mind is not gonna be able to grasp everything. There's no way. So the end of this your hair is probably gonna look very similar to mine. Unfortunately, there's no help for you. Yours too late. We're too late for that. Too late for that. So with that being said again, I want to thank creativelive for allowing me to be here and share what I do because I'm probably not supposed to be here. And some of it will make sense in just a little while. On also would love to think of h and H Color Lab. There's no way I would be in the position I am now without my family there at age in each color lab to take care of our printing. And there's they've helped me grow my business just like a family member, So I would definitely not be there with them without them. And thanks to my family, uh, my little girl will get into that in a little while. She is a big reason im here. Years ago, I would have probably been too nervous and said, Uh, yeah, I'll call you back on that creativelive thing and but I want to be someone that my family is proud off. And I want to be someone that you guys are proud of as well. So I'm looking so forward to it. A lot of times I get to going down this little rabbit trail and start toe running my mouth too much. If you ever see that feel free, just give the little rodeo sign and say, Hey, wrap it up, buddy. Let's let's move on here. Not here to hear your life story, but again, thanks to everybody. So I think with that being said, this is a senior photography program. So I want to set the tone a little bit, and I won't let everyone know that just because this is senior specific everything I'm gonna teach you today can apply to every realm of photography. And you'll see in a little while do a little bit of everything, just enough to be very dangerous at a lot of stuff. So just because this is senior photography is still relative toe every room of photography. This course is really truly designed for everyone. And when I say that, I really mean it. If you're just starting out I don't feel like there's no there's no question that is dumb or ignorant or I can't believe that she asked that, or he asked that there's none of that. We're gonna break down all those barriers here, and we're all on the same page. Everyone here is in the same boat, same page, so no one is superior. I'm not superior to anyone. You're not superior. We're all just like friends hanging out, and that's what Creativelive is about. They put together an awesome atmosphere to allow everyone to open up and ask questions and just feel like you're part of everything. And that's why there was no hesitation when I got the call to come to create a block of said, Wow, I can actually be myself there. And I don't have to put on this persona to be someone that I am not and be. Let me wear my tie because that's how I am from the South way. Do things a little differently there, so I will apologize of my accent is a little Southern, but you know, I can't help that just out is. But anyways, no question is dumb. We're gonna break it down so that even if you're just starting, I'm gonna break it down in a way that you can understand it. And then if you're that photographer, that's that's been photographing for quite some time and you just feel like you're struggling and you're saying me and I just I just don't feel like I could ever get to that point. And trust me if you just pay attention to what I'm gonna teach you, put together even small points, small points along the way. It's gonna make a well, a wealth of difference in your business. And this isn't just about photography. I want uplift you as a person. I want to make you a better person. I want to make myself a better person. So with that being said, I notice, I'm saying with that being said a lot, have you guys noticed that? So with that being said so with that being said, I say so a lot of times as well. But with that being said Micheli, a little video and this is just kind of ah good mix of what I photograph kind of let you know, a little bit of my background what All I work on. And what validates me as a senior photography, a working photographer? I don't just shoot one or two sessions a week and then go teach or something. So let's check this out. See what this is all about Here. Way. What's really I say? Okay. Oh, really? You're all right. Good deal. So, you guys, can I feel like I just aged about five years from watching that because of my man do a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff And one of the most aggravating things being in a seat where you guys are is okay. I'm gonna see every three days and really just look at a bunch of slide shows of some of the work this guy's done. Just got really gonna bring it. So we're really gonna bring it. I'm gonna bring it pretty hard core here. So everyone in this audience has a past. Everyone has a future. You can't necessarily control where you came from, But you can most certainly control where you go. Correct? You would agree with me on that. So let's take a look in this guy here. Let's talk about the good, the bad and obviously really ugly. I was not that beautiful of a kid, unfortunately, and things have pretty much been downhill ever since then. But But it's not about where you come from, and it's not about the past. It's not about the opportunities you've been given or the opportunities that you didn't have that your neighbor had. I had very little opportunity growing up on. I used to be really a really afraid to tell people my true self and where I really came from. You know what? It's me. This is really This is Creativelive. This is what this is about. So I need to open up to you guys first of all that let you know where I come from so you can understand the amount of passion that is going to come from me for the next three days. I was taken away from my parents at a very young age. My mother, unfortunately, is a product of living in a very small town with not much ambition and very little parental guidance. And my mother, she started using drugs whenever I was very, very little. Ah, lot of people say that it was before I was born because of the way act, but that's a different story. So moving forward, I wasn't supposed to be funny. But moving forward moving forward Lady shows up at the house one day and she says, Blair, um, I need you to grab all of your things. I was like, all right, get a few things like, What's that? What do we do it? She said, We're gonna go stay with Grandma. I was like, Oh, cool, let me get my little G I Joe here. I don't want to take that. I said, I'm ready. She said, No, you you pretty much need to get everything that you ever want to see again because unfortunately, so you're never coming back. And I said, What you talking about? Willis? And she said, Yeah, you're never coming back. And as a little child, you know, you don't know how to expect. You don't have to take that. So I went with the flow and I said, All right, cool, Grandma, You know, she's got a pretty cool pad. I go stay with her for a little while. It's This might work. So I get into the back of this thing Lady Station wagon and off we go. Move on my grandparent's four hours away. Life was pretty good, you know, It was 1/5 grade student, and I never really gave them a lot of trouble. You know, I was a little wild, but I knew exactly where the boundaries were, just like in my own business. I know that if this is the edge right here, this is the line. I might go up to the line every once in a while ago. Who? But I never cross that line. So it's a good kid. My grand parents did the best they could. They were on fixed income. They did the best they could, provided me with opportunities. Most importantly, they helped shape me into someone that I'm proud off by giving me good morals and good values. And I took those few key things and I am in my heart. And I said, I'm gonna make my parents proud and make my grandparents proud. I'm gonna make myself proud. And now I'm working to make my daughter proud. So it's not about where you come from, it has nothing to do with that. So those people that make excuses about well, I'll never have that type of studio because there's just not this here, or I can't make it in the senior market because it's just not here in my town. Well, you know what? It was never in my town, which is even more of a reason to go and produce it. Go and make it work. If it's not there, go make it work. Give it a shot. So more of where I came from, what I used to do. All right. Really, really interesting job here. I used to be the guy that would come to your house and replace the windshield in your car. Nothing wrong with that. But that wasn't the life that I wanted to live. That's not something that I would have been able to do forever after about five or six years with the company. They're like Blair. Good job, buddy. Uh, gonna give you present you with your gold watch here. You pretty much tapped out with us. So this is take a good look here. This is good. It's gonna get buddy. I said now this has got to be better than this. Gotta be now. I developed a love for photography. I was out on the road every day, driving around from job to job, and I would see neat and intriguing things. And I would pull over and jump out, take a few images, and it all started taking pictures of, like, a barn in an old car. Just random stuff. A guy that wrecked on his moped head Really random stuff. And I started developing that stuff. Take it to the to the drugstore lab, started getting a process, and lady was like, Come here. Just a minute. She's like, these were some of the best pictures I've seen come through here. Really? You think so? So this was a lady giving me encouragement. And boy, did she. She had no clue what she was getting herself into or what she was creating. Now, my decision making sometimes along the way. Oh, I forgot to tell you this. My grand parents passed away when I was in the 11th grade. So there was again. Are you serious right now? Like you're gonna do this to me so I could have very easily just said, Oh, poor me. I'm never gonna have this or that. Or I could say all right. You know what? I don't know what is behind this door, but I must certain of what's behind this door. I'm not I'm not going back this way. Said I'm gonna go with door number two here and I'm gonna keep march, and I'm gonna keep going. So I stayed in school, and I will tell you it's really harder than 11th grade, young man toe, wake yourself up and go to school and work. Two jobs is very difficult. So for me, no excuse that you guys are anyone can give is gonna be valid. Unfortunately, because I'm going to say, Well, look, you can You can work that out. You can work it out. So part of my decision making was I took all the money that I had, which was not very much. And I started drag racing motorcycles like I'm on. I'm on a good career path here. I'm gonna make it. Yeah, not so much. So I met this guy, the track, and he said, You know, I've been watching you recently. Uh, I was like, Well, that's kind of weird. Andi said with your body type, he said, you have a good body type now even more weird. Um, so there again, Like, where we going with this? Right here where we're going. And he said, Man for drag race. And you are textbook perfect for Dr Reason. You got it like, Yeah, I'm pretty good on a pretty good He said, Look, you give me four grand. He said, I'll build you a race engine that no one will be over touch. Nobody. It's like, you know what? I've got $3800 saved up at home. By next Friday, I can have 200 mawr not thinking that. Wait a minute. I gotta pay my power. Beautiful. Like, but, you know, I'm not making good decisions at this point. So I go home and I pull this money out from underneath my mattress and I give it to him, and I even helped him put the bike on his truck. So your time I see you in a couple of weeks, buddy. A couple weeks rolled by and I'm like, Yeah, Thoma. I've left you several messages, man, but for some reason, I don't know what's going on. I can't seem to get you a couple, Tom. I'm tell you right now, man. I work out a lot. You can pretty You can tell about my body type that I don't play around, man. Never saw him again. So there again, really, we're gonna go through this again. So what could I have done at that point for me? I don't have those things. Or I said, you know what day it is, what it is. I have to build another future. So I saw that man years later. It was about three years later, actually called me out of the blue and he said, Yeah, I'm embarrassed. He said, Look, I don't have everything. I don't even have the bike. He said, Honestly, I sold. He said, I'll meet you at the bank and give you some of this money back What I have if you promise not to do bodily harm to me and because I mean, let's let's all face it. You don't want to make somebody with my stature mad. You know, I'm a big guy, right? Um, I would flex for you, but I don't wanna bust out of this shirt, but so he meets me at the bank. He gives me a little money it's enough money to buy my first digital SLR. And we just so happened that we were going to the beach that next day with with my wife and family. So my wife surprised me and she bought me my first digital SLR and had it waiting on the counter when I got off work. And she said, Blair, I've got something for your birthday. I want to take it the beach. We took it to the beach and I was on Cloud nine the whole way there. I made her drive so I could read the manual like I'm trying to figure out all these settings and things like that. But the best way to do is to get out on the beach, which is exactly what I did. I went out on the beach. These are the first images I ever shot. And man, let me tell you, I was rolling around in the sand. I was like, it makes you look like a pro. If you get down on your knees really low, it makes you look. The part took those images, loved him, went back to the to the condo we were staying in. Now the one. Those moments happen. I plugged it into had cords, all these cables. You could plug your camera into the television, so I plug it in. This is my big debut, all right? All the family gather around, let's see my handiwork and I pull it up and it says format. And I was like, Yeah, probably to format it for some sort of a television, I guess. A format? Yes. And I watched all of my work do just like this all down to a blue screen. And I was like, All right, huh? Learn something every day. So there again another point in my life are really like, we're gonna go there. Seriously. So what did I do? I took it in stride and I said, Hey, things happen. But look, we'll get up in the morning, we'll do it all over again. What other choice do you have? You know, you can make excuses or you can make it work. So we got up the next morning. I wouldn't created the images all over again. And quite frankly, I think I put more effort into in the second go around. I did not show them on the television because I was scared to even get near that thing. Anything. I turned it on after that. Now, the funny thing is, this was years ago. Photo shop was foreign. I honestly thought that it was a little place that some guy had like in his house. And he would take your pictures there and he would doctor him up and make him look really pretty. That's what I thought. Well, I was kind of way off their little did. I know the photo shop was gonna be a big game changer for me. But one thing that was important for me is I didn't rely on photo shop in the very beginning because I'm a J peg shooter, So don't throw anything at me. I know this seems crazy. Why would you not shoot Raul? Raul is so much better. I understand that that Raul, you have a lot more parameters. But I taught myself in the very beginning to be a J peg shooter to try your best to get as perfect as you can in camera because I'm doing a lot of volume and I don't want to be tied to the computer for months on end. I want to shoot it, edit it really quick, sell it, be with my family. And that is what I'm so excited to teach you guys how to be so streamlined that you can shoot at it, be with your family, and it's a simple Is that so? A lot of times we spend an hour capturing, but we're spending four hours and Photoshopped, you know, and you don't need to do it. You don't have to do it, but we do it because the tools are there and they're available for us to do right. But we don't We don't want to do that. I'm gonna teach you how to do that. I got my start. I got really brave and said, I'm gonna take a few These images that I have of my dog, some random person's child that I don't even know that I took pictures of at the park. I just met these people Say, Hey, can I take a couple picture of your daughter like I don't care? So I took pictures of daughter had, um process. Never forget, man. Put up this little easy up 10 at a street festival. That's where I got My start is a street festival and where we are Street festival. You normally hear music. Kind of like they're getting Aaron, Aaron, Aaron, Aaron, Aaron here. There followed about some good old to step in. But that was what I had. That's where I started. I said, I'm easy up tent that morning and I was like, I game face home and you're gonna be flooded with. People want to look at these images here. So I stood there. Everybody was like going down to the fried Oreos stand and fried Twinkie stand and like all right, this is not working good. But after lunch, everybody wised up. They stopped by on their life. What you got in here first? They came in looking for something free when you got here is free. So that was my target market. But a few people said, Man, What? I love that image of that little girl. And I was like, Okay, I'm listening. Yeah, Yeah, it's pretty good, right? I put on this charm that I didn't know that I had and she said, I want to book an appointment. I said angle just second to get up on my calendar here. This is what I was looking at, basically. And I was like, Let me see here. You said you said February the third. Uh, you know, I'm all booked that day. What about? I could do it the very next day. Would that work? OK, Yeah. I'll pencil you in here, but they don't have a pencil. But your pencil, You in here, cover that up, so you can't see it. So I had to kind of fake it till I made, you know, fake it till you make it what I had to do. So move forward. Lady comes in, and she's like, all right here for my session. All right, well, listen, I forgot to say I don't really have a studio, per se, but I'm glad to meet you at your house and I can do about in your yard. You know, if your yard is really pretty, which I'm sure it issues. Oh, no, not at all. Well, we'll find someone's yard toe work on. So there it was like I started this business, but I knew I could do it, but, man, I just didn't have the tools. But no one ever has everything given to him. So I had to make something work. There was no excuses, so I met the lady off. We went there. We have it. Everything was great. Now it's snowballed from there. She showed her friends and then she showed her friends. And the next thing you know, her friends were calling. Hey, I want the same type of thing. And by being in those types of environments I have been in every situation you can imagine every situation stepping in fire ant bids and having having to rip my pants off of the wedding like that is pretty embarrassing. I've been in you name it. People call. Say, Yeah, at a rooster that plays tic tack toe at the State Fair. Can you do a a session for him? Yeah, sure. You know, it's so funny. You call and said I had a guy last week. Did you come on down there? No problem. You hang on the phone. You're like, What in the world am I gonna do with that? But if I said no, where would I be? I don't know what I would do. You know where someone calls and says, you know, Hey, I want you to come. I've got a $3. million house for sale. I need beautiful architectural, architectural pictures. Can you do that? Yeah, no problem, Mr Davis. Yeah, I'll be there tomorrow. 30 No problem. And then freak out like, Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do? But I knew that if I didn't go on, of course, I'm never gonna never gonna be able to do it. And by putting myself in all those situations, this this is easy. Now this is easy. It's so easy, because no matter what comes along, I got it. So I'm thinking a little bit of a background about a young lady. I've never seen ducks. You've seen ducks at the park. Imagine little baby ducks. You got Mama duck behind little baby duck. I was that duck that looks over here. It's like, Let's go check this out. And Mama Duck's got her wing out. Leah, back over here! Ah, back over here. That is exactly what my wife is now. I'm a very serious guy. I don't really I don't really have a sense of humor. I'm very serious. Obviously as you can see, This is our staff photos. This is me. This is what people see when they see me. I want people to know the truth. May I'm not Ah suiting time type of guy. It's just not May been married 10 years, which is crazy to me. I don't know how in the world that woman puts up with what she does for 10 years, five full time years in the business and the only studio photographer. So I get a lot done being the only studio photographer. So you don't have to have three or four shooters to be successful. You can do it all by yourself. I shoot 20 to 30 weddings a year. As you heard, I'm slowly thinking about maybe kind of phasing a little bit into something else. We're talking about diversity here in a little while, which is very, very important. And recently, to diversify. I picked up five high schools sports contracts and I due to dance studios, which I've got a section in there I want to share with. You guys do have two additional employees. Have Adam, Shana Adam that he makes me look really good. Shana. She handles all the office stuff. She's awesome. And I definitely couldn't do it without either one of them. It is awesome to have them so moving forward. That lady I was telling you about, I don't know how in the world I scored. A woman that is so beautiful is her either. But charm definitely can kill a long way in the South. Evidently. Plus, she hadn't really low standards or some reason so part of her upbringing, I guess. I don't know. Now I'm kidding. But she is my editor. She handles all the photo shop. I do not do Photoshopped. That's not my gig. I don't enjoy it. I would go crazy if I had to sit down at the desk. I guess they said Blair, do you want a chair? You know something like you can take that chair on out here is I don't even know how to relax. Last night, I think I went to bed, maybe around three, because I was up pacing, pretending like I was in front of you guys, which is ridiculous. I was the 1st 1 I was the door wouldn't even unlocked. When I got here this morning, I was outside like hurry up around here. We don't go until nine. I guess it is 6 30 So I guess I'm asking a little much, but I'm prepared. I'm prepared. Marketing her marketing ideas. She'll see the train go by. It will say Barnum and Bailey Circus. And she's like, yet, Mr Bailey, listen, eyes there, Any way that we can rent an elephant for Thursday? I've got a senior session. Is there anywhere a giraffe or something? You gotta help me here. She sometimes goes a little too deep, and I'm like, Baby, that will come. Come here, then. I'd like the momma. Doug, I'm like I get back in here because sometimes we can stretch ourselves out so wide with their ideas. We really need to hone in and make money. Make sure we're making money instead of just trying to look really good. Which obviously looking good part. I don't I'm not a good fan. Not a big fan of that. She does all the album design she is. She used to photograph weddings with me. But we had about two years ago something happened and she said, I'm not actually told her. I said, you're not shooting weddings. anymore. Not a bad thing. I said, Just take it easy. What would you imagine? One of our hardest jobs would be at the studio. Just take a guess. All right? Managing time if my name or time, that would be correct. But her hardest job is managing. Blared. I'm that guy that, like, if you're ever in a boutique somewhere and you hear a loud crash My wife, where's Blair? Where is that Blair? She's winning. Where I'm normally that guy that gets into something veer off the beaten path, so to speak. And like I said about three just it would be almost three years ago. Now, three years ago, the most all something to date and probably forever happened. And it's the birth off my little girl. And you can just imagine the way that I grew up. You know, there was not a lot of parental support there, So can you just imagine the type of dad I'm gonna be? Goodness gracious, this little girl, she is gonna be like, Dad, get away from me. But like, I take her to do things that we probably shouldn't do already. You know, she's only two, but I've got her doing things that, you know, 10 year old should be doing my hairless code, Skydiver. No, we don't do that. But But I love it. And again, 100% daddy's girl that this is my biggest motivation to date. So how many of you guys have Children? Wow, it's gracious. Every one of you. Um, how many of you maybe have a little girl but a girl. Okay, I got you. Awesome. Good. So answer me. That should have more than one, I guess. You hear that day? We gotta gotta do it again. All right? So moving forward. I'm not gonna say what that being said. You see how I switched out of that right now? I'm saying, moving, moving forward. You get that first studio, Do you think that you have to have an eloquent studio game business? No, not at all. You don't even have to have a studio. But in my area, I chose to go the studio route because nine years ago that's what I thought you had to do. You have to have a studio to be successful, and that's what I'm gonna do. So my wife and her mother had a collectible, dull business, like Barbie dolls and things like that. And I said, Hey, let me have, like, the front little quarter of this. I've got a bride coming next week that I've, you know, kind of roped around. Let me do your wedding for, like, $500. And the album cost me, like, 800. Like a good decision there. So I met with her on this little wicker table, and she booked us. Are you serious? Like you really want me to do it? Yeah. Yeah, Your works. Great. So I got a small portion of their space and I built a little wall, put up some big canvas prints. I mean, man, I looked like I was doing it. I look like I was doing this full time. I would get off, I would get on with my day job, and I would run home, not run. I would drive it, have a car, But I would run and I run in the studio. Mr. Johnson, how are you, man? Had just been, uh I been working today. I'm not lying. I still have your thing on my hands and stuff, so I keep my hands in my pockets. But I had to. I had to give it off that I knew what I was doing and I didn't know what I was doing. So I stayed in this business in this building here for probably about six years. Small space. But I made it work. Now, every time you turn on the news, nine out of 10 times negative, right bunch of negativity, and it's so easy to get caught up in that Well, I know I don't get involved in that. I don't pay attention of that. In our economy, the economy is what, like the worst is ever been. I mean, our government can't seem to even get it together. So where does that leave us? And we're in a tough spot. So in a time when the economy is like the worst in history, what do you do? Let's just take a giant risk. You can see my decision making this point hasn't been stellar, right? I put myself in that situation and then I say, Oh, this is gonna hurt a little bit, but I'm not gonna back down. I'm gonna make it work. So, in a bad economy, go by 9000 square feet of property. Oh, gosh, What did I do? And there I am, in the in the front. I'm like, Yea, I just bought 9000 square feet of commercial space and have a clue what I'm gonna do with it. No plan in place at all, but something work. I know it will. So there it was again, like All right, we're going to start not start helping me out a little bit here. So I started tearing everything apart. Well, well, let's just rebuild it. I don't know how to rebuild it or what to do, but let's just rebuild it all. And finally, through some guidance of my lab H and H color lab, work with them on being efficient and figure I'm almost spaces. And I would sit down literally. I would spray paint on the floor, the circumference of my desk, and I would sit there for, like, an hour and think about Is this the best place to put this? No. Let's move it over here. Now let's move up here. So what we did. So we slowly started to build and slowly started to build a little bit more and I mean, I had brought, like, high end brides, and I had all my seniors coming in. My work took a big shift during that time, and it went mawr construction. So most of my seniors were being photographed in construction zones because that's just what I had. So they would come in and say, Hey, look, I've got some awesome new props today. You are gonna love it like I got a table. Soul Jigsaw, like you are gonna love it. So put on your prom dress and I'm gonna lay you up on this table Salt right here. Okay. Is that cool? Mom, are you good with that? I don't care. And that's where my style started. That is what started my style was because I just used what I had, and I had to be creative with it. So if all you have is a rose garden, then you be a Rose Garden photographer. But you figure out how to go in there and own that Rose garden. If you have a construction site, you go in there and own it. You don't have to have a plethora of everything to be successful in life. It just doesn't work that way. None of us have that. So I went to construction zone, and then my brides, I would put them in the construction zone, and then the phone started ringing, and all of a sudden the work shifted. And people said, Blair, you just do your thing like you just do whatever it is that you do. That's what we won't wait a minute. So the tire, if you can be fun because they used to get you guys have had it, you get that checklist. Okay? I want this. This, this, this, this, this this is this I'm like, All right, good. So this leaves me zero room to be creative. I have to follow all this list here, so yeah, that's gonna work out. Great. So then I started not liking my life because I started hating the photography I was doing. I'm not interested in that shooting on just a plain white background with a wicker basket. There's nothing wrong with that. But for me, it just takes a lot more to excite me. That's what my work is. Continuing toe always change like this next season for for seniors, it's going to completely different I got I'm gonna add even more lighting. I'm gonna make it even better Because what I did last year is not always gonna work. So advancing forward instead of moving forward. See, I'm switching, switching it up here. Life after construction. I was blessed to be able to buy this space. And I'll be honest with you. Tell how it happened as well. The old fella that owned it. I went to him one day and I said, Sir, is there any way that that I may be ableto by this property one day, sir, Because I'm just a young guy trying to trying to make it for my family. I'm struggling and I want he said, Look, cut the chitchat. What do you want to do here? And I told him he said, Fine, I'll work it out. He gave me a price, and I said, Now, look, don't you go down on me until tomorrow, okay? There before tomorrow, because I want you to sign off on this. He signed off on it, and in seven years from now it will be mine. And what's great about that is in seven years, it will probably all be about ready to fall apart. So I'll find myself another one of those deals like really? Here we go again. But we bought it. We owned it. We made it our own. And we created an environment that is our brand. It's 100% who we are. It's a place that I love to go to. It's a place that that I enjoy. It's a place that feels like home. Is it necessary again? No, it's not necessary. But for my area have to attract a high end clients because I live in a very small small town of 3500 people. The meal, The cotton meal is the number one provider, and it is only running at a 30% capacity. So there's no money, no money. So if I just say, well, it is what it is, you know, we're gonna photograph, you know, people with their beagles. Then I'm never gonna make it. So I had to think outside of my area and I said, If I ever want to do this, I got to reach out. So that's what I started doing, built a place that that did have a high end field because I was wanted to attract the high end client. It gives you justification in your pricing if I have someone from the country that has never had pictures made. Maybe one time when they were four and they come in and you throw him a price of an eight by 10 let's just make something up and say an eight by 10 $100 in my area. They would probably stick you with a night for that. He must be out of your daggone mind, boy, that's what they would say. So I have to reach out and get those other clients to come to me. Now, if my brand and my studio matched aesthetically everything else in the town, they would walk in and be like, Oh dear, this is quite horrid. No, it has to be upscale because these clients, they're used to that. I think about you ladies. All right, let's get personal here for a minute. You just say help me out here because I don't get my hair done. Obviously, when you get your hair, don't. Is it common to spend $100 to get your hair completely cut and don however it gets done, it's reasonable. Some people could probably spend 200 right? Would you spend two? Does it feel good to spend $200 on your hair? If when you're sitting there, the girl comes and puts lotions on your lotion on your hand and rubbed your hands and they put a cool rag or view that bring you cucumber water. You got a girl that's massaging your feet while you're getting on the sun And you spent $200 to get something done that theoretically, you could probably get it done for $40 somewhere else. But it feels better if everything around you matches the service you're getting. Which is exactly why I had to build something that was a little bit nicer than anything. I want to stick out like a sore thumb. And in my studio people come in and they're like, It won't count. Look around and go back outside and look outside. Look down the street This way, this way. And I say, man, uh, what? Where you from? Where you from? You're not from around here. Are you saying? Actually, I'm said, Why did you put this here? And I said, Why not? The rent is way cheaper, like I got this for a portion of what she would down in Charlotte. So it's not about how much money you can spend, and it's not about how little you can spend. It's about finding a comfort zone. You know, if you want a high end studio, get a high end studio. If you don't don't there's no right or wrong way. I'm just showing you how how I've done things.

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!