Q & A With Blair Phillips Photography

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While growing up, there was no opportunity in Blair Phillips’ household for future advancement; no further education after high school, no parenting, and definitely no dreams of a flourishing career. Between multiple family households and parents, his childhood life was a constant roller-coaster. After living with his paternal grandparents for a significant time period, who both passed away when he was a junior in high school, Blair had to finish educating himself through high school. He worked 40 hours a week at a local grocery store while finishing his senior year in high school. Finances were so bad that even senior pictures were not an option and most of his time off was spent juggling work and school, having no social life as a normal teenager.

Reason for the short story above is to give you an idea of where the motivation and creativity comes from in Blair’s images. Blair’s business began 8 short years ago and since then, Blair Phillips Photography has become a household name that people in his community, and from several states away, have come to know and adore. Each year Blair has photograph between 40-60 weddings and 600+ studio sessions. In a small, economically deprives mill town of 3,100 and before the age of 30, accomplishment is an understatement!

Photographers are hungry for Blair’s creative eye behind the lens. Blair is known for his innovative lighting, posing, and flow of imagery, which has been a topic of conversation sparked between both novice and seasoned photographers. He has a passion to teach other photographers how to express themselves in ways not found in traditional training, which has been described as eclectic elegance. His style and positive energy is devoted to educate and inspire photographers to move towards a modern, fashionable approach, while keeping true to themselves.  Because of his sought-after content and unique teaching style, Blair has had the opportunity to educate photographers all over the United States including 4 consecutive years at WPPI, The WPPI Road Trip, WPPI U, SPA, SYNC Seniors, various state PPA affiliations and most recently, Imaging USA. Blair also hosts a quarterly workshop entitled “Break The Mold” at his Landis, NC studio which has become increasingly popular, selling out with every event.

Blair Phillips has so much to offer fellow photographers. Blair has a sincere desire to see other photographers inspired to grow in business as he has. Blair has a young team who strive towards fresh ideas, and those who hear them will be inspired to break out of their mold. Blair doesn’t want to teach people his way, but rather inspire everyone and have them discover what it means to break out of the mold to a more fashionable tomorrow.

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Blair and Suzanne Phillips

Tamrac: How did you get into photography?
Blair: Blind luck.  I have always been a very visual type individual, and it all began when I started carrying a point and shoot camera with me everywhere.  I would see neat and intriguing things that I felt were worthy of capture.  I began taking media cards to a local drug store lab for processing where a lab technician gave me encouragement to pursue photography as more than a mere hobby.  I took her advice and the rest was history.

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Tamrac: What is the one piece of camera equipment you always take with you?
Blair: A strobe light.  I have learned strobe lighting inside and out, and it allows me to manipulate any environment to fit my needs.

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Tamrac: You shoot seniors, families, newborns and weddings.  What do you like most about each one and do you have a favorite between them? Or is it too hard to choose?
Blair: I love creating genuine conversations and building relationships.  Seniors are one of the most enjoyable outlets for me due to the complete creative freedom you can have with them.  Newborns are also really high on my list.  I am very sensitive and compassionate, so working with the delicate nature of babies fits me very well.  Since the birth of my daughter, I have cut the weddings back to only 10 per year.  My family has to come first and foremost.

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Tamrac
: Things have come a long way since I was a senior in high school where we just got our yearbook photo taken.  Where do you come up with all the crazy, unusual settings for your senior shoots?  Do the seniors give you input for what they want or do you create the shoot on your own?  What do they then do with their images?
Blair: I use to travel to random locations for seniors.  The constant driving all over the place got really old, really quick.  I decided to build my very own senior oasis equipped with over 30 different sets that are always available.  This way I am in complete control and have enough to fit any style.  My seniors give me input on their outfit choices and that is pretty much it.  We have marketed and branded our studio in a way that client’s give us complete freedom to do whatever we see fit.  The majority of our senior clients still purchase wall portraits, an album, gift prints, and wallets.

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Blair’s “Senior Oasis”

Tamrac: You do a lot of workshops on a variety of different topics.  What is your favorite thing to teach that you think every starting photographer needs to learn?
Blair: Lighting, lighting, lighting.  Learning lighting gives you so much control of every press of your shutter.  Lighting is one of the concrete fundamentals that most photographers don’t tackle right away.  It can be intimidating, but I have a clever way of breaking it down so people will understand it in ten minutes.  Lighting is the root of all photographs.

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Tamrac: What was your favorite image you took in the last year?
Blair:  There has never been a tougher question for me.  I do well over 500 studio session, as well as a lot of volume photography.  It would literally be impossible for me to pick.

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Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?
Blair: With all of my traveling, I would be lost without my Tamrac gear bags.  Some of my most important pieces are the Super Rolling Studio Bags (Model 662) and the Ultra Pro 13 (Model 5613).  For airplane travel I sometimes rely on the hefty Expedition 8x (Model 5588).  For weddings I love my Cyberpack Roller (Model 5267). With Tamrac, I feel certain that I will wear out long before any of my Tamrac bags.

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Blair’s Ultra Pro 13 with his gear

Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Blair: The sheer quality and design.  Tamrac knows exactly what we need as a photographer and have a rock solid solution for all of my carry needs.

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Blair in his studio shooting a video on his Tamrac bags

Click here to see Blair’s video (from photo above) on his Tamrac Bags.

For more information on Blair and Suzanne and their work, please visit their links: Website: www.blairphillipsphotography.com
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/blairphillipsphotography
Facebook: www.facebook.com/blairphillipsworkshops
Instagram: @blair_phillips
Twitter: @bpphotography
Email: blair@blairphillipsphotography.com

 

 

 

 

Q&A with Matt Beard

Matt Beard in action

Matt Beard in action

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Los Angeles based photographer extraordinaire, Matt Beard. Matt has spent the last 20 years capturing the visual essence of clients including Apple, Nike, Levis, Lucky Jeans, Sony, Maroon 5, and Cirque Du Soleil. To introduce you to Matt, here’s a little Q&A session with our new friend. Enjoy some of Matt’s tips, tricks and funny moments!

Matt Beard

photo of Matt Beard by: Corinne Saffell

Tamrac: How did you get into photography?
Matt: I’ve always loved photography, even as a young kid I was experimenting with my folks 126 and 110 film cameras.  In 9th grade, my parents lent me their 35mm canon A-1, and I started taking b&w photography classes at Venice High with Larry Shapiro…and the journey begins!

Tamrac: What is the one piece of camera equipment you always take with you?
Matt: My Canon 5D Mark2.

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© Apple iTunes / by Matt Beard

Tamrac: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Matt: If you always produce the best work you can, every job will lead to another…and so forth.

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© Apple iTunes / by Matt Beard

Tamrac: What projects do you have coming up that you are excited about?
Matt: Can’t say, top secret.

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© Apple iTunes / by Matt Beard

Tamrac: Do you have any unique or funny moments while shooting on location?
Matt: There’s quite a few, especially from the assisting days.  Once I was told that we were doing a top-secret photo shoot, and it was very hush-hush.  NO cell phones allowed, and we couldn’t reveal our location to anyone.  I didn’t know where we were going, or who we were shooting until we were about a mile away from the location.  At first I thought we were photographing the president.  But, it turned out to be Kobe Bryant’s wedding.  So I got to shoot at Kobe’s wedding… pretty cool!

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Carmen Electra Shoot

Tamrac: You get to meet and photograph a lot of really cool bands…what music do you enjoy listening too?
Matt: Oddly enough, I’ve always listened more to the news than to music.  However, I really like a lot of different genres of music.  I grew up with everything from Rock, Metal, Ska, Punk and Pop…to Hip Hop, House, Trance and Techno.  I also love classical music, Jazz, swing, big band, reggae and rockabilly.  I’m a fan of anything unique and creative, which has a feeling of the artist’s soul in it.

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John Cryer Promo Shoot

Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?
Matt: I use a Big Wheels SpeedRoller 2x, Rally 7 Messenger BagZuma Compact and a Tamrac Medium Tripod Bag.  I also have an older 692 Big Wheels Rolling StrongBox.  It is still in really great shape after all these years and still works great.  I also have a Tamrac Pro-9 Backpack that I’ve used for years, and love!

Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Matt
: They are affordable, easy to use, and they last a really long time.  They are also fairly inconspicuous and can look more like regular luggage than a camera case…which helps with airline travel…and those run-and-gun guerrilla shoots.

For more information on Matt and to see more of his photography, go to his website: http://www.mattbeard.com/

All images are the property of Matt Beard Photography and cannot be used or reproduced without permission.