Q & A With Blair Phillips Photography

018BurrisDSC_7105

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.

DSC_5631

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.

BlairPhillips_Senior_10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

BPP_3353

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

BlairPhillips_Senior_03

 

 

 

 

 


 


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.

DSC_7019

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.

026WeinerDSC_5165

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

013Metcalfe012MetcalfeDSC_6669

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Blairs Bag

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.

BlairPhillips-Video-Still

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

 

 

 

 

Ted Craig Tuesday

Hello everyone!
I am here teaming up with Tamrac to give a little insight on the shoots I did for Canon. Over the next eight weeks we will be posting a new image with the story behind the lens and I hope everyone enjoys them.
– Ted Craig

ted craig tuesdays | week 1

TCT_1
Right from the pulmonary stages of this shoot I was very excited to execute it. Canon wanted the message to be “one with nature” with a straight down perspective. At first we were going to use dirt to show a part of nature but I have always loved the look of grass from a birds eye view so I received the go to use my backyard carpet. This image is a seven image composite. I used a large soft box and balanced it out with the ambient light in the shade.

ted craig tuesdays | week 2

Up To My Ears
This was a fun shoot where I had the chance to enjoy the great outdoors of Mammoth Lakes, CA. There was a concern on the way up that there would not be enough snow due to the heatwave at the end of March. The goal of this image was to market that Tamrac bags will follow you through thick and thin. I thought it would be unique to have myself covered up to my ears in snow with the bag beside me. I wanted to convey that I don’t need to worry about my equipment because I know it’s going to be safe and dry. The first day consisted of scouting with snow shoes and warm coffee, unfortunately there wasn’t much snow at first. Thankfully, a light snowfall happened that night and I was able to find the perfect secluded spot the following day. After I got myself situated on set, I waited for the right amount of backlight to illuminate the snowfall. The image itself consists of six separate frames and I would acquire a cold for the next three days.

ted craig tuesdays | week 3

TCT_3 copy
This was on our way to the Sierra Nevada. More accurately, this was shot at a rest stop off the 395. The sky was beautiful and moving fast with the clouds which created holes of light. We waited and shot till a large cloud covered the mountain behind me, creating that natural spotlight. I wanted the image to be striking; from composition, to use of color, so that the viewer felt no confusion about what to look at first. I am not a huge fan of contrast photos but I ended up being really happy with this image. This is a three image composite. I used the natural sun and a reflector.

ted craig tuesdays | week 4

TCT_4 copy
I had a blast with this shoot. This location was where I grew up; I can see this part of the meadow from my old childhood bedroom. Though, within the last year or so, someone planted a baby tree on top of this hill. For that year I have been wanting to take photos up there or around there, or somehow incorporate it from afar. My original thought for the shoot was much farther away with more minimalism. I had to come closer to make it more of a full length shot of the tree, still I think it has that simplistic feel. It was a windy day which is what was needed to come across in the image. I did receive a couple honks during the shoot, due to the fact I looked somewhat looney on the edge of this hill, hanging on to this tree as if she was the love of my life. This image is a five image composite. I used just the natural light.

ted craig tuesdays | week 5

TCT_5 copy
For this shoot I got to create that unhygienic kid mud hole that everyone loved! Belly flop and all I jumped in and covered my self in soil and dirt. The message was I could go anywhere with my equipment even back to my childhood. It really was a blast to get filthy, but finding dirt in my hair a week later wasn’t so sweet. This image is a six image composite. I used a 6′ octobox and natural light.

ted craig tuesdays | week 6

TCT_6 copy
Call this shoot “Strength in hands.” I remember climbing the baseball field’s backstop fence as a kid, but what I didn’t remember was the difficulty in doing it. Canon wanted an urban setting and a “getting that shot not matter what” message across. It was a beautiful day with just a minimal amount of clouds. I really wanted that element in the photo so I ended up doing a couple test shots to get my timing down climbing up that fence. Came to the, regretful, conclusion that my hands couldn’t take that many climbs with the equipment; granted the top of the fence was 15′. I waited for the cloud to come in, climbed up, snapped three frames with my remote, and jumped off calling it a day. Don’t have those ambition childhood hands anymore. This is a two image composite. I used just the natural light.

ted craig tuesdays | week 7

TCT_7 copy
This was another urban shot Canon wanted. It was crazy windy and I bent two umbrellas that day; not fun. Since I wanted the subject to be looking into the sun, I had to have the umbrella facing right into the wind. To fix this problem I had my assistant bear hug the umbrella like the trooper she is. This is a two image composite. I used a 580exii just behind the bag and the natural light.

ted craig tuesdays | week 8

TCT_8 copy
Hope everyone had a great Labor day weekend!
Going into this shoot I had a completely different shot in my head. I really wanted a lot of sand coming in at different directions and freezing right before hitting my camera. But white sand on white sky is pretty unseeable. I moved into the shade to get that flatter light and to have some bokeh in the background, hoping it would bring out the sand a little more. It still wasn’t enough, and I didn’t want to spend hours in post making it visible, so I looked around and found a little stream of water; a run off from a hose. I grabbed the mud, did a test shot, and we had dirt! It took many tries but we got mud + camera together nicely. This is a ten image composite. I used the natural light and a reflector on camera right..


Every Tuesday we’ll roll out a new installment of our eight week series titled Ted Craig Tuesdays. This series highlights 8 images created by Ted Craig for Canon.

For more of Ted Craig check out his website and follow him on instagram.

Want More? Follow us on Facebook, and find us on Instagram to keep up with all things Tamrac!


Flaming Steel Wool Photography with Tom Keller

We love our Instagram community and wanted to spotlight the work of Tom Keller who’s been doing some really cool things with steel wool, his camera, and lighter! So here’s Tom’s images and what he has to say about them. Enjoy!

I first came across a picture of steel wool on Instagram. I’ve never seen this
before and was very intrigued by it. After doing some research my Fiancée Marissa and I
went out and got the necessities. We experimented in our back yard that night but
quickly got the hang of it and ventured out into the nearby neighborhoods. Places like
parks, bridges, rivers, and train yards offer interesting backgrounds and features to
photograph with. It’s usually j ust the two of us with one spinning while the other sets the
timer and possess.

001

The spinning vortex is one of the first pictures that Marissa and I shot in the backyard. I
started spinning at the back of our yard and randomly decided to walk towards the
camera while spinning. This became one of many successful experiments.

002

After a couple weeks of experimenting with steel wool my fiancé and I started getting
creative. We came up with the idea of using an umbrella to get a force field effect
creating this image under a bridge here in Sacramento; “Protector of Art.”

003

The exposures we use are between 15-20 seconds long and it can be tricky posing still
for that long. In this colorful picture done in my backyard, you can see that I shifted
positions while spinning causing a partial ghost effect but my fiancé did great.

004

Spinning orbs are amazing; it’s like an explosion of sparks! The way to spin an orb is to
find a set point on the ground (like a leaf or rock) and spin slowly around it with the
bottom of your spin hitting the top of that point. We found this Underpass interesting and
did a lot of experimenting here.

005

This silhouette shot was taken in a large storm tunnel in Houston Texas. I posed while
Marissa (my partner in life and in late night shenanigans) spun behind me creating the
silhouette and flaming water effect. We both got soaked this night, but getting down and
dirty is all part of the fun.

006

I always carry my GR1 Ruck from GoRuck and Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a Sigma 10-
20mm lens. After a lot of trial and error throughout the months, I developed a plywood
cut out that mounts 12 spinners and fits perfectly in my Ruck. This makes for an easy
“reload,” to cut down wasted time during the night. The actual “spinners” are made up of
an ordinary wire cooking whisk stuffed with 0000-000 gauge steel wool tied on a long
rope. A few other musts are a tri-pod, headlamps (not only to see but to focus the
camera) and lighters. Also, be sure to only spin after rains, during the winter months, or
near large bodies of water to prevent possible fires.

007

This over head spin was done alone in Lake Tahoe, CA. I learned from this experience
that the mechanics of this photography works much better with a partner. For this
picture I had my headlamp positioned facing the rocks to get a little more color from
them.

The Steelwool Photography community is still small but very innovative and filled
with great artist. Marissa and I have come up with many new ideas using the various
techniques we’ve developed so far and can’t wait to experiment with them this summer
in new adventurous places.

-Tom Keller, TK Photography

To keep up with Tom and his fiery shenanigans:
Follow him on Facebook
Follow him on Instagram: @tomkellerphotography
Send him an email: Tommokeller@gmail.com

For a cool tutorial on steel wool photography from our friends at Photojojo, Click Here!

Become a part of out Instagram community by following @tamracphoto right now!

All You Need In Two Tamrac Bags

Here’s a blog post we’re reposting from our friend Chadwick Trentham. Check out what he has to say about reducing his load from 5 bags to just 2. We like making life easier, and we’re pretty good at it.

APU_9618
I received two new bags from Tamrac last week and decided to put them to the test for a series of small productions I’ve been working on recently. UnpackingThough smaller in scope, each shoot requires many accessories, including multiple cameras, mics, and more. And of course, the location is often far from my car. I’m typically carrying four or five bags of various sizes, by myself. Unpacking+2So I turned to Tamrac to find an easier solution. They previously helped me find a great bag, the Tamrac Evolution 9, to use on an 11 day back packing trip.
APU_9630
For my current productions, I was searching for a two-bag solution with wheels and the capacity to fit my kit. APU_9657I usually bring two cameras, lenses, mics, two tripods, a slider, and a light kit. With that in mind, Tamrac recommended the Big Wheels Speed Roller 2x for cameras, and the Medium Rolling Studio for gear. APU_9637The best part is I can use them when I travel. The Big Wheels Speed Roller 2x falls within carry-on guidelines, which would make it a breeze to use when flying.
APU_9672
Packing has never been simpler. These bags are easy to rearrange, and the dividers have great padding while remaining sturdy. APU_9693The Speed Roller includes numerous pockets for small items, a laptop pocket, and straps that hold the top upright so the door doesn’t flop onto the ground when you’re trying to access things quickly. APU_9676The Rolling Studio feels really sturdy, and is well padded in case you need to check gear when traveling. My favorite feature is the top pocket: it’s large and I used it to store fast flags and a reflector for quick access.
APU_9697
Overall, I would recommend these bags for anyone looking to simplify their productions. Tamrac has always been my go-to for protecting my gear. I’m looking forward to testing them further on my next production.

Chadwick Trentham
Visual Storyteller
Azusa Pacific University
Los Angeles, California

Click here to see original post.

Another Happy Customer!

We love helping out our customers and when Mike contacted us about his worn camera bags we saw another opportunity to do just that. After Mike had his bags back, he was kind enough to send us this letter expressing his appreciation!

Mike's 5552's all fixed up and ready to go at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Mike’s 5552’s all fixed up and ready to go at Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Dear Tamrac Customer Service,

Thank you for the great work from your refurbishing team! Recently, I had sent in two 5552 roller cases for a wheel replacement on one and a new pocket zipper on the other. To my surprise and delight, both wheels were replaced on both roller cases and the pocket zipper AND the main compartment zipper were replaced making the products function like brand-new equipment once more, and all at no charge to me!

Those two roller cases have seen rough use at hundreds of locations around my city and at numerous travel locations throughout the U.S over a two decade period. No special care was ever taken to treat them gently while they were being tossed in and out of vehicles hundreds of times, run up and down concrete staircases, similarly rough-handled by baggage pros at the major airlines, and constantly exposed to inclement weather, factory chemicals, construction dust, and other field conditions. They are indeed remarkable products, and now through your excellent service and commitment to your products AND those who use them, my well-used roller cases now work like new again and are good for many more years to come.

Tamrac is highly regarded by working pros everywhere for very good reason. Your products stand the test of time, survive remarkably well with real world handling, do the job they are designed to handle, and I can also recommend that photographers and videographers also consider the awesome fact that should any repair ever be needed (they may have to wait a very long time for this to actually happen), they can be sure your company will stand 100% behind what you make, years and years after purchase and nearly a lifetime of usage later with service second to none.

Thank you,

Mike

Happy Customer: Troy Daniels

We love hearing from our customers about how our bags have kept their gear safe and sound. It lets us know that we’re doing it right and encourages us to keep making the quality products they can trust. We recently received feedback we’d like to share from photographer Troy Daniels telling us about his Evolution 8.

Penang, Malaysia - Note the awesome backpack

Penang, Malaysia – Note the awesome backpack

About a year ago I purchased the Tamrac Evolution 8 backpack for a solo trek through Hawaii.  Since then it has traveled though the mid-west, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and soon to be Myanmar.  Through all this, this pack has consistently held over 50 lbs of lenses and gear for up to eight hours at a time, been submerged in a river (big whoops), caught in several rainfall deluges and generally been my go to bag for all my traveling and hiking.

734693_10151642231794942_635547855_n

Canon Mark III with mounted Canon 24-70mm. Tripod goes on the outside and I fit a few water bottles or snacks in just below the DSLR.

Middle - Canon 100 mm Macro, Extension tubes on top, Canon 16mm - 35 mm wide angle Bottom - Tokina 11mm - 16mm, Canon 70 - 200 mm (2.8 so its extra heavy), Canon Extender III.

Top – Canon 7D, Canon 24-105 mm lens
Middle – Canon 100 mm Macro, Extension tubes on top, Canon 16mm – 35 mm wide angle
Bottom – Tokina 11mm – 16mm, Canon 70 – 200 mm (2.8 so its extra heavy), Canon Extender III.

I am incredibly impressed by the strain I’ve put on it and how other than my stinky sweat odor remains in pristine condition.  My only concern is that with the consistent weight I put on the shoulder straps (yes, I use the hip strap too), they might eventually tear, but I’ve yet to see that.  I consider it an integral part of my setup and in the event that anything ever happens to it, I’ll definitely be buying another. Awesome product.  Don’t regret the purchase at all.

Troy

Troy will be happy to know that all of our backpack straps are reinforced with internal webbing and sewn through the entire seam twice where they attach to the bag with nylon boot thread. This ensures that those straps will not pull out and explains why they haven’t torn while carrying a consistent load of 50lbs of gear.

Troy wanted to give a shotout to Eldar who’s a sales associate at ePhotoCraft.com where he purchased his Evo 8. He’s thankful that Eldar highly recommends Tamrac bags, and gives him great advice along with an occasional discount. So thanks, Eldar!

Here are some more images that troy sent us taken during his trek through Hawaii.

778710_10151642224254942_1880736074_o

Big Island, Hawaii

798417_10151642224299942_459065492_o

Big Island, Hawaii

Oahu

Oahu

You & Me Photo Contest Semi Finalists Announced

You_And_Me_PhotoContest

Photo Credit: @tedcraig

Our panel of judges have selected 16 semi-finalists to move on to the first public voting round of our latest Instagram Contest! We’ve posted the 16 submissions below for your viewing pleasure.

If you’d like to vote or see the rest of the submissions, follow us on Instagram @TamracPhoto for all the detail.

The winners will receive a free Tamrac Rally Messenger bag, and a free wooden iPhone case and pair of sunglasses from tmbrs.com!

For more on Tamrac, check out our Facebook page: fb.com/tamrac.inc
For more on tmbr, check out their website: tmbrs.com
For more on Ted Craig, check out his website: www.tedcraigphoto.com

Tamrac Fright Photo Contest

TedGraig

Tamrac Fright Photo Contest is our latest photo contest running on Instagram. We’ve gotten some dreadfully delicious submissions and wanted to share a random sampling with our online community! To see all of the submissions, look up #tamracfrightpic in Instagram. The contest is in its last day, so if you’d like to enter, check us out @tamracphoto for details! Special thanks to Ted Craig, one of our new and exciting sponsored photographers, for partnering with us for this contest!  Enjoy!

toriau

Follow on Instagram @toriau

stardust_and_wanderlust

Follow on Instagram @stardust_and_wanderlust

camwashburn

Follow on Instagram @camwashburn

suazojazz

Follow on Instagram @suazojazz

Steeven333

Follow on Instagram @Steeven333

roohdi

Follow on Instagram @roohdi

rn_photography

Follow on Instagram @rn_photography

rjzimont

Follow on Instagram @rjzimont

holdenbrown

Follow on Instagram @holdenbrown

bjscribben

Follow on Instagram @bjscribben

beckyalicecoe

Follow on Instagram @beckyalicecoe