About Blair Phillips Photography
Growing up there was no opportunity in my household for future advancement; no further education after high school, no parenting, and dreams that seemed out of reach. I was taken away from my mother in the fifth grade and was placed with my grandparents three hours away from “home”. When I was a junior in high school, both of my grandparents who were raising me passed away, leaving me to finish educating myself through high school, working 40 hours a week at a local grocery store. Finances were so bad that senior pictures were not an option due to money and most of my time off was spent juggling work and school. I wasn’t able to have much of a social life as a normal teenager.
The reason for the short story above is to give you an idea of where the motivation and creativity comes from in my images. We began our business in 2003 part time and 2006 full time and have turned our name, Blair Phillips Photography into a household name that people in our community, and from several states away, have come to know and adore. In these short, incredible years, we photograph between 40-60 weddings and 500+ studio sessions per year with myself as the only photographer, my wife Suzanne and three additional employees. In our small, economically deprived mill town of 3,100 people, being called “successful” before the age of 30 is an understatement!
Lot's of ways to Connect with Blair Phillips Photography:
Tell us something about Your Business and how long you've been a professional photographer?
Blair Phillips Photography has been described as eclectic elegance-keeping very timeless elements of portraiture while putting people where they don’t belong (in unusual settings). I got bored with traditional backgrounds and wanted something different, so my mind went towards the unique. Putting people where they don’t belong like a bride in a junkyard, a family in an abandoned house, or a child on a set I’ve built in the studio with rusted tin. We have been in business 4 full time years, opening our full time studio doors in Sept 2006. We photograph seniors, weddings, newborns, children, families, boudoir and commercial every now and then.
What equipment do you use?
I mainly use a Nikon D3 for all my sessions and a Nikon D300s for videos. I use the 24-70mm Nikon f/2.8 on all of my sessions as well as the 70-200mm Nikon f/2.8, 50mm Nikon f/1.8 and the 17-35mm Nikon f/2.8
Where are you located?
Our 4,000 square ft studio, which just underwent an extensive renovation, is located in Landis, NC which is about 20 miles northeast of Charlotte, NC. Landis is a deprived mill town of about 3,500 people.
What type of photography do you like to create?
I like to create the abnormal while still keeping the images timeless and elegant. For all of my sessions, I try to photograph for the parents, the subject and then myself. I’ll capture some “safe” images for the parents and then also produce some images that are a little more artistic and different.
Price Range of Events?
Price is something that we have battled for years, but it is something that we feel like we have our hands around now. Typically, our seniors, for example, will usually spend around $850 - $2000 and our other studio sessions will be just a little under that amount. For weddings, our Collections start at $2,895 and go up to a little over $7,000 with our average Collection being $4,950.
When did you notice you had a passion for Photography?
On my previous job, I was a commercial glass installer and was on the road most days in my work truck. I carried a Nikon Cool Pix camera on my side at all time. When I saw something interesting, I would pull over and take a shot of it. I was drop my film off at a local drug store for development and one day the lady developing my film told me I had an eye for photography and I was onto something great. Now, that was coming from a drug store lab so it wasn’t that huge of a compliment but that got my passion going even further. From the Nikon Cool Pix, I advanced to a Fuji S2 and began photographing anyone or anything that would stand still! It absolutely snowballed from there.
What is unique to what you do or what you offer?
We do lots of off camera lighting that most people in our area don’t offer. We’re able to produce studio quality lighting outdoors, no matter what time of day it is because of my LR-02 Light Cart. These dramatic sky images have somewhat become a trademark of ours and our seniors especially, love them because it’s much different than what anyone else can offer them.
Most Awkward moment during an event?
I was shooting a wedding once where the grooms Father shouted and cussed out the Bride, telling her how worthless she was. A fight then proceeded and I packed up my things and waited in the car for about a hour until the dust settled.
What is the scariest thing that ever happened during a shoot?
I was shooting a wedding once in a bad neighborhood and all of a sudden, I was caught in the middle of a drive by shooting... Just kidding. But I did loose a lens cap one time!
Best advice that you've been given in your photography career?
The best advice I’ve been given was to stay true to myself and follow my vision. I listened to some formal photographers early in my career and I almost quit!
Best advice that you could give someone else that is pursuing a photography career?
The best advice I can give, other than what I had been told about following my vision, is to learn and understand the fundamentals of photography while you are finding what you are passionate about shooting.
Best moment of your photography career?
The absolute best moment of my career was winning my first national photography competition for senior photography in early 2010. I was so overwhelmed!
How many sessions/events do you do each year?
Our studio has about 600 session a year along with about 30-35 weddings a year. About 100 of those session are Limited Edition sessions that we offer for one day throughout the year.
Have you changed anything to adjust in the current economic times?
During these hard economic times, we actually have increased our prices. Since doing that, we’ve cut out some of the sessions that we were actually loosing money on. It’s kinda crazy but it’s definitely worked for us.
Describe your shooting style:
I try to be extremely versatile when I shoot. I’m like a chameleon that can adapt to any situation or I can turn things upside down and make them my own. I also show the client how to pose each and every time. By doing this, they get the pose right immediately and I know that I got the shot.