beyonce photographer blair caldwell

Meet Blair Caldwell, the Personal Photographer for Beyoncé, Normani, & More

He’s responsible for many of your favorite photos.

By: Jodi Taylor

“During the early ’00s, I remember picking up a camera phone for the first time and shooting my sister. We would re-create magazine covers, and [from there] I began to use my creativity to shoot photographs with my phone.” It was as early as elementary school that Blair Caldwell knew he wanted to pursue a career in photography. “I had a fascination with class portraits,” he tells us. “I was drawn to the idea that so many different people of all shapes, colors, and sizes could fit into one photo.” Eventually, Caldwell, who is originally from Tyler, Texas, relocated to L.A. to pursue his dream of working in entertainment photography and found himself interning on music video sets and a mentee to various inspirational creatives. It wasn’t long after that he found his first client, Chrisette Michele.

 

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Today, Caldwell counts the likes of Beyoncé, Normani, and Cynthia Erivo among his clientele. “It’s really a dream come true. My career thus far came with the help of believing in myself,” he explains. “Still to this day, I have endurance and optimism, [but] I’ve learned [it’s important to] surround yourself with people that will be there to pick you up.” He explains that as a freelancer, he never really knows what his week will look like, but there's always a fair amount of research and brainstorming for upcoming shoots. “Keeping positive energy around me is important,” he says. “Balance is everything, so I make sure I incorporate fun by hanging out with my friends. If I’m not on a shoot, I’m usually editing and challenging myself to better my craft.”

But it’s not every week that Caldwell finds himself on his home turf in L.A. “Last summer I had the opportunity to be a photographer for Normani as the opening act on Ariana Grande’s Sweetener tour. Touring can be a sacrifice because you’re gone for extended periods of time, [and] naturally, you miss your friends and family, [but] it challenged me because I had to constantly be creative, shooting the same stage and the same show night after night.” All of the photographer’s sacrifices and hard work have clearly paid off, as this year he was nominated for an iHeartRadio Music Award for Best Tour Photographer. And yet, despite his accomplishments, Caldwell let us know that the most rewarding part of his job is seeing his clients happy. “I appreciate the opportunity to travel all over the world, [and] my clients are very inspirational people. A lot of work goes into creating art, and when I see something I had a hand in come to life and people appreciate it, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Scroll through the below for Caldwell’s commentary on a few of his favorite photos.

“Beyoncé at the 2020 Roc Nation Brunch. The lighting was perfect this day.”

“Normani in Versace right before the 2019 Billboard Women in Music event. Such a cool night!”

“[The] ‘Motivation’ music video set. This was in between camera changes and was such an iconic day because it was Normani’s debut single and music video.”

“Cynthia Erivo for the Golden Globes nomination [for] Harriet. This day was amazing—easily one of my favorite movies of the year.”

“This photo was taken at Soho House downtown as Cynthia got ready for the Harriet premiere.”

“This was right before the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala . I literally only had 15 minutes to take this photo before she headed out to the star-studded Clive Davis event.”

“Normani on the Sweetener Tour. One of my favorite shots from tour—[it was]such a fun set to capture on camera!”

“Normani and Ariana Grande on the last night of the Sweetener tour. I was so happy to get this opportunity. I waited the whole tour to capture Ariana and Normani together!”

“This is my sister, Tiki. She was my first photography model, and I still enjoy shooting her.”

“An iconic moment—Beychella was by far one of my favorite photography experiences. It was fast-paced, I learned a lot, and I’m grateful to have shot such a historical moment.”

“Another Beychella moment. All of the movement on stage made for some amazing stills from the performance.”

“2019 Roc Nation Brunch. This was a very cool day! Beyoncé wore this incredible Balmain dress that was constructed with the coolest shapes—it made every shot look abstract and mesmerizing.”

“This is on set of the ‘Diamonds’ music video; Normani and Megan Thee Stallion’s song for [the] Birds of Prey album. The colors on this set made for some really vibrant photos.”

“This night was so cool, and it felt nostalgic capturing Bey in this military-green Balmain dress. It was super fitting for this historical night, the premiere of Queen & Slim.”

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