OUR LATEST POSTS
“People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional
connection to a product or service.”
-Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
Something More than Great Imagery…
Could it be that we have spent all this time honing our craft to become better and better photographers, and the harsh reality is that having great photos alone isn’t enough to build a successful photography business?
The Truth About Quality Photographs
The truth is clients just expect their photos to be good. No one goes around saying “I take OK photos, want to hire me?” So why in the WORLD do we try and base the price of our images off of the quality of our images?
The answer is because we are artists and this is our craft. We want people to value it, but the hard truth is that once photography became widely available and much “easier” to do, the overall quality of images went up and clients started to simply expect them all to be good.
What Else You Got?
Subconsciously, this is the question on all of our clients minds. If they are asked to pay anything over average for our products and services, then they expect something more.
So what MORE do you need to offer?
That is simple. We have to offer emotional connections through the services we provide them, and through the products we sell. This is done by:
#1 – Telling gripping stories when we are initially meeting with leads that help communicateWHY these images matter in the first place. This helps connect them with the heart behind why you do what you do.
#2 – Do special things for your clients – send them gifts/thoughtful notes. Their excitementover the service you are providing for them builds trust and helps them spread the word about your studio!
#3. Taking care of the small, but important details will build their confidence in you! Following up with a great experience throughout the whole process from booking through the wedding/shoot day and beyond is key in showing that there is more to your studio than just taking great images.
If we can do these things effectively, then clients will pay a premium for us once word gets out, and they will see the value that we bring to the table… along with great images.
We saw this time and again in our wedding business where clients were willing to pay average prices up front, but once we created an emotional connection and a great experience, they paid 2x, 3x and even 4x what they initially thought they would spend!
For us that meant a $3,000 bride up front would turn into a $12,000 bride by the time we were done. And this wasn’t just some fluke with our brand. Luke and Cat see this regularly and have built one of the top profiting studios in the country using this technique, and we could go on and on of countless photographers we have personally coached that have had amazing results.
Remember: “People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional connection to a product or service.”
How do I do that?
First, begin to connect to your clients emotionally and start by telling your best stories. What you need more than anything is to learn how to tell your own photographic stories in a highly engaging way.
Once you learn how to craft the message of a powerful story (one you photographed), then you are at the beginning of the journey with your clients to give them much more than they thought they would get.
Value is created through connection, and once your client connects emotionally to what you do, it’s the beginning of a great experience where trust is built – and trust makes them which want to gladly invest back in to your business by paying you more.
“Thoughts create beliefs in the conscious mind; once sent to the subconscious, those beliefs become feelings and actions. If your subconscious computes that you will likely succeed at something, it brings all your powers to bear to make it come true. If it computes that you’ll fail, it will generate behavior to make that come true–that’s what it means to be self-destructive.”
-Tim Sanders, Today We Are Rich
It has taken me years to get the courage to write part 1 of this series (and even longer to access the tools to make it a reality in my life). I have mulled over writing part 3 of this series for weeks now, and the reason is that truthfully, I was afraid to write it.
Afraid that you all might think we should be talking about marketing strategy, or off-camera lighting instead of vulnerability, trauma, and how to change our core belief systems.
But today I am stepping into those fears and writing what we know we need to send you regardless of that fear, and if you don’t want to read it, that’s totally fine! We have a great shooting and marketing piece coming your way soon enough.
Fear causes people to freeze and to not act, and fear typically is a symptom of shame in my life. Shame that someone will not like what we say, or not like who we are, or not like the direction we are headed. But that is OK. Shame, fear and the controls we put into place to manage them are NOT something we want in our lives anymore!
Welcome to part 3 of the the Night My House Burned Down.
In part 2 we walked through the Poverty Mind-Set and demonstrated just how destructive it is. I told you about my personal mind-set from my early years and how I truly believed that success was something unavailable to me. That all changed ONCE I changed my information intake.
If we now understand that “thoughts create beliefs in the conscious mind” and that “those thoughts become actions and feelings” then we now know that in order to become the people that we have always wanted to become and to build the businesses that we have always dreamed of building, we have to create a new system for receiving information and be tuned in to what we allow to dominate our minds.
Essentially, if you want to change your circumstances, it starts with how you think, and the decisions and choices you then make based on your beliefs.
Here’s how to start:
(NOTE: There is something that is relatively new to me that I believe I should share (I have been hesitating, but know I should and I will at the end of this rather LONG post), but first, lets recap a post we wrote in January about how to change your Mind-Diet and therefore change your core belief systems. To do this is actually very simple, but it does take dedication and focus.)
Step 1: Take an Inventory of What you Allow into Your Mind Each Day
Tim Sanders (in his book Today We Are Rich) says to spend the next few weeks taking an inventory in a small journal of what goes into your mind. Everything that you read, listen to and watch should be quickly logged with the amount of time spent doing it, and then you should quickly categorize the Tone (was it positive, negative or neutral) of each of those events. (We wrote about this in our “A Great 2016 Starts Here” post).
You should also do this for people that you spend time with (friends, family and associates). A youth pastor of mine often said, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” Don’t underestimate the impact people have that you surround yourself with!
Then after you do this for a few weeks, quickly scan over the journal and circle the negative or useless information you have “consumed” and then highlight the positive information and relationships.
Once you become aware of what you are letting in, then you can start to do something about it.
Step 2: Filter Out The Negative
You must start taking control of your Mind-Intake if you want true change in your life.
If the first thing you do when you get up is read the news, check email, hop on social media (or like those of us with kids) get your kids ups and let the chaos begin, then we need to re-think our first mind meal.
How you start the day will determine the thoughts that dominate your afternoon and night.
This morning, I (Zach) woke up and listened to the Bible App audio of Romans chapters 4 and 5, and then got my son up and cooked him breakfast (and it is amazing how positive that experience was since I started my morning with a positive intake). On my way to work at a coffee shop I put on the Hold Me Tight audio book which is a marriage study that Jody and I are doing that teaches positive cycles in conversation and how to hear each others deepest emotional needs. This got me thinking positive thoughts about Jody and what I can do to enhance our marriage.
I then got in to work, and opened Trello and starting organizing my day and prioritizing tasks. I refused to open my email, Facebook or Instagram or listen to the news, as all of those things become either neutral or negative influences on the start of my day. When I do open email or check social media, it is with a business mind-set and purpose, and to get in and get out fast.
My day was full of positive thinking, belief in what we are doing, and completing key tasks and staying focused on helping others.
Step 3: Up Until Now
In my Transformational Coaching I did with the incredible Julia Woods of Beautiful Outcome, she changed ONE phrase in my daily language that had been holding me back for YEARS of my life.
“Up Until Now”
Whenever I catch myself saying something like “I was hurt as a kid, and I just keep people at a distance to protect myself.” I insert the phrase “up until now.” (I use this for anything that I say that seems concrete in my mind, but that I do want change to happen in).
What that does is it takes all that negative language and turns it futuristic. It says, “yeah, things have been hard, but I can change that! They WERE hard up until now.” Some might say that I’m just fooling myself because those thoughts or feelings I have do have truth to them. But Tim Sanders says:
“The reason it is so important to feed your mind good stuff is that the resulting thoughts determine your success or failure, your happiness or misery, and most important, the circumstances of your life.”
You have to say “enough is enough!” No longer will allow what has happened TO me determine WHO I will become and who I WILL be.
The Final Step To TRUE Transformation: Vulnerability
This is the part I didn’t want to share, but KNOW that I need to share.
For the last 10 years of marriage and my entire life before I met my wife, I always believed that who I was, who I TRULY was, was not something anyone wanted.
The kid who grew up poor. The kid who didn’t get an education. The kid who wet the bed until he was 12 years old and never stayed at friends houses because of it (admitting that one is still fresh to me and really hard to say). The kid (and adult) who thought he was dumb. The man who coped and medicated his pain in ways that hurt those around him. Who would want that person? Who would love that person?
But I have found something in the relationship with my son that I spoke about in Part 1 of this series. Because of my son’s complete honesty about who he is, and because he has no shame covering his heart (like I have had up until now) there was this safety for me to open up to my son and allow him access to my heart. When I was seen for who I truly am for what I believe was the very first time, it started a chain reaction in me that I am still coming to grips with.
It revealed my true self. One that I had not even known was there. He opened up my wounds, my shame, my fear, and exposed my heart. Because of that I decided to make a choice. Would I continue to medicate my pain and cope, or would I finally allow comfort and healing to enter my wounds? Would I risk MORE exposure to those around me like my wife and close friends? Or would I continue to hide, cover my shame, and control those around me so they would not see it?
I chose healing and comfort. For the last 6 weeks of my life, for the first time I can remember, I have not medicated my pain (praise be to God for that!). I have been transformed and who I truly am is coming to the surface for the first time in my life. I have been exposing that true self to my wife, which has been transformational for our marriage. I have been exposing that true self to my friends, my family, and my son and it is radically changing me. It also is SUPER hard!
What I am saying is that your testimony matters, your mind-set matters, and your mind-diet matters, but there is something more vital, more critical, and more important to do than ALL of that.
It is the simple act of vulnerability.
The act of telling my wife what is TRULY going on in my heart. No longer holding back that last 10%. Exposure and honesty has brought healing to my life like nothing else before it.
Shame > Fear > Control > Cope: Repeat
I have come to realize that when something happens to me (or I do something to myself) that is hard to come to grips with (abuse, wrong behaviors, violence against me, abusive language towards me, being different in some way, and the list goes on), it can cause shame. Then the natural reaction to that shame is fear that someone will expose it. So we then use control, brought on buy fear, to hide our shame. Then many of us manage our pain caused by the shame of what has happened to us. We manage it with drugs, alcohol, pornography, acting out, anger, food, shopping, or whatever we can use to numb us to our pain.
Once I made a decision to STOP medicating and coping, it allowed that pain to come straight to the surface. Once it comes to the surface, I can deal with it, get comfort for it, and get healing for it. When my pain is dealt with properly, I no longer need to cope. I can be free and start walking in liberty.
I know this is deep, and that some of you may be going “hey, don’t you guys teach lighting and stuff? Is that what this email list is about?” The answer is yes and no. Most of the time we teach about lighting and business and systems, but we felt called to speak about something deeper and more important for a few weeks and we are grateful you have all given us your ears and listened to what we had to say.
If any of this message is speaking to you and you want freedom from the shame that has taken over your life and caused you to live in darkness, then I want to give you some powerful resources to help you on your journey of recovery (some of which, that have literally changed my life) . We believe that you are called to be free of shame, and free from the things that hold you back from being who you were truly created to be.
If you want to walk through your story with someone with insight on who you truly are, then coaching with Julia Woods will be one of THE most powerful experiences of your life. I walked through the 12 weeks with her and it was life changing.
If you have a sexual addiction and need freedom, then be bold, be strong, and contact the team at Bethesda. People come from all over to attend these powerful workshops, and they can show you how to get healing for your wounds and help you cope in the right way and get free of coping behavior.
As I mentioned in Part I, my world was rocked when I came to know the Lord at 17. Throughout my life He has been the ever-present one always loving me, accepting me and welcoming me with open arms, even when I messed up bad. His hand has been evident on my life. Without the Lord saving me, guiding me, and protecting me I wouldn’t be here today. If you’re not sure about the whole Jesus thing, but are interested, I encourage you to find a Bible-believing church and get plugged into a small group where you can surround yourself with caring people who can answer your questions.
Emotionally Focused Therapy
If you are married and feel emotionally distant from your spouse, we recommend finding a Bible Based EFT counselor that comes HIGHLY recommended and getting into counseling. Getting a coach to be a third party in your marriage does not mean that you are bad, broken or wrong, it instead means that you care so much about your spouse that you want to make things better. Jody and I have been in this type of counseling for the past 8 months and it has been transformational for us.
In conjunction with our counseling, we are reading Hold Me Tight, and it has been really hard, but powerful. We are experiencing closeness like we never knew we could have, and it has been the best investment in US we could have ever made. You BOTH have to want it, but when you both decide that you want it, it is powerful.
Is your marriage on the brink and you’re in desperate need of help? Check out Focus on the Family’s Marriage intensives, which are designed to help marriages in crisis.
Jody and I started in incredible marriage retreat called Connect which just happened last week. We had 64 couples at WinShape Retreat Center with us for 3.5 days, and it was truly transformational. It is an event for married couples that are in business together and focusses on that unique dynamic. We have just over 60 spots for next year, and have already sold 30 of those spots to this years attendees and it will sell out super fast!
To find out more about Connect Retreat, CLICK HERE and if you want to register, click below!
Need a Trusted Person to Talk to?
Faith based, Focus on the Family has licensed counselors available (for free) to listen and provide guidance, and to pray with you.
Before I end this 3-part series, I want to share with you a story…
There is an old story of a very wealthy man that had 2 sons. Both were born into wealth and both were given a great inheritance. One son stayed the path his father had set out for him, and the other took his inheritance and squandered it all and ended up left with nothing. He hit rock bottom of mind, body and spirit.
He decided he had had enough, so he got up and started the journey home to his father’s hoause. He thought to himself, “If I just go home, tell my father that I am no longer worthy to be called his son, maybe my father will let me work as a hired hand and at least I won’t starve.”
While he was still a long way off from his child-hood home, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Bring the best of our food and let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” The entire family began to celebrate that the Prodigal was home.
This is what my heavenly Father thinks of me. For a long time I thought I wasn’t worthy of a love so unconditional and such acceptance, and I thought so lowly of myself. This isn’t truth! He is waiting with open arms to love me, accept me and help me start brand new. This is the restoration and lasting transformation that I have found in knowing God.
Thanks for joining me as I’ve shared, and I hope that this has been a far bigger blessing to you than any shooting or business content we’ve put out.
Start The Conversation
Last week’s email really struck a chord with many of you. We received over 150 emails, and some of you shared heart-breaking stories of pain, feelings of defeat, struggle, hope, joy and gladness. We want to say thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to share. No one is perfect, and we all have our own stuff to deal with and hurdles to overcome, regardless of how perfect things may seem from the outside. We hope to continue to be a voice that has meaning in your lives and speaks truth.
Last week I (Zach) covered how I developed a mind-set of powerlessness. This week we are going to dive deeper into that mind-set and show you how to recognize it, and once you expose it to the light, work through the steps to defeat it in order to create a life that is limitless.
“Powerlessness is one of the primary effects of poverty.”
Danny Silk, Culture of Honor
Winning in life or business is dependent on exposing the lies we have believed, and bringing truth into our minds and hearts. When we do that, we open our self up to the limitless possibilities of what we can do when we believe that anything is possible.
Let’s get started.
Poverty is infectious.
I am not talking about money, influence or how much stuff you have. I am talking about an impoverished mind.
Thinking this way is dangerous, destructive and holds many people down.
Today I want to lift you UP and show you that poverty does not have to overtake you.
Once I was exposed to the truth of how I thought, I had the potential for change. But first I had to see that my mind-set was one of poverty in every sense of the word.
Growing up I believed that success was something I would never have (and was not even sure what “success” was). I believed that an education was so far out of my reach that it literally felt like a mountain inside my mind that I could never ascend. That belief system made me feel powerless, and it wasn’t until I was EXPOSED to the truth (and stopped believing the way that I did) that I was able to change.
One of the keys that started me on my journey to healing was learning about three main mindsets that people have, and how each mindset affects how you think and behave.
Now, remember, these are MINDsets. We’re not talking about money, though each mindset can affect one’s income. We’re talking about a Poor way of believing, a Middle class way of believing and a Wealthy way of believing.
They believe that they are powerless (like I did). They believe that they are victims and someone else is to blame for where they are, and they believe that external forces are in control of their fate.
- Powerless over their fate
- They are victims
- External forces are controlling their lives
- Life happens TO you
- Adaption Required
- Living Superstitiously
With this belief system you feel like you can’t do much about what happens. You “hope that one day…” and you believe, “if that person had not done this then you would be able to (fill in the blank).” You believe you have zero control and are at the mercy of fate.
This mentality is oppressive and can be fatal to the mind because you feel powerless.
THE MIDDLE CLASS
- More Powerful Interactions (with life)
- Have choices
- Can change the environment
- Believe circumstances can change
- Dreams can come true IF they choose wise moral and healthy practices
This middle-class mentality is much different than the poor. They believe that if they work hard, pay their dues, and spend their life hard at work (and if their political party stays in power more often than not), they can win a bit bigger than others.
The only issue is there is a ceiling on what they can do, what they can have, and the influence they can exude over their environment. It is still circumstantial because it is based on limitations.
But there is a 3rd mentality. One that I began to adopt and have been moving towards in the last 7 years of my life. That of the wealthy. (Again, I am NOT talking about having loads of money or tons of things, but a mind-set).
- Anything is possible
- Can get whatever they want
- Nothing and no one can get in their way
Characteristics of the Wealthy:
- Limitless Existence
- Unlimited Choices
- Create their Change
A mindset of abundance! According to Danny Silk, “The wealthy live in a limitless existence where there is no want. No one keeps them from getting what they set their heart and mind upon. The wealthy are accustomed to getting their way. Whatever they ask for, they receive.”
Imagine if you woke up tomorrow morning and you were told, “Whatever you believe and whatever you set out to do will succeed.” How would that change your interactions that day? You would hop out of bed with more confidence in your step knowing you could conquer the world and that anything was in your grasp.
But how many of us wake up each morning feeling powerless? Like nothing is going to go in our favor today? Like we have to brace ourselves for the worst… Life change will not occur if this is where are minds are stuck.
Change begins to happen once we start changing the way we THINK.
THIS is the kind of thinking I want to have!
Many books out there speak to this:
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
“Thoughts create beliefs in the conscious mind; once sent to the subconscious, those beliefs become feelings and actions.”
“Uncertainty (of mind) is a spiritual enemy that will siphon out your rocket fuel. It turns go-getters into giver-uppers.”
If we are to succeed in life (and yes, in business), we have to learn how to shift our mind-set from one of poverty to one of TRUE wealth.
This IS possible for anyone! Once we begin to have a Wealthy mindset, we can conquer anything we set out to do, can have a wealthy spirit that can live in complete peace and be at rest, and live in complete abundance that can create wealth around itself and freely give.
This is how I want to live each day. Do you?
Next week I will share with you the the practical steps on how you can begin to change the way you think so you can become rich in mind, spirit and body. Until then, read back on each mindset and see what belief set you feel you often relate to the most.
Thanks for sharing in this journey with me.
PS. Start the conversation with the hashtag #povertymindset on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Tell us what you have believed that you KNOW is a lie, and what you are going to start believing in its place.
It was 1985 and I was sound asleep in bed at 4am. I woke up to the fire alarm and I (Zach) remember thinking at that young age, “Man, mom is cooking again…” and I went back to sleep.
But my house WAS on fire.
My mother woke me and my 3 siblings (Gabriel, Abigail and Sarah) and we gathered in the living room where flames were running up the wall. We sat on the couch and watched the reflection of the fire on our TV while we waiting for everyone to group up.
We ran out of the house wearing nothing but our winter boots and pajamas as fire blew the windows out behind us when we opened the back door.
We just escaped with our lives.
I was 6 years old, and my dad was not there.
My dad had left my mother and us 4 kids the year before, and now here we were alone in the dark of that 4am Northern, MN winter, and we had lost everything.
It all went up in flames. And from that day on I felt like my childhood did as well.
That was the first of many traumas in my life over the next decade that included abuse, neglect, and a max of a 3rd grade education that caused me to believe one thing…
I am Powerless over my Fate.
And this is what I begin speaking to myself internally for many years to come. This became who I was and who I told myself I was destined to be. But the story doesn’t end there.
After spending 10 years hiding my identity, lying to most people I met about the truth of my life, at 17 years old something happened. I met Jesus at a youth retreat and realized that He believed in me.
That gave me hope.
Even though my father had seemingly abandoned us and I barely knew him, this new Father was there for me and seemed to deeply care for me. I started to see light at the end of this dark road of hiding that I had been on.
When I was 21 I met someone else. A youth pastor who for one meal together became an earthly father I had never known. He believed in me, told me I could do MORE than what I had been doing, and that gave me direction.
When I was 24 I met someone new.
Jody believed in me and wanted to know me and wanted to love this nobody kid who had no dad, no education and no dreams. It is incredible to have someone who believes in you. It is life-giving to have someone that thinks you have value even when you are totally flawed.
That gave me vision.
Then 2 years ago I met someone who absolutely wrecked me.
After not being sure if we could ever have children, and after losing 3 before him, a miracle happened.
We met our son, Jaxon Gray.
He showed me something buried deep within my past. He showed me how I had been hiding for a long time. Hiding from my true self. Hiding from the person that God had created me to be. I started to see that the fears I had for him were really the unmet needs I had in myself.
He has become a teacher of sorts to me. A revealer and a seeker of my own soul. He is a part of my DNA and there is something about him I can’t ignore.
He showed me how much I STILL need my own dad and how much I want Jaxon to know his.
All of my hopes and my dreams and everything I wanted as a child have became wrapped up in my desire to give him everything I never had. Things like a father who never leaves, a home that is secure, an education that he can access anytime he wants and more. But through all of that desire to give to him, I am realizing that he is awaking my deep seated fear of intimacy and helping me to see that I need to change my mind-set if I want to be free.
He has given me a renewed purpose. That purpose is to become a better man. To finally love with abandon like he loves. To look into someone else’s eyes without fear like he can. Without fear that they might know the truth about who I am. To dance and sing and shout for joy just because!
My little son is more free than I have ever known since that cold day in 1985 when some inside of me burned up in that fire.
This journey with him has been the hardest journey of my life and the last two years I have had to dig deep into the muck and mire of me by watching my reflection in him.
But something interesting is happening. I am finally finding my true self. My TRUE purpose. Who I was created to be. That person is still hard to see at times but I know he is there.
I am still deep in this journey and have a long way to go. But today, Jody and I want to bring you something.
Hope that there IS a way out. There IS a way to peace and to being free.
Now I have met someone new.
Man, I am gonna be messed up with this one! Only God knows what she will teach me. I don’t know if I am ready to learn what she can teach!
My life experiences have showed me how what you believe in your mind can limit you from walking in your true potential.
In this 3 part series that dives deep into our story (and yours) we are going to show you how to break the cycle of living a poverty mind-set and start living your TRUE potential that YOU were created for. Welcome to part 1 of Today We are Rich (based on Tim Sanders book by the same name).
We are beyond excited that you are here with us. We are honored to be able to speak to over 55,000 of you that are on this newsletter list. All of us are in need of something, and these next 3 weeks are going to be powerful, and COULD be life-changing if you allow them to be.
We believe that there is more out there for you – untapped potential that you can have access to if you want it. If you press in these next few weeks, you can get something that you might have never known was possible.
See you next week when we reveal the Poverty Mind-Set and how to start breaking free from it and pursuing the change that can impact your business, your photography, and your personal lives in ways you never imagined.
When out on-location doing portraits for weddings, seniors or any type of shoot, sometimes you need an EASY and portable way to get the job done AND make the images look beautiful.
Speedlites are great for portability, but other than not having a lot of power output, their biggest issue is the QUALITY of the light is not so good. They look harsh and “flashy” and rarely produce AMAZING light.
In this short video shot on-location in Nevada, we show you how to not only execute great flash shots using a speedlite, but how to make that light look AMAZING on your subject!
Cyber Sync Transmitters and receivers (the CST and CSRB models)
“Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most
people succeed because they are determined to.”
– Henry Ford
2016 can be the best or WORST year ever for your business. The great thing is the outcome is your choice for 99% of you.
Do you need more referrals? Well our brand new 5x Your Referrals PDF guide will help you get there.
This PDF contains the 5 proven strategies that when implemented, will get more people talking about you and more shoots on the books for 2016.
Oh, and did we mention it is TOTALLY FREE? Yeah. That’s how we roll.
YOUR FREE PDF
Here is your free copy of the new PDF so grab it now while you can.
Have a great week, and get those referrals going!