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5 Big Giveaways Start Now! Enter now!

5 Big Giveaways Start Now! Enter now!

We are super excited to be giving away 5 (you read that right!) Low-Light Flash Kits valued at $550! If you shoot in low-light situations then this giveaway is one you don’t want to miss out on! All you have to do to enter is CLICK HERE! Once you do, you will...
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We are super excited to be giving away 5 (you read that right!) Low-Light Flash Kits valued at $550! If you shoot in low-light situations then this giveaway is one you don’t want to miss out on!

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All you have to do to enter is CLICK HERE!

Once you do, you will have a chance to get 3 more entries by sharing about the giveaway to your friends which will increase your chances big time!

Good luck!


PS. For those of you who want to be able to confidently rock your low-lit shoots, specifically RECEPTIONS, then we have some exciting news headed your way soon, so stay tuned!

 

4 Key Areas to Building Wealth | Part II

4 Key Areas to Building Wealth | Part II

Do what you love and the money will follow… “The average middle class American believes this statement to be true, but when I surveyed the most successful people in America, they overwhelmingly disagreed with that notion.”  -Lewis Schiff, Business...
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Do what you love and the money will follow…

“The average middle class American believes this statement to be true, but when I surveyed the most successful people in America, they overwhelmingly disagreed with that notion.” 

-Lewis Schiff, Business Brilliant

It is not enough to THINK that what you do (take awesome photos) is valuable and then spend all of your time trying to sell that work. If you are not making money then you MUST change direction. You have to follow the money trail in order to win in business.

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How do we practically follow the money? Here are 3 keys that we have used to make our work valuable in a business that is constantly devaluing art.

1. Become a powerful story-teller. 
If you can engage people with stories that ring true to their heart, then you can create value that is worth paying for. When people are engaged with your brand emotionally, they will pay more for it.

2. Add value that enhances others lives. 
No one cares about you and your business (sorry!). They care about themselves. So make your brand about other people and what is in it for them on a deep emotional level. Speak to their hearts and to their needs and not to yours. Your wants might be for people to value the hard work you put in to be a great photographer, or the sacrifice you made to edit for long hours on their images, or your investment into your gear. Well, the client doesn’t care. They care about how the experience of working with you makes them feel. Focus on that.

3. Don’t be afraid to sell. 
We have met countless photographers that are simply afraid to hold a sales session and sell their work. Always give every single client an opportunity to buy, and you will be shocked at how many will. When you do offer an opportunity to buy, realize that what you say and how you say it and WHEN you say it is crucial to the sale. If you say that people can come see the photos, but are not clear that it is a chance to buy, then don’t be surprised when they show up, look and leave.


We created an entire system around what we said, how we said it and when we said it to clients and that system doubled our income. In the next installment of this series of building wealth, we will share some of the keys to setting expectations for your clients so they show up and buy from you!


PS. Are you interested in the system that we have created that helped us double our profits with our clients? Sign up HERE so you don’t miss out!
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It had been awhile since we had done this…

It had been awhile since we had done this…

We did it… As a photographer, one of the most valuable experiences you can have that will benefit you AND your clients is to get IN FRONT of the camera every now and then. Yes, in front. Not behind. A couple weeks ago we had the huge honor of having our...
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We did it…

As a photographer, one of the most valuable experiences you can have that will benefit you AND your clients is to get IN FRONT of the camera every now and then.

Yes, in front.

Not behind.

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A couple weeks ago we had the huge honor of having our maternity/family photos taken by none other than Katelyn James & Amy Demos.

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(Above Image by Amy Demos)

(Above Image by Katelyn James)

We loooooooooooove the shots they took of our family and we can’t thank them enough!

It’s always a great experience being shot by another photographer (or in our case, TWO photographers) and we can’t encourage you enough to make an effort to get in front of the camera on a semi regular basis.

Not only do we want to share with you images from the session (I mean, come on, how can we not? We LOVE these photos!), but we want to share our top 3 reasons why you can benefit from getting a professional photoshoot.

 >> Visit Katelyn’s blog featuring our family session!
>> Visit Amy’s blog featuring our family session!

Why You can Benefit from Having Your Own Professional Photoshoot

#1. It helps you relate to your clients better

Doing photoshoots can become second nature and we can often forget how our clients feel! They are thinking about it the week leading up, trying to plan what they are going to wear, and may even be pretty nervous the day of and at the shoot. When you schedule your own photoshoot, you are reminded of all of this and it helps you empathize with your clients so you can make sure to put them at ease throughout the process.

#2. It’s an opportunity to learn

Getting exposed to how other photographers work can be extremely beneficial and help us become better shooters as well. Being shot by Katelyn and Amy was a killer reminder on how important it is to clearly communicate what you want your client to do (in regards to posing). They were great at not invading our space (touching us) but giving very clear instruction on where our faces should point and where body limbs should go. You can tell they have worked on this and it’s such a great skill to have as a photographer. This invokes a confidence in the person being shot!

#3. It’s an opportunity to get better

Another great reminder we walked away with, is the importance of always making sure you are affirming your client as you are shooting them! During our photoshoot it was a bit muggy and we felt sticky and there were bugs, and we were walking on uneven terrain, and then of course, you’re worried about your hair, and how everyone else is looking, etc. etc. etc.  As your client is thinking about things like this, it can bring down their confidence, unsettle them and then that comes out in the images. The best thing Katelyn and Amy did was affirm us! When they were shooting they were checking the backs of their cameras letting us know how excited they were about how the shots were turning out, they were complimenting how we looked, and affirming our laughs and smiles. This made us feel AWESOME! When you do this as the photographer, the confidence in your client builds and reflects in the images.

Action Items:

1. Get together with a small group of photographers and practice posing each other using only words and yourself to demonstrate. No touching them!
2. Set up a photoshoot with another professional photographer. First, you’ll actually get some pro pictures of yourself and second, it will be a great reminder how your clients feel and how you can adjust your own shooting habits to make them feel more at ease!

We hope you have enjoyed this post and our family images from these two talented women. Have a great rest of your week!


 

PS. Want to learn more from us so you can grow your business?  Make sure you’re signed up to hear more about Shootflow, because it is going to do just that! Enter your email at this link!

The 6 Keys to a 6 Figure Photography Business – Webinar

The 6 Keys to a 6 Figure Photography Business – Webinar

Is there a formula for success? Are there steps you can follow to achieve the goals and dreams that you have for your business? We believe that there are and that if you listen to and follow the steps in this webinar, that you can have a more exciting and fulfilling...
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Is there a formula for success? Are there steps you can follow to achieve the goals and dreams that you have for your business? We believe that there are and that if you listen to and follow the steps in this webinar, that you can have a more exciting and fulfilling brand!

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To watch this free 1 hour webinar, click HERE!


PS: Do us a huge favor and share this exclusive content on your social network.
– Click HERE to tweet it out!

 

– Copy and paste the below to share this on Facebook!

“Our friends from @ZachAndJody have a free webinar on the 6 Keys to Building a 6 Figure Wedding Brand! Check it out at http://bit.ly/photographywebinar ”

Video | Behind the Scenes with the George Twins!

Video | Behind the Scenes with the George Twins!

I finally can post up the video of the shoot we did last fall of the  George Twins! I shot their promo material for their YouTube Channel and their marketing and some of their recent videos have gotten up to 4.5 million views! These guys are about to explode and I am...
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I finally can post up the video of the shoot we did last fall of the  George Twins! I shot their promo material for their YouTube Channel and their marketing and some of their recent videos have gotten up to 4.5 million views! These guys are about to explode and I am so stoked I got to shoot them early on!

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I just wrapped a second shoot of them last week and have more videos coming with some cool behind the scenes teaching you how I did it all!

Check out the behind the scenes video at link below, and while you are there, follow our Youtube channel for more videos that will give your brand a kick in the pants!

CLICK HERE to see the video!

PS. Are you interested in learning more studio lighting techniques? Check out our RAW DVD for only $99 HERE.

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Photo Tellers Podcast featuring Zach Gray

Photo Tellers Podcast featuring Zach Gray

“When you are unqualified to succeed, prove them wrong.” Join me on this podcast with the Fireside Network as I share how becoming qualified to be a success may not be what you think it is. I get into my past, our present and where we are going next and...
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“When you are unqualified to succeed, prove them wrong.”

Join me on this podcast with the Fireside Network as I share how becoming qualified to be a success may not be what you think it is. I get into my past, our present and where we are going next and give you guys some powerful tools to help you get exactly where you want to go.

Listen to the podcast HERE

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PS. Are you stuck and can’t seem to get your brand moving? Now is the time to make a serious change. Get the Harvest DVD HERE and we know it will move you forward!

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We are complete frauds

We are complete frauds

Have you ever felt like you don’t really run a REAL business and that you are just sort of faking it? We know we have. One of the hardest things about running a business is believing in yourself and what you do. We struggle with these thoughts all the time –...
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Have you ever felt like you don’t really run a REAL business and that you are just sort of faking it? We know we have.

One of the hardest things about running a business is believing in yourself and what you do. We struggle with these thoughts all the time – feeling like we don’t really create anything of value and no one is paying attention.

 

You are Normal

It is totally normal to feel that way, especially because many of us run a non-traditional business. We don’t get up and “go to work” for 8 hours a day and then come home to see the kids. Many of us work at Starbucks for a few hours (which is where I am when I am writing this post:) or our kids are in and out of our home office/living room while we are getting things done.

The nature of this job makes it feel fake sometimes, but we want to let you know that what you do is anything but. You guys are impacting marriages, creating amazing memories for people that love each other and their families, and you are making a huge difference. Even though it may not always feel like it, you are impacting the world one shoot at a time.

 

Let this simple blog post be encouragement to you that you are doing something that matters – and it is very real.

 

PS. Do you have any friends that need to hear this message? Click here to tweet this blog post out to any friends that need to hear about it!

4 key areas to building wealth | part I

4 key areas to building wealth | part I

“The difference between running a business and becoming ‘Business Brilliant’ is the difference between driving a Toyota versus a BMW.” The average wedding photographer salary can be as low as 15k per year according to the New York Film Academy. The reason that so many...
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“The difference between running a business and becoming ‘Business Brilliant’ is the difference between driving a Toyota versus a BMW.

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The average wedding photographer salary can be as low as 15k per year according to the New York Film Academy.

The reason that so many portrait and wedding photographers earn a relatively low income, is that they turn a hobby or a passion into a business, but never seem to focus on what really makes a serious income, which is becoming brilliant at business.

In this 4 part series starting today, we are going to look at ONE of the 4 key areas that Lewis Schiff says each Brilliant Business owner (who he defines as self-made millionaires) must focus on in order to take their earnings from average to amazing.

Key 1 – Learn what you do Best 

“Give me 6 hours to cut down a tree and I will spend 4 of them sharpening my axe.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Lewis Schiff (from his book Business Brilliant) says that millionaires spend lots of their time discovering what they do best, and then pursuing opportunities related to what they do well in order to succeed. They don’t spend their time focused on their weaknesses.

If you want to do the same, here is what you need to do starting TODAY:

1. Write down your goals

If you don’t write it down, it won’t happen. Having written financial goals will help you gauge how to manage them. You can’t leave finances to chance, but have to work toward a goal in order to achieve it.
•Set your net worth for 10 years from now
•Break those down into incremental goals
•Come up with a monthly income goal based on that 10 year plan
•Post the number where you will see it each day
Adjust that number every time your earnings go up or down

2. Commit to what you do best

Take the first 10-15 minutes of each work day and delegate tasks that you are not good at. Stop doing things you stink at because it wastes your time developing your strengths!! You have to eliminate distractions in your business so that you can focus on becoming great at what you do best.

3. Follow the money

Most of us follow our passion and HOPE that money will follow it. Guess what? It WON’T! You have to do what you love, but figure out how to make money doing that. MOST photographers are NOT earning a lot of money, so the last place you should look to advice is from other photographers. Instead, spend your time looking at highly successful brands like Disney, Apple and Starbucks and emulate the way they create value and sell and price their products. Stop and THINK about how you can earn more doing what you love.

4. Climb the line-of-money ladder

•Charging by the HOUR is the hardest way to build wealth. If you do jobs and get paid for each hour of work, then you cap out because you only have so many hours in the day.

•Charging by the PROJECT is better because when you make xxxx on a project, and then learn how to get that project done faster (by outsourcing tedious tasks like editing), then you can take on more projects and earn more.

•Getting a percentage of profits for a job is even better because as that work continues to create value, you keep getting paid. Commercial shooters can do this by working out licensing deals on their work, and wedding photographers can do this by not offering packages. When a wedding photographer is A la Carte, they can create value over time and the client will spend more based on that value.

•Proprietary Pricing is the BEST way to build wealth. This type of pricing is all about equity. Owning a part of, or all of a brand or business. As a wedding photographer you may thing that this is not possible, but what if you build up enough capital to start another brand that you own or own a percentage of? Then you have other people working for you and you make the money while they work.

Or, maybe you have a unique offering, talent, or ability to teach something unique. You can then use that talent to offer products and services to your industry and make a percentage of all the sales it generates.

Remember that no one builds wealth by going into debt, no one builds wealth by spending time figuring out how to pay less taxes, and no one builds wealth with credit card points and cash back. They build wealth by doing what wealthy people do.


PS. If you want to build a strong brand that earns you the money you deserve, check out the Harvest DVD that has helped hundreds of photographers double their income and earn more!

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We received the coolest award… but our Bride didn’t care | (Guest post)

We received the coolest award… but our Bride didn’t care | (Guest post)

At any point in your life have you ever stopped and realized that you were completely focused on the wrong thing? Today, we want to share with you a guest post from none other than our good and ridiculously talented friends, Luke & Cat, who want to help your...
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At any point in your life have you ever stopped and realized that you were completely focused on the wrong thing? Today, we want to share with you a guest post from none other than our good and ridiculously talented friends, Luke & Cat, who want to help your business grow by making sure you’re not putting ALL your attention on the wrong thing.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this dynamic duo, four years ago they took a step away from their generational cattle business and dived into photography. Through implementing many marketing and branding tactics, and focusing on giving their clients a unique experience, they became extremely successful in their 2nd year in business, and have continued to make an incredible income each year thereafter.
On a personal note, these two crack us up with their big hearts and laughter, and we hope you have the pleasure of meeting them one day soon :)
Blessings,
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Hey Friends!
We are Luke & Cat, cattle ranchers turned wedding photographers, and we are beyond excited to share how we found out that getting published wasn’t what our brides really wanted. Magazine covers and editorial awards are worth celebrating, but they aren’t what have generated our leads or our six-figure salaries.  We can’t wait to reveal why—read on:
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At the tender age of eight, Cat was competing against grown men at cattle shows—and beating them, too. She was even on the front cover of Shorthorn Country magazine, which in Cat’s world was better than Seventeen. Her family loved the fact that she was embracing the cattle world and every time she won a banner, as a celebratory treat, her Dad rewarded her with a first class flight back home to Texas.
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Meanwhile, in Indiana, Luke was dipping his toe in the world of cattle, too.
He took his cow, Gina, to the Hoosier Beef Congress, where he competed against kids his own age. Despite the fact that he didn’t have much cattle experience, he still managed to snag first place.
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While Cat enjoyed her first class trips, and Luke basked in the glow of congratulations, the real winners of these competitions were, of course, the cattle. Before each show they were primped, pampered, and treated like beauty queens. Cat and Luke took home the ribbons and the awards, but everyone knew who the real stars were.
We were reminded of this lesson when we discovered that we’d won the 2015 Editor’s Choice Award from Two Bright Lights. You can read all about it here.
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Were we proud of this accomplishment? You bet! Did we brag about our big win? Maybe a little. Will this award help us attract new clients? Probably not. But that’s not the point.
Photographers often ask us if they should pursue publications, awards, and wide recognition. The answer is  “Yes!” These things will increase your credibility, and help position you as an expert in your field.  Don’t, however, rely on awards to attract customers. What do brides and grooms care about the most?  If you answered “Themselves!” then– ding! ding! ding! ding! – you are also a winner!
Your gear, your press page, or your connections to other ‘famous’ photographers, aren’t nearly as important as your connection with the clients you’ll be photographing!  True story: when we were just starting out, a couple chose us over a few other big-name photographers for two reasons:  1) we were the only ones who took the time to get to know them better as a couple and 2) we never once bragged about our accomplishments and our equipment!  In other words, they don’t care if you’re star, they want you to make them feel like stars while they’re with you and in front of your lens.
Our advice? Never say no to an award, but don’t let your drive to win make you lose sight of what really matters. As long as your clients feel like the stars of the show, you can consider yourself a first-place photographer.
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We hope you enjoyed this post from Luke & Cat! Take a moment and evaluate what needs more of your attention and what may not need as much!

PS. Are you a photographer looking to enhance your craft, infuse more authenticity into your work, and create an exceptional tangible experience for your clients? If so, join Luke and Cat in their new educational adventures for 2015, including the free e-newsletter for photographers, Life & Craft. Also keep an eye out for the exciting workshop experience they are planning to unveil in late 2015.Join their mailing list to stay up to date and receive free educational resources, or inquire for one on one coaching opportunities!

How We Charge More Than Our Images are Worth! – Katelyn James

How We Charge More Than Our Images are Worth! – Katelyn James

We have a treat for you guys today! The brilliant and talented Katelyn James is sharing how you can charge more than what you’re images are worth. Intrigued? Before we hand it over to Katelyn, for those of you who may not be familiar with her, let us brag on her...
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We have a treat for you guys today!

The brilliant and talented Katelyn James is sharing how you can charge more than what you’re images are worth. Intrigued?

Before we hand it over to Katelyn, for those of you who may not be familiar with her, let us brag on her for a second!  We could tell you how she brilliantly started her business out of her dorm room and is now charging a premium for her services, or we could share all the publications she’s been published in or how she’s the leader in building community with her brides, or we could share about her crazy talent for brand and design (don’t even get us started on her interior design!), but we won’t :)

Instead, let us brag on how she is truly such a genuine, caring person, with such a sweet spirit with a heart of gold :) We hope you get the chance to meet her and her husband Michael one day and you’ll see that we’re exactly right.

In the meantime, enjoy her post on how to charge more!


Hi Everyone! 

I’m Katelyn and it’s an honor to connect with all of you!  I’m excited to share some of the foundational steps that we have taken to catapult our wedding photography business!! We have brought in a 6 figure income for the past 4 years and that’s not easy to do when you’re in a heavily saturated and ever-growing industry!!  

Enjoy!

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I’ve said it before and I stand by this bold statement… I honestly think that my work is worth about $3200. Based on my image quality and my experience, I think $3200 would be a fair price. I’ve been in business going on eight years now and I’m amazed at the fact that almost all of the young, female photographers shoot with the exact same equipment! This means that our work looks very similar! So how in the world am I charging well over $7000 for my wedding photography services when my images quality is worth around $3200 and the industry is over saturated? Community & Value.  That’s the answer!

For years we have been studying our own business and what we have found that WORKS is a very simple concept. Serve people, build community, and VALUE will follow. I have created a marketing strategy around the fact that brides long to have community and they desire an EXPERIENCE… not just pretty wedding pictures. I have adopted Seth Godin’s “Tribes” approach to my business and I have united my “KJ Brides” to form a community that allows our value to sky rocket!!  The more that our community grows and strengthens, the more we are in demand. The more we are in demand, the more we raise our prices!

So how do you increase the value of your services? Think about it, if you only market with your images, you only have one area of your business that is defining your value. One dimensional value isn’t reliable or scalable.  If you begin leading and growing a community around your brand, you instantly have value in who you are personally and what your client’s experience offers to your community. Instead of just basing our value on our image quality, we have created value through our reputation, our personalities, our KJ community, and the scarcity of our services. If you want to be a KJ Bride, there are only 30 spots a year! We’ve realized that our value isn’t upheld simply by how beautiful our work is, it’s determined by the way we serve our couples. 

Ultimately, the mission of our business is to serve couples and enhance their marriages by being an example. Sure, we want to make a great profit, but we want our business to be “life-changing” and not just “money making” at the end of the day. The crazy thing is, the more we focus on service, the more valuable we become. It’s a wonderful cycle!

So what are some practical ways to start building your community and increasing your value? Here are five steps that you can begin implementing today!

1. Decide to prioritize forming community over just finding customers

It’s a mindset change. We’re not about the transaction, we’re about the relationship! 

2. Accept your leadership position in the community that you’re starting to form and SHOW UP!

Be consistent in how you connect to your community whether that’s through Instagram, Facebook, your blog, etc.

3. Analyze your online and social media presence

Are you just pushing your images out to potential clients or are you showing who you are and why your community loves and supports you and your business?

4. Exceed EVERY expectation

When you combine your relationship with your client with the power of exceeding expectations, that’s a recipe for the best reputation in town!

5. Educate your current and future community

Consistently show how you love and serve your clients so that future clients desire that before they even book with you.

Here’s to growing communities, building value and making a difference with our businesses!!! 

We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did!  No go ahead and start implementing the items Katelyn shared!


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PS. If you enjoyed this and you’d like to receive more educational resources, you can download Katelyn’s latest E-book (“Our Top 5 Most Profitable Business Decisions” for FREE by clicking HERE!

How Elmo can Change your Business

How Elmo can Change your Business

I didn’t care if my son ever knew who Elmo was… …until now. Let’s rewind… Many years ago when I (Jody) was young, I remember babysitting and being SO sick of watching Barney and Sesame Street over and over again, I knew I didn’t want that insanity going on in my own...
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I didn’t care if my son ever knew who Elmo was…

…until now.

Let’s rewind…

Many years ago when I (Jody) was young, I remember babysitting and being SO sick of watching Barney and Sesame Street over and over again, I knew I didn’t want that insanity going on in my own home (ha ha) and now we have an 18 month old son and I am proud to say he has no idea who Barney, Big Bird, Mickey Mouse, Dora and all the other characters are.

HOWEVER, as we were walking through the store the other day, we decided to walk through the kids department (bad idea if you aren’t looking to spend money : ) and I saw this box:

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All of a sudden I had this overwhelming desire to buy this Elmo doll for our son.

What changed in me?

Did the box demonstrate how soft Elmo was or how he has this amazing (or annoying, depending on how you look at it ;) laugh? Or was it even the price point that caught my attention?

Nope!

What got me was the shot of this young boy with such joy as Elmo was hugging him and I wanted Jaxon to experience that joy.

Your potential clients feel the same way.

Jack Trout in, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing says,

“People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional connection to a product.”

Ask yourself these questions…

What images are you showing on your site that connects to your client’s emotionally?

Are you showing only cool, images like this?

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Or are you also including image that are deep, and heartfelt, and that your client can connect to emotionally?

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What bio image are you showing of yourself? Are you showing a rockin’ photo where you love how cool you look, or ones that show your personality where a client can actually CONNECT with?

Here’s a great example of a photography duo based out of Louisiana who have updated the home page of their site with a super approachable and emotional grabbing image of themselves.

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Homework assignment

Strategically think about the images you’re posting and how you can tweak them to connect emotionally to your potential client!

I never thought I would want anything to do with Elmo, but who knew that he would actually help make all of our businesses better.

Thanks Elmo :)


 

PS. We are announcing something really exciting next week with Shootflow and we just wanted to check in and make sure that you are on the Shootflow list so you don’t miss out!

This software is sooooooo close to launch and a select few of you will get to be a part of something really cool with it!  Enter your name and email HERE so you don’ t miss out on the announcement!

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We just lost an entire wedding’s images!

We just lost an entire wedding’s images!

…I am sooo glad that we have never had to say this! :) Now that we have your attention though, read on so that YOU never say this to a client.     “I treat my back-up process like a new baby. Never drop it just because I’m tired!“ -...
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…I am sooo glad that we have never had to say this! :)

Now that we have your attention though, read on so that YOU never say this to a client.

 

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I treat my back-up process like a new baby. Never drop it just because I’m tired!
- Zach Gray
Let’s talk back-up systems and why the system you choose to use will either make you and your clients happy while keeping your precious images safe, or why it will potentially cause a MASSIVE problem in your business that you might not recover from.
Even if you don’t shoot weddings, it does not mean that you can re-shoot something if you lose images. We had a friend who shot a senior session, and 2 weeks later the senior passed away.
That may not ever happen to you, but it is just good practice to do everything within our power as a photographer to protect and back up images each and every time we shoot.
Here is our system: 

Step #1 – Download the Safest Way Possible

 

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I first download all the images using the SD cards ONLY from my Canon 5d3. I use the SD cards because they only have a contact plate instead of 16 pins (like in your CF card) and there is less chance of breaking something when it is removed from the camera.

I only download them in the office on a quality, Lexar USB 3 card reader that never leaves my office. It never leaves the office because the reader or the cables it uses can be damaged during travel, which gives you a higher chance of card failure. Most failures happen not from your cards, but from something your card interacts with (camera, bad card reader, the environment, water, heat or impact).

If you download more than 2 cards per-shoot, then you can check out the Lexar Hub that allows you to add any type of reader to that hub (up to 4). You can add anSD reader, or a CF card reader. You will need 1 of these for each card (and type) you download and this allows you to download them all at once instead of one at a time (which wastes time).

(Side note: I shoot all images on Sandisk 64 gig Extreme Pro SD and CF cards MIRRORED on the 5d3. Every time I shoot an image it’s recorded to BOTH cards at the same time. I NEVER open the CF card door during a shoot since that gives the highest potential for an error. I only open the CF card door once I am home, in my office in a safe environment. If I have any camera issues during the shoot, which has happened once before, I grab my back-up camera and leave the main camera alone until I can look at it in a safe place).

 


 

Step #2 – Back-Up 1

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I first copy my images directly to my main editing drive (and not to my computer) as I don’t want thousands of photos bogging down my laptop. I do NOT use any other program (like Lightroom) to move my photos for me as that just adds one more point in the system which could cause an error. I simply copy the images directly from the SD card, and paste them into my main editing drive.

My main editing drive ($349) is the G-Tech 4TB zero raid USB 3 drive. This drive writes all data to two hard drives that spin simultaneously in order to deliver data to your computer (using USB 3 connections) at around 250 Mbps. This is fast enough that you don’t notice any slow down versus having the data directly on your computer.

(It is NOT a mirror style back up even though it has two drives, so if you lose data on this, it is gone).

You also do NOT need the Thunderbolt version of this which costs an extra $150. The reason is that USB 3 can move data at 600 mbps and this drive can only spit out data from the spinning hard drives (that work in unison) at 250 mbps. You can only move data as fast as the slowest part of your system, and Thunderbolt only makes sense when sending multiple signals through one line.


Step #3 – Back-Up 2 & 3

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Next I make two more copies (directly copied from my SD cards and NOT from the main editing drive copy) to my Black-X system.

This is essentially a port that accepts internal hard drives that you can buy for a reasonable price since they do not have cases, fans, and all the other stuff that external hard drives use. The Black-X is cheap and works really well for making extra back-ups without breaking the bank.

I use two 3TB Western Digital drives that then plug into the black-X and make my 2nd and 3rd back up copies on these.

Once the back-ups are complete, I take one of these Western Digital drives out of the Black-X, pack it up in the case it came in, and send it to a friends house for safe keeping (just in case the house burns down, gets broken into, or has something like water damage from a leak).

All of these back-ups happen simultaneously and it takes just a few minutes to copy my RAW files from the SD cards and start backing up to all 3 drives that I use.

(You will notice at the end of this post that I have TWO Black-X Drives. I bought mine before they had one Black-X drive that accepted TWO hard drives. You only need the one drive linked above and two internal drives to go into it).


Step #4 – Online Back-Up

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Once I have all 3 back-ups complete, I edit the entire shoot (when we shot weddings, I did this the Tuesday after the wedding which was our first day back in the office), and then export the high-res JPG files to PASS.

PASS backs up the images on Amazon S3 servers for 10 years.

I now have 6 total back-ups of the images.

  • 1 copy on my CF card/s (I never delete cards until JPG files are on PASS),
  • 1 copy on my SD card/s
  • 1 copy on my editing drive
  • 1 copy on my Black-X drive 1
  • 1 copy on my Black-X drive 2
  • 1 copy of the JPG files on PASS

6 Total Copies

At this point (once all the files are edited and on PASS), I am free to move my Lightroom catalog off of my main editing drive and place it on my Black-X drive 1, and then delete the images from my main editing drive and from my CF and SD cards.

When all the dust settles, I will still have 2 copies in my office of the RAW files on my Black-X drives and 1 copy on PASS of the JPG files.


Connections

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All of my drives (as well as my printer, Shuttle Controller, internet hard-line and editing screen) are all connected to my laptop with just one cable using the amazing Elgato Thunderbolt Dock.

What I LOVE about this dock is that I can use my laptop (my only computer these days since it is so fast and powerful it is insane) and only have one cable connecting all my editing tools, then unplug that one cable, and go mobile easy and fast.

All my other devices like my external keyboard, mouse and Apple TrackPad are all connected with bluetooth.


My Desk

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As you can see, there are almost no cables plugged into my computer and everything is neat and tidy. I keep all my SD and CF cards in a card case to keep them organized and if a card is facing out (where you can see the red color from Sandisk) that means do NOT use it. Red=Dead.

You may also notice my Veri-Desk that holds my computer and my monitors. I will do a post on this coming soon, but this addition to my desk allows me to go from sitting to standing in seconds so that I don’t die early from sitting all day working. :)


Homework – Create YOUR System

The most important thing you can do after reading this post is create a system. A system means it is written down somewhere (either on paper or digitally) and each and every step of how you download and back up your files is checked off for each client as you go.

Having a system written down somewhere will help you to not make a mistake and get out on a shoot and wonder if you backed up your files you are about to shoot over. The last thing you want is to lose files due to a simple lack of a good system.

Happy back-up-ing!

CONNECT 2016 Dates Announced!

CONNECT 2016 Dates Announced!

It is hard to believe that CONNECT 2015 has come and gone, and what an amazing week it was! We booked out at 45 couples and it was such a great time of fellowship, learning, and RELAXING! For those of you already asking, the next year’s dates have officially...
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It is hard to believe that CONNECT 2015 has come and gone, and what an amazing week it was!

We booked out at 45 couples and it was such a great time of fellowship, learning, and RELAXING!

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/connect2015

For those of you already asking, the next year’s dates have officially been set!

Mark your calendars:

May 2nd-May 5th, 2016!!

We will be launching CONNECT 2016 in a couple weeks so start setting aside the down payment ($249) to reserve your spot!

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PS. CLICK here to share the CONNECT 2016 Dates!

 

PPS. Some attendees have already blogged on their experience! Feel free to check out their posts!

Drew & Veronica | We Thought We Were Going Just for Fun

Ryan & Alyssa | Where We  Belong | CONNECT Retreat 2015

Trevor & Kari | CONNECT a Marriage Retreat

Chad & Amber | Freedom in Love

Gender scan for baby #2 is today!!!

Gender scan for baby #2 is today!!!

It’s time to find out the gender!  Yes, we have waited the “old fashioned” way to find out at the anomaly scan instead of the newer bloodwork tests that can tell you two months sooner. But here’s the kicker: even though the scan is today we...
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It’s time to find out the gender!  Yes, we have waited the “old fashioned” way to find out at the anomaly scan instead of the newer bloodwork tests that can tell you two months sooner.

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But here’s the kicker: even though the scan is today we aren’t finding out the gender until TOMORROW (Friday)!

When I (Jody) originally made the appointment we were both in town, but then Zach got asked to do a gig in Texas, which is causing him to miss the appointment! If we rescheduled we would have to wait another MONTH, and that wasn’t going to happen. ha.

So, I’m bringing a girlfriend for moral support, and I’m not going to look when they are finding out the gender! (This will be my biggest test of restraint yet. ha ha).

When Zach gets home later Friday evening, we’ll find out together… and we may just be sharing it live with you all on Pericsope! Stay tuned to our Instagram accounts (@ZachGray, @JodyGray & @ItstheGrayFamily) and facebook (Zach & Jody Photography) for us to share further details.  If you want to watch, make sure you download the app and get it set up, and follow us at @ZachandJody.

In the meantime, what’s your guess?  BOY OR GIRL?

How to succeed at work without blowing up your marriage… (Excerpt by Michael Hyatt)

How to succeed at work without blowing up your marriage… (Excerpt by Michael Hyatt)

For those of us who are married, probably one of the last reasons we wanted to start our business was so we could have a below average marriage. But, let’s be honest, running a business (whether with your spouse or not) can definitely take its toll. We are big...
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For those of us who are married, probably one of the last reasons we wanted to start our business was so we could have a below average marriage. But, let’s be honest, running a business (whether with your spouse or not) can definitely take its toll.

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We are big followers of Michael Hyatt, and in honor of us just coming off theCONNECT retreat (a Christian retreat for couples in business) we wanted to share with you part of a post he recently published…

Enjoy!


How Entrepreneurs Can Succeed at Work Without Blowing Up Their Marriages

5 Gifts for Building a Great Relationship with Your Spouse

Excerpt from Michael Hyatt.com

#1. The Gift of Honor

Our spouses are more important than our work, whatever that work may be. To give this gift, we esteem and value what our spouses esteem and value. We give priority to their priorities, and use our words to praise and uplift, especially when our spouses are absent.

#2. The Gift of Awareness

It’s easy in the hyper focus of hard-drivers to see themselves as the center of the show. We’re not—no matter how much money we make. We need to be aware of all the material and nonmaterial contributions our spouses make to our lives.

#3. The Gift of Inclusion

Including our spouses in our businesses creates intimacy, builds trust, and brings us together. Whether it’s just receiving input or counsel, or getting into the nitty-gritty details of the business, our marriages win if we keep our spouses in the loop.

#4. The Gift of Commitment

Given the risk inherent to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, some of the most important words we can hear are, “We’re in this together.” Communicating that kind of commitment can get a couple through almost anything.

#5. The Gift of Perspective

The intense focus of entrepreneurs enables massive creativity and achievement, but it can come at the cost of perspective. I can easily think that everything in my world rises or falls with the next project. Gail keeps the wide angle I sometimes lose.


Read the rest of Michael’s post at… http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-marry-an-entrepreneur.html

 

Have a great, productive week and don’t forget to spend time with the people you created this business to serve!

Friday Fun | Adding to our home..

Friday Fun | Adding to our home..

  We’re pregnant, y’all! … and you thought since we were in a newly built house we were were talking about putting an addition on…  :) Yes, we’ll be adding to our house, but not with construction – with a baby! We are SUPER...
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We’re pregnant, y’all!

… and you thought since we were in a newly built house we were were talking about putting an addition on…  :) Yes, we’ll be adding to our house, but not with construction – with a baby!

We are SUPER excited for our family to be growing and I have been so ready to be pregnant again! We knew we always wanted more than one kid and were hoping and praying that it would happen, and here we are! Pregnant once again! Ahhhhhhhhh! Jaxon is going to be a big brother! We’re going to be a family of FOUR… that’s crazy. And awesome. And exciting. REALLY exciting.

YAYyayayayayay!

Here are the answers to the most common questions we get:

How far along are you?
19 weeks this Thursday (4/16)

When’s your due date?
Mid September

How have you been feeling?
I’ve been feeling GREAT! With Jaxon’s pregnancy I felt pretty normal besides being a little tired and my growing midsection and this pregnancy has pretty much been the same! I had about 2 weeks (around 8 and 9) where I would feel slightly queezy in the evenings, but that went away and I’ve been feeling great ever since.

Are you going to find out what it is?
As a matter of fact we are pretty much 100% certain it’s a human… Hahaha. We’re so funny. But in all seriousness, heck yes. We are totally going to find out the gender. Are you crazy?? We gotta plan AND we’ll need time to mentally prepare ourselves if I (Jody) am going to be REALLY outnumbered with the guy/girl ratio or if the scale will start to lean in my favor. Girls unite!!

When do you find out the gender?
April 30th

Why wait to spill the beans now?
At first, we wanted to keep it on the down low due to the losses we previously experienced… just in case. And then WPPI in Vegas was coming up and we were going to be seeing so many of our friends in person so we thought that we would share it in person then, which was SO fun to do… and lately we have been just straight up BUSY. With the new software we are working on, our free time has been spent getting that ready for launch, so there hasn’t been much time to write any personal blog posts. ha.

Now that this is officially out in the open and public (“Facebook Official”), we’ll be sharing baby bump pics and bringing you along for the ride. Make sure to follow our journey on our family Instagram @itsthegrayfamily, and stay tuned for another exciting place where you may see us online soon :)

Thanks for taking part and joining us in our excitement :)

 

Building your brand with social media

Building your brand with social media

The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other. -JR Social Media is not what we think it is It is easy to think that having 35,000 Facebook fans, thousands of Twitter followers and loads of...
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The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.
-JR
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Social Media is not what we think it is

It is easy to think that having 35,000 Facebook fans, thousands of Twitter followers and loads of Instagram likes means that we will have a thriving business, but that could not be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, many of us put a high value on Social Media power and give it too much of our attention and time.

Don’t build on THEIR platform

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The easiest way to focus on social marketing is to build great relationships with your base clients (past brides, photographers and vendors), and then give them a reason to talk about you and a tool to make talking easy.

FB, Twitter and Instagram are all secondary tools to supplement your marketing, and should never be the main focus of how you connect.

Why?

Because Facebook controls Facebook (you don’t) and if all your eggs are in their proverbial marketing basket and they change their system (which they do all the time) then you are in big trouble.

Focus on people, not the numbers

people

You need to focus your marketing first on your personal network (clients looking at your blog, those on your email list, and people who you actually spend time with) because YOU control that outlet and not someone else. Then use FB and the like to supplement that.

When you do use Social Media to get your message out and connect, here are 3 key strategic tips to do that effectively:

1. Keep it Interesting

People engage when content is interesting. Think before you post, and post things that OTHER people will find interesting, and specifically, your target audience will think is interesting.

2. Be Helpful

If you help people, they will feel reciprocity and want to help YOU in return. If someone needs something, send them a link. If someone needs a resource, be that resource or find it for them.

3. Be Funny

People LOVE to laugh and engage big time when things are funny. Be creative with your funny posts and make sure that your humor lines up with your audience. (Just because you think a car crash is funny, doesn’t mean someone else does :)

If it isn’t Interesting, Helpful or Funny, chances are you should’t post it (unless your goal is to alienate large amounts of people).

Focus on them and not you. 

When posting messages, you should also NOT try and have the entire focus be on marketing your brand and talking about YOU and all the cool things YOU do. No one cares about you (sorry but that is the truth people!), but rather they care about themselves. So, if you are creating something for social media and want it to reach people, it needs to be things that THEY care about and that help THEM.

If you are the person that creates helpful content that enhances their lives, they feel reciprocity and will want to give back to you when you (on rare occasion), talk about yourself.


Example:

If you shoot maternity photos, then your social media “marketing” could be on “the top 10 Lifesavers for new Moms” or the “Best Baby Books for raising a Smart Kid” type of stuff. Then insert Funny and Interesting side anecdotes.

Become a resource that enhances your clients lives, and they will be your clients for life. (Click HERE to Tweet that quote out!)

Resources for further study

Read a few blog posts on your own about “Clever ways to use More Visual on Social Media

Subscribe to Copy Blogger, GoinsWriter, Michael Hyatt, HubSpot Marketing and read every single book by Seth Godin and Jay Levinson.


PS.  Interested in having a simple way to manage your ENTIRE wedding business?

Click here to sign up for news about the launch of our brand new software, Shootflow!

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Why Great Photos Don’t Sell Anymore

Why Great Photos Don’t Sell Anymore

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? The Truth About Quality Photographs  The...
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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?

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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 would 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 art. 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.

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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 have to offer?

That is simple. We have to offer emotional connections to the products and services we offer.

This is done by first, telling gripping stories when we are initially meeting with clients and then second, following up with a great experience throughout the whole process from booking through the wedding day and beyond. If we can do that effectively, then clients will pay a premium for us. 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 saw this to the tune of over $400,000 in sales last year using this same idea, and we could go on and on of countless photographers we have personally coached that have had amazing results.

“People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional connection to a product or service.” 

-Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

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 creating through connection (Tweet this out!) and once your client connects emotionally to what you do, it’s the beginning of a great experience where trust is built which leads them to becoming willing to gladly invest back in to your business by paying you more.


PS.  The next key is having a step-by-step process to follow that helps you easily create a dynamic, emotionally connected experience for your clients. Our workflow system that is ALMOST done will do it FOR you… If you want to hear more about it, just click the link below. It is coming soon!

Show me the workflow!

Reset your business now

Reset your business now

“Success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.” Greg Mckeown - Essentialism Reset Conference We just returned from teaching as the keynote speakers of the Reset Conference in Champaign, IL and it was an awesome...
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“Success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.”

Greg Mckeown - Essentialism


Reset Conference

We just returned from teaching as the keynote speakers of the Reset Conference in Champaign, IL and it was an awesome time hanging with the sold-out crowd of 150 photographers that attended.

Being at a conference with the name “Reset” reminded us of something really key. All these photographers were coming to step back and take a look at what they were REALLY doing in their business, and reset if they needed to. All of us want to get on track and get successful, but we learned to navigate what we all want more than anything, success, with a little caution.

One of the worst things that can happen in your brand is to get successful. Because when that happens, you now have tons of great opportunities coming at you and it becomes hard to say YES to what TRULY matters.

 

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Photo credit: katelynjames.com

Speaking with our son in tow

Here we were taking 2.5 days to travel, teach, leave our home and our business for the weekend and bring our son along. And you know what? It was really easy and fun!

The reason for that is that we have already “reset” our business and started many years ago to focus on what truly matters most, and not allow lots of opportunity to distract us from our purpose. We have created a business that has margin, so our lives can have the space we need to do things like this and bring our son along for the ride.


How We Made a business with margin

The simple answer to living a life that has margin, is 3 parts:

1. Focus

If we focus on what we should be doing and take our focus OFF of what we should not be doing, we get a clear vision for where we need to go and life gets a lot more simple.

2. Intensity 

Dave Ramsey says that we must be intensely focused on our goals in order to make them into a reality faster. We are hyper focused these days on doing ONLY what matters most.

3. Time

You need quality time spent focused with intensity on what is truly essential to your brand, and when you spend that time MAKING your business behave, it creates what we all dream of, margin.

Margin allows us to bring our son with us to a gig and not feel overwhelmed. Margin allows us to take the morning off and re-connect with each other if we need to. Margin allows us to feel free during our daily working routine and not tied to the million to-do’s we have to get done.

You need margin in your life to create the freedom you need to live, and that comes with focused intensity. (Tweet this out!)

Have an amazing day!


PS.  If you need margin, then be sure to sign up for something we are creating that will give you margin and is going to help give you your life back. Sign up HERE for more info!

…and the point is??

…and the point is??

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What in the world am I doing here and why am I doing this?” “There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or...
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Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What in the world am I doing here and why am I doing this?”

“There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital.”

-Greg Mckeown, Essentialism

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What am I focused on?

As I (Zach) was on a four hour flight from Nashville to Las Vagas for WPPI two weeks ago, I was reading Essentialism by Greg Mckeown. In his book he asks, “What is your highest point of contribution?” … In essence he’s asking, “What is the one thing that actually matters more in your life and business?”

When I took a moment to answer this question something very interesting happened to me…

I had no answer.

I sat for about 30 minutes pondering what my highest point of contribution was in our business. Still, I didn’t know what it was.

Jody and I were headed out to the biggest wedding and portrait convention in the USA to teach, speak, lead workshops and connect with the people and companies that we work with, and this question kept nagging me…

WHY are we here and WHAT are we doing this for? 

Do you ever find yourself asking that question?

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Spread too thin

Oftentimes our lives are so busy just trying to stay afloat with our shoots, clients, spouse, kids, grocery runs, managing the books, cleaning, and just LIFE that it’s hard to have time to focus on what’s really important.

Sometimes we don’t even know what actually IS important.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have someone, or something take care of all the meaningless tasks that distract you from your main contribution – from what’s most important?

This is exactly why we have spent the last year developing a software for wedding photographers that will take care of your business so you can do what you are most excited about; so you can focus on your highest point of contribution.

We created Shootflow so we could get back to what matters most. What matters most to me is my family.

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What is your highest point of contribution?

Share with us in the comments the one thing that is the most important to you in your business and in your life. We’d love to hear from you.


 

PS.  Interested in Shootflow? Click here to sign up and be one of the first to find out more!

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