Once a Year Cyber Monday Blowout Sale!

Guess what? It’s time… Today’s Cyber Monday, which means we’ve got our BIG, 24-hour sale just for you. By this time tomorrow, this will all go away. So pay close attention! Because all of you have supported our mission to equip photographers to succeed, we want to take this one day and give back, so we are offering an incredible deal that will blow your socks off and make you the coolest kid in town. But it’s only for 24 hours and for a handful of people who act fast. Here are the deals: Get any video workshop for $97 (saves $150, limited quantity available) Pick up all SIX video workshops for $497 (saves $850) – BEST DEAL! Buy the whole store for $597 (saves $1,017) and get a special bonus* *Includes exclusive “Reclaim Your Life” Seminar ($100 value). Does not include Cup of Joe or Day of Gray mentoring sessions. This is your chance to get the goods you’ve always wanted… Or grab a GREAT Christmas present for a friend at an unbelievable price! Get in on the savings and visit the storefront. PS. We only have 99 copies of each Video Workshop available at the $97 price point. So once they’re gone, they’re gone. Hurry up and grab yours now! PPS. This sale ends TOMORROW (Tuesday, December 1st) at NOON CST. If you’ve been waiting for this opportunity, don’t miss it! PPPS. Share this one-time offer with your friends! CLICK HERE to share on Twitter! Copy and paste the below to share on Facebook! “Don’t miss the KILLER photography DVDs & other goodies on @ZachandJody’s storefront! 60% off. Expires at noon... Read More

3 Reception Lighting Tips Every Photographer Can’t Live Without

“The most difficult part of shooting a reception is walking into the unknown.” -Jody Gray Problem 1:  When you walk into any reception, you need to quickly asses the situation, make a decision on HOW you are going to light it, and then set up your gear (oh yeah, and take amazing images!). It can be super fast-paced at that moment, and can cause some anxiety each time you shoot a wedding. How to Solve this stress inducing problem:  1. Send out a questionnaire before the wedding (ours has 56 questions on it!) and have part of that questionnaire ask what the bride and groom will be doing when they walk into the reception. Will they be introduced and go straight into first dances, or will dinner start? Once you know that, then you know what you need to be prepped for walking in. 2. We always then ask the bride and groom to give us 10 minutes from the time we all arrive at the reception, to when they come into the hall. This gives us the time to asses the room, set up our gear, and take a few test shots. That way we never miss a key shot that is happening with our clients!     Problem 2:   The second huge problem that you run into at wedding receptions is getting great quality light on your subject with off-camera flash. Sometimes we can simply bounce flash and that is awesome when we can do it. But other times the room just does not allow that, so we need to use off-camera flash AND make it look... Read More

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 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! 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... Read More

Using Diffusers for a direct-sun portrait | 4 Part Series

Diffusing Direct Sunlight The last way we control light in this way is to use our diffuser. Sometimes you are shooting and you have NO where to hide from the sun and you are getting tired of just backlighting every client and adding some light to the front with your reflector. That is why having a large diffuser is critical to wedding and portrait work. If we have a large reflector with us, then we can shoot in direct sun and get great images of our clients. Some of you shooters out there have nothing but tons of sun and no shade for lots of your shoots, so learning to use a diffuser really well is key! Here is the shot of the behind the scenes image from above in direct sun. It is not flattering and tough to shoot in. Once we add the diffusion, we now have this beautiful soft light with manageable contrast that looks great! Nothing But Sun If you find yourself shooting in direct sun almost ALL the time, then we would recommend that you invest in a diffusion panel like the California Sun Bounce. (image from California Sun Bounce Italy) This piece of gear takes the diffuser and puts it in a frame, then allows you to get an accessory mono-pod so your assistant can carry it around and create soft light anywhere. It comes in tons of sizes and we recommend a large one for two or more people. Shooting on the beach, in the desert or anywhere in between, you can create soft light and get great images!   With these 4 Methods... Read More

Natural Reflectors | Where to find them & How to use them

On Monday, we went through Part 1 of this post on reflectors, so if you missed it and need to get caught up, check it out HERE. Method 3. Using Natural Reflectors One of our favorite reflectors to use are natural ones. As we walk into a shoot or are scouting locations, we try to find places where light is reflecting back to give us a great look on our shots.  It is great to find open shade, but when that open shade has light bouncing into it (like the above graphic) then we know we are going to get some more dynamic lighting. This image above was in the shade of the sun (good start), but then it also had soft light bouncing back into it. Directly behind the camera position and about 30 degrees right (about 80 feet away from us) was a large, white 3 story building that was reflecting the sun back into this area. That gave us not JUST soft light, but directional soft light that gives nice contrast to the image. TIP: Try and find natural reflectors that are at least 2 or 3 stories high (if they are 50 or 100 feet away) so that the center of those light sources is above the eyes of our subjects. That helps the light come down at a flattering angle and makes the images look much... Read More
Nashville, TN Photography Workshops, photography workshops, nashville, tn photography

4 Ways to Backlight your Clients

This week, we are going to focus on a simple topic of lighting our client with background lights, and what angles to use when doing it. Background light on our subject is awesome because it creates a great deal of added contrast and separation to our final image. It can also be really cool when it is in the shot and creates flare which gives a cool glow to our couples. So, the question is, where do you put the light in the background to give it the desired effect? Let’s look at a few shots and break them down. Shooting Through In this first image, which is a photo from an engagement session from 2008, we have some serious background lighting going on, so let’s show you exactly what we were thinking to pull this one off. As you can see in the above lighting diagram, the main light is off to camera right lighting the face of the couple and our background light (top left) is at a 45 degree angle to the guy’s back and 45 degrees from the cameras perspective. It is pointed directly at his head and shoulders and is about 7 feet high (the best angle for the light to come down at, is also about 45 degrees so that it lights the head first, then trickles down to the shoulders and feet). The easiest way to use a background light, no matter where the light is coming from (strobe, window, sun) is to use the 45 degree method. This puts the light onto the shoulders and hair, but keeps it off of... Read More

3 Keys to a beautiful couple shot

Photography, especially wedding photography, is unique in its own right in that a wedding photographer has to be proficient at many styles of shooting in order to get the job done. We have to know how to do portraits, photojournalism, architectural photography, product photography (for those little rings and details) AND do it all in .5 seconds! It is very difficult to do any of these types of photography well, let alone do them all in one day and shoot 1,200 final images that all rock our clients faces off. Whew!! Not an easy job! Sooooo, today we are going to talk about portraits (I hate that word and if anyone knows a better one, let me know) and a few different techniques in doing them. Our lovely models today are the amazingly hot Blake and Andrea whose wedding we shot in October. These guys are the bomb and we love them to death! :) Image number one! OK. So I dig this shot a ton that my hot wife took and would like to not only talk about why it rocks, but how we did it. We were shooting their session on their wedding day about 2.5 hours before sunset which is not the best time in the world to shoot because the sun is still pretty high in the sky. The best time of day to shoot is 1 hour before sunset, and the first hour of the sun rising because the sun is going through more atmosphere which disperses it wider and makes the light softer. The one and only thing that makes light soft and... Read More

Practical Off-Camera Lighting at Weddings

  This shot is very different than what you see with most modern wedding photography and we are going to talk about why. Now the pose and composition are obviously not something new, but the lighting and depth of the shot are and that is why it is not something you see a lot of at weddings. Lit shots like this one usually are not done because they take too long to set up, require lots of powerful lights which are heavy, and can be too in-your-face for some clients. So how do you solve all of those problems at a wedding so that you can get this kind of a shot that is really different and really cool? First, we will talk about how we captured the shot, then we will talk about how we made it practical at the wedding. The first thing you notice with a shot like this (and what many shooters ask us a lot) is that the background must be “photoshopped” in and how did you do it? The answer is honestly, I have no idea how to do something like that in Photoshop and it is all real and all done in the camera. Promise!  There is no retouching done on this shot either with the clients skin, no dodging and burning in Lightroom or Photoshop, and no color enhancements of any type. How we did it: Light – The lighting rig is a 500 watt mono light with a 24×32 inch Westcott soft box. Many shooters will use small light sources like 580 ex speedlights and so on, which are awesome,... Read More