CONNECT Retreat 2014 Registration is LIVE!

CONNECT 2013 was such a blessing to be a part of and we are excited to announce that… registration for CONNECT 2014 has officially opened!! Get away with your spouse to CONNECT, refresh and relax! This is designed for couples who work together (you do not both have to be shooters). Reserve your seats for only $149, with remaining payments split evenly between the months leading up to the retreat. Space is limited and we anticipate a sellout. Join us and the fabulous Woods, and Alsops! View the trailer by Rob Adams Films!  For more information visit CONNECTretreat.com. See you at CONNECT... Read More

Friday Fun | What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into?

It’s official peeps! We are building a home! Because releasing our 3rd video workshop this fall (no worries, you’ll soon be hearing about our 2nd IN-CAMERA video workshop releasing soon!) and having our first kid isn’t enough (yes, we’re prego – if you missed the announcement, you can read about it here), we have bought property and will be building over the next few months.  Estimated completion date: end of November/December… oh my! How it happened: We knew our first home that we have been in for the last 3 years wasn’t our “forever home” and we had started compiling a list of “wants” for our next home.  Here and there, we had looked at homes for sale, and started realizing what we were looking for in the area we wanted, didn’t exist and figured some day we would probably build.  Then an opportunity presented itself – an acre lot only 3 miles away from us, only 10 lots in the whole community, still in the heart of Franklin where we love, good neighbors close by, and everything just fell into place! We are building a home!  ahhhh… So the  next steps: 1. List our current place and get it sold while the market is hopping 2. Find a place we can live in until our new home is done! ahhhh….. I know, it’s crazy this is all happening now, but what can you do? :) We are excited and looking forward to all the changes ahead :) For those of you who have built a home what are some great tips and advice that you can give us?... Read More

Bret & Jillian are Married – Teaser!

We had the amazing privilege of shooting Bret & Jillian’s beautiful country wedding in Alabama this past weekend and can’t wait to share more from it! This is one of the very few weddings we will be photographing this year while we are on sabbatical, but this is one we could not say no to. These guys are so endearing and so sweet and their wedding was amazing. Congrats you two!!... Read More

Tuesday Tips | Accomplishment through Repetition

  Whenever you are trying to create something amazing (an experience for your clients, great images or a great management system), repetition becomes the key to accomplishment.   Experiential Business Practices Whenever you are setting out to create an awesome experience for your client, it does not matter how amazing it is IF the client is expecting something else. Example: You want to under-promise and over-deliver on the turn-around time of your images. You know that if you turn them around WAY faster then they are EXPECTING, they will be on cloud nine and love you till the day you die (and promote your business until then). But, if they don’t have the correct EXPECTATIONS, then it will not matter one iota. If you turn the images around in 48 hours, but the client calls wondering where they are the next day (and they have called us the next day!), then you have already not met their expectations and you leave them feeling unfulfilled.   They key is REPETITION!   We tell the client when we book them it will be 90 days maximum before the images are done from the wedding. We tell them after the final details meeting it will be 90 days. We send them email the day after the wedding telling them it will be 90 days. We tell them, tell them again then remind them of what we told them. It seems like we tell them allot, but this ensures that they know what to expect, and then WHEN we turn the images around faster, they are guaranteed to be stoked! Repetition Creates Clarity.     Systemized Mangagement Practices Having easily repeatable processes in the management of your... Read More

Our Big Announcements!!

We are excited to share with all of you two, big announcements! Announcement #1:   (Beach and bio images by DavidMolnar.com | Ultrasound Image by Ashley at Digital Diagnostics) Little baby Gray is on the way!! We are expecting our first born child and we have never been more excited! It has been such a heart-wrenching journey to get to this place and it is surreal that we have made it to this point and finally get to share it with you all. We have started a personal blog (itsthegrayfamily.com) and Instagram (@itsthegrayfamily) where you can follow our journey through pregnancy and parenthood. We don’t want to overwhelm you with baby stuff here and we also realize that pregnancy is a tender topic for some, with some having gone through your own losses or struggling with infertility, and we want to be sensitive to that. Make sure to follow us there! And now, for the other big news… Announcement #2: A Shift for the Future We have been planning to have a child for the last year, and we took a step back to re-evaluate our priorities and values and have refocused and restructured our lives so we can serve not only our family, but you better. We made the decision to take 2013 as a sabbatical from shooting weddings, and that is exactly what we are doing. Last year, we were on the road 240 days (whew!), and for a long time, we have been juggling weddings, our IN-CAMERA workshops which are now retired (and releasing on DVD this year!), mentoring photographers, speaking and lecturing, and we are... Read More

Engagement Session | Bret & Jillian = finally!

We met Bret & Jillian almost 3 years ago and heard about their amazing wedding which they wanted us to photograph. Their wedding was put on hold for some time, but we are beyond excited that it is finally almost here and we will be shooting it on May 11th! These two are the most genuine, sweet and endearing couple we have met in a long time and could not be more excited about their big day!! Congrats you two and know that it WILL be worth the wait.   We decided to have them drive up from Alabama to have their engagement session and they brought a load of goodies in their truck for us to use for the shoot. We love to ask our couples to bring anything that is unique to them and their relationship and then add that to the session. That makes it even more personal and gives them something personal to focus on during the shoot.   Bret plays guitar and they both sing, so we got them to do a song and clearly they enjoyed this time together. It was perfect! They both love reading so we spent a little time doing that as well. Their wedding is going to be DIY Vintage, so they brought this great old chair to do a few shots with. Love it! Congrats you two!! Can’t wait for the big... Read More

Where To See us over the Next Few Months!

We have some exciting things lined up this summer and early fall that we are excited to tell you about! >> Hunstville, AL | June 10th << We are speaking at the PPMA Summer Convention!  For more detailed information, stay tuned to this webpage. >> Chicago, IL | August 11-14th <<    We are a part of Skip Cohen’s Summer School teaching the main keynote as well as doing a 20-person 4 hour program on branding, marketing, pricing and much more.  Book your seat now before it fills up!  Visit HERE for more information. >> Rome, GA | October 8-11th << I (Jody) will be speaking again this year at the Christian Women’s Photography Retreat, Pursuit 31.  It was such an amazing time for women to come together and grow and learn together – it was so great and I’m looking forward to coming back again! >> Nashville, TN | Nov 1-3 << We are going to be speaking and leading a shoot at the 2013 Blink Conference along with some other amazing speakers!  We are so excited to be a part of this!  Early bird registration expires June 1st!  Visit HERE for more information. We hope to see... Read More

Guest Post – Marketing Guru Sarah Petty

Today we have an amazing post by a good friend of ours who is not only an amazing person, but runs one of THE most profitable photography studios in the country! This is an amazing treat to have our friend and all around sales guru Sarah Petty talking about how to overcome objections when clients are hesitating to purchase. Very rarely will you sell to your photography clients without them bringing up a single objection throughout the process, so learning these techniques that Sarah describes will teach you how to sell more without being a “salesman.” Turning Objections into Opportunities Sarah Petty     Sometimes when you’re selling to your photography clients, it can feel like you’re constantly being met with objections, and the feeling can be daunting. But, if you aren’t getting objections when selling to your clients, then you are done selling.  You have either closed the sale, or your clients want to leave without placing an order.   While objections often get a bad rap, hesitation from your clients doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no.’ Rather, the objections they bring up are opportunities for you to find out the real reason they aren’t buying, and then you can work to overcome those feelings so that selling to your clients is much smoother, and everyone involved is tickled pink.   Take, for instance, one of the most popular objections we hear as professionals who understand cost of goods sold and set our prices to be profitable: ‘You’re too expensive.”   There are a few different strategies you can use here to overcome this common objection, but here’s one that... Read More

30 Days of Giveaways with the New Launch of the FREE Music Bed App!!

THE MUSIC BED LAUNCHES FREE iOS APP + 30 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS Attention all photogs (yes, even filmmakers too :), you can now stay inspired and find relevant music to license for projects on-the-go from any iOS device! [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/62629912?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&color=cabb9c” width=”700″ height=”394″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen>] We love how you’ll be able to stay inspired anywhere with access to The Music Bed catalog right at your fingertips! As new music is released, you’ll be able to effortlessly keep up to date with their most recent library additions right on the app. Instantly update your wishlists with the newest hand-picked tracks.   To celebrate the release of your new favorite app, they’ve got 30 Days of Giveaways where you could win $1,500 in song licenses + an iPad Retina from TMB, PLUS tons of insane prizes from the likes of Kessler, Rode, Zacuto, LensProToGo and MORE worth thousands of dollars! It’s too good… but it’s so true.   Click HERE to enter for your chance at 30 Days of Giveaways! Click HERE for your very own download of The Music Bed App in the App Store! About The Music Bed The Music Bed licenses relevant music for your media projects — Empowering you to tell your story as the visual creative and properly supporting the musicians who make your art what it is. You can use their music in corporate productions, promo videos, slideshows, non-profit media, and more! Find us at www.themusicbed.com. CONNECT WITH THE MUSIC BED Web: www.themusicbed.com Twitter: [@themusicbed] www.twitter.com/themusicbed Facebook: www.facebook.com/musicbed Blog: www.themusicbed.com/blog Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/themusicbed... Read More

Tuesday Tips & Tricks | Website SEO PLUS an SEO GIVEAWAY!!!

Today we, once again, have an absolute special treat for you. If you have not heard of Lawrence Chan (Tofurious.com), then consider this your introduction and make sure to follow Lawrence’s blog… but only if you want your business to grow.   Lawrence is one of the smartest guys we know, and anytime he talks, we listen.    Lawrence Chan is a marketing strategist for smart photographers who authors a blog, a pricing e-book, a social media marketing book (Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers) and, most recently, Found | Be Discovered by those Who Matter. Enjoy his guest blog post!! _______________________ Do you ever wonder the effectiveness of your website efforts? It’s not as if you could ask every visitor to your site what they clicked on, which page was most effective, and etc. As far as Google Analytics, you can easily monitor what keywords people used and the time users stay on your site. However, that information does not tell you how potent your online strategies were to convert prospects into clients. As mentioned in my social media marketing book, there is a concept called the Funnel Effect. Imagine all of the links out there – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, friends’ websites and so forth – driving traffic to you. These links will eventually funnel into one place, your website. This is normal. Do you book clients on Twitter? Probably not. In most cases, you book clients on your Contact Page. To calculate the effectiveness of your website, you have to setup conversion goals. Conversion Goals Before you begin, you must determine what the ultimate landing page will be. For... Read More

What Not To Miss at WPPI

We are so excited for WPPI this coming weekend! We wanted to share with you the places we will be, (come say hi!) and other classes not to miss! SUNDAY 3:00pm – (Doors open and band begins at 2:50) – Platform Class | How To Avoid What Most Small Businesses Do – Fail (1.5 hours) MONDAY 2:00pm – Speaking at the Westcott Booth (tradeshow floor) | 3 Keys to On-Location Lighting (30 minutes) TUESDAY 2:00pm – Speaking at the Expo Imaging Booth (tradeshow floor) | How the Expo Disc Gave us Our Life Back (30 minutes, Listen to us share how we use the Expo disc to save us multiple hours in post-production)   Other classes NOT to miss: Dane Sanders | Going to Market: Maximizing Portrait and Wedding Profits (Sunday, 9:00am) Jared Bauman | Pricing & Packages Made Simple (Sunday 12:00pm) Lawrence Chan | Content Marketing & Social Media: The Secrets to More Bookings and Online Engagements (Monday 4pm) Blair Phillips | Absolute Refusal to Blend In: Senior Photography that Rocks (Tuesday 4pm) Jared Platt | Profitable Post-Production Using Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 (Tuesday 4pm) Sal Cincotta | Weddings: Making Real Money Doing What You Love – Tips, Tricks, and Business Advice for Everyone (Tuesday 6:30pm) Justin & Mary Marantz | The Bottom Line (Wednesday 8:30am) Sue Bryce | Contemporary Portrait Posing (Wednesday 8:30am)   We can’t wait to see you all! Please don’t be shy and make sure to come and say... Read More

Join us at WPPI for our Platform Class with Special Musical Guests

For all of you going to WPPI this year (almost one week away!), we invite you to join us for our platform class Sunday, at 3:00m (doors open at 2:50pm)! Not only will we be sharing on avoiding the pitfalls that most small businesses do, but we will have opening musical guests Holley Maher and Marie Hines, thanks to The Music Bed!  This event is free and you can attend if you have the full pass to WPPI. DOORS OPEN AT 2:50!! RSVP at this link on the Facebook event page! And if you haven’t already, make sure to add our class to your WPPI planner, and pre-board to ensure your seat if there is still... Read More

WIN IN-CAMERA: Shooting DVD!

Be one of the first to have our latest DVD! In honor of IN-CAMERA: Shooting | The Natural Light Photography System releasing one week from today, we are doing a giveaway! One lucky person will receive a signed copy of IN-CAMERA: Shooting, mailed right to their front door! This is what you need to do to win: 1. Tweet making sure you use the hashtag #INCAMERAdvd and this link –  http://bit.ly/X4vB1C. Feel free to copy and paste the below text or add your own flair :) So excited that #INCAMERAdvd Natural-light Shooting releases Tues, March 5th! More info: http://bit.ly/X4vB1C   That’s all you have to do!  Nice and simple! Winner will be announce on Friday via twitter! Happy tweeting!!! We leave you with the trailer for IN-CAMERA: Shooting… [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/60039909?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&color=cabb9c” width=”750″ height=”422″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen>] (Production by Rhetorik Creative | Packaging design by Julie... Read More

Santa Barbara & Showit!

  We are in the glorious state of California in Santa Barbara speaking at the Showit United Conference! We are going to be here hanging at the Four Seasons and soaking up a little California sun! We love giving back to the community and this event is a shining example of that. The Showit Community has tons of free resources for photographers 0n all sorts of business, shooting and great, low-priced events like this conference. We are excited to be here and hang with all the amazing photographers that are a part of this event!!  ... Read More

Tuesday Photo Tips & Tricks | The Wildcard That Will Bring You Success

Life is really hard sometimes. I mean, REALLY hard.  There are tons of obstacles that can hit us personally as well as professional from every side. Today is how to overcome those. The video we are sharing today was going around on Facebook a few weeks ago and we thought that it was very appropriate to share ESPECIALLY on a Tuesday Tips & Tricks.  Tuesdays are all about growing your business and photography, and this is probably one of the most important things to learn that will drastically change the tough cards that you may have been dealt with. Here are the cards: Chemistry – your chemical makeup Connections – the people who naturally have been placed in your life Circumstances – self-explanatory Consciousness – what you believe about yourself Choices – This card is your wildcard and makes or breaks your entire hand What we CHOOSE to do with the first four cards will determine the outcome of our life. Case and point… watch this video, and like Oprah says, “Just shut your mouth”  ;o) [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZPW3EB5U0bo” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>]   Man, this hit us hard.  We think that our lives are tough??  Think again.  We are CHOOSING to be thankful for what we have and make the choice to rise above!  I often think the harder people have it, the greater their impact and bigger their victory is on the other side.  I love this quote that I saw on Facebook from one of the people we follow, Verent Chan: “Sometimes life give you lemons – really, really, really, big lemons. You might not be able... Read More

Friday Fun/Finds | Hoodie Pillow!

If you don’t watch Shark Tank, then you should. 1. Because it is really entertaining, and 2. Because you get to see how the big dawgs (multi-100 millionaires and billionaires) negotiate and think. People that have figured out how to make that kind of money know something we don’t (most things about business) and it is a great way to learn a small part of how they think. So, we were watching the latest episode as we like to do, and saw something amazing! We travel a ton and were on the road 260 days last year alone. We flew over 60,000 miles in 2012 and let us tell you, you want some alone time after doing that! :) The biggest problem with traveling is listening to the same in-flight safety speech, sitting next to some dude who does not realize you need some time to sleep or relax, and the overly bright lights they flash on and off in your face. Problem solved! Introducing…..   The Travel Hoddie Pillow This pillow gives you everything that rocks about a Hoodie, without the Hoodie! For $16.95 you can bring this on any trip, blow it up and be in the zone! Talk about pure awesome cool factor! :) They also have the full-size Hoodie Pillow for home use that has an iPhone and headphone doc on the pillow so you can listen to your tunes as you drift off to sleep. Get one... Read More

IN-CAMERA: Workshops | Four Years in 2 Minutes

“This is truly one of the best workshops I have ever attended!” “I learned here more than anywhere else” “Excellent, excellent, excellent!!! This will give me so much more time with my husband and kids. Thank-you!!!” For the last four years we have had an amazing privilege: sharing the information we have applied in our own photography that has not only allowed us to 1) take stellar images IN-CAMERA with natural light and with on-location high-powered strobes using a systematic process, but 2) edit our images in a fast and efficient way that has freed up our lives to grow our business and spend time with each other!  And then of course, we taught our Harvest Business workshop as the third day of IN-CAMERA workshops for a few years. The comments at the beginning of this post are a few of the hundreds we have received from attendees…. which makes this blog entry bitter-sweet. This post is the official farewell to our IN-CAMERA workshops that after four years we are officially retiring. Yes, that means we are no longer teaching these workshops in person. You may be thinking… “Wait a second!!! I was hoping to attend your IN-CAMERA Workshops this year!” Well don’t you fret! We have some exciting news that we are sharing one week from today! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, Feb 20th at NOON CST to check back here on the blog. In the meantime, watch the last four years flash before your eyes in this short clip less-than-2-minute highlight reel with… 986 attendees 33 cities 3 counties Enjoy! [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/59195409?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”900″ height=”601″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen... Read More

Tuesday Photo Tips & Tricks | How to Have a Higher Closing Rate

  Have you ever found yourself on the phone or in person with a potential client and you have listened to their needs and wants and then you have finally told them about your services and answered any questions that they have, and then comes the awkward moment… … The chirping cricket moment … The moment where silence seems to drag on like an eternity and you’re thinking to yourself, “Do they like me? Does what I offer sound good to them? Can they afford me? Do they want to hire me?” But you have absolutely no idea and they aren’t saying anything, so you result to the most defeating and non-resolving thing you feel you can say – “Well…. let me know…” Then you hang up or they begin to gather their belongings, and you know as soon as the phone line goes dead or as soon as you watch the back of their heads retreating, you more than likely will never hear back from them. Car salesmen call this a “be back.” If someone leaves from the sale, statistics say that 80% of people are never coming back. What is needed is a CLOSE! You need to close this bad boy without sounding pushy or weird. The close is the most important part of the consultation. Whether we like it or not, all of us are in sales and we need to be able to bring the meeting to a place where it’s not left open-ended. We have for you one of the best things you can ask your clients, “Does this sound like what you’re looking... Read More

Photo Pro Expo & Iowa PPA here we come!

We are headed to the Photo Pro Expo and then straight to the Iowa PPA convention this weekend! We are excited to be headed out to see friends, give some brand new talks and meet some new peeps!     If you want to come out and see us at the Photo Pro Expo, you can sign up HERE. If you want to see us at the Iowa PPA, you can check it out HERE. See you... Read More

Our FREE 5 Week Photography Course is HERE!

Lesson 1: Must-have Gear Essentials You are receiving the FIRST week of this complimentary 5-week course just for being an awesome blog reader! You can SIGN UP for the entire 5 week course HERE! Welcome to the first lesson in the Five Keys to Rockin’ Your Portrait Sessions! Over the next few weeks, we are going to cover must-have gear, finding the light that any client can look great in, how to get the best moments and expressions from your client, how to get free help which allows you to focus on your clients, and how to make more money on your sessions! So, get ready because here we go with week 1! Portrait Session Goals When we are out shooting a portrait session, we have one goal in mind – To make our clients look their absolute best! In order to do that it’s important to have the right tools. Today’s lesson is about the two most important things you can bring out with you to your portrait shoots – the right lens and the right reflector. MUST-HAVE GEAR ESSENTIAL #1: A PORTRAIT LENS You have the power to make your subject look their best or their worst simply by the type of lens you choose to shoot with. This is why, unless we are trying to go for a certain look, we are usually shooting with a portrait lens. What makes a portrait lens a portrait lens? Any lens that is approximately 80mm or longer (depending on what expert you ask) is considered a “portrait lens.” Likewise, any lens that is shorter than approximately 80mm is not a... Read More

Our Favorite 2013 SuperBowl Commericials

Yes, it’s true…. The only time we actually watch football is the Superbowl and I (Jody) only really watch it for the commercials.  But hey, at least we’re watching, which is more than some people do! Last year’s commercials were great (See our favorite 2012 Super Bowl commercials) and this years there were some cool ones, but not AS awesome, but we thought we would at least highlight a few that made us chuckle. #1.Prom date with Audi [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ANhmS6QLd5Q” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>]   #2. Budweiser Clydesdales (please do not read deep into this.  We simply liked the commercial). [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/wPG7PcI67dE” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>]  #3. And for your final entertainment: You thought Beyonce was the start of the half time show? Well, this video says otherwise…. :) [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/6bhL5w7CdK0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>] This was one of the kids at the Super Bowl party we were at… so adorable!!!! What was your... Read More

Bid on a Mentoring Session and Change the World | Thirst Relief Mentor Auction Begins Today!!

Do you want to receive mentoring by some amazing photographers while making a difference in the world? From through February 3rd, Thirst Relief will enable you to big on eBay for a 90-minute instructional sessions from some of the best photographers in the business.  Bid NOW for a mentoring session with us! For those of you not familiar with Thirst Relief, it’s a non-profit that provides clean water for those in need around the world. We have put up for bid a 90-minute mentoring session with us plus our business DVD, HARVEST | The Three Steps to Growing a Thriving Photography Business. 100% of the proceeds directly benefit Thirst Relief.  Last time the mentor auction gave over 8,000 people clean water and helped numerous photographers become better at their craft and business! This is one of the biggest fundraisers that Thirst Relief holds, so spread the word!  Tell all of your friends!  Blog, tweet, Facebook – whatever you have to do!  Let’s have our community make a difference in the world! Find out more info about the auction:  Bid... Read More

Belieb It Or Not…

  Before you even start to hate, if you have never seen the documentary on Justin Bieber Never Say Never, then we don’t want to hear one negative peep out of your mouth :)   he he he… Don’t be jealous y’all, but Justin Beiber came through Nashville on his BELIEVE tour and we got tickets and went! The concert was pretty impressive and that little dude can sing really well live. Below is how Justin made his entrance… it was pretty …shall we dare say… EPIC. (above image compliments of thehothits.com) The stage was really impressive and it was such a great show.   We had a fun time, though we did forget to bring earplugs.  I think we both had dreams that night of girls screaming in our ears ;))  This is Zach trying to protect his eardrums… And a little iphone video for you… :)   [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/dLJ-OksXDnM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>] It had been awhile since we had been to a concert so it was something that was definitely fun to go out and do! What concerts have you been to that you love and would... Read More

Free Online Event Tomorrow | Grow Your Business for 2013!

As we tend to be in the “slow” season, now is a great time to get refocused on your business, take in new ideas and learn from others!  We hope you join us.  :) Want to make more money in your photography business this year? Do you need to reFOCUS? SIGN UP Here for the FREE online event tomorrow! Tomorrow, 6 talks will be live-streamed from us and five other speakers!      ... Read More