Creating Panoramic Images

Today we are going to show you guys how to create really cool panoramic images! Maybe you want to shoot a really scenic shot of the venue or location of a wedding for the wedding album, or you want to create a panoramic canvas for your clients wall. If so, then this is how you do it!   We are going to show you an image that we actually shot yesterday at our in-camera: Light workshop (more images to come soon!) as an example.   What you will need: Camera to take awesome photos, Lightroom 3 or 4, Photoshop CS5 with your RAW plug-ins up to date Step 1. Shoot the pano images – You have to shoot more than one image to create a true pano shot, and you do this by simply framing up your initial shot that you want, then panning the camera either right or left (or both) and taking another image. You can do this by hand and don’t need a tri-pod, as long as you stay on the general axis point that you started with.   First image that I wanted to use Second image of the sky just next to our model I took by simply panning my camera to the right (make sure both images are close to the same plane, and make sure that they overlap each other a little bit)   As you can see in the above two images, there is a little bit of overlap of the sky on the right in image 1, and the left in image 2, which is needed later on to stitch... Read More

Friday Finds | Evernote

  Friday Finds..REVISITED! Evernote is a way to capture anything in your life and save it. Evernote allows you to then easily search for anything in your life that you need to reference later!  For running your photography business, you can create projects and check them off as you go (and share them with anyone else on your team), digitally save all of your receipts by simply snapping a photo with your iPhone camera, you can capture ideas, web pages, and more and save them all as notes to look at later, and of course you can record all of your typical notes inside this system. You can ideas, facebook posts and even tweets. You can even scan in all of your documents (contracts, social security papers, birth certificates, tax returns – EVERYTHING) right into Evernote and have a completely paperless life! Now, everything you have is all in one place, digitally secured, and accessible at any time.   Check out the new Evernote Business  if you have a large team working with you so you can easily share docs and data with each other while you work, while also keeping your private notes... Read More

In the Raw Video Series – Smoke Shot Part 2

  Last week  I shared a raw video I created during a personal shoot with Jason Bynum. The video showcased HOW I shot and lit the above image and all the techniques used to create the lighting effect. Today, I have another video showing you the post-process workflow that I used to composite the two final images together to create a more surreal image with the smoke. When working with this type of editing, there are literally 100 different ways to do it. When I set out to create this shot, I decided to figure out my way of editing it in Photoshop and Lightroom to get the final result. This is only my way and I am sure there a many other ways that are just as effective. I also talk through the general idea of my edit during the video, but when I did the actual final edit (which is shown above and in the end of the video) I spent a little more time finessing the shot. You will get the overall idea of what was done so that if you want to go out and create one really different and interesting shot for yourself or a client, you can! (Now, be sure that if you are producing more than just a few final shots for a client – like for weddings and portrait sessions – that you don’t do this type of work for ALL of those images, otherwise your business will fall apart since you are spending too much time on your workflow. :)   Enjoy the video!   If you are interested in more content... Read More

In The Raw Video Series | Smoke Shot part 1 (Video)

What up everyone! We are excited to bring you a brand new series of lighting videos all about studio lighting. One of  my passions and something that I (Zach) have undertaken during our year sabbatical from shooting weddings, is finally getting to do more personal work. I love shooting controlled portraits and am excited to share more of how I have shot some of the images I have been doing lately.   Now, many wedding and portrait photographers have moved away from studio shooting due to the high costs of renting spaces and the complexity of the gear. Well, this video series is going to show you how to shoot in a simple space and create some dramatic lighting with some really cool techniques. If you shoot bridal shoots, senior shoots, family or other portrait sessions, then adding some studio style shots could be a great creative outlet for you and give your clients something really unique that many photographers are not doing.  The shots you will see were photographed right inside our house (garage or other spaces) and even though we are using some Elinchrom gear, you could do this with equipment that costs much less. To download our entire gear list, go HERE to get it for free!   Now, on to today’s video and final image:   (Video Part 1 of 2) Thanks for checking out the video and come back next week to see how I composite the smoke and final image into the completed shot! If you like this video, share it by using one of the sharing links below and leave a comment letting... Read More

Friday Finds – Don’t get Apple Mapped!

So, after getting Apple Mapped (that is when Apple Maps screws you and takes you completely the wrong way and destroys your trip!) once again last week, I had had enough! :) So, my amazing friend Zach Prichard from Rhetorik Creative (the team that shot our new IN-CAMERA DVD Series), told me to get back on Google Maps.     I thought since it is not integrated into the iPhone and since Apple is trying to destroy the world with one proprietary system after the next, that I would either have to buy this app (and it would be super expensive) or it would not easily work with the phone. Wrong!! It has everything you could want and more! Easy to get directions with real travel times based on traffic conditions, easy to find food, local transit, and it even has Google Earth and more more more! It also works with the phones GPS and is voiced turn by turn directions that you can actually understand!! (Sorry Apple, but your fake British lady does not speak English very well which is ironic). When we are headed to a shoot, we can’t afford to go the wrong way and Google is the standard when it come to mapping. And, the app is totally free! Get it on your phone and start getting where you are going in the RIGHT direction and don’t get Apple Mapped... Read More

Behind the Scenes In The RAW Videos | Coming Soon

Coming Soon!! We are putting together some video tutorials on how we create dynamic portrait shots and will detail EVERY SINGLE part of the shoot! If you want to be able to create incredible, creative and hyper-real portraits, then this series will be for you. We will show you the idea and thought process, the gear, the lighting, angles and all the post-production to create the final images. These videos are going to be called In The Raw and are being created as we speak!   Want to be the first to hear about this series when it arrives? Sign up for our FREE newsletter HERE and get it before anyone else.... Read More

Behind the Scenes of Red Letter Artist Shoot

  Back in September of 2011 I (Zach) photographed new artist’s Red Letter for their promo packaging and album. We had a blast working with these really young and talented kids and got some cool shots for them. The tough thing about shooting like this, is you have no control of how they further adjust and edit images and how they design around them. :) Today we are going to break down one of the more complicated images and show you how we did it.     This image was hard to pull off and has 3 lights and was a tough location to shoot at. I knew from the weather forecast that the sunset was going to be awesome that night, and there was no way I was going to add the sky in afterward since at the time, that was not my style. I wanted to nail it in-camera with no post-production work. Commercial photographers have it really tough when the label and marketing team wants a specific look and the weather or other factors simply do not permit that, so there are times on shoots like these when you need to add a sky or do some serious photoshop work to get the shot how they want.   For this image, here was the set up, then we can break it down.   As you can see from the ambient light shot, flash was an absolute necessity in order to get the final look that they wanted. Here is what we did: Step one – Control the ambient light The first thing I do is determine (from our pre-production meeting) the type of look they... Read More

Friday Finds | Memory Vault

When you are looking to create value in a product that you are selling to your clients, one way help do that is by differentiating your product line. We all know that having all of the images from your wedding, engagement or senior shoot is important to have, but because most of us deliver that on a DVD, clients tend to devalue that in part because they know how much a DVD costs to produce (nothing). So we dress up those little terds by putting them in nice leather DVD cases and printing our studio name on the cover. But the client sometimes still has a hard time swallowing the price point. We know that the value is in our art and not the actual DVD, but since our clients are not artists, they can have a hard time understanding that. The reality is, the client is always right and if they think your disk of images is worth $10, then it is since that is what they are willing to pay! So, one way to get your client back tracking with you is to differentiate by simply packaging your product in a different way, then selling them on a BENEFIT of this new “product” that you are offering. Introducing the Memory Vault by Sandisk. The Memory Vault is simply a small USB 2 hard drive that you can put all the clients final images on. It could sound similar to a DVD, just more expensive. So what is the benefit to your client? The benefit is that it preserves memories for 100 years. Pretty sweet benefit! :) The... Read More

Glamour Lighting How-To

Lighting styles are the direction you choose to have your light hitting your client to create different styling, or looks on them. You can make a client look 30 pounds lighter (or heavier) just by your choice and direction of your lighting. These styles work with natural light, and with flash, but we are going to focus in on the flash side with this post. But do remember, you can simply replace “soft-box” with sun, reflector or any other light source you encounter.   Mastering the effect of some of the basic lighting styles will not only add some new tools to your photography tool belt, but will also give you much more confidence when you encounter a client that can seem more difficult to photograph. Some clients have round faces, or features that they want minimized, and it is our job as pro’s to help make our clients look their absolute best! So in this series, we are going to show you how to handle tricky situations, bring out the best features of your clients, and take ALL of the guesswork out of it.   When we are headed out to a session (either a wedding or an engagement shoot), one of things that we are thinking about is our “client lighting profile.” Meaning, what type of lighting is going to look great on my client and flatter them, and what type of lighting is going to highlight features that they are not stoked about? You can even go as far as to make some personal notes of lighting that you should, and should not use on that... Read More

Studio Lighting | Perfect Separation on white seamless

So, if you have ever shot in the studio, you may have shot images on a seamless backdrop which is a simple way to get great looking images without much distraction from you client. You can also easily cut clients out from a seamless if you need to do a composite. Sometimes though, you need a classy, simple shot on a pure white or gray seamless, and although it may seem straight-forward, it can be very tricky to nail it.   There are tons of blogs, ideas and systems out there for shooting on a white seamless and getting the background blown out so it turns pure white or grey, but not blasting so much light back into the camera that it hazes out the images, or loses the contrast between your client and the background. Today I will show you the easiest way to get that perfect separation.   Some photographers say that you need to have your main light at f/11, then your background light at f/16 to blow out that background just right. Some say that you need to have them a certain amount of feet away from the background. Some say that you need to get your blinkies on the back of your camera flashing on the background and not your client, then it will be right. Zack Arias, on his Tumblr Blog, suggested using the blinkies, then adding 1/3 more or less and learning your system then checking them to see what needs to be adjusted. So which method is correct?   All of that can work with lots of guessing, but there is... Read More

Lightroom 4

To buy, or not to buy! Today for Tuesday Tips and Tricks we are taking a quick look into Lightroom 4 and a few really cool features that we are excited about! Instead of typing out a super long and wordy post, we decided to make a video for you all! Mainly because we think you all are worthy of a video and KNOW that you love seeing our little tiny faces! ;)   So, enjoy the video and then decide for yourself if the upgrade is worth it for you! If you are currently in Lightroom version 4, then the upgrade price has dropped down to only $79 which is really nice. You can check out Lightroom 4 HERE and grab it the download! If you are still using Photoshop to edit, then stop as fast as you can and start using Lightroom!! :) See you all next week!! [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/38543726?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”800″ height=”450″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen... Read More

Behind the Image

Welcome to this Tuesday’s Photography Tips and Tricks! Your place to get the inside scoop on running your photog biz, shooting stellar in-camera images and more! Today, we are breaking down an image from our January wedding we shot of the amazing Taylor and Matthew. These two were a JOY to work with and we got to shoot so many awesome portraits of the two of them! We are going to break down one of the more difficult scenarios that we had to deal with, and show you exactly what we did to make sure the final result was something our couple would want to hang on their wall. After we had shot their portraits and after the wedding ceremony was over, Matthew and Taylor wanted a few shots in one of their favorite spots in town, the Nashville walking bridge. This location was tough to shoot at because it was freezing cold (24 degrees out!), has cool light on the bridge, but no lights on our couple, AND had the potential to look less than dramatic if not shot right. So we made sure to bring our Elinchrom Quadra lighting rig (our gear list can be downloaded HERE) with our new Elinchrom Deep Octa 39 to rock this out! This is the before.. Here, in this natural lit photo above, you can see just how awful the existing light was. The lighting is flat, has no (good) contrast on it, and their eyes are dark from the direction of the light. This image was also shot at ISO 6400 at 1/60th of second, and the noise is getting... Read More

Friday Fun | Starbucks Trip Adventures | A visit to the very 1st Starbucks

Our time in Seattle has been absolutely AMAZING! After creativeLIVE concluding on Sunday, we, our in-studio audience, and a few of the amazing creativeLIVE crew (Kenna, Kate, & Stephen) took us to the very first Starbucks!! (Thanks to one of our in-studio students, Valentina for some of the images!) Watch a little video we recorded inside :) [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/35874878?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”600″ height=”450″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen] Behind-the-scenes to the video making :) ha ha We got our mug! Having fun in the store :) Here is the fabulous Kenna from creativeLIVE. Us with our fab creativeLIVE in-studio audience. Thanks to Kenna for capturing the below images! (Samantha, Z, J, Valentina, Janelle, and Kris) Yay for happy times in... Read More

Think & Grow Rich… is it really that simple?

I wanna be a billionaire, so freakin’ bad… Anyone else? ;) I (Jody) love the song, “Billionaire.” The lyrics often get stuck in my head… And is that such a bad thing to want? What’s the point of having $$? We love what Dave Ramsey (the smartest man on business and finances we know). He says money is good for three things – saving, spending, and giving. I love that! Ever since we came across Dave Ramsey, almost 7 years ago we have followed that idea as well as his financial principles. We’re always eager to learn more about how we manage our money better, and of course, grow it! (Not sure where to start with your finances? Try reading Total Money Makeover by DR). I recently picked up a book, Think and Grow Rich, thanks to the high recommendations from a friend of ours. Our friend read it, applied the principles, and a year later, made $1,000,000. Um, if that doesn’t get my attention I don’t know what else will! I started the book on vacation and am about a third of the way through. It’s really good stuff so far and I wanted to share the biggest thing that has struck me so far. The battle for your success will first start in your mind. Yup, read that again and soak it in… then move onto these quotes from Think and Grow Rich.   “…no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty” (p. 22). “Both poverty and riches are the offspring of... Read More

6-Year Anniversary Milestone… things we have learned along the way

Jody and I had our awesome anniversary back on November 26th and are soooo happy that we are, well, still happy and still in love now more than ever! Marriage is a tough thing and all of you married couples who also work together and shoot together probably know all too well that it takes a certain type of personality to hang out pretty much 24/7 with your spouse! Jody and I rarely are apart from each other and it is totally normal for us to be together when we are here at the house almost non-stop. If one of us is upstairs, so is the other one. One of us eating some breakfast or making coffee, there is the spouse. :) We love being together, but that does not mean that this past 6 years has been a piece of cake, either. Jody and I have worked through tons of difficult circumstances in our personal lives, with family and with friends. Nothing truly great in life that really has a big payoff comes easy. I like to compare marriage to a true relationship with Jesus (as Jesus himself did many times). Anyone out there who has known the Lord for more than a few months knows just how hard it is to do what God calls us to do, which is the opposite of what YOU want to do, most of the time. Today, love is thrown around and used and abused when needed, and passed off when you don’t feel like doing it anymore, but Jesus said this; “There is no greater love than this, that a... Read More

A Little Vacation Fun | Deep Sea Fishing

It has been over 2 years since we have taken a true vacation. Yes, we have been to many amazing places but it’s been for work and yes, we have been able to sneak in a day or two of sightseeing, but it’s never truly relaxing. This is the first time in a loooong time, we are taking a true vacation. No shoots, no mentoring sessions that we are holding for others, no workshops, no weddings, no meetings, but a true vacation. We flew out Dec 30th with good friends (and talented wedding videographers) Eugene and Heather and have been enjoying our time here relaxing and doing whatever we want. Here is us at the airport … we had an EARLY morning flight out! Here is the view from the 2nd story of our condo!   The 2nd day here we went to the marina had some fishing adventures…   [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/34520352?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”600″ height=”338″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen]   And of course, we have been hitting the beach! Eugene and Zach goofing off :) A little friend who keeps visiting us :) Here’s to relaxation and times of renewing!!! Make sure to set aside time RIGHT now where you will take some time to chill and get away this year. Block it off and don’t let anything else get in the way! :)... Read More

A little update on creativeLIVE video selection!

We know so many of you are anxiously waiting to hear the chosen few who will join us in Seattle for creativeLIVE.. Here is a little video updating you on the latest… :)   [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/34540100?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”600″ height=”450″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen]   Stay... Read More

Friday Fun | Zach’s Favorite Christmas Music Video – You Got The Fiever?

Last week Jody shared her favorite Christmas Music Video and now it’s my turn! Someone has the fiever and the fiever is the Beiber! Check out my favorite Christmas video of the year that has soooo many things going for it.   1. Shot on-location here in Franklin, TN! 2. Has snow! 3. Has the Biebs (what else is there?) Enjoy and don’t be jealous that you are not the girl in the video! Have a favorite Christmas video of all time? Let us know what it... Read More

Your Camera Bag Can Save Your Life

Today we want do a review of some new gear that we recently purchased and give you guys the skinny on how and why we chose the new camera bag we did. Jody and I have been using the awesome Lowepro Pro Roller 2 for the last 4 years straight (you can see a video of “what’s in our camera bag” on the blog HERE to see more of this bag that is now discontinued). The Lowepro Pro Roller 2 was replaced by the Pro Roller X300 which is also a stellar bag, but just came short of the one we decided to purchase for 2012. We ended up getting the Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 and are extremely excited and happy with the buy! So, why did we get this bag and what makes it so great? Let’s dive in!   So there are a number of features that made this bag go over the top for us and help us make the decision to purchase it. After using our Pro Roller for 4 years, we really know exactly what works, and what does not work with a bag and lots of thought went into this decision. First up, one of the best ideas we have yet to see in a roller bag, are Think Tank’s “Emergency Shoulder Straps.” These straps are hidden on the back of the bag for normal rolling use, but in the rare occasion that us wedding photographers are shooting at a venue that is all gravel or not condusive to rolling a bag, we can bust out these straps, lock them to the... Read More

UK Workshop Dates & Location Announced!!

We have been talking about it, but it is now official! We are bringing our workshops to the the London area!!! We will be speaking at the ShutterRock UK event on Tuesday and then leading our workshops that weekend!!! We are pumped to go back and we can’t wait! Dates to Remember: – Friday, 7 October 6:00 GMT: Registration Opens! – Tuesday, 15 November: ShutterRock UK (at Theodore Bullfrog) – Saturday, 19 November: IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post (at Sim2000 Imaging) – Sunday, 20 November: IN-CAMERA: Light (at Sim2000 Imaging) – Monday, 21 November: IN-CAMERA: Business & Marketing (at Sim2000 Imaging) For more information on the workshops (location, pricing, etc.) and to register once registration is open, visit the IN-CAMERA: Workshops... Read More

The 10 Things you Need to Know about the New Facebook

By now we’re sure that you have been hearing that there are going to be new changes to Facebook – some that have already begun to take place (*sighs* here we go again…).     I (Jody) personally hate getting comfortable with a program or system and then they switch it up on me. Regardless of how we feel about the changes, we need to embrace them or everyone will move on without us. We have come across a few articles in the news and via our email subscriptions so we wanted to share with you some of the articles we came across to share the knowledge! ______________________________ USA TODAY | 10 Things you Need To Know About the New Facebook, by Mark W. Smith, Detroit Free Press The social network has made its most aggressive set of changes ever in the last few weeks. New features like the Ticker — a real-time feed of activity from your friends — have raised eyebrows among Facebook users. And then last week Facebook unveiled Timeline, which brings long-forgotten archived posts to the surface and makes them easier to see. As with any major change, there has been a significant amount of misinformation out there about what the new Facebook means for its users. Here is a look at the 10 things you should know about Facebook’s changes. 1. The Ticker isn’t actually revealing any new information. It is, though, showing users a lot of information they probably wouldn’t have otherwise bothered to look for. In it, you’ll see any activity from your friends that you’re allowed by them to see (and... Read More

Workshop Winner Announced!

Happy Friday! Today we announce the winner who wins a seat to Nashville’s IN-CAMERA: Business & Marketing class on Tuesday October 4th and the SanDisk 8 gig flash drive! The winner had to follow all of the steps (follow us on Twitter, sign up for our Photographer newsletter and tweet the given message) and the person whose name that was selected is……….   … … … Gabrielle von Heyking, @gvhphotographie! Congratulations! Make sure to redeem your prize by emailing us at winner@grayphotograph.com with your mailing address for the flash drive and the full name and email of the person attending Nashville’s Oct. 4th workshop if you are unable to attend yourself.   Thanks to everyone who... Read More

Red Letter Promo Shoot

I (Zach) really enjoy doing artist promo shoots. We had the privileged of rockin’ out a shoot for the awesome Red Letter this last week and had an absolute blast with them! This young band is full of energy and we walked away with some seriously cool images from the day for their promo! Check them out! HUGE thanks to Matt of Matt & Meg Photography & Will for assisting... Read More

IN-CAMERA: Light Photography Workshop Recap| Denver, CO!

Our second day of Denver workshops was our IN-CAMERA: Light workshop which is one of my (Zach’s) personal favorite workshops! This workshop is so much fun because no matter what lighting conditions we are handed for the day, we can handle it since we are bringing the light with us! Using strobes in your work allows you to create light instead of looking for it and is a great way to get some really dynamic looking images right in the camera. None of these images have seen the inside of Photoshop and all have only minor adjustments done in Adobe Lightroom that took less than a few seconds. Check out the images from the day below and thanks to some of our attendees Double Knot Photography and Stacey Kyler for some of these behind-the-scenes shots! And thanks to our models, Chad, Jade, and Sarah!!!! The above shot was an interesting one where we wanted to get some more texture in the background, so we had all of the attendees grab some dirt in their hands and all throw it in the air at the same time to give us this dust storm look in the shot and add that extra layer of composition that makes the shot much more interesting! This next set-up that you’re about to see was done closer to the end of the day. All of the attendees had done their own lighting set-ups, so we decided to get a little more creative and add a second off-camera light. The awesome thing about our 2 light Elinchrom Quadra rig, is that you don’t have to meter... Read More