2016 could have been so much better…

“I didn’t make the money I wanted to make.” “I can’t seem to get enough clients to stay busy.” “I didn’t get enough referrals to hit my goals.” “I need some ideas to help make 2017 better than last year.” This is the kind of things we have heard about 2016. But 2017 does NOT have to be the same as last year. We are excited about 2017 and want YOU to be excited right along with us! We know that business is not getting easier, and all of us need some quick wins and some good ideas to get our businesses moving forward in 2017. (Stick around until the end because we have something really cool for you) How to Make 2017 Better Than Last Year In order to build the business you have always wanted, we believe that there are 6 key areas to focus on. If you will do the work NOW in this slow season and get yourself ready, you can start booking and make this year the best one ever. 1. Vision Without a vision, the people parish. Without clients knowing what YOUR vision is, they have no reason to book you versus the next photographer. It is critical for you to craft your vision, your purpose, so you know WHY you do what you do. When you know WHY you do what you do, it is much easier to understand WHAT to do next. Then, you need to communicate that vision to your customers. What sounds better to you… “Sleep on some guys couch because he’s not using it.” Or Our vision is... Read More

3 Key Tips for Building Social Media Engagement

“The goal of social media is to turn customers into a volunteer marketing army.” -Jay Baer   Social media is a great supplementary tool for your marketing plan in your business. It should never be the first place you look to build your brand, as you should always focus on building personal relationships first. Even though social media marketing is not THE most important part of your business, it does have an integral role, and today we want to share 3 key tips to get people engage with your more!   Key #1 – Talk about things that are interesting   (This Instagram got more attention because my (Zach), audience (photographers), like the unique use of lighting and posing, and reacted strongly to it… not to mention the adorable kid in the shot ;) Realize that unless you are a celebrity, that no one really cares what you ate for breakfast, and definitely don’t want to see a picture of it on Twitter. Think about your audience and WHO you are trying to speak to, and then create content that THEY care about. (Click to Tweet this out!) Examples:  If you are a wedding photographer, then you can use Facebook to create a private group just for your brides where they can all connect, talk about their recent weddings and planning, and you can give ideas to them as well because you have a ton of experience with weddings. They will have the things Seth Godin talks about in his book Tribes (a tribe is a community with something in common, a way to talk to each other, and a way to... Read More

Cyber Monday is here! Save 60% on Workshops and Courses!

We have massive savings in our storefront and we don’t want you to miss this opportunity to get one of our available tools for 60% off that can change your business forever that is 100% guaranteed! Visit the storefront now! The Hottest Selling Items: Buy The Store If you want to have a thriving business that gives you a great income and every tool you need to shoot incredible images, then you need this bundle. It will give you everything you need to know to take your shooting & business to the next level. Includes: The Complete Wedding Course ($500 value) The 6-Figure Business Course ($500 value) IN-CAMERA: Light ($249 value) IN-CAMERA: Natural Light ($249 value) Lighting Fast Post-Production ($249 value) Reception Lighting Made Easy ($249 value) Harvest Business Workshop Studio Lighting Made Easy ($249 value)  Save 70% off the regular price of $2,495 and get all of this for just $849! BONUS! Includes a 90 day FREE trial of ShootFlow, The Proven Workflow Solution! ($87 value) Grab the bundle now! The Complete Wedding Course (NEW!) The Complete Wedding Course is almost here (early spring 2017)! Follow us along on an entire REAL wedding shot LIVE in Nashville, TN! Walk with us in incredible HD footage as we guide you through our entire approach to photographing amazing images no matter what type of wedding day you are dealt. BONUS! Includes a 90 day FREE trial of ShootFlow, The Proven Workflow Solution! This Complete Wedding Course will cover: All aspects of the wedding day (getting ready, portraits, ceremony, reception, lighting, locations, posing, cameras and lenses and more) Interaction with their clients to get the best images possible Controlling the wedding day schedule to... Read More

1 easy idea to get your current clients to refer you more often

  (Image from the Complete Wedding Course by Zach & Jody) Let’s get one thing straight… Brides KNOW other brides, and many times they are standing right next to her on the wedding day. You need your current client referring you to ALL of her friends that are potential clients. But how in the world do you get her to do that? The answer is extremely simple. “Give your clients a reason to talk about you, then give them the tool they need to share you in an effective way.”  – Jody Gray (tweet this out!)    My wife is one smart cookie. She realized very early on in our business that we only needed to figure out how to get our first few clients when we started our business. After that, we needed the top clients, the best ones, to send us ALL of their friends. If we could get them to do that, we would quickly have a business full of amazing clients that we wanted to work with. Sound easy? It is!  Sort of.   A Reason To Talk It all starts with giving your client an exceptional experience that they can’t help but talk about! Seth Godin said in his amazing book The Purple Cow, “Are you making really good stuff in your business? If so, how fast can you stop!” What he meant was that it is not nearly good enough offer really good service or really good products in today’s business. You need to instead offer something great, and great is usually something unique or different. It is unique, in the photography industry,  to offer... Read More

How to use an incentive to book more shoots

When we were shooting weddings, we had a 95% close rate when someone sat down to meet with us about their wedding day. This wasn’t luck and wasn’t because we are the best wedding photographers. It was because we know why people buy, and made sure to give people what they wanted. Today we want to teach you one of the tools we used so you can start to get the same results. The Why of Buy  People show up when there is a sale, people buy cars when the dealer throws in a set of tires, and when what you want might be gone tomorrow, people buy because of scarcity because no one wants to miss out. We know that people buy when they see value, when there is scarcity, when they feel safe, and when they are incentivize.  So how can we use these facts to help give our clients what they want and help us close more deals? Simple, INCENTIVIZE! (Click here to Tweet this out!)   When a client comes in and sits down with you to decide whether or not they are going to book you, there sometimes comes a moment right after you “close” (ask them if they are ready to book you), that they hesitate. This hesitation is what I call “riding the fence.” They didn’t say no to you, and they didn’t say yes. They are right on the fence and just need a little, soft push from you to fall on your side. In these situations, we always have an Ace in our pocket (an incentive). We would use an... Read More

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 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. 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... Read More

When to say “adios” to your day job

  One of the most common questions we get asked from photographers is, “When is it a smart decision to quit my day job?” If you’re in that position, we want to help guide you through that tough decision to make! It was 8 years ago that we decided to pursue photography as a career. At that point in our lives, Zach worked for a company that photographed and produced images for grade-school yearbooks, and Jody worked in international sales and marketing for a record label. We learned a lot over the years about how to keep our business functioning day in and day out and one of the hardest decisions we had to make early on in our business was quitting our day jobs. The struggle came when we were gaining huge momentum and found ourselves in the middle of shooting 30+ weddings our 2nd year into business and we both were working crazy hard. Zach had quit his job 10 months prior but Jody was working 80-90 hour weeks between her day job and photography.  We had a come-to-Jesus-meeting about how much time we were spending business building vs. marriage building (business building was WAY significantly more) and sat down and decided that WE were going to take control of our future. We sought the advice of a few different counselors including the brilliant financial mind of Dave Ramsey. We wrote out our plan, did what was right based on our marriage relationship, and what we needed instead of what we feared (losing our “security” of the day jobs) and moved forward. We ended the year with a bang and... Read More

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 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! 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... Read More

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 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 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 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... Read More

Why Great Photos Don’t Make Money

“People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional connection to a product or service.” -Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Something More than Great Imagery… Could it be that we have spent all this time honing our craft to become better and better photographers, and the harsh reality is that having great photos alone isn’t enough to build a successful photography business? The Truth About Quality Photographs The truth is clients just expect their photos to be good. No one goes around saying “I take OK photos, want to hire me?” So why in the WORLD do we try and base the price of our images off of the quality of our images? The answer is because we are artists and this is our craft. We want people to value it, but the hard truth is that once photography became widely available and much “easier” to do, the overall quality of images went up and clients started to simply expect them all to be good. What Else You Got? Subconsciously, this is the question on all of our clients minds. If they are asked to pay anything over average for our products and services, then they expect something more. So what MORE do you need to offer? That is simple. We have to offer emotional connections through the services we provide them, and through the products we sell. This is done by: #1 – Telling gripping stories when we are initially meeting with leads that help communicateWHY these images matter in the first place. This helps connect them with the heart behind why you do what you... Read More

5x your referrals FREE guide

“Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to.” – Henry Ford 2016 can be the best or WORST year ever for your business. The great thing is the outcome is your choice for 99% of you. Do you need more referrals? Well our brand new 5x Your Referrals PDF guide will help you get there. This PDF contains the 5 proven strategies that when implemented, will get more people talking about you and more shoots on the books for 2016. Oh, and did we mention it is TOTALLY FREE? Yeah. That’s how we roll. YOUR FREE PDF Here is your free copy of the new PDF so grab it now while you can.   Have a great week, and get those referrals... Read More

A great 2016 starts here…

“What comes out of the mind is what you put in the mind. You must feed your mind like you feed your body.” – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking The new year is here, and for some of us that gives us a hope and excitement about the future and for others it feels like another year that we are worried will bring us more failure. “Maybe my business just won’t be a success this year.”  “My kids and life are so demanding, so how can I possibly be a success in 2016?”  “I am tired of feeling down and depressed, but I just can’t seem to shake it.”  Feelings of hopelessness, despair, worry and anxiety or just feeling “stuck” is something many of us have dealt with (including me, Zach). They pretty much suck the life out of you and can turn your stomach inside out and give you a bleak outlook. Is there anything that you can do starting right now to help turn those feelings around and make 2016 your best year ever? Well, we like to start with what we can do today, and then this week, and then 2016 will take care of itself. “Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.” – Tim Sanders, Today We Are Rich Information-Intake Day If you are ready to change who you are for the better starting today, then you have to start by taking inventory of your (as Tim Sanders calls it) “Mind Diet.” Your Mind Diet is is the daily intake of what you allow... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Zach & Jody

Zach & Jody Experiential Marketing In the final video of our MasterMind Series we are going to share with you guys are top keys for experiential marketing. Now you may be asking “why does that matter?” It matters to you because when you create a dynamic and repeatable client experience, people will pay you MORE money for what you do and will send you all their friends in the process. We did this in our wedding brand, and now we do it in our photographer brand which has helped us gain tens of thousands of fans that want to be a part of what we do here each week. If you want that too, then don’t miss this final free video! Check out our FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to check out Shootflow if you want to have a way to create this experience at the push of a... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Jared Bauman

Jared Bauman Reaching my Perfect Clients In video 8 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from the marketing expert Jared Bauman. Jared runs ShootDotEdit and has been teaching sales, marketing and more for years. He helped us make TONS of money when we were shooting weddings and we know this video is going to be just what you guys need to take your business to the next level. Check out his FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab the ShootDotEdit Marketing Guide while you are... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Courtney Slaznik

Courtney Slaznik Double your Facebook Fans! In video 7 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from the insanely talented Courtney Slaznik! Courtney runs Click it Up a Notch where she teaches over 45,000 photographers how to improve their photography, and today she is sharing her top secret techniques for increasing your Facebook fans which will help you get more clients looking at your work. Check out her FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab her Facebook Scheduling Guide while you are... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Jared Platt

Jared Platt Cut Your Workflow in Half! In video 6 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from THE authority on editing – Jared Platt. Jared literally cut our workflow in half back in 2009 and we have been close friends with him ever since. He is outstanding at teaching you simple concepts that you can start using right now to get more time back in your life and this video is amazing! Check out the FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab his Lightroom Controller Settings while you are... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Luke & Cat

Luke & Cat 3 Ways to Sell Big! In video 5 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from Texas photographers Luke & Cat! Luke and Cat run one of the most profitable wedding businesses in the country and know how to sell a unique experience like few others do. Today they are going to share with you their keys for selling, and selling big and this is one video you do NOT want to miss! Check out the FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab their Custom Email Template while you are... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Matt & Carissa Kennedy

Matt & Carissa Kennedy The Balanced Life In video 4 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from Canadian shooters Matt & Carissa Kennedy. They teach photographers through their Acadamy of Wedding Photography and are uniquely skilled in many areas. Today they are going to share with you their keys for keeping a healthy work and life balance with keeping your kids in mind! Check out the FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab their Get More Time Guide while you are... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Amy & Jordan Demos

Amy & Jordan Demos 3 Steps to Going Full-Time|video In video 3 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from Amy & Jordan Demos, from Phoenix, AZ. They were voted one of the Top Ten to Watch by Rangefinder Magazine, have been featured in People, and are teaching photographers how to run highly successful brands with their incredible workshops! Today they are going to share with you their 3 steps you need to follow to go from your day job to your dream job! Check out the FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab their dream job PDF while you are... Read More

Master Mind Video Series | Cole Joseph

Cole Joseph 3 Keys to Client Referrals In video 2 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear form Cole Joseph who runs a highly successful wedding brand in CA, and teachers over 90,000 photographers on Cole’s Classroom each week! He is going to share with you his 3 keys to getting clients to refer you and the tools he has used to make it happen. Check out the FREE video HERE. (Password is mastermindsecrets) Pick up Cole’s Lightroom pres-sets while you are... Read More

Mastermind Video Series | Katelyn James

We are honored to have over 34,000 photographers (that inlcudes you) that read our newsletters and blogs each week. Because you are a faithful reader of ours, we wanted to do something special for you. 9 new 100% free business teaching videos! Each Tuesday over the next 9 weeks, we are going to be bringing you 1 video from our brand new MasterMind Video Series featuring some of the top photographers and business minds in our industry! This first video features the incredible Katelyn James who has taken the wedding photography industry by storm the last few years. She has build an almost cult-following of brides that refer her like crazy, and in this free video she is sharing exactly HOW she did that! Katelyn James Creating Community Watch the video here. (Password is... Read More

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 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. 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... Read More

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 – 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... Read More

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 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... Read More