Becoming your Client’s Coach

Welcome to Tuesday Photography Tips and Tricks by us, Zach and Jody! We are super excited to talk about a wedding that we just shot in Destin, Florida 2 weeks ago and break down a few shots! Whenever we go out to shoot a wedding, there are exactly 1 million different things to think about as we try and capture the most beautiful images possible for our clients. Not only is it critical to shoot the moments as they unfold, but you have to make sure they happen in good lighting (so they look good), you have to be certain that you are shooting your client from the most flattering angle, using the right lens and the right settings to get consistent shots and you have to able to respond very quickly in case things change in an instant. There are no second chances with certain moments at weddings, like the first kiss, but sometimes, with some moments, there can be room to flex. That is what today’s post is about! ; Are we only capturing moments, or can we create them? We believe that many of life’s greatest moments are ones that were deliberate, ones where we participated in the creation of. As a wedding photographer, we become a part of the wedding due to our close proximity to the couple and the family throughout the day, and therefore we do have an effect on how things will unfold. We try and do our best to not get in the way of things as they naturally happen, but also try and become our client’s little coach sitting on... Read More

Is your life/business balanced?

Balance. What does that mean? What does that look like? Why is balance so important? Balance in one’s life is super important because without it, you’ll go crazy :) We were all created for a purpose and oftentimes without focus and balance in our lives, things get off-kilter and we find ourselves worn out, stressed, and not enjoying life. That does not sound like fun to us!   Take the below Zach & Jody Quiz to see where you are on the balance scale. – Do you wake up in the morning and the very first thing you do is check your email/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram? – Do you find yourself wearing your PJs all day and the only reason you get dressed is because you have a client meeting? – Do you look at the clock reading 4pm and realize you haven’t eaten lunch yet? – Do you find your spouse and/or kids coming up to you asking you, “When are you going to be done?” – Do you find that while you’re eating dinner (when you had to be forced away from the computer) the last thing you can think about is being with your family and you’re more focused on your To Dos for your business? – Do you more often than not have to say “no” to friends when they ask you to come and hang out? – Does it take you longer than 10 seconds to answer the question, “So what do you do outside of photography?”   If you answer yes to any or all of the questions above, then your life could be a bit... 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

Amaze your Clients with the Click of a Button!

Welcome to the latest installment of our Tuesday Tips & Tricks! Today we are going to share a cool tool to have your clients talking about you AND we have a promo code for the tool to share!!! Have you been looking for something awesome to do for your clients that will take their experience with you up a notch and then get them sharing about your awesomeness all the more? We have a fellow friend and Colorado Wedding & Portrait photographer, Stacey Kyler who shoots weddings and this week we want to share with you something that Stacey did that got a huge response RIGHT AFTER THE WEDDING by using a simple tool called Animoto!! Meet Stacey! Read Stacey’s Story: This wedding was one of those that you dream of as a photographer…sweet, honest and genuine love between the bride and groom, a rockin’ bridal party that was a blast to work with, and beautiful Colorado mountain views. I wanted to put together something immediately after the wedding that not only showed the images, but also relayed the emotion of the day. Animoto is an amazing tool that allowed me to do both. My goal was to create a video that helped wedding guests to re-live the day and other friends and family who were not in attendance to feel as though they were. The response that I have received from the bridal party, family members and friends has been overwhelmingly positive. They love how the music (first dance song), the bride and groom video clips and the images tell the story of the emotion and overall experience... Read More

All you need is love?

(Think Princess Bride as you read the below… :) Mawwiage… Mawwiage is whut bwings us togethuh today…. Ah, that has to be one of my (Jody) favorite quotes from Princess Bride short of “My name is Inigo Montonya… You killed my father. Prepare to die.” :) Anyone, anyone? Fun and games aside, we are here to talk about marriage! As I was waiting for Zach the other day, I wondered in the magazine aisle and started reading an article in Marie Claire on an interview they had with actress Olivia Wilde. They were discussing her recent divorce to husband of 7 or 8 years, and she said this: “Our deal from the beginning was, ‘We’re crazy to do this, but we’re doing it because we’re in love and it makes us happy. The only reason to divorce is if one of us isn’t happy. Life is too short.’ After trying to make the relationship evolve in the way our lives had, I realized it wasn’t a natural evolution. When the relationship becomes about working to make it work, it’s lost that beauty and that optimistic bohemian sense that brought us together. I don’t think love should be work… we tried and it wasn’t making us happy.” This totally bummed me out. AND it made me mad that this is the message that is getting pushed out there. Things too hard? Not happy? Ah, just quit then. Before we got married we always had people say to us “Marriage is a lot of work” and I never really GOT that… until we became married of course. Marriage IS a lot... Read More

Our Sanity

Ever feel like your head is going to explode? Or ever feel like you’re running so fast on a treadmill that all you want to do is stop, but you know if you do you’ll crash and burn? We kind of have been feeling like that and it’s hit us this past week. There was no particular mouse that “sunk the boat” but all of a sudden we both were feeling really overwhelmed. Felt like we couldn’t get a break from work…. Work had quickly turned into a burden instead of something that made our lives free and enjoyable. After taking a step back and looking at ourselves (yup, it always starts with yourself) we realized we had slowly let some things overtake our lives. Our mental and physical health is SO important, so we created some fresh guidelines and actually WROTE THEM DOWN and then posted them up to be reminded of them. We thought we would share them with you all in hopes that maybe this will benefit some of you all as well :) Sometimes it’s SO hard, but it’s SO worth it. We need to get out of bad habits and step into good ones!!! Do you feel like your work has overtaken you? Do you feel like you need a break but aren’t sure how to get one? Let’s do this together – Write down below a goal that you have for this week (baby steps!) to try and get your life back in... Read More

How Well Do You Rate?

This week’s post is from an article that we participated in at WPPI for PhotoShelter. We did an interview over lunch with PhotoShelter co-founders Allen Murabayashi & Grover Sanschagrin. They wrote the below article based on our and other photographers chats with them and on their personal experience at WPPI. The article highlights 5 positive traits that they have seen in successful photographers and is a great reminder of how important being positive is in this business. Check it out and see how well you rate compared to the 17 photographers they interviewed. Have you ever been in a room with a whole bunch of positive people, and as a result, you walked away feeling optimistic and positive too? That was the scene at WPPI in Las Vegas the last week of February, a trade show for wedding and portrait photographers. People were so positive, upbeat, and happy, that I needed to find out why. This year, Allen and I decided to attend WPPI – but not by setting up a booth on the trade show floor. We just wanted to talk to people in a more pleasant atmosphere than a crowded and noisy show floor. We wanted to talk to people about their photography, their businesses, their outlook on the industry, and strategies for success – and felt that if we stepped out of sales-mode (which you really cannot escape if you’re standing inside of a booth) we’d be able to learn a lot more simply because we’d have the time to listen. This trade show was booming with an estimated 16,500 attendees. I’ve been to my share... Read More

Creating a Niche

We all know that if you don’t have your business working for you, then all the shooting talent in the world won’t help you get clients booked! So, today we are going to be giving some practical, take-away business advice that YOU, the photographer, can apply to what you are doing day in and day out. If you want the full scoop, then sign up for our photography newsletter for much, much more! :) We will soon be utilizing our newsletter for exclusive Tips & Tricks content, so if you want it all, make sure to sign up for it! We’re not sure if it’s because photographers are typically artists and get bored easily, or because we don’t have a clear grasp of our marketing position (or marketing in general), but many shooters today suffer from the old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” It seems like it would be a great idea to offer all kinds of photography specialties from your studio to your perspective clients. Why not cater to anyone and everyone, right? Here is the problem: Even though you may be really good at all of those types of shooting, you run the risk of diluting your message, your skill, what you do, and the potential client will go to someone else. A perspective bride or mom wanting her baby photographed, will have the impression that you are not specializing in anything specific, and therefore are not the best. So, because you shoot so many different styles and types of photography, she will more than likely not see the value in what you do... Read More

Ten Minute Photo Shoots

Today’s blog is about something that we get asked about pretty often. Here is our question from Walter in New Jersey: Hi Zach & Jody, My wife and I have been following you two for a while. I was glad when you started with PhotoVision. I love “being” with a photographer on wedding day. Which leads me to my question, how do you convince a bride that if she wants all of the pictures on her list, she needs to leave us some time to get them? Example, last week we shot a wedding of a great couple. Good looking, naturals in front of the camera, great venue, great place across the street for portraits (but unfortunately) we had less then 10 minutes with the couple. For some reason we keep booking these couples that jamb the time line so tight we have less than 30 minutes to get everything done (bride & groom, family, and bridal party). I watched your segment on PhotoVision and everyone seems relaxed and moving at a normal pace. I’d appreciate any advice you can give! This is a GREAT question and a problem that many wedding photographers run into. As wedding photographers who have done this a few times, we know the time needed to get all the images that we love to shoot during the portrait session of the wedding day. The problem is, for most brides, this is the first time they are getting married and they have no idea what to expect and plan for. As modern photographers who not only shoot with a photojournalistic flair, we, here at Gray... Read More

Where You Are In Five Years Depends On Two Things…

Today’s photography blog is all about how to get where you want to be in five years and the most crucial steps you can take to get there. Anyone who knows me (Zach) has probably heard me say, “Where you are in five years is dependent on two things; the People you meet and Books that you read.” Since we have put that truth into practice it has made the world of difference in our business. Reading books about business is something that you can do from the privacy of your home and something that you can do any time as long as you MAKE time to do it. It is pretty simple to do if you commit to it, and Jody and I can both say that the books we have read have completely changed and helped create our business into what it is today. The people you meet is a whole other story though! In order to meet people that will help encourage, push you and empower you to make your business better, you have to actually get out of your office or home and go and meet them. It can be difficult sometimes to find great community in the photography world and many times we just end up spending most of our “meeting people” time in the way of checking out other people’s blogs and going on forums. Those are great, and you can learn a ton of things, but nothing will ever replace actual time with other people having real communication and getting to know people on a personal level. The amazing people that we... Read More

Friday Fun – A Little Nashville Wedding Vendor Married Love :)

On January 21st, we had our married wedding vendors get-together and it was a blast (literally)!!!  With Laser Tag and Food, we had over 38 people come, and it was a crazy time of shooting each other, food, and talking until late into the night :) We began by chatting our heads off (trying desperately hard to avoid talking about business :) and then the games began!!  It was every man for him/herself and there were so many people we had to split up into two game playing groups.  Afterwords, we all made our way over to Maniac’s to get our grub on.  We ate and talked, and then even after the restaurant, we all were talking outside for quite some time!  lol.  It was a great time of fellowship and fun and meeting new people and forging new friendships with others.  Love it! MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Thursday, March 18th is our next hangout!  Stay tuned for more info :) FRONT ROW – L to R Lori & husband Jason (Nashville Cake Artist, Crumb de la Crumb) Tiffany (photographer) and husband Jonathan Kristine (photographer) and husband Cliff Jennifer (wedding videographer, Dynamic Video 7) and husband Christian Above their heads is Sarah Maria (Nashville custom clothing designer) and fiance Grant BACK ROW – L to R Jonathan & Blakley (Photographers) Mandy Whitley (Photographer) and husband, David Amy McNeil (Graphic designer including wedding invitations, 4th Leaf Design Studio) Heather & Eugene (Wedding Videographers) Hillary (Wedding Planner, Your Day Fairy Tales) & fiance James Rebecca (Wedding Cake Design) & hubby David & Tammy (Photographers) Jessica Rai (Photographer) and hubby Brett Kristen Steele... Read More

You’ve Got (too much) Mail

Have you messaged us on Facebook and gotten no response? ….And then still no response? …Wondering if we’re ignoring you? Never fear! We’re not ignoring you!   =D We do love hearing from you on Facebook, but if there is something time sensitive, please feel free to directly email us at and and you will hear back from us in a much more timely fashion! Anyone know how to send auto responses through Facebook???  Is there an app for it?  ha... Read More

Photographer Mentoring Sessions

For those of you who are signed up for our newsletter or have looked at the Photographer’s Area of our website, the below might be familiar to you! We receive emails quite often from photographers wanting to pick our brains about photography, business, marketing, and many other topics. We cannot stress enough how much we love doing this!  Sometimes, we get more excited seeing others succeed than we do actually shooting…  crazy, we know!  We love sharing what we have learned at any chance we get, but have found that it demands more of our time than we have at the expense of other things. Well, we have created a solution to the problem!! We have set aside certain blocks of time in our calendar each month and are letting people sign up for what we are calling Mentoring Sessions. It’s on a first-come, first-serve basis and this way it will allow us to still share and give of our time and what we have learned, but not at the expense of everything else. For more information or to sign up, you can check the Photographer’s Area on our website or click at the top right here on our blog where it says “Photographers.”  Also, feel free to contact us via email. This now leads us to introducing a special someone to you all! Meet Feuza (prounounced Fyou-zuh) Reis – Feuza hails all the way from New Jersey and was in town for the fantastic Sarah Barlow 10-day girls only internship when she looked us up and we pow-wowed at one of our favorite places – yup, you guessed... Read More

Friday Fun – A Gathering of the Nashville Area’s Photography Talent!

One of the best things about being in Nashville is what’s called the Nashville PUG!  PUG stands for Pictage User Group and Pictage is the company we use for all of our online hosting, ordering, and print fulfillment (it’s one of the largest professional digital labs in the country).  Talk about letting us focus on our clients and business instead of wasting our time with orders! Anyway, Pictage has these groups all over the United States (PUGs) that meet monthly and are open to photographers of all kinds.  The coolest thing is you don’t have to be a Pictage member to come! Many of the great photographers in this area are a part of the Nashville PUG and it is a great resource for local photographers to learn from other photographers, have the opportunity to listen to awesome speakers who come through, and it’s a great place for community. It was over a year ago that we had the great Justin & Mary Marantz come in which we formed a friendship with and went off and spoke at their ginormous (120+ member!) PUG earlier this year (read about it here) and they even did a kick-booty photo shoot of us! Other speakers we have had come through have been Joe Buissink, Mike & Anna Costa, Mike Larson, we drove to the Chattanooga PUG to hear Dennis Reggie speak, and we also have local studio spotlights where local photogs get a chance to share about their studio. We all always go out to eat after PUG and it’s a great time to get together and hang and get to know... Read More

Marriage is No Walk in the Park…

From a Child’s perspective… The Great Debate: Is It Better to Be Single or Married? “You should ask the people who read Cosmopolitan”-Kirsten, ten years old “It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need somebody to clean up after them”-Anita, nine years old “It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.”-Will, seven years old **Warning! Deep thoughts ahead!! If you want a happy, photo filled blog, just skip the below! :) ** Let’s face it – Marriage is hard. Whoever it was that said marriage is a walk in the park was definitely drinking the Kool-aid ;) Sure, marriage has its perks but it’s a ton of work as well. I (Jody) love it when Zach uses this analogy – Marriage is like two jagged edged rocks put in a bag and shaken up. It hurts a bit (sometimes a lot) but when the shaking up is done, out comes two smooth rocks. Marriage will always have it’s challenges and obstacles, but it’s to make us become better people – people of character. (Blah! ;o) I have recently stumbled upon this blog for women, and one of the contributing writers wrote this on her personal blog the other day,“There is a war on families and marriages these days. We need to be intentional about spending time together, loving one another, and making memories.” This is so true. If marriage was easy all the time everyone would be together! How many marriages have you seen fail? How many of your personal friends... Read More


Bal·ance – /?bæl?ns/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[bal–uhns] – noun, verb, -anced, -anc·ing. I love What a beautiful thing it is. I went to it this morning in search of the definition of “balance” and these by far, were my favorite: 3. Mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.11. The act of balancing; comparison as to weight, amount, importance, etc.; estimate.26. To have an equality or equivalence in weight, parts, etc.; be in equilibrium. Balance. I think this is something we all strive for in our lives. I know Zach and I do, and I think every couple about to get married can especially relate as well. Having balance in our lives is a continual effort. We all have our own unique challenges, but the twist for Zach and I is we love our job (if you can call it that :) and it’s easy to get carried away and forget about everything else going on… like our marriage, our friendships with others, helping people, serving somewhere, and the list goes on. It was in the honor of having balance and setting priorities, that a blog did not get posted yesterday. Sad, I know! Monday is our highest blog traffic day and I really wanted to get a blog out of this past weekend, but it was 6pm and Zach and I were still going. Of course, it’s always good to post on the day where you have the most traffic, but we couldn’t make that deadline unfortunately. We’re proud that we have a high traffic day and we should really make more... Read More

Senior Shadow Day & Off to South Carolina!

Today we were honored to be shadowed by two awesome seniors for Senior Shadow Day! This is where a senior (hence the name) shadows someone in a profession they are interested in. We were approached by two students from Independence High School asking us if they could shadow us and we jumped at the chance! We had Kevin, who we have known from helping out with the youth group, as well as another great, creative person, Sarah! Lucky for them we had some exciting studio stuff on the agenda for the day, so after grabbing coffee at our favorite hangout and talking business, we took them to the studio and put them to work! Ok, ok… just kidding… well, kind of…. :) Unfortunately there were no shots taken of Sarah and I messing with the lights… though we are official accomplished Light People now… (not sure exactly what that is, but it’s really important I promise you… :). After working on the studio, we had lunch at S.A.T.C.O. and that wrapped up the day!Always remember, regardless of how busy your life seems, to make sure to take some time to serve and invest in other people, not just yourself! It can be one of the most rewarding things and who knows the impact you can have on other people and change lives! By the way, these are the only sneak peaks you’ll get of our studio before we have our Studio Warming Party so enjoy them while you have the chance! On another note, we leave early tomorrow morning to head to South Carolina to shoot the wedding of... Read More