George Twins Promo Shoot #2

This is my (Zach’s) second time working with the amazing George Twins. I shot all of their promo work for their Youtube channel back in 2014 and am proud that I got to be on the team! One of their recent videos even hit over 2.4 million views!   Here is some of the work that I did for the continuing promo. This year they are putting out 12 singles, one each month, of new originals and covers and will use some of these images for that as well as Youtube. I also shot video of the entire shoot, and am cutting together some really cool behind the scenes for anyone wanting to know exactly how I shot this!... Read More

The Wedding of Rebecca & Ross | Canada

Ross & Rebecca, along with daughter Alyssa, were a joy to work with in Canada this past weekend.  Ross is a film landscape shooter and Rebecca is a wedding photographer and their wedding (and bridal party) was a blast!   Below is a highlight of the day and some of my favorite parts!   We shot a family session the day before the wedding at a stunning park that had some sick fall leaves and we shot film and digital for this session.   The wedding day itself was a tricky one with on and off rain and some tough shooting situations, but our job as photographers is to make great images no matter what, and the day turned out great!!   I (Zach) shot this wedding with my good friend and great photographer Matt Britton who rocked it with me!     My second shooter Matt rocking the off-camera light!   Congrats you two! Can’t wait to hang again soon (maybe at... Read More

US Session | Matt & Joanna

In 2001-2003 I (Zach) interned in Rockford, IL at a large church, and one of the girls in my class was Joanna. She married a talented photographer named Matt (click the link to see his FB page!) and the two of them over ten years later, called us up for a portrait session in Nashville. They said that even though he was a pro shooter, and she was a make-up artist, that they didn’t have any professional images of the two of them other than some “stick the camera on a tri-pod” type of stuff. Many of us pro photographers know that feeling, don’t we? They knew they wanted something that showed their sleek side and their love for each-other and Jody and I were honored that they came down from Ohio to have a session with us. We not only loved shooting them, but were blessed and encouraged to be with them in our time together last week. We had lunch and got to catch up and get to know each other better, and talked about growing stronger marriages, kids and lots of stuff in-between. It was a great time together and we are excited to show a little sneak-peak of their shoot with you all!   You guys are amazing and we can’t wait to see you again in the near... Read More

3 Simple Steps to Lighting a late-evening Outdoor First Dance

If you have EVER been freaked out when your couple decides to have their first dance outdoors, RIGHT after the sun is GONE from view, then you are not alone! Today we are going to show you how to EASILY solve that lighting problem to get stunning images like this!     When Bret and Jillian did their first dance, the sun was close to being gone and there were NO lights on them at all. You could see them OK with your naked eye, but the lighting was getting really dull and VERY dark, so we needed to rock out some off-camera lighting to make it look great. Here are the 3 easy steps to take photos JUST like this! (Note: we shoot almost ALL of our flash images on MANUAL so everything is consistent, and so WE are in control of our lights and not the camera).   Step 1. Expose for the ambient light FIRST.   (The above image was taken with none of our off-camera lights firing and a little constant light from the video guy,and you can see just how dark and difficult the lighting we had to work with was. So, here is how we SIMPLY created the final image).    We started by getting a reading of the background’s ambient light with a faster shutter speed (1/160th of a second). Our background happened to have the sky in it, but yours may have trees only or a building or something else. We wanted that background light to be -1 stop under-exposed according to our in-camera meter. (We will explain why the shutter was faster in... Read More

Artist Album Cover Shoot |Lainey Wright

We photographed new recording Artist Lainey Wright awhile back and are stoked to share not only the images with you, but some behind the scenes shots and set ups as well! Check out the shoot! We started off shooting in the amazing Westlight Studio in Franklin, TN which has some awesome set-ups and gear for any type of photo and even some video work! Check them out if you’re interested in a rental and tell them we sent you. Here is the set-up of this series of images. I loved the natural light coming through the windows, and after our direction meeting with the artist, we knew that she wanted a softer look to the shots. So, with that in mind, we intentionally slowed the shutter down to drag some of that natural light in and wrap around Lainey to give it that soft airy look. We also have a large, 39 inch Deep Octo light modifier from Elinchrom as our main light pictured to the left, and two 40 degree grid back lights for separation. We decided to do one contrasty lit shot on this background, even though I knew she wanted that soft look to the shots. She ended up picking one of these images, so we are glad we did it! We set up a 22 inch silver soft Beauty Light which gives a very directional light that is ultra soft when used in close. We then added a 40 degree grid to the background light and the kicker light pictured to camera right in the behind the scenes shot. We dropped the kicker light -1 stop lower... Read More

Tuesday Photography Tips & Tricks | Close up Portrait Lighting

Today we are talking about natural lit close-up portraits and how to get the lighting killer in-camera so it truly flatters your client. Jody and I have a simple rule when we are out with our couple’s and shooting their portraits, and that is, the closer we get to them, the more fine-tuned the lighting on their faces needs to be. We are always on the hunt for the most awesome, soft (or indirect) light* sources that we can find that are also coming in at the correct angle to get great light in our clients’ eyes. We always want a catch light just above their pupils and are watching their eyes closely for that. But, many times when you are on location, you don’t always have the luxury of having beautiful, soft, directional light hitting your client just above the pupil. On a lot of our shoots we need to fill in the gaps that the natural light is leaving by adding some extra light from anywhere that we can find it. On many days here in Nashville, we can have overcast days, or days where there are lots of clouds that are in and out, and even though when it is cloudy out and we have soft light, it is not always coming in at the direction that we want. Usually, on overcast days, all of the light comes straight down on top of our clients’ heads and creates those darker shadows in their eyes. Not cool!! So, the solution to the problem is simply adding a reflector* to open up those dark shadows by introducing some... Read More

Tuesday Tips & Tricks | Rockin the Perfect Silhouette!

“We are taking time off spending time with baby Gray, but have put together our favorite Tips and Tricks from the last two years for us all to review!” Tuesday Tips & Tricks..REVISITED! Hey all! Today’s tips and tricks is all about how to get that perfect silhouette of your client every time! Have you ever been shooting your client and decided that you wanted to get that really nice silhouette shot of them, but then started to wonder what to base your exposure off of? Should it be a sliver of light on the rim of them from behind, or the sun, or somewhere in between? Here is how we do it. We were out shooting a new pop-rock band last week, Red Letter, and we were doing this wild lit shot with 3 strobes and Jody leaned over to me and reminded me to grab a silhouette shot. Whew! Glad she did! So, in the midst of shooting a completely different shot, I did a quick change up and got the next image without using the White Diffusion Westcott Parabolic Umbrella that you see in the above shot. The trick that we use to get great back-lit silhouette shots is we set our camera exposure for the sky. When the sky is perfectly exposed, that is when our subjects will turn black like you see in the above shot. Here is how we do it: 1. Point our camera to an area of the sky that is being lit by the sun, not at the sun itself (in the shot above, we pointed our camera between the... Read More

Friday Fun | My Grandparents #personalproject

This past weekend Zach and I took a mini roadtrip to visit my grandparents.  I don’t know what life would be without family, especially grandparents!!! I’m so thankful that 1) I get the pleasure of knowing my grandparents and 2) that I got to live with them for a few years growing up.  I always love it when I can spend time with them, and this weekend was no exception! (I love how my Grandpa has a sweet tooth… these donuts were dee-lish!) Not only did I want to make the visit to hang out with them, but I wanted to capture their love as well.  No one is perfect and therefore no relationship is perfect, but I have to say, my grandparents definitely set a great standard of what marriage should look like.   I took some time and asked them questions about their relationship and then Zach and I shot them later that day.  We cannot wait to show you more images (put a few other teasers up on our instagrams – ZachGray and JodyGray), but for now, these will have to hold you over :) Love you, Grandpa and... Read More

Bret & Jillian | An Alabama Wedding Part I

We are about to take a month off and thought we would entertain you with our last wedding while we’re having some good ‘ol R&R! Even though we’re taking a sabbatical this year (if you missed the news, make sure to read Announcement #2 on this blog post), we couldn’t resist this sweet couple who we actually met with two years about shooting their wedding.   We know everyone says it about every couple, but Bret & Jillian are THE sweetest and most excited couple and there was no way we could say no! They were a dream to work with and their day was just the most even paced and loving event we have had the privilege to shoot.  We decided to blast you all with images from their charming Alabama wedding :) A big thanks to Matt Britton for 2nd shooting at this wedding! Enjoy Part 1 Aren’t these bouquets the coolest?? We’d like to introduce to you, Mumford and Sons II  ;o) One of the most precious first looks, ever.. :) Yes, Jillian is snapping Bret’s suspenders… lol We loved all the available areas right around there that we could go and shoot! Yup, most adorable couple ever.   Ah, so precious. As you can see, these two are adorable.  We’re so glad that we were able to capture their... 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

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

Tuesday Tips | Lit Senior

I had the awesome privilege of shooting my youngest brothers senior photos last month. My (not so) little brother Noah is very possibly your typical 17 year old in that he doesn’t like to talk much, is pretty shy, and is very concerned with not looking cool. I shot images of our second youngest brother Samuel last year, and Noah assisted me on the shoot (he only did it because I paid him $20 an hour). Samuel is really outgoing, loves the camera and is the exact opposite to Noah, so you could say that he had his preconceived ideas about what a photo shoot was like because of watching me shoot Sam. And let me tell you, he voiced those concerns right away when we started his shoot! He told that it was crazy how long we shot Samuel’s pics (1.5 hours total), he asked me if I was going to make him smile (which he prefers not to do, at least on purpose) and that he didn’t want anyone else to see him getting his pics taken. Piece of cake!! You would think this would have been one of the hardest portrait shoots I have had to do, but it ended up being one of the easiest. I did two things to reassure Noah that this was going to be a cool experience. And remember, EVERYTHING is about the experience. It doesn’t matter how “cool” the shots turn out if my client had an awful time. They will never like their shots if they don’t feel good during the shoot. What I did first off, was simply agree with Noah every time he voiced a concern. If he said Sam’s shoot was... Read More

Nashville IN-CAMERA Light Recap | October 2012

The final Nashville IN-CAMERA: Light workshop is over and we are glad about how awesome the day was, but sad that it is over! :( We had an amazing time with our attendees and can’t wait to reveal what we are going to do next! Stay tuned! For now, check out the images and some behind the scenes from the day! We started off shooting in the worst lighting conditions there are. Direct sun in the face! We overpowered it with the flash and got the below image. In this before and after you can see the flash shot to the left, and the natural light to the right and what a difference it makes having great, soft lighting. Check our advanced off-camera lighting section of the learn page to see how we created this shot!  Here is the crew! Thanks guys for coming out and rockin some off-camera lighting with us! If your interested in attending one of the last few in-camera workshops that we are ever going to hold and learn how to shoot like this (Kansas City & Orlando are remaining), we still have a FEW seats available! Use the code “YAYimGOING” to get $150 off any seat! Put your code in HERE!... Read More

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Sunny and Neeva!

It was one year ago today that we were outside of the DC area shooting the wedding of Sunny & Neeva! Congratulations, you two, on your one year anniversary!! It was a joy to b able to capture the memories of your special day. What a fun and memorable wedding to shoot! Cheers to many more years! Click here to see Sunny and Neva’s wedding day blog! Sunny & Neeva are wedding photographers! Click Here to visit their site and to leave some anniversary love on their... Read More

Flash + Direct Sun

With our IN-CAMERA tour quickly approaching, we thought we would post some serious lighting tips!! When photographing any type of on-location portraits, whether for weddings, families, or even sometimes commercial work, we don’t always have the benefit of great natural lighting to help compliment our flash shots. Sometimes we are stuck shooting in direct sun, and that can be very problematic even when using flash. So, today we are going to break down a simple system that you can use to get great flash shots in direct sun!   There are two ways that we do direct sun flash shots and both are dependent on the time of day. If it’s NOT that time just before the sun is about to set (the golden hour) then we use this our sunny 16 approach, and if it IS that time just before the sun sets (but we still have direct sun on our client, just not as bright as mid-day) then we us our double metering technique.   Sunny 16 approach: If your client has the sun blasting in their face and it is NOT that last hour before sunset or that first hour of sunrise, then use this process. Step 1. Put your client and flash in desired position, power up your off-camera strobe to closer to full power. Step 2. Set your meter to ISO 100, 1/100th of sec, and meter ONLY the flash until it meters f/16. (note; if you meter the flash AND the direct sun together, it can throw the meter off and read incorrectly) Step 3. Set your camera to ISO 100, 1/200th of... Read More

Aaron & Suzy | Omaha Wedding Sneak Peek

Two weekends ago we were in Omaha shooting the wedding of Aaron & Suzy and had a blast with them! We built a custom website for them that we sent to them immediately after their wedding for them to have a sneak peek into their day. We wanted to share with you their site! Huge shout-out to Showit for allowing us to build these amazing websites for our clients!! You guys are da best!!... Read More

Jeremiah & Maggie | The Wedding Album

We just previewed the wedding album for Jeremiah & Maggie’s wedding here at our home and they loved it! We cannot wait for the book to arrive and we are sooo excited for when it finally arrives for them to see! Congrats guys again on your awesome wedding and we will definitely have to come to Mom’s house for a grill out some time soon!! Thanks soooo much to KISS which allows us to design, share, order and deliver these amazing books for our clients! Without you guys this process would be so much more difficult for us, which means our clients would have to wait that much longer. You rock! Click below to view Jeremiah & Maggie’s wedding... Read More

IN-CAMERA Tour | ReCap of Charlotte

As we are about to head out to New York City for our last stop on the IN-CAMERA workshop tour, we wanted to post up our images from the SOLD-OUT Charlotte, NC stop we did a few weeks back!! We had a blast hanging in this city in the south and all the attendees were super cool! We had a stellar studio location and lots of awesome behind the scenes images shot by past attendee Lucy from Smitten & Hooked Photography! A HUGE thanks goes out to hosts Lucy (Smitten & Hooked Photography) & Julie (In His Image Photography) (pictured below) and their fab husbands for making these workshops happen!   (photo credit Hayley Juliet!)   Enjoy the shots from the day! Day 1: Shooting & Post – We started off in this awesome studio space talking through our shooting style and how we get the images 90% of the way there in the camera, so that our editing workflow can be lighting fast! We headed out to start shooting in the city and had tons of cool locations within just one blog. We always start off demoing our system that we use to get our camera’s aperture, ISO and shutter speed set with the lighting and posing that we want. Then, the attendees take over and start shooting!   Day 2: Light – We started off day 2 just like day one going over gear, lighting, composition and our system for setting up super fast off-camera lighting shots so we can shoot in any lighting conditions with zero guess work.   Then we headed out into the heat... Read More