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

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

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

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

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

Washington State IN Camera Tour | Re-Cap

We have returned from our workshops, creativeLIVE event and speaking gigs that we did in Washington and are stoked to be home! We spent 6 days touring around Seattle and Leavenworth and had an awesome time making new friends and seeing old ones!   We are pumped to share with you images from both workshops and we have some links to some reviews from attendees for you to check out as well! Now to the Lighting workshop images! Our host studio owners had their daughter out shooting behind the scenes images, so we grabbed one of her! Cute! At the end of the day, we decided to do a two light set-up for the above two images. We showed the attendees just how easy it is to add a second light! Reviews: Lynette Smith Thanks Dennis for the feedback on my blog :) The workshop is amazing and worth it. Any skill level….any age. You will love it!” Angie Arms Renee Booe @kara_proehl Kathryn Sinn Dokter “Got home last night from my northwest advenuture. Walked in the door at 8:30, sat down at 9:00 to cull a HS Sr. shoot and was done by 9:30. My husband was watching and vistiting and said I was ruthless. He likes my new speed!!!!” Jessica Michelle “Put the skills I learned at the lighting workshop to good use at yesterday’s bridal session :D Thanks again a million times Zach ‘n Jody Gray!!” Tori Pintar “Thank you for another great day Zach and Jody!” Wiletta Quiet Storm McGhee “So glad I discovered Zach ‘n Jody Gray!”   There are soooo many more reviews,... Read More

Denver, Colorado Portrait Photography | Stacey & Will = Hot!

We just got back from our Denver speaking and shooting workshops, and while we were there, we had the awesome privilege of shooting an “US” session of Stacey and Will, our amazing hosts! Stacey is a photographer herself and does amazing senior portraits and weddings in the Denver area through her photography business Stacey Kyler Photography. It was high time we put this cutie in FRONT of the camera! We had a blast running around the streets of Denver and got some shots that really showed off these two’s cute personalities. Enjoy the images!... Read More

Photographer Promo Shoot | Scarlett Loves Stephen

We had the super cool privilege of not only shooting Stephen Knuth and Scarlett Lillian’s wedding in Jacksonville, Florida back in April, but we also shot their promo material for their brand-spankin’ new blog-site that just launched! We LOVE the new look and feel (designed by Allison May and blog development Nick Redmond) and we really wanted to capture their vision and what they were looking for. (Click the image below to check our their new blog-site!). Stephen & Scarlett have a very colorful and slick look both personally and professionally, so they wanted a real fashion-infusion with their promo images that also communicated the love between them. We were able to capture just those type of images which are now on their new site and we are stoked to finally be able to show them to you! A big thanks to the sweet Chloe Austin who assisted us on this shoot! Make sure to check out all the awesomeness they have going on their new blogsite – Scarlettlovesstephen.com and leave them some love!! Are you wanting to know some of the behind the scenes of how we shot this? Stay tuned to tomorrow’s Tuesday Photo Tips and Tricks and we will show you how we did... Read More

Maui, Hawaii IN-CAMERA: Light Photography Workshop Recap

On day two of our Maui, Hawaii workshops we headed out into the city for the first part of the shooting time, then straight out to the beach for some awesome sunset shots! We had a great crew with us that day and had a blast showing how just one light can drastically change the look of your images and tone down the sky for some really unique looking shots. We started up against this cool green wall between a few buildings for a demo shot to show the difference between the natural light (which was actually pretty decent) and the strobe shots. The shot above was with the natural light. We had some nice light coming in and bouncing off the wall to camera left, but the light was not the most flattering for our model and we really wanted to show how we could shape the light with our strobe. So we came in and set up the light, metered it (thanks to Ajja for the behind the scenes shot!) and took the next shot below! In this above image, you can see how we added some shadows and contrast to camera right by placing our light to camera left, which helped define the lines of our models face and also made her the brightest part of the shot which makes your eye go straight to her. I love the definition and contrast that this adds to the final image as well. Many photographers ask us how we add contrast to images in post to get the look of our shots. The simple answer is, we don’t... Read More
Nashville, TN Wedding Photographers

Nashville Portrait Shoot – US Session with Jeff & Heidi

We just shot the amazingly cool Jeff & Heidi on Friday and had a blast with them! We shot their wedding back in March of 2009 and and we decided to get together to do an US session with them so they could have some more casual shots of these two cuties! We love these guys a ton and are soooo excited for them and their marriage! We shot some images here in Franklin, TN where we live and had an absolute blast. Afterward, we all headed to dinner at P.F. Chang’s, and it was AWESOME! Great to see you guys and enjoy the photos! The grass was super long, but made for a cool place to shoot for some texture and get that feeling of peering in on these two. :) This shot was in the most rugged little spot, but was worth the effort to get it as the sun finally went down. Love it! You guys rock! See you... Read More
Nashville Senior photography, Nashville Senior portrait sessions, Franklin Senior photographers

Nashville Senior Photography Session of the Lovely Lauren!

We had a blast going out and shooting the fun and sweet Lauren!! We have been doing a few senior sessions here and there and having a ton of fun! Do you want us to shoot your senior and give them some images like non other? Contact us at info@grayphotograph.com and we can set it up! Now on to the amazingly cool Lauren! Make sure to leave her some love on how fab she looks!! Congratulations, Lauren on becoming a... Read More
Franklin Senior Photo Photographers, Cool Senior Photos, Senior Lifestyle Photoraphers, Nashville Senior Photographers

A Franklin Senior Photo Session | Miss Hailey Simpson!

Last week we had the honor of shooting Hailey’s senior photos and she was a pro! We have actually known Hailey for quite a few years and it’s hard to imagine that she is a senior now!! Hailey is an incredibly sweet person and we really wanted to capture that in our images of her!! Zach getting an ab workout as he shoots Hailey from a low perspective…. ha ha… And my angle. I end up with a little less dirt on me than Zach at the end of our shoots ;o) Love Hailey’s jeans!! And one of our favorite shots. Hailey, you are beautiful and we are sooo excited for what God has in store for... Read More

Eliminating the Middle Ground

Today’s blog is about a simple, yet effective way to get a big impact out of your portrait shoots. Every photographer wants to have images where the subject of our shots seems to be larger than life and jump off the page (or in most cases these days with photography, the computer screen :). So today we are talking about “eliminating the middle ground” as my friend Mike Larson dubbed it. What does it mean to “eliminate the middle ground?” It is simply to take your subject, either a person or a detail shot, and place them in an area where there is space between them, the foreground and the background. When we do this, our subject immediately pops out of the image much better because they are the only thing in sharp focus. Example image from our recent engagement shoot with the amazing Sarah & Ryan! Notice how they seem to jump off the screen and have some much dimension, even though the lighting is not very contrasty at all. Now, if you want to ramp up the effect, you can do this by implementing a few other techniques at the same time. If you don’t have your subject near something like a wall that you can use to lead into your shot (which would increase the effect) then you can get low to the ground like in the shot above to bring more of the foreground into the frame. This helps blur everything in the shot except our subject which makes them that much more 3D looking. If you were to shoot from high above, then more... Read More
Nashville, TN Family Photography

Rock N’ Roll Family Shoot Zach & Jody Style!

We love it when we get to shoot some cool family shots and do them in the most non-traditional way possible! We had the most awesome time with mother and father Kevin & Candi and their two adorable kids, Gianna and Beau (who are both super rock stars!). We started off the shoot here in Franklin for some cool dressed up shots, then headed closer to downtown Nashville for some more urban style images. The shoot was an absolute blast and we can’t wait to see these guys again soon!! Enjoy the shots!! I hope our kids are this cool one day!! Can’t forget about the family dog! Got to show off the collection! Love the tutu!! I love how these two are still so romantic with each other… Check out the slideshow for even more photo goodness!! You guys are the best and it was a pleasure photographing your awesome family!! You want Zach & Jody to shoot some out of the box family images for your family? Email us at... Read More

Behind the Scenes on a Bridal Shoot

We know a lot of you out there have questions about how we do our lighting and set up so we wanted to give you a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of one of the set-ups of a bridal session that we shot a few weeks ago. The fab bride that you see below is Mallory, and she and her man, Aaron just got married this past weekend, so we are excited we can start putting up some of her bridal images! We shot this setup with a Westcott 24×32 Softbox, two Photogenic Powerlights (600 watts & 1,000 watts), Pocket Wizards Plus IIs, the Sekonic L-358 light meter, and of course 2 Alien Bee Vagabond II‘s for our power source. I put the main light about 35 degrees off to the side and as close in as possible to give the “painted on” light look. Putting it off to the side creates a “loop” lighting pattern where the light loops off to one side of the brides face and body and helps create more depth and dimension. Then, to help “pop” her out from the background even more, I set our second light to the side of her, hitting the rocks and her back. We shot this BARE BULB with a small 7 inch reflector so the light was a little more harsh and defining. The front light was metered at F/9 which was about 2 stops brighter than the background (to give us a very flash heavy dramatic look) and the back light was metered at F/11 to make it really obvious. This is what the set up looked... Read More

A Fitness Photoshoot – Nathan & Jenni Oates with B.U.R.S.TClub Launches!

Today marks the launch of something that has been in the works for awhile now, and we are so pumped that we have been able to be a part of this with our images! Entrepreneurs, personal trainers, former college athletes, health buffs, and friends, Nathan & Jenni Oates have officially launched B.U.R.S.TClub.  B.U.R.S.TClub is a member center that offers 100s of burst training style workouts for those that want to have a healthy life.  But it’s not just your average fitness website. B.U.R.S.TClub provides a place for community and accountability for people desiring to get a great workout and be healthier through blogs, forums, and personal nutrition and fitness tips from Nathan & Jenni. And we are soooo stoked that we were able to shoot all of the imagery for their promo! The BURST workout is a unique 3 minute (yes, you read that right) workout that is a combo of both cardio and resistance training, and let us tell you from personal experience – it kicked our booties!!!!  Read our blog post on our experience of doing burst training.  Whew! We not only admire but have tremendous respect for this couple and their cutest kids EVER (view our past blog post of their family). Anyway, make sure to check out the below images from a fitness shoot we did of Nathan & Jenni, visit their highly informational blog with great ways on being healthy, and check out their brand spankin’ new BURST Club website. *For those of you in the Charlotte, NC area, make sure to check out Nathan & Jenni on CharlotteToday on News Channel 36 THIS... Read More
Nashville, TN Wedding Photography, Bridal Portraits, Bridal Shoot

Nashville, TN Wedding Photography – Bridal Shoot Awesomeness!

The worst thing about shooting bridal sessions is that you cannot share the images until AFTER the wedding!  We have been absolutely dying to share this FANTASTIC bridal portrait session of our now wed bride, Meredith Zeller (formerly known as Meredith Weiss :).  With Meredith’s experience in modeling and pageants, and with her killer hair and makeup thanks to (Ashlea Hunter & Andrew Pentacost) , she knocked this shoot out of the park!  There were so many amazing shots that it was a real challenge to narrow it down to a few to give you a highlight of the shoot! To view Jake & Meredith’s fantastically awesome wedding one the images become available online, sign their virtual guest book HERE. Way to go, Meredith!  You make our job too easy :)  So glad we were a part of your story and we look forward to putting up some images of your amazing wedding day!  Congrats to you and... Read More
Nashville, TN Wedding Photography

Rhett & Nicole Sneak Peek!

Yesterday we shot Rhett & Nicole’s wedding, and without further ado, we wanted to leave you all with a sneak peek!  Even with the rain forecast, the weather turned out AWESOME and we had a really great time at this special couple’s wedding. We just HAD to add in this image taken of Nicole on her way down the stairs by me (Jody) to start her bridal photos.  This image was not posed, and believe it or not, was taken just as she came walking down!  Gotta love me some good window light! Nicole rocked it that day and looked absolutely beautiful! To view Rhett & Nicole’s images once they are available online, click here to sign their virtual guest... Read More

Headshots for the Amazingly Awesome Jen Johnson

It’s time to share some images of the shoot we did for photographer Jen Johnson! We first met the fab Jen Johnson on Twitter forever ago it seems like.  Then, we actually met her in person when we brought our IN-CAMERA Workshops out to CA.  And yes, she was just as cool in person as she seemed to be on Twitter :)  We love Jen’s upbeat personality and how she seems to go at everything with gusto! Jen asked us to take some headshots of her at WPPI in Las Vegas, so we set it up (we’ll leave out the whole Zach arm dislocating saga) and even with the breezy chill, Jen rocked it out. LOVIN’ her heels and pink camera strap Is this hair piece not the cutest?? Insert wind! Aw yeah… just like a fashion photo shoot… Way to work it, girl :) This shoot would not have been possible without the help of two fab ladies who we met at WPPI and came out and offered their extra hands!  Thanks Lindsi Rian (Crossed Focused Photography) and Jalene (Jalene Dort Photography).  You two are the... Read More

Friday Fun – Inspiring Kids Through Photography

We attended WPPI (a yearly photographer’s trade show and conference) in Las Vegas this past week and it was great and fun, and we met all these people and learned a lot, blah blah blah…. BUT all of that drastically pales to what we did Saturday, March 6th, the day before WPPI initially started, all thanks to Pictage. We were approached a few months back by the coolest people EVER at Pictage (our AMAZING online hosting image gallery, among many other things)wondering if we would be willing to be a part of a charity event with the Boys and Girl’s club of Las Vegas right before WPPI.  Kids?  Photography? Helping other people?  Count us in!!!!!!  We flew out a day early and were really excited but had no idea of what would really unfold. For those of you who aren’t really aware of The Boys and Girls Club and what they do… Their mission is to “...enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.  Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.” The day was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and seriously, such a blessing.  I think it’s very possible that us photographers got more out of the day than the kids did… It started off with a group of phenomenal Pictage photographers all  gathering together from across the US while the big man (by title, not size), Jim Collins kicked us off and then we headed off to lunch with about 80 kids of the Las... Read More

Family Photo Fun – Nashville Family Photography

Jody and I donated a shoot to charity recently for the 2009 Bone Bash which raises money for the Nashville chapter of the Arthritist Foundation. A ton of awesome Nashville peeps came out to bid on different items for the charity and the Awesome Chris & Holly Baumgartner won a family session with us! We recently photographed them and their adorable son, Carter and had a blast! We headed to Franklin to shoot it up and had a ball with these guys! Their family is full of life and energy and boy were these guys photogenic! Enjoy some of the images from the shoot!! Are these two not the... Read More

Super Hot David & Tammy Rockstar Nashville wedding photographer shoot!!!!!

Yeah, so the title of this post is a little crazy but that is the only way I could describe the coolness of this couple. David & Tammy Molnar are amazing international wedding photographers based right out of old Nash-Vegas and are really great friends of ours. So, just like many of our photographer friends who take awesome photos, they tend to not have very many awesome photos of themselves. :) So they have gone about it the hard way by setting up their tri-pod and running back to the camera to take self-portraits as they travel all over the world shooting. So, when they asked us if we could do a personal shoot of them, we were honored! It is always a big task to shoot someone that does what you do for a living, so the pressure was on to rock it out! It was not hard, though, because as you can see these two are HOT! We had a ton of fun shooting around Franklin and capturing their fun and quirky personalities. These guys are great and are definitely some good friends to hang out with and spend real quality time together. We hope you two enjoy the shots and we hope everyone else enjoys looking at your gorgeousness!! We had a blast with you two as usual and can’t wait to hang out again... Read More

Dan + Amy = Photo Awesomeness!

We had the privilege of shooting some images of  Dan for his album cover last week, and while we were on the shoot we went ahead and took some images of the him and his wife Amy too! We had a fun time with them in town and got to play and write some music, drink lots of coffee, make dinner together and just have an all around great time with them! These two are soooo cute together and we just love hanging out with them! Check out the shots! You guys are awesome and we miss... Read More