FREE Webinar Replay is here! | Building Your Business from the Ground Up

We just wrapped up our FREE wedding webinar and had over 934 attending the live event! For those of you that could not get in or could’t make the event, we have the replay for you to watch it which will be here for the next 48 hours!   If you have questions after watching the webinar, leave them in the comments below and we will answer them for... Read More

IN-CAMERA Color Correction with Flash (Video)

Have you ever walked into a reception, ready to bounce your on-camera flash off the walls, only to find out the walls are red, green or worse? What happens when you bounce that light off of them? Your flash reflects that colored light onto your subject, and then you are trying to edit your client in post so they don’t look like the Hulk. Bummer! Solution to this Annoying Problem If we can neutralize that color from the wall, then we can get great color on our subjects at each shoot!   We promised a video on our post from last Tuesday, so here it is! This video builds on last weeks ideas about using custom white balance to get natural looking skin tones and reduce editing time. This video is going to show you guys how we get a custom white balance when using FLASH. The first half shows you how we do it with off-camera flash, and the second half shows you how we use it for on-camera bounce flash when we have a weird colored green wall. (I know I am going hear about, so, yes, I say “awesome” WAY too many times in the video. I am working on breaking that habit. :)) Check it out!       PS. If you thought this video was helpful, then why don’t you Tweet about it by clicking HERE! You can also copy and paste the below to share this post on Facebook.   “I just learned how to get rid of color casts on my shots when bouncing light off of walls at a reception by... Read More

Reduce Your workflow with Custom White Balance

Last week we posted a blog talking about 3 ways to cut your workflow time in half. One key area we talked about was finding bottle necks that slow down your editing. One of the BIGGEST time suckers in editing other than retouching, is adjusting exposure and color in all of your images. Today, we are going to help you reduce the amount of time you spend doing that by around 90%! How? Read on if you are ready to get your life back!   How the Camera Thinks   A question we get asked a lot is how do we get vibrant colors and consistency while shooting thousands of images during a shoot. The best way that we have found to get awesome color in our shots is to custom white balance our cameras. Digital cameras are designed to understand color and exposure the best when they are given a baseline to work off of, which is 18% grey. When you give 18% grey to your camera (correctly exposed) and “tell” the camera that you did so, the camera then can easily make all the other colors in that particular lighting scenario become much more true to reality. Your whites become true white, your red becomes red, and so forth. Exposure Nailed Because the camera works off of the 18% grey baseline for color and exposure, you can also grab your perfect exposure at the same time that you are getting your color! This is awesome because in one simple process (for most shooting in any live scenario), we can grab exposure and color in about 3 seconds or... Read More

Why Doing Less Can Give You More Success

  Would you rather be a small fish in a BIG pond, or a BIG fish in a small pond with your photography business? It is MUCH easier to dominate a market when you are the ONLY one in it. (Tweet this out!) That is why today we have a video for you on NICHE marketing and WHY it is so critical especially when you first start out. Niche marketing is defined as: “Concentrating all marketing efforts on a small but specific and well defined segment of the population. Niches do not ‘exist’ but are ‘created’ by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms, and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond. Also called micromarketing.” –Business Dictionary  The biggest reason our business went from our first wedding at $500 in June of 2007, to starting at $4,000 and booking 33 weddings in 2008 (and netting a six-figure income), was because we focused on ONE thing and focused hard. Not 10 things, not 2 things, but one. “Wedding photography for brides who valued their marriage relationship and valued photography.” That was our niche, and that is why we became succesful so fast.   Start the conversation:   So, what is an area that YOU are focused on for your niche? Or, what is a focus in your buisness that shouldn’t be and needs to be cut?   PS. If you liked this post, then SHARE it with a friend and let’s help every shooter out there niche down their brand so... Read More

3 SIMPLE Ways to Get MORE Referrals THIS Month!

Do you want to save thousands of dollars every year in your business AND get MORE referrals THIS month? We can tell you how. Since 2008 we never spent one dime on traditional advertising (bridal show, print or online advertisement, etc.) and our wedding business continued to flourish. How was this possible? Jack Trout says, “People make PURCHASING (or referral) decisions based on their EMOTIONAL connection to a product or service.” (The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing). If a client LOVES the way you make them FEEL when they use your products and services, then the chances of them referring you INCREASE significantly. How is this done?   We do this by managing the client relationship REALLY well (through a killer system so no detail falls in the cracks), giving them the attention and care they deserve, which in-turn creates a great emotional experience that they can’t help but talk about and refer their friends to!   Advertising dollars will go a lot further when invested back into your clients rather than a magazine advertisement that people may or may not notice.   Here are the 3 SIMPLE ways we all need to manage clients well, and keep those referrals coming!   1. CLIENT PRIORITIZATION:   Clients who are paying you money have to be responded to quickly and efficiently. You have to set a guideline for the MAX amount of time a client will wait before they get a response from you. We recommend NO MORE than 24 hours. We also recommend using an auto-responder email for clients that set that expectation so they know when we will get back to them and know what our office... Read More

4 Fast Steps to Easily Light your Backgrounds (video)

Are you ready to take your lighting to the NEXT level and light up the environment? Today we are going to show you EXACTLY how to do it with step by step instructions AND a video showing it in action! In order to turn the image you see below (natural light) into what you see above, you need to follow these steps in order to get great resutls with NO guess work!   Step 1.  Have the right gear & Location The gear we use to do shots like this are any type of main light (like the Rapid Box from Westcott), and then a speedlight with a tungsten gel over it to really make it interesting.    Natural Light Shot:(ambient light reading was ISO 100, f/4 at 1/100th shutter)   The locations that work best for these type of shots are ones that have even overall lighting (this was on a city street in Nashville with all indirect lighting), and ones that have a small area with a little less light.   This area had a metal doorway indent that had less light in it than the rest of the wall around it. It has LOW overall light (so the speedlight can over-power it) and the background was reflective which makes the light look interesting.   Step 2. Under-Expose the ambient by 2 stops (ambient light under-exposed by 2 stops)    In order to have the background look dynamic, you have to make sure that the ambient light doesn’t wash everything out. So, to do that, we need to under-expose the background by around 2 stops. We metered the ambient light to read ISO 100, 1/200th shutter at... Read More

Controlling Large Off-camera Lights (Video)

When Jody and I were in Vegas for WPPI we shot a series of videos for Westcott‘s new University demonstrating some of their lighting modifiers and lighting techniques out in this cool old “ghost” town about 45 minutes from the city. We are super excited to finally share the first a few different videos that we produced together and they are all FREE and here on the blog! This first video shows us using the Westcott 7′ parabolic umbrella with the optional DIFF– USER to demo what you can do with one, large powerful light in the worst of lighting conditions. We use some feathering techniques (the details of how to do that are broken down in THIS post) in order to create an extremely soft lighting look, and also used the LEE Filter System in order to shoot at a very shallow depth of field when using high powered strobes. We also used the Elinchrom Ranger (not the Quadra that we use for weddings, but the bigger brother version) so we have plenty of power for the techniques used. Watch the video, then come BACK here to the blog to see in more detail the final images from this part of the shoot! More videos to come and more images!   Behind the scenes of the first set-up (more videos and locations to come!). You can see the light was harsh and not flattering. Here you can see the harsh natural light with NO flash on it. Now you can see the incredible difference it makes adding the flash. The great thing about this LARGE light, is the coverage you... Read More

Want a 2.5 hour wedding image workflow?

You have been waiting for this, and we talked about it on our webinar (replay is available until Friday night!), and we just launched a BRAND NEW product that solves the problem of your time being consumed with editing. The IN-CAMERA: Post production video workshop will: Share the systematic editing process and steps that Zach uses in his 2.5 hour wedding workflow Reduce your editing time Help you reclaim your life Allow PORTRAIT photographers to BLAZE through their shoots   The IN-CAMERA: Post video workshop includes: Gear we use for increased efficiency Our systematic editing process File organization so you never lose an image or wonder what to do next File backup for protecting images Creating custom black and whites Retouching for proofs and print Efficient Exporting and sharpening of all images Creating panoramas tutorial AND our exclusive 30-minute 80 page album design tutorial   Purchase by Friday October 4th ….and you will receive all 3.5 hours of content, the two bonus chapters PLUS $235 of six exclusive bonuses including access to our private IN-CAMERA Facebook group!   BONUS #1: Our Workflow Workbook Your guide through IN-CAMERA: Post with chapter summaries, tips and action items. (a $49.95 value)     BONUS #2: Workflow Checklist Get Zach’s very own worksheet that he uses to make sure all of his post-production tasks are completed so you ALWAYS know what is next. (a $19.95 value)     BONUS #3: Workflow Poster Print off this poster that highlights the tips and keys to having a fast and efficient workflow to free up your life! (a $14.95 value)    BONUS #4: Workflow Folder System Receive Zach’s... Read More

Speed Post-Production Tips | #RECLAIMYOURLIFE Week #4

  Last week we shared how having a great editing system can save you hours and allow you to RECLAIM YOUR LIFE! Not only did we share testimonies from photographers who have adopted our lightning-fast editing system (and cut down their editing time by HOURS) but we shared a few of our top five Post-Production Productivity Tips. If you missed it, you can read last week’s newsletter HERE. We have an insanely fast editing process that allows us to download, cull, edit, retouch and upload ALL the shots from approximately a 3,500 image shoot (& deliver 600-900 finals to the client) in just 2.5 hours or LESS. We know that sounds nuts, BUT, we promise you, it can be done! It is all about creating an incredible system for your editing process because we know that SYSTEMS can give us FREEDOM. So, what are the steps in this system? Having a great system involves simple and practical steps to follow. And when you can measure something that way, it can be managed!   When you utilize our system which is based on HOW you shoot and the MENTALITY that you edit with, you can achieve a workflow that can save you 50-75% of your editing time! Does that sound awesome, or what?!   So let’s dive right in to 3 more keys that will help speed up your editing!   _______________________________________ Post-Production Productivity Tip #3: Consistent Shooting   Shooting with Consistency = Speed in Editing So many photographers ask us what the secret to editing so fast is, and I always say that the FIRST thing you have to... Read More

In the Raw Video Series – Smoke Shot Part 2

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

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

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

Gear Review & Live Shoot | Westcott Rapid Box

Today we are reviewing a brand new ultra portable light modifier for your Speedlight that Westcott just came out with called the Rapid Box!     This modifier comes in 20 or 26 inch sizes and we currently have the 26 inch version. The light is really cool because it sets up like an umbrella (which means it’s easy) and it allows you to do indirect lighting with it. There is a small, optional deflector plate that you can add inside the box that reflects the direct light from your Speedlight, bounces it back into the rear of the box and the light then spreads back around very evenly when it exits the front. This mimics the effect of a beauty dish in that it creates a dead spot of light in the dead center of the box (instead of a hot spot like most do). If you use it in close, this will create a wrapping around effect of the light on the face for that painted on look. Awesome! When used further away, it simply produces very even lighting.   Check out the two review videos below that we created! Video 1 talks about the light itself, then video 2 showcases us on a shoot we did in Vegas demonstrating the light quality.         As you can see, the light quality is pretty amazing and we are excited to use this modifier for more upcoming... Read More

WIN IN-CAMERA: Shooting DVD!

Be one of the first to have our latest DVD! In honor of IN-CAMERA: Shooting | The Natural Light Photography System releasing one week from today, we are doing a giveaway! One lucky person will receive a signed copy of IN-CAMERA: Shooting, mailed right to their front door! This is what you need to do to win: 1. Tweet making sure you use the hashtag #INCAMERAdvd and this link –  http://bit.ly/X4vB1C. Feel free to copy and paste the below text or add your own flair :) So excited that #INCAMERAdvd Natural-light Shooting releases Tues, March 5th! More info: http://bit.ly/X4vB1C   That’s all you have to do!  Nice and simple! Winner will be announce on Friday via twitter! Happy tweeting!!! We leave you with the trailer for IN-CAMERA: Shooting… [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/60039909?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&color=cabb9c” width=”750″ height=”422″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen>] (Production by Rhetorik Creative | Packaging design by Julie... Read More

1 Simple Trick for Moody Backgrounds | Featured on Adorama

Not only Adorama is our favorite camera store to shop at, but did you know that they have a HUGE photographer’s resource called AdoramaTV? AdoramaTV has tons of videos from amazing photographers teaching and sharing their knowledge. We have the privileged of being on Adorama TV and our episode aired today! Click either image to watch the video! In our AdoramaTV episode we explain our off-camera lighting gear and one of our techniques in creating awesome off-camera lit photographs! This video is found on our HARVEST DVD and can only be viewed in the bonus section of HARVEST or right here, on AdoramaTV. It’s a little fun bonus for all of you out there! Enjoy!... Read More

Having your Black & White images look like Butter (video)

Today we are pulling a video for you from our Newsletter Archive that until today, has only been available to those on that exclusive list! We wanted to pull this video for a few reasons.   1. To show you some of the cool extra goodies that are inside our monthly newsletters (if you want to sign up, just enter your email above and to the right where it says “Get the Newsletter”)! 2. This is one of our highest requested editing tips videos, so we thought we would make it available for all!   (A few notes on this video: This was shot before we had a nice mic, so turn up your volume! It was also shot using Lightroom 3, so if you use Lightroom 4, substitute the brightness slider with exposure. If you have questions that you want answered, then email us from our contact form on our Photographers website!) Enjoy the video!... Read More

Interview & Watch us in Action! We Got Framed (video)

We are stoked that today our tips and tricks is a suh-weet video spot that the amazing team over at the [FRAMED] Network shot! Some of you may have seen the below image around… … and now it’s time to not only take you on the behind-the-scenes the above shoot with us, BUT to hear us talk about business & marriage in a fashion that you’ve never seen us before.   ***The episode goes live TODAY at 11am Central!!***   How do you join & watch the show? It’s fast, simple and free.   1. Head to www.framednetwork.com and grab your Passport login by creating a username and a password.   2. THEN Come back to this page and click this LINK HERE to watch the show!! You will be able to view the show starting at 11am CST.   What is [F] Network? [F] Network is a FREE community platform that connects, inspires and educates the aspiring and professional photographers with weekly shows and tools stocked full of inspiration and tutorials from the industry’s most talented artists. With new shows weekly showing on the new tool, Flix, these shows include [FRAMED] hosted by Melissa Niu, LitUp hosted by Joel Grimes, PhotoPro with Kevin Kubota, and Film hosted by Ryan Muirhead, Tanja Lippert & Tia Reagan. And yes, we said it – the [F] Network is totally free!     Make sure to follow the link HERE to... Read More

Learn How We Made A Six-Figure Income in Our Business

You have seen us on creativeLIVE rocking wedding day portraits and day of logistics… You have seen us on PhotoVision at a real wedding… Now let’s talk about how to make money… :) You have been asking for it and it has finally come to fruition! We are proud to announce our business DVD – HARVEST. In this 3-part DVD we talk about the nuts and bolts of the things we have implemented and learned in our business over the last five years. We go deep into branding, positioning, marketing and give you practical tools and steps to implement the things we did to go from shooting our first wedding in 2007 for $500 to making a six-figure income one year later. [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/40498945?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&color=cabb9c” width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen] For more detailed information on the contents of each DVD and to view the extended teaser, visit HARVESTDVD.com and read the information in the product description in the shopping cart. You can purchase each part separately as a video download OR you can purchase the hard copy which includes the video downloads as well as MP3s of the audio, 3 bonus videos and Sponsor promotions. Shipping is free for any continental US resident! (DVD will begin shipping the 1st full week in June). PURCHASE NOW! Thanks to our fab... Read More