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from the August 2009 category

One of the great things about being in Nashville is we often have the opportunity to shoot artists – which we absolutely love doing!

Jody and I had the privilege of working with an incredibly cool country artist this past weekend by the name of Emily Riesen. We shot all of her new promo and had an absolute blast working with her! She is very sweet and gracious and was fun shoot.  Emily is an artist here in Nashville (endorsed by Baden Guitars), and actually goes to the same church as us and works with the youth kids (so cool!).

We scouted an awesome location near our place that won’t be there for too much longer, so it was great to be able to shoot in a unique location that no one else can replicate.

Check out the images from the day – and if you’re wondering why her makeup looks so amazing – it’s because of the superb Amy Lynn Larwig who is our #1 go-to gal for great makeup for any occasion- artist shoots, weddings, whatever you may need :)




Here is a behind-the-scenes shot on this first set-up with our amazing assistant Walt helping to diffuse some of the light hitting Emily!!




Here the behind the scenes set up on the two shots you just saw above … a multiple lighting shot.

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This is the last set-up we did just as the sun was setting. These shots turned out awesome and were just the look that Emily was really wanting for her shoot.

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Nashville Artist Photographers

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Thanks a ton Emily for letting us be a part of this shoot! We had such a blast and are super excited about your music and your career!!

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Become a Facebook Fan of Emily’s!

(**Note** If you found this post from a browser search, feel free to visit the our IN-CAMERA Workshop Website to view the most current information on our photography lighting workshops).

It’s photography workshop season!  To get an awesome glimpse into our IN-CAMERA photography workshops take a look at this spot done by the great 2Duce2 wedding videography team, Eugene & Heather.

Our Spring workshops were a smash with over 40 registrants traveling to TN from a span of 4 different states  (see highlight video at the end of this post!), and we keep receiving emails from so many of you asking when the next series of workshops will be.  We have a huge passion for sharing and teaching and these workshops are some of the funnest times for us so with no further ado, we present our second installment of our IN-CAMERA workshops.


Overview of the Gray Photography IN-CAMERA Workshop Series

- Want to learn how we are able to achieve the look of all our images without the aid of PhotoShop?
- Want to learn how we are able to edit an entire wedding in 2.5 hour solely using Lightroom?
- Want to learn how we are able to create and control light and get phenomenal images in any lighting situation and then apply that knowledge to your own style?

Our IN-CAMERA series of workshops actually show you how to shoot images that amaze right in the camera. These workshops are held at our studio located in downtown Nashville and feature class time, hands-on shooting with professional models, post-production and/or image critiques and much more. These workshops are fun, informative, and a great time to hang out with and meet other photographers who want what you want – great images without having to spend hours behind a computer screen editing!

IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post

This one-day intensive workshop will focus on shooting your images correctly in-camera from shutter click to print.  Tired of having to fix all of your images on the computer?  Tired of adjusting your images one by one and spending so much time editing?  We will teach you how to get amazing images right inside the camera – images you would be proud to show a client right there!  Includes class time and group shoot.
This workshop will cover: Getting correct color, exposure, natural light – where to find it and how to control it, and a full demonstration of our complete post-production work flow in Adobe Lightroom.
Requirements: Basic knowledge of your DSLR with at least one fixed aperture lens (non-fixed aperture lenses are welcome!)
Bring it if you got it: Laptop with Adobe Lightroom 2 installed


This workshop is for the photographer who is ready to take their in-camera images to the next level. If you want to learn how to shoot in any lighting situation and create light instead of looking for it, if you want to enhance your images in a way that few do, then this is the workshop for you. This class will focus on advanced off-camera lighting using basic wireless flash and big studio strobes to create a unique look for your work. This one day workshop includes class time and group shoot.
This workshop will cover: off-camera speedlight control, manual studio strobes, how and when to use off-camera lighting, lighting ratios, lighting styles and which ones to use and when, much, much more!
Requirements: overall knowledge of your DLSR, full understanding of controlling your camera on manual via adjusting ISO, shutter speed & aperture, at least one fixed aperture lens
Bring it if you got it: Pocket wizard, laptop for an anonymous critique at the end of the day

This class is limited to only 8 students, so sign up now to ensure a seat!!


For everyone signed up to our workshops, we will be giving you a special discount code where you can receive $500 off the Strobelight PLUS Two Light Kit.  This product retails for $959.50 – this is a GREAT deal!  Talking about getting an additional value by attending one of our IN-CAMERA workshops!  Kelly, the VP of Westcott has been working with local dealer Dury’s to make sure these kits are in stock for all of you.

Enjoy a highlight of our last round of workshops!

Looking forward to it!!


Friday Fun – Tunes We Dig

by Zach & Jody on August 21, 2009, posted in Friday Fun

As many of you may know but some of you may not, I (Zach) used to be a full time musician for a number of years. I played guitar and wrote music with an amazingly cool artist named Sarah Kelly and music is my first and true passion. So when Jody and I visited my family a few weeks back in WI we got to hang with my cool brother in-law Jon (who is also a super talented musician) and we were introduced for the first time to Seabird. Jon put the record on and from the moment I heard these guys, Jody and I were hooked line and sinker.


I usually have to listen to a new artists record a few times through to really start to appreciate (or not appreciate) their sound, art and songwriting. But Seabird and I hit it off from the first spin and I have been listening to them non-stop ever since! The record is very good from front to back, has catchy hooks, is very well written, has meaningful lyrics and is sonically sound. The band is really good, especially the lead singer Aaron Morgan with his unique vocal sound and piano skills. This record has definitely challenged me with its content and has been a great influence on me thus far.


Check out their video here on YouTube (embedding was disabled for this video – AWESOME) and let us know what you think!

Below we have a video for your enjoyment which is where the “Fun” part of our “Friday Fun” blog REALLY clicks in.  This is the same song by Seabird – “Rescue” but with a special twist that gave us both a laugh and we thought you might get some giggles out of it yourself …


What kind of music or artists have inspired you lately and who is on your I-Pod right now?

We have had our IN-CAMERA Photography workshops posted not even for two weeks and we are almost full! Be sure to sign up soon if you want to get a seat!

In honor of our lighting workshop less than a month away (and in honor of the few remaining spots left!), we have put together some Before and After images with commentary below! Scroll your mouse over the images to see the magic before your very own eyes :) FYI – with each set that you see, the exact same adjustments were done to both images in Lightroom. We didn’t purposely spruce down or spruce up a shot. The difference between the images is solely the lighting that you see.

This shot below shows you the difference that the right lighting can make on the overall impact of an image. The first Before shot was taken with all natural light, and the After that you see here was shot with some external lighting. The great thing about understanding off-camera lighting is knowing that you can shoot anywhere you want, and not just where the light is good. The biggest difference here (other than the added depth that the lighting makes) is how the artist really becomes the focal point of the shot while everything else fades more to the background.

In this next shot, we were shooting at a great time of day when the light was really good for shooting, however we loved this composition which ended up putting our bride and groom with their backs to the sunlight. So, we decided to add light into the shot that wasn’t there, and create a powerful and dramatic image that really makes an impact!

As you can see in this set’s Before image, the shoot happened on a very cloudy day which makes all the natural lighting very flat. But by understanding the different ways to use external lighting, we were able to create an edgy shot that has shape and definition.

This next couple (the SUH-WEET Chris & Holly), were shot as the sun was setting on this cool dirt road out in the country. The Before shot works and is cool, but just did not have the feel that we were going for. So we changed up the pose and changed our composition so that the trees behind them were not cutting into their heads, then we added some light to get the final result. The end image is dramatic and really fun!

In this last shot, notice that when you put your mouse over the shot to see the before image, that the before shot is not that bad (other than the crazy fly away hair!). The lighting is OK and Lindsay is the main subject of the shot. But the After shot, after adjusting the lighting, really adds shape to her face, brightens up her eyes and even gives her face a more defined pleasing shape. The final result is much more powerful than the Before image.

If you want to learn these different styles of lighting, posing and composition first hand, then the IN-CAMERA: Light workshop (Sept 13th) is calling your name! We are less than a month out – sign up now before all the seats are gone! We also have just a few spots left for our IN-CAMERA: Shooting and Post Production workshop on August 30th. Their are also a few surprises in store for both of those workshops which you won’t want to miss out on (but more on that later!). Visit our site to register via Paypal, or you can email us if you need to send a check and reserve your spot that way. We are super excited for these workshops and can’t wait to see you there!!

Side Note:
If you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes blog, sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will be sharing in-depth tips on different aspects of our photography!


Friday Fun – Something New in our Lives…

by Jody on August 14, 2009, posted in Friday Fun

Happy Friday everyone!!!  Soooooooo guess what?

We have a new studio!!  We loved the old one, but honestly it was just a bit small, especially for when we hold our IN-CAMERA photography workshops.  No worries – we are still in the heart of Nashville right on Broadway in the same building, same floor – just down the hall!!

Old Studio (photo taken during our Spring IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post workshop):


New studio before we worked our magic:

old studio

After removing shelves, SCRUBBING the floor, some paint love, and curtains!

Zach & Jody Gray Nashville Wedding Photographers Studio

The finished product!

Zach & Jody Gray Nashville Wedding Photographers Studio

Anyone up for movie/game night at the studio?  Aw yeah!!