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

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

IN-CAMERA: Light Video Workshop | The Simple Off-Camera Lighting Solution

If you want to shoot with off-camera flash, but have been wondering how to get over the fear, wonder no more! Our new Light DVD will teach you the exact steps we use to nail off-camera lit shots everytime like a pro! The system is simple, easy and adds a whole new dimension to your photography work! If this is inspiring you to attend the IN-CAMERA Light workshop, the Nashville class is sold out, but if we get 3 more people on the waiting list, we will open it up to another group of 6. There is still space in the San Francisco workshop class. For detailed class descriptions as well as dates and pricing, visit the IN-CAMERA workshop website. IN-CAMERA Workshop Testimonials: “This is the best investment I could have made in my business. I’m so thrilled I did it early on in my business.” “Loved it, Love it, Loved it! Learned so much it blows my mind!” “This is the most beneficial class to learn how to improve my photography. It was broken down in a way we could easily understand and apply it.” “This is truly one of the best workshops I have ever attended!” “This workshop is going to change the way I shoot receptions” “This weekend started with me knowing absolutely nothing, now I’m honestly full equipped to rock it!” “Great learning experience. What I learned will save me a lot of time” “I learned here more than anywhere else” On a scale of 1-5, How would you rate this experience overall: “26,432.84 Think that says it all.” “Excellent, excellent, excellent!!! This will give... Read More

A Gray Photography Wedding by Jessica Rai | Penny & Eddie are Hitched!

We have yet another wedding to bring to you from Gray Photography shot by Jessica Rai! Eddie and Penny had a beautiful, early afternoon wedding and we loved all of the thought and details at they put into their memorable day. Read a little bit from Jessica on her take of the day! Penny & Eddie’s wedding day was absolutely unforgettable & not just because of the beautiful dresses, flowers, tuxes or details but because of the love between this amazing couple! It was such an honor to photograph their wedding. Penny is the sweetest person I have ever met and during the ceremony I even started tearing up behind my camera when I heard their voices tremble when they said ” I do” :) Photographing couples like this and witnessing such amazing love is why I love what I do, thank you Penny & Eddie for allowing me to be apart of your big day!! -Jessica Rai 0   Congratulations to you both!!!!!!! Thanks for letting us all be a part of your special day The Fabulous Friends and Wedding Vendors who helped make this day happen: Flowers: Smith and Rogers Hair: Green Pea Salon Makeup: Jennifer Whitus Cake: Cakes by Candy, Ethridge, TN Church: Nashville First Church of the Nazarene Etsy – ring bearer pillow, guest tree, bridesmaid clutches, bridal... Read More

A Nashville Wedding Sneak Peek | The Fab Ryan & Sarah

We shot the most awesome (and HOT) wedding for Ryan and Sarah this past weekend and had an absolute blast with them! These guys are truly an amazing couple and we are sooo glad that they found us! We love these guys and are glad that we got to be a part of their big day. We can’t wait to show you all the photos from the wedding, but until then, here are a few teaser shots! To view their online gallery once the images are ready, CLICK HERE to sign their virtual... Read More

Our Newest Family Member – the 85mm

Today’s blog is about the newest addition to the family here at the Gray house. After lots of nudging from me (Zach) to my lovely but unfortunately penny pinching but financially smart wife ;), we finally broke down and bought this bad boy about a month or so ago. Welcome to the Gray family, my little 85mm sweetie pie. No, I have not let her into bed with us. Pretty! After being a zoom shooter for a long time because of how practical they are, Jody and I have really started seeing how much it can add to your look if you invest in a lens like this. Today we want to show you some of the pluses and minuses of shooting with an 85mmL 1.2. We love this lens a ton and have noticed its strengths, and also want talk about the possible problems one can encounter while using it. The Good: This lens has the most beautiful color and really great looking bokeh (which is how the blur looks that the lens produces). The lens also focuses really well (although the speed of the focusing is fairly slow compared to many other lenses) and is very accurate, especially considering that the lens opens up so big on the inside and is as heavy as it is. Check out some background blur and color on this puppy! All these are shot at f/1.2 The colors are so rich and everything looks so crisp and smooth. Also you notice that the background has a very nice blur that is textured very nicely. This lens is also really great for... Read More

Friday Fun | A Grill Out with STYLE :)

There is nothing more that we enjoy than having a great time with good, true friends. A few weeks ago photographer and friend, Ginny Corbett came into town to hang out with us! We took her to some of the cool things that Franklin has to offer and then had a few other friends over who could make it for a barbecue! Enjoy some of the images compliments of Ginny and our iPhone… If you go to Nashville, TN you HAVE to drive 15 minutes south and have the best chicken that you have ever tasted in your life. We’re not kidding :) Maniac’s is AMAZING and the most exciting news we heard last time we went – they are starting to franchise! At lunch and dinner times this place is so packed that you have to wait to get a seat. So of course, we had to bring Ginny here… YUM! Another great place that we took Ginny to is Merridee’s Bread Basket. All their food is homemade and we LOVE their coffee! Ginny came to church with us Sunday then afterwords we hit up Which Which…. mmmm love that place! This is Ginny with her self-portrait on her sandwhich bag (thank-you iPhone). Then we decorated bags to send to the troops! Saturday evening we had a grill out at our crib (yes for those of you anxious to see photos of our new place you get a little glimpse here :). Below on the left is Amber Ulmer (spouse of Josh Ulmer, both who make up Ulmer Studios :o) with their adorable daughter Josie, and on the... Read More

Ahhhhhhhhhh! We are speaking at WPPI!

We were having a normal day sitting in our office working on some details for weddings and getting things out to our clients, when we received an email from WPPI letting know that we had just been selected to teach a Master Class in Las Vegas in 2011!! We sat there stunned and ecstatic at the same time. We have worked so hard on everything that we have been doing for other photographers and we feel that this invite is like a little pat on the back (ok, more like a whomping wack ;), and a great affirmation to us of our goals and all that we have been striving for. We have a huge passion to see other photographers succeed and feel like there are no limits to what they can do if they are driven. We are honored to be a part of WPPI 2011 and can’t wait to have a Master Class that will be unlike any other! There is a limit of 35 seats available for this Master Class, so if you want to get in on it be sure to sign up as soon as seats go live! We will be Twittering and blogging again to let you know when that happens. For those of you that know me (Zach), I love to dream big dreams and come up with huge (sometimes crazy) ideas, and WPPI 2011 is no exception. Now that we are teaching this Master Class, we really want to do something that is so big you won’t believe it. Stay tuned for more details, but know that this will be the... Read More

A Gray Photography Wedding by Kristine | Brooke & McClain are Hitched!

You may recognize this fab couple from our sneak peek, but now it’s time to share with you the full wedding of Brooke & McClain shots by one of our team photographer’s Kristine Neeley! Brooke & McClain had their summer wedding at the Belmont Mansion on the Belmont University campus. It was a special and intimate affair and these guys were beaming! We are excited to share this wedding with you all! Enjoy! To view Brooke & McClain’s images once they are available online, CLICK HERE, to sign the virtual guestbook. LOVIN these shoes! This delicious and beautiful cake was made by the fantastic Crumb de la Crumb! Congrats you two!! Other Vendors a part of this Wedding Day: Cake – Crumb de la Crumb Venue – Belmont Mansion Catering – Down South... Read More

Sneak Peek | The Nashville Wedding of Katie & Jason!

It’s time to share a little sneak peek with you of Katie & Jason’s wedding!!! These guys got hitched at The Cathedral in Nashville and then their reception was at the beautiful Hermitage hotel. We got the pleasure of working once again along side fantastic videographers Heather & Eugene from 2Duce2 as well as Nashville wedding planner Mary Natalie of Weddings by Mary Natalie. Enjoy the little sneak peek and make sure to view the killer wedding trailer from 2Duce2 below! To view images from this wedding once they are available online, sign Katie & Jason’s virtual guestbook HERE. And the killer wedding trailer by Heather & Eugene of 2Duce2. Aw yeah! Click... Read More

This Marketing Tool Will Change Your Wedding Business!

There are some marketing ideas out there that work for some people, some that don’t work for others, and some that simply aren’t great ideas. However, what we are about to share with you today on the latest installment of our Tuesday Tips and Tricks post WILL benefit your business and is a sure way to amp things up and get your momentum going (or keep it going) and the return is invaluable! This has worked awesomely for us and is in part one of the reasons that we do not spend any $$$ on advertising. Today we are going to be talking about Wedding Slideshows! Some of you may have heard of doing sideshows at weddings and for some of you, this may be a brand new idea, so we’re gonna break it down! We first heard of this idea from a photographer and entrepreneur who we respect and admire, David Jay, and since we began doing this back in January 2008 it has brought us tons of amazing clients and got our name out to many more! What are wedding slideshows? – This is when you set up your laptop/iPad/small viewing screen, and display in slideshow form pictures taken earlier that day at the wedding Why does this work? We cannot stress enough how amazing doing these slideshows can be for your business. How many times have you gone and shot a wedding and people come up to you saying, “Man, you are AWESOME – you did such a great job,” but you’re thinking to yourself, “You haven’t even seen the pictures yet. They could stink for... Read More

Featured Article on Expo Imaging.com!

We have been working with Expo Imaging for a while now (Expo Disc anyone? aw yeah!) and they are one of our awesome sponsors of our photography workshops here in Nashville and in San Fransisco too! Expo features photographers on their website with inside tips, interviews and tons of cool info about their businesses. The Expo Imaging article shares our mentality towards weddings, our gear, our workshops and some other cool stuff, so check out the article HERE to read... Read More

Out Of State Workshops Revealed | Registration is LIVE!

Over 37 cities were in the running for us to bring our IN-CAMERA Photography Workshops to, and the winning city is… Drum-roll please…. San Francisco, CA! CLICK HERE to register! Way to represent your state and vote!! We will be holding our 3 workshop classes – Shooting & Post, Light, and Business & Marketing. For detailed class descriptions, dates, and pricing, visit our IN-CAMERA Workshop Website. Registration Opens Immediately so book your seat before the classes fill up! For those of you whose state didn’t make it – no worries, we will do more in the Spring. In the meantime, continue to build up excitement amid your local photographers and we may just be coming to your state next... Read More

Sign Up Now! | Nashville IN-CAMERA Workshops Registration is LIVE!

Well folks, you have waited and it is time! Registration is open for all to our Nashville Fall IN-CAMERA workshop series! Registration opened yesterday to our photography newsletter peeps, and our shooting workshops are almost 40% full!! Visit the Workshop Website to sign up now and for more details – full class descriptions, dates, times, & pricing. We limit the amount of attendees for our shooting workshops to best optimize the learning experience. Thanks to our awesome sponsors we have some fab giveaways for workshop attendees! All Workshop Attendees Will Receive: 50% off their first Image Capsule album One year subscription discount to PhotoVision’s DVD teaching series ($110 savings) Multiple Drawings Will be Held For: One free year’s subscription to Album Exposure (valued at $180) Free Expo Disc by Expo Imaging (valued at $99) A Free Mobile Website by iFolios (valued at $89) One Free year subscription to ShowItSites (valued at $468) Five Free years subscription to ShowIt Sites (valued at $2,340) Free video from PhotoVision‘s video archives (valued at $149) Our Sponsors: **Anxious to know if we are bringing the workshops to your state? We are tallying votes to determine the top cities we will be coming to and announcing it soon on the blog so stay tuned for that info... Read More

Friday Fun | The Household Appliance We Have Gone 4.5 Years Without

Yesterday we tweeted that there was one household appliance that we have gone without for our entire marriage, and many guesses came in with only TWO people guessing correctly (way to go @RECDDesignz & @Jimmynotjim). Now we shall share what we survived so long without… Yes folks, this is an iron. You may ask “if you went so long without one, why get one now?” Well, if you simply take your wrinkly clothes, throw them in the dryer with a damp cloth and let it run for a few minutes your clothes will come out wrinkle free! … this works for the most part… We FINALLY decided to buy an iron because we bought 100% cotton sheers for some of the windows in our home and it was kind of hard to get them totally wrinkle free and our interior designer would make us feel shamed every time she came in and saw them hanging with wrinkles all over them…. alas, we gave in! Look at me ironing!!!!!!! woo hoooo!!! Want to see the box?? oooooh, ahhhhh….. Even has a RETRACTABLE cord!!! Yup, you read that right! We’re big time now! Our sheers are 8 feet tall so you can imagine that a lot of the material hung on the ground as I was ironing… well guess who starting running and sliding into my freshly ironed curtains? Yeah, you guessed it – our cat Star! She was having a field day but I finally had to put an end to it with a conveniently placed water bottle threatening the tread of kitty paws that may desire to come near…... Read More

The Nashville Belle Meade Plantation Wedding of Mark & Kelsey!

Mark & Kelsey’s wedding was an absolutely amazing event and we love these guys sooo much! We had a ball shooting their fab wedding at the historic Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville and the day could not have turned out any more perfect (rain and all!)! At this wedding, Ed Peirce and his video team filmed us throughout the day for Photo Vision. PhotoVision is a DVD series that gives photographers an inside look into the businesses of top photographers and follows them on their shoots so that you can get an exclusive ring side seat into how they do what they do. This video series goes out to photographers across the country and the next DVD sent out will feature one of our segments! You’ll get the first glimpse into how we shot this wedding and you will get the inside scoop into how we run our business! If you’re interested in subscribing to the DVDs, view our PhotoVision blog post to receive a promo code and receive the discs at an awesomely discounted rate! Thanks to Mark & Kelsey for being so cool with having an additional film crew out! Mark and Kelsey are the bomb and we are so glad that we met them and got to be a part of their big day! Congratulations you two and enjoy the blog roll!! To view their complete wedding once the images become available online, CLICK HERE to sign their virtual guestbook. Mark got custom flasks for all of his guys. Mark got ready the ultra cool Hutton hotel in Downtown Nashville. We had WAY too much fun... Read More

Wedding Don’ts and Don’ts

As a wedding photographer (or wedding vendor) what would you say is one of the most powerful ways you market yourself? Some would say their website, blog or maybe Facebook… Have you ever thought that maybe one of the most powerful ways you market yourself (speaking to mainly wedding photographers here) is at the wedding itself? The wedding is where the magic happens and is when you are put in front of hundreds of people watching you work – many of whom are single, engaged, or at least know someone getting engaged. People are watching you, and how you represent yourself can either draw so much business to you that you have to turn away clients, or you can turn away clients right there at the wedding unintentionally. How you represent yoursef on the wedding day will be key to your success! We have a few tips below that will help you put your best foot forward as you showcase yourself in front of hundreds of potential clients. 1) Dress for the Part Do you love wearing PJ’s all day when you work? Us too! But don’t wear them at your weddings. When I (Jody) was in college taking a career class, I was told by a professor, “Dress for the job you want.” You want to shoot 10,000 weddings? Well you better dress like a $10,000 photographer. If you look sharp, professional, and put together then that is how you and your business will be percieved. 2) Gear, Gear Everywhere Have lots of bags? Or maybe even just one bag? The last thing you want to do is... Read More

IN-CAMERA Photography Workshops | YOU Decide Where We Come

Thanks for voting! Thanks for voting! Voting has officially ended! We will be tallying votes and checking our schedules and looking into logistics to determine the top cities we will be coming to! _______________________ This week is a big week for the IN-CAMERA Photography Workshops! Nashville dates will be announced, registration will open for Nashville, and YOU will decide the other states that we will be bringing our workshops to this Fall!!!! VOTE FOR YOUR CITY We are going to take our workshops to where they are wanted most and starting today YOU will vote and decide where we will go! You vote by… 1. THE BLOG – Leave a comment on this blog post! Tell us the major city (including state) you live closest to and why you want us to come out to your area! Listing any fun things your major city has to offer won’t hurt either :) Only one vote per person counts. 2. TWITTER – Tweet making sure to include @GrayPhotography & #INCAMERA and don’t forget to mention the major city you live closest to (including state). Example tweet: I would love @GrayPhotography to bring their #INCAMERA wrkshps to Honolulu, HI so I can take killer lighting shots! THEN, get your friends to vote too! Example tweet: Hey, [insert city] Photogs, vote for our city! ;) @GrayPhotography is planning an #INCAMERA workshop tour! Bring ’em here! http://bit.ly/b309Xq Remember, tweet all you want to spread the word, but the most one person’s vote can count is twice – once on the blog and once on Twitter. OTHER IDEAS TO SPREAD THE WORD TO YOUR LOCAL... Read More

The Sewanee Wedding of Christian & Elizabeth

We got to shoot the awesome wedding of Christian & Elisabeth a few weeks back in Sewanee, TN and had an absolute blast! Christian actually graduated from med school the day before and then they and their families drove up to Sewanee for their wedding the next day! Whew! They were troopers and you would have had no idea that Christian just finished grueling exams. Christian & Elizabeth were amazingly calm and were a joy to work with. At the end of the night we received the best compliment that a client can give us – They said their day was better because we were there. That is our goal for all of our weddings and thank-you, Christian & Elizabeth for letting us be a part of your day. These guys were really fun and after the ceremony we headed to one of their favorite spots in town to shoot even more photos of the two of them. It was really wonderful to be a part of such a cool day with these guys and we wish them the best! They were all about the Nashville vendors, they even had their rehearsal & reception food catered in from the delicious A Catered Affair! To sign up for their online gallery and to see images once they are available online, click HERE! Enjoy the images from the day! I love the look on Elizabeth’s face in this shot! Congrats you two! You are the... Read More

Shoot em’ Straight!

Today’s post is a very simple technique that I learned back in the early part of 2008 when I (Zach) had been shooting for just under a year professionally. Back then, me and another great Nashville photographer Evan Baines used to send our favorite few images from our recent shoots back and forth for critique from each other. It was cool how he would see things in my shots that I did not and vice-versa. I highly recommend this between photographers because it will help you grow tons faster if you have someone you respect looking at your images from an outside perspective! So after one particular shoot that I had done, I sent over a few shots and got some amazing advice from Evan. I showed him this image and was sure he was going to love it (because I was sooo excited about it myself). Evan did love the shot, but he noticed one major flaw in the image that I did not. He told me to either, “Shoot it straight, or shoot it purposely crooked. Never shoot it a little bit crooked like you did.” So, I went in, cropped the shot slightly, and re-sent it over. And I was like “Whoa! I never noticed that!” Images that are purposely straight as an arrow or purposely crooked leave your audience feeling a certain way about the shot. If your shot is straight, it looks like it is balanced and even and makes you feel that way. If a shot is purposely crooked it gives you a sense of movement, or can even make you feel like you... Read More