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Dramatic Studio Lighting | Burst Shoot

A few months back we had the privilege to shoot a commercial gig for BurstClub.com that happens to be owned by our dear friends Nathan and Jenni Oates. These guys were amazing to work with and we all had a blast on the shoot! The images are for their new promo material and for their 4 DVD set. The images needed to be very slick and styled, so we had to change up our shooting style to get the job done!   This shoot was a lot different then what we normally do for wedding images where our brides want that soft, pretty light that makes their skin look painted on. This shoot needed much more of an edge to it with the lighting, but also keeping some of that Zach and Jody style with the soft buttery look. So the first thing we did to achieve that look was to not use our typical 24×32 Wesctott soft-box that we use on all of our lit wedding portraits, and opted instead to use a 22 inch silver beauty dish from Paul C. Buff.   The real benefit and difference between using a soft-box (which is basically like having a big soft window), is with a beauty dish, you still get that soft buttery light when it is used in close, but you have much more dramatic shadows and highlights. Because of the design, it shoots out a narrow, 45 degree beam of light that allows the light to be shaped and placed much more specifically then with a soft-box. The cool thing about the silver vs buying a white... Read More
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Orange County Workshops are Complete! | Re-cap | October 2012

Our Orange County Shooting and Post and Light workshops are over and Nashville is about to begin this coming weekend! We had an amazing time with our students there that traveled from all over to come and hang with us! We had students from the OC, Canada, and even Alaska come out to join us!   We started the days off talking through the techniques that we use to get our entire wedding workflow (downloading, culling, editing, building, proofing and ordering the album and uploading everything online) to just around 4 hours total. Then, we headed outside at the worst possible time to shoot to put it all into practice. Check out some of the images from the day below! (Most of the behind the scenes images taken on iPhone 5)   Here we are in this ugly little parking lot, and we are demonstrating how even the most unlikely locations can make for a great image. Just frame what looks great, and leave everything else out, then add some nice light and your in business! One of the attendees had this really cool Corvette, but it was not in the best location with the best light, So we added some of our own, cropped in to where it eliminated distractions, and we got a sweet image! Here is another example of how you can get cool shots in unlikely locations. We are always watching for good light, and textured backgrounds. As you can see in this behind the scenes image of the above shot, we found this nice textured fence which had some nice light bouncing in from... Read More
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Glamour Lighting How-To

Lighting styles are the direction you choose to have your light hitting your client to create different styling, or looks on them. You can make a client look 30 pounds lighter (or heavier) just by your choice and direction of your lighting. These styles work with natural light, and with flash, but we are going to focus in on the flash side with this post. But do remember, you can simply replace “soft-box” with sun, reflector or any other light source you encounter.   Mastering the effect of some of the basic lighting styles will not only add some new tools to your photography tool belt, but will also give you much more confidence when you encounter a client that can seem more difficult to photograph. Some clients have round faces, or features that they want minimized, and it is our job as pro’s to help make our clients look their absolute best! So in this series, we are going to show you how to handle tricky situations, bring out the best features of your clients, and take ALL of the guesswork out of it.   When we are headed out to a session (either a wedding or an engagement shoot), one of things that we are thinking about is our “client lighting profile.” Meaning, what type of lighting is going to look great on my client and flatter them, and what type of lighting is going to highlight features that they are not stoked about? You can even go as far as to make some personal notes of lighting that you should, and should not use on that... Read More
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Studio Lighting | Perfect Separation on white seamless

So, if you have ever shot in the studio, you may have shot images on a seamless backdrop which is a simple way to get great looking images without much distraction from you client. You can also easily cut clients out from a seamless if you need to do a composite. Sometimes though, you need a classy, simple shot on a pure white or gray seamless, and although it may seem straight-forward, it can be very tricky to nail it.   There are tons of blogs, ideas and systems out there for shooting on a white seamless and getting the background blown out so it turns pure white or grey, but not blasting so much light back into the camera that it hazes out the images, or loses the contrast between your client and the background. Today I will show you the easiest way to get that perfect separation.   Some photographers say that you need to have your main light at f/11, then your background light at f/16 to blow out that background just right. Some say that you need to have them a certain amount of feet away from the background. Some say that you need to get your blinkies on the back of your camera flashing on the background and not your client, then it will be right. Zack Arias, on his Tumblr Blog, suggested using the blinkies, then adding 1/3 more or less and learning your system then checking them to see what needs to be adjusted. So which method is correct?   All of that can work with lots of guessing, but there is... Read More
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2012 Fall IN-CAMERA Photography Registration is LIVE!

Registration is LIVE for our 2012 IN-CAMERA Fall Workshop Tour and there are only a few seats left for each city! This is our LAST IN-CAMERA tour as you know them so if this has always been on your bucket list, now is the time to act. There are only 16 seats per workshop day available so get your seat before they sell out. REGISTER HERE! [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/35660225?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”600″ height=”338″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen] The Cities We Are Coming To: ORANGE COUNTY, CA 10/7 IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post 10/8 IN-CAMERA: Light NASHVILLE, TN 10/14 IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post 10/15 IN-CAMERA: Light HOUSTON, TX 10/28 IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post 10/29 IN-CAMERA: Light KANSAS CITY, MO 11/4 IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post 11/5 IN-CAMERA: Light ORLANDO, FL 12/2 IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post 12/3 IN-CAMERA: Light     For dates and more info, visit... Read More
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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
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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
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Weddings with your Spouse

Today we want to highlight our new Tumblr blog that we created a bit ago a a way to answer questions on the go! Sometime we get into seasons where we are traveling like crazy, but we still want to answer as many questions as we can. So, yesterday, we put up a blog on working with your spouse during the wedding day and defining roles! After reading the post, do us a favor, and if you have any tips that have helped you have a smoother wedding day when working with your spouse, a second shooter or an assistant, leave a comment below for all of us to read! Check out the post by clicking the below image!... Read More
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Win a Mentoring Session with us AND a HARVEST DVD!

Hey Fabulous Photographers! Today is the first Tuesday of the month which means that today’s Tuesday Photography Tips & Tricks is sent only to newsletter subscribers. Buuuuuut, we still have a fun giveaway to share, compliments of The Music Bed, which is the BEST source out there for purchasing GREAT music that is legal to use. They are doing an amazing giveaway and we’re excited to be a part of it and share the goodness with you! The Great ‘Ographer Giveaway of Twenty Twelve is going down and your friends at The Music Bed want you to know what’s up! We have $1,500 in beautiful dollars to Creative Live, Borrow Lenses, and The Music Bed to give away! Even better –would you l-l-love to learn a thing or two from us with an exclusive one-on-one session,eh? One photographer and one filmmaker will win and be announced on October 2, 2012! Don’t procrastinate! Entering is quick and FREE below! ENTER NOW!... Read More
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Our New Blog is Here! Built with Love & Heart

It has been a long time coming, but we are finally thrilled to officially share with you our brand new blog built together by LOVE & HEART!!!!!! As many of you know, we re-branded ourselves at the beginning of this year, and we desperately needed a blog to match our new website brand! We’ll show you the progression of everything! Here is our new website: Here are the client +sites Melissa Love designed for us to give to our clients: Here is our online gallery that we have through Smug Mug designed to reflect our brand as well (use code “Gray20” to save 20%): Here is our photographer’s website: The only thing missing was an updated blog! Here’s the “Before”: And now, take a look around and you can see the “After”! Our blog was designed by Melissa LOVE and implemented by Cathie HEART. We hope you enjoy and love it as much as we do. Thank-you Cathie & Melissa!!!!!!!!... Read More

Fall 2012 Workshop Dates Announced for the FINAL IN-CAMERA Photography Tour

It is time to announce our Fall IN-CAMERA Photography Workshop Tour Dates & Locations!! And yes, this is the last of our IN-CAMERA Workshops as you have known them, so don’t miss your chance. [iframe: src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/35660225?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”600″ height=”338″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen] (video by Eugene + Heather) The Cities We Are Coming To: ORANGE COUNTY, CA NASHVILLE, TN HOUSTON, TX KANSAS CITY, MO ORLANDO, FL   For dates and more info, visit workshops.ZachandJody.com.   Registration Opens MONDAY, AUGUST 27th at NOON CST. to newsletter subscribers FIRST for 24 hours. >> >> Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter or you may miss out on purchasing your seat! << << We are looking forward to coming to your city!!   PS For those of you who are coming back to our blog and noticing the new update, come back and visit us on Wednesday where we talk about our new look from LOVE & HEART! !  ... Read More

Business Finances, Part IV | How to Delegate Extra Monthly Income

Welcome to Part IV in our Business Finances Series!! Today we are tackling how we keep track and organize the extra finances that we have at the end of the month. In the video below we share the different categories we save for throughout the year and how we keep all of that organized. Enjoy the video! Download our Emergency/Savings Breakout Excel Sheet. In case you missed out on Week 1, CLICK HERE to view our financial story and the how to’s in creating a budget! In case you missed out on Week 2, CLICK HERE to view the first step in managing your finances with an irregular income! In case you missed out on Week 3, CLICK HERE to view the second step in managing your finances with an irregular income!   RESOURCES:   FREE video worksheet Downloads:  Grab them HERE Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More

Business Finances Part 3 | Managing an Irregular Income (Cont.)

Welcome to Part III in our Business Finances Series!! Today we are talking about the 2nd step in managing your finances with an irregular income. Enjoy the video! HIGHLIGHTS: Steps to Paying Yourself: Keep track of upcoming business expenses & retain the money in your business account Collect a paycheck Stay organized by creating multiple checking accounts (Monthly Spending/Tithe/Taxes/Emergency & Savings) and pay into those accounts every time you pay yourself Transfer out extra $$ to Emergency/Savings account Jones Family $$ Example: End of the month Paycheck: $10,000 Deduction: 10% to Tithe ($1,000) Deduction: 25% to Taxes ($2,500) Remainder: $6,500 $1,500 is transferred to Emergency/Savings fun $5,000 remains in Monthly Spending account to cover all bills & cash spending for the coming month   Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom.   In case you missed out on Week 1, CLICK HERE to view our financial story and the how to’s in creating a budget! In case you missed out on Week 2, CLICK HERE to view the first step in managing your finances with an irregular income! We hope you have enjoyed week 3 on Business Finances! If you have any questions, makes sure to list them below and we’ll try to cover them in our further videos!   RESOURCES: Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More
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Personal Thoughts | Summertime Memories

It it CRAZY to think that there is only one month of summer left. Where has it gone? Even though summers can be crazy busy, we want to encourage you all to make sure you’re setting some time aside to do what is really important – relax and enjoy the friendships of others and your family. Every year for the last 4 years, Zach and I fly up north to go to family camp with Zach’s dad, his wife and Zach’s younger brothers. It’s such a great time to unplug and disconnect from work and the day-in and day-out responsibilities. Below is Zach and I on the Voyager’s breakfast. Those who want to attend, sign up and you all canoe out to a campsite where you have a dee-lish breakfast made over a campfire. Complete with cowboy coffee and pineapple/cinnamon/donut fire-grilled desert! After family camp, Zach and his dad flew back to TN to have some manly bonding time with their bikes and nature. …And I flew to hang with my sister Jacq in Minneapolis (who is also a photographer, Jacq Photography :) along her husband Nathan and daughter, Lila. Below is Lila attending the abridged version of our IN-CAMERA: Shooting & Post workshop ;o) So cute! Anyway, we hope you all are having amazing summers and are taking some time to RELAX and especially be with family. What have you done this summer, and if you haven’t done anything yet, write below and COMMIT to taking some time off and enjoy life a little!!   ** ** ** For those of you in the California area, don’t forget... Read More

Business Finances, Part II: Managing an Irregular Income

Welcome to Part II in our Business Finances Series!! Today we are talking about the first step in managing your finances with an irregular income. Enjoy the video! [iframe: width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/0hIl5McW83Y” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]   DOWNLOAD HERE the excel sheet that we use to keep track of our yearly income! In case you missed out on Week 1, CLICK HERE to view our financial story and the how to’s in creating a budget! We hope you have enjoyed week 2 on Business Finances! If you have any questions, makes sure to list them below and we’ll try to cover them in our further videos!   RESOURCES: Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More

Business Finances, Part I: Budgets

You have asked for it, and we’re giving it to you – A post on business finances! We have learned a lot over the past 6.5 years with our personal and business finances, but before we even get into managing business finances, it all starts with setting good foundations for those spending habits. …. and this is where budgets come into play! Listen how to get an instant pay raise and to start the steps of having financial freedom by getting on a budget!!! [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/QoPTxJTikek” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen] DOWNLOAD HERE the excel sheet that we use to get the correct denominations of cash for our monthly spending. Here is an additional video to walk you through how we utilize the excel sheet we have created. [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/2P7w2qNr8p8″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen] We hope you have enjoyed week 1 on Business Finances! If you have any questions, makes sure to list them below and we’ll try to cover them in our further videos! THE 6 BUDGET STEPS: #1. List monthly bills #2. Create cash budget categories #3. Save monthly receipts #4. Look for areas to reduce spending #5. Agree on a monthly cash spending budget #6. Take out cash RESOURCES: Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More
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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
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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
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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
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Win a HARVEST DVD courtesy of the FRAMED Network!

We have recently shot an episode of the FRAMED Network that we did in Idaho a few weeks back. The FRAMED Network is a free resource of shoots, interviews and more all filmed and presented in a super cool format for you, the photographer! We did some really intriguing interviews (see us as you have never seen before… :) and a live engagement style shoot on a cliff-top with an entire film crew for our episode and can’t wait for you to see it!! Our episode will air on July 10th, 2012 and it is FREE to watch! We will be joining other past FRAMED shooters like Jeremy Cowart, Joey L and Kevin Kubota just to name a few! **You have to join the Framed Network in order to view the video content! Instructions on joining the network are below** In honor of our appearance on Frame, we are doing something super cool! A giveaway!! We are giving away a copy of our HARVEST DVD (download only) to one lucky winner!   Here is what you need to do to win. 1. Follow Zach & Jody on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/ZachandJody) 2. Sign up for the FRAMED Network at http://framednetwork.com/ (Click JOIN at the top right) 3. Tweet the following message: (text to copy) Win #HARVESTdvd & grow your business thanks to @ZachandJody & @FRAMEDNetwork! More info @ http://tinyurl.com/6rp8vdw 5. For brownie points, leave a comment below letting us know why you’re excited to win! 6. Check back on the blog on Tuesday July 3rd which is the LAST DAY to sign up if you want to see our episode on... Read More
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We are coming to California! | Shoot Dot Edit Pricing, Process & Profit Tour

We are coming out to California on ShootDotEdit’s Pricing, Process and Profit Tour! We are a part of the Southern California run and can’t wait! The amazing KISS & ShootDotEdit were kind enough to sponsor us to come out to this event! RSVP NOW to reserve your seat! Visit the Shoot Dot Edit TOUR WEBSITE.   What the tour is about: This tour, hosted by Shoot Dot Edit Owner & photographer Jared Bauman, is all about getting that edge when it comes to how you price your services, how you handle your workflow for maximum efficiency and how to make a real profit in your photography business.   Speakers: Jared Bauman – who is an expert at pricing your packages for reduced client confusion, maximum profit and structuring them so they sell themselves. Leeann Marie – Expert with studio workflow management and business coaching will share with you how to get organized and how to get efficient with the back-end of your business so that you can spend time doing more of what you love – SHOOTING! Zach & Jody Gray (that is us!) – We are going to tackle the profit side of things and dive into sales! We are going to share with you the 3 Steps to Bigger Sales which will help increase your bottom line in your wedding photography business. When we learned how to sell, we were able to double and sometimes triple our total wedding profits.   Dates & Locations: Los Angeles on Tuesday July 31st Orange County on Wednesday August 1st San Diego on Thursday August 2nd   Price To Attend: Did... Read More