Behind the Scenes of Red Letter Artist Shoot

  Back in September of 2011 I (Zach) photographed new artist’s Red Letter for their promo packaging and album. We had a blast working with these really young and talented kids and got some cool shots for them. The tough thing about shooting like this, is you have no control of how they further adjust and edit images and how they design around them. :) Today we are going to break down one of the more complicated images and show you how we did it.     This image was hard to pull off and has 3 lights and was a tough location to shoot at. I knew from the weather forecast that the sunset was going to be awesome that night, and there was no way I was going to add the sky in afterward since at the time, that was not my style. I wanted to nail it in-camera with no post-production work. Commercial photographers have it really tough when the label and marketing team wants a specific look and the weather or other factors simply do not permit that, so there are times on shoots like these when you need to add a sky or do some serious photoshop work to get the shot how they want.   For this image, here was the set up, then we can break it down.   As you can see from the ambient light shot, flash was an absolute necessity in order to get the final look that they wanted. Here is what we did: Step one – Control the ambient light The first thing I do is determine (from our pre-production meeting) the type of look they... Read More

Belieb It Or Not…

  Before you even start to hate, if you have never seen the documentary on Justin Bieber Never Say Never, then we don’t want to hear one negative peep out of your mouth :)   he he he… Don’t be jealous y’all, but Justin Beiber came through Nashville on his BELIEVE tour and we got tickets and went! The concert was pretty impressive and that little dude can sing really well live. Below is how Justin made his entrance… it was pretty …shall we dare say… EPIC. (above image compliments of The stage was really impressive and it was such a great show.   We had a fun time, though we did forget to bring earplugs.  I think we both had dreams that night of girls screaming in our ears ;))  This is Zach trying to protect his eardrums… And a little iphone video for you… :)   [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>] It had been awhile since we had been to a concert so it was something that was definitely fun to go out and do! What concerts have you been to that you love and would... Read More

Free Online Event Tomorrow | Grow Your Business for 2013!

As we tend to be in the “slow” season, now is a great time to get refocused on your business, take in new ideas and learn from others!  We hope you join us.  :) Want to make more money in your photography business this year? Do you need to reFOCUS? SIGN UP Here for the FREE online event tomorrow! Tomorrow, 6 talks will be live-streamed from us and five other speakers!      ... Read More

See you in Cincinnati & Iowa!

In two and a half weeks we will be speaking in Cincinnati at the Photo Pro Expo!   Register NOW for the Photo Pro Expo! After we leave Cincinnati, we will be flying straight to Iowa to speak at their PPA Winter Convention! We look forward to seeing you all there and for those of you who are coming, you’ll get first-hand knowledge on our #secretproject that we have been instagramming on our accounts!!! (Follow us:  ZachGray &... Read More

Friday Finds | The Next American Idol

Zach and I have always enjoyed watching American Idol here there.  We love the auditions and especially Hollywood week.  We enjoy the oblivious people who simply can’t sing (and feel bad sometimes too :() and the quirky people. We were watching AI last night and we found someone worth watching and we’ll just leave it at that…  you just have to watch  :) :) [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”″ frameborder=”0″... Read More

Our London, England Adventures! SWPP & Harry Potter Tour!

We got back from London this past Sunday and we had such a great time!!  This is our 3rd trip in 2 years and it keeps getting better and better.   We flew out to SWPP which is Europe’s largest photographic convention to speak at their business school and then for a platform class for their convention. We had so much fun and met so many more great photographers!! (Above photo provided by the SWPP in-house photographer) It was also my (Jody) birthday while we were out there!!! Zach surprised me through a series of clues (you can see them when you follow me on my Instagram) and with no small feat, secured us a reservation for the 3-Michelin-Star Gordon Ramsey in Chelsea London. If you can’t already tell by the images, the food was amazing and the service was impeccable!!  What a great treat!!!! (Side not: “Smart dress” in British means no cool red Journeys shoes :)). We also got to celebrate at a traditional British pub with some dear old, and new friends!!! (Zach and I both ordered the Lamb cheek and it was amazing!). We also got a chance to hang out with the very kind and fun Jerry & Melissa Ghionis.  This was our first time really getting a chance to get to know them, and what a sweet couple.  [Mystery solved — for all of you wondering out there, their last name is pronounced Gee (as in “Glee” without the “L”) – oh – niss].   We also got to hear Melissa speak, and if you ever get a chance, GO!  She is phenomenal 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

Tuesday Tips & Tricks | Integrity

  If you want to take your business to the next level for 2013, then one of the most simple ways to do that is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Having integrity. Doing things consistently, meaning what you say and doing the right thing no matter what. When you exercise this this trait in your business, clients will see that you are greatly different than the competition. You can quickly set yourself apart from everyone else simply by doing what you say you are going to do.If you say the images will be turned around in 30 days, then turn them around. If you say you are going to call someone back, call them back. If you say that you will be somewhere at 5pm, get there at 4:45. Integrity will make you stand... Read More

3 Keys to a beautiful couple shot

Photography, especially wedding photography, is unique in its own right in that a wedding photographer has to be proficient at many styles of shooting in order to get the job done. We have to know how to do portraits, photojournalism, architectural photography, product photography (for those little rings and details) AND do it all in .5 seconds! It is very difficult to do any of these types of photography well, let alone do them all in one day and shoot 1,200 final images that all rock our clients faces off. Whew!! Not an easy job! Sooooo, today we are going to talk about portraits (I hate that word and if anyone knows a better one, let me know) and a few different techniques in doing them. Our lovely models today are the amazingly hot Blake and Andrea whose wedding we shot in October. These guys are the bomb and we love them to death! :) Image number one! OK. So I dig this shot a ton that my hot wife took and would like to not only talk about why it rocks, but how we did it. We were shooting their session on their wedding day about 2.5 hours before sunset which is not the best time in the world to shoot because the sun is still pretty high in the sky. The best time of day to shoot is 1 hour before sunset, and the first hour of the sun rising because the sun is going through more atmosphere which disperses it wider and makes the light softer. The one and only thing that makes light soft and... Read More


  We are officially headed off to London this Sunday the 6th! We are excited to be coming back to this wonderful city and can’t wait to see some of our overseas friends.     We are doing a Keynote at SWPP which is the UK’s largest photography conference, held in the great city of London. We are talking about bigger sales and marketing strategies to bring your business into 2013 with some serious steam. We hope to see some of you... Read More

As We Step Into 2013…

Happy New Year! It is crazy to think that 2012 is over and we are now embarking on a whole new year. We could go on and on and boast about all of the cool places we have been to this year, the exciting things we got to do, the cool clients we got to work with, but instead of focusing on where we have been, we want to focus on where we are headed. I (Jody) am always one of those people who like to jump to the future and think about where we will be this time 365 days from now. What are the opportunities that will open up to us? What are the adventures that we will be a part of this year? Who are the new people we will meet and have new friendships formed with? Will we end this next year with more peace and knowing God more or will we end this year stressed and drained with nothing left? Where we end up 12 months from now is determined on what we do today. We’re not just saying write down some goals and go after them, because many times our peace and sanity are sacrificed to attain those goals (can we get an “amen”?). So instead, we challenge you to do what Zach and I are doing – write down your VALUES. We were recently challenged by this thought from friend and author Jeff Goins. Goals are great, and goals are important, but are they worth trampling over your values to get your goals achieved? For example, one of your values is family... Read More