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Friday Fun | Free Advertising

With our little bundle of joy due 6 weeks from today, we thought that we would start him off as soon as possible working for the business. We have decided to auction off advertising space on the baby outfit he will be wearing for the first images we post online for him. What do you think? Good idea? Bad Idea? Ok, ok, we aren’t for real.  It’s simply a funny idea.  I can only imagine the things we’d get from people… lol…... Read More
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Reclaim Your Life Week #3 | What could you do with an extra 18 hours?

Hey Friends! Welcome to week #3 of… We hope you all were able to set aside some time this past week and get some systems rolling in your business to save time.This week we want to focus on an area that is a HUGE time-waster for most photographers – Post Production. As we have toured the country and literally spoken to THOUSANDS of photographers, we have realized that the biggest time-sucker in most photography businesses is in image editing and work flow. The average wedding photographer in America is spending around 22 hours to JUST edit their images. This steals time away from running an effective business, not to mention time with family or community!   This is an area that we are passionate about helping photographers to overcome and teaching them how we created our 2.5 hour image work flow (based off of a 3,500 image wedding shoot) that includes culling, editing, retouching and hitting that button to upload! If you could cut your work flow time down by 80%, then what could you do with an extra 18 hours per week? Here are what some photographers who are Reclaiming Their Lives are ALREADY doing with the extra time they have saved by using our incredibility fast editing system! _____________________________ “Weddings used to take me 8-10 hours to edit fully. I can now blaze through weddings in less than half of that time…. With my extra time I’ve been doing a full home renovation on a 3 story Victorian that is 100 years old! Before I could never imagine editing weddings while taking on a house project, but now,... Read More
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FREEBIE During Reclaim your Life Month (week 2)

Happy Tuesday, friend! Welcome to week #2 of …   It has been great seeing everyone take up the #RECLAIMYOURLIFE challenge and post your photos and share what you are going to reclaim! (If you missed the challenge, view last week’s newsletter here and take part!). This week we want to focus on a key part in reclaiming your life and we even have a FREEBEE for you!     The key to Reclaiming Your Life is SYSTEMS! W. Edwards Demming from his book Total Quality Management says, “If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”       When we create SIMPLE systems to follow in our business, it FREES us from it! Why? Because a SYSTEM is fixed and consistent. We know exactly what to do, how long it takes to do it and therefore we don’t waste time! It’s all about efficiency. Imagine if you could take your client inquiries (client emails you, you email back, you answer some questions, you try to set up a meeting, you hope to book them at that meeting and on it goes), and simplify that entire process into a set of systems that allow you to spend HALF the time doing it? One Solution to streamline this process: instead of writing the emails every time, have the emails pre-written so you can simply change a few personal details and then send the email on. Now, that you have made a system, you won’t be wasting as much time composing emails, and you now can take the time you saved and do something... Read More
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$330 Giveaway Times Two!!

          Are you ready to WIN this $330 CF Card that WE use when we shoot weddings? Here is what you need to do to win: 1. Sign up for our creativeLIVE 1 day course at http://bit.ly/creativeGRAY 2. Tweet and Facebook (or Instagram), “Win a $330 @Sandisk #CFcard. Enroll in @zachandjody‘s @creativeLIVE course! Sign up & RT to win http://bit.ly/creativeGRAY“ 3. You MUST sign up by Friday the 13th!! We will pick a winner Wednesday September 18th and announce it via Twitter! Oh, did we mention we are doing TWO giveaways? How sweet is... Read More
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Friday Fun | My Grandparents #personalproject

This past weekend Zach and I took a mini roadtrip to visit my grandparents.  I don’t know what life would be without family, especially grandparents!!! I’m so thankful that 1) I get the pleasure of knowing my grandparents and 2) that I got to live with them for a few years growing up.  I always love it when I can spend time with them, and this weekend was no exception! (I love how my Grandpa has a sweet tooth… these donuts were dee-lish!) Not only did I want to make the visit to hang out with them, but I wanted to capture their love as well.  No one is perfect and therefore no relationship is perfect, but I have to say, my grandparents definitely set a great standard of what marriage should look like.   I took some time and asked them questions about their relationship and then Zach and I shot them later that day.  We cannot wait to show you more images (put a few other teasers up on our instagrams – ZachGray and JodyGray), but for now, these will have to hold you over :) Love you, Grandpa and... Read More
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#RECLAIMYOURLIFE Month!

Happy September!!! In case you haven’t heard, this month is…   In honor of this month’s theme, we will be sending out weekly tips  in our newsletter (sign up here!) on how to contain & control your business so you can be free to LIVE THE LIFE you want to have! How many times do you make any of these statements to yourself?      – I wish I had more hours in the day      – I wish I could spend more time with my kids      – I wish my spouse would never have to ask me if I’m done working for the day so they can spend more time with me I wish…               I wish…                             I wish… During our photography career we have been in 1 of 3 places:       #1. Wishing we had clients so we could get paid to do our art       #2. Having lots of clients and wishing we could have our lives back because our business stole it       #3. Having a great business AND being able to focus on other things in life that are important (this is the good one!) Which of those 3 places are you currently living in? More importantly then that question is, HOW do we get to the place where we are no longer WISHing and actually LIVing how we want? We are going to be spending the next 3 weeks sharing with YOU the things we do in our day-to-day business that speeds up slow processes so we all can have an INCREDIBLE work-flow that is fast and efficient which then FREES us to... Read More
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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
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Friday Fun | A Home Built For 3

Jody and I decided about 3 months ago to sell our house and build (to read more about how it happened, CLICK HERE), and are excited to share some updates! Just 2 weeks ago, we were just getting the permits re-approved for our foundation adjustments and went out to the house with some friends and snapped this shot. This is us standing in the garage with some of the foundation in the background. Then, the framing crew came in and as we went out to the house yesterday to have a little date night and fly our paper airplanes, we took this below image. I never thought I would call a framing crew “artists” but after reading Seth Godin’s book The Icarus Deception, I realized what a narrow view of art I really had. When you start with a blank slate and are looking through plans and trying to make changes to accommodate what you want in a home, you start to see what a true art building something like this really is. And all of us are working towards building something. Whether it be a family, a house, a portfolio or a great business. The key thing is to realize: 1. That we are all artists no matter what we are trying to create (and it is important for us to know that truth) 2. Art is important for the world.  We need to be out creating something that others can enjoy and find life in. It seems like the guys that build our house are just going from home to home and doing the same old thing... Read More
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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
Success and Failure Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Tuesday Tips & Tricks – $4 Latte’s

When you get into any new pursuit, there is usually the feeling when you first start that you are second class and not as good as someone else. In the art world, that feeling can stick around longer than it should, and if it goes unchecked, can cripple your chance of succeeding. HOW YOU FEEL MATTERS Do you feel your images are not good enough to charge what you need to charge to survive? Do you feel like other photographers can’t see you as a first shooter and always see you as a “second shooter?” Do you wish your clients valued your work as much as you do? There is a stigma in this industry that you need to “pay your dues” and if you haven’t been shooting for 5 or 10 years you can’t possibly know what your doing or have a real business. That is simply not true! When we started out, we wanted to get praised by other photographers and feel the art we were creating and the business we were running was “approved” by those who were in our city shooting longer than we had. That was a major mistake. The only person that matters when it comes to approval in a business is the client you are serving. Your job is to give them an amazing experience and make their dreams come true, and not make other photographers think you are awesome and look to them for validation. THE SCENARIO: If you wanted to open your own Starbucks store, because you were passionate about coffee, you would buy into the franchise (Starbucks does not... Read More
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Difference between creativeLIVE and IN-CAMERA: Light

So, we have been asked this question a few times about the new IN-CAMERA: Light Workshop: Dear Zach and Jody, I have purchased and watched your creative live courses “Wedding Photo. Weekend” and “post Wedding Workflow”. I have used these lighting techniques with great success, thank you. My question is would it still benefit me to get this  or will it be more of a review from the creative live course? Thank you, Garret K. The answer is yes, it will be a huge benefit and differs greatly than what we did on creativeLIVE! We would not have put out the same content twice and we want to get the info in your hands that you are looking for! Here is what some people that have already bought the new workshop AND have seen our creativeLIVE and even been to our IN-CAMERA: Light workshop when we were teaching it in-person. (If you’re still unsure, don’t forget that there is a money back guarantee!)     The bonuses (value $220) are going away TODAY at Midnight so grab your copy before it is too... Read More
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IN-CAMERA: Light Video Workshop is NOW Available!

You’ve asked… You’ve waited.. And now it’s here!    The IN-CAMERA: Light video workshop will: Equip you to shoot in any difficult lighting situation Remove the guesswork from off-camera lighting Enable  you to shoot killer, professional-quality images Boost confidence in any lighting situation Give a fast & efficient step-by-step process to follow Reduced editing time on imagery The IN-CAMERA: Light video workshop includes: Four hours of content 25 live shooting demonstrations in difficult and varying lighting situations 6 bonus chapters Classroom explanation and instruction time Gear must-haves  Much, much more! If you purchase within the next 48 hours  you’re going to receive all four hours of video content PLUS instant access to three exclusive bonuses worth $220. BONUS #1: PDF Light Companion Guide Our entire lighting system & portrait lighting image examples ($69.99 value) BONUS #2: IN-CAMERA: Light Image Gallery  Access to all live video workshop images for  further review. (a $49.95 value) BONUS #3: Live Q&A Call Private access to an exclusive 90-minute call with us. Ask us anything you want! (a $99.95 value) Get it now and immediately begin applying the knowledge! This one day workshop used to cost attendees $750 to attend live, but we are now making it available to you at a fraction of that price! 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee Over 1,000 photographers have gone through our IN-CAMERA Light workshop, and nobody has asked for a refund.  However, we still want to offer you a 30-day money back guarantee.  If you watch this DVD, use the system we teach, and don’t see the results we promise, we’ll give you back your money.   Testimonials! ... Read More
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Sneak Peak Into Our New Video Workshop | IN-CAMERA: Light

It is coming! Many of you have asked for this, and now it’s time to give you a look into our next video workshop, IN-CAMERA: Light | The Off-Camera Portrait Lighting System, set to release TWO WEEKS from today!! Mark your calendars!   IN-CAMERA: Light Video Workshop Highlights:                 – The systematic process that takes out the guess work and saves you time (during your shoot and in post!)                 – The best gear to achieve great results                 – 4 hours of content                 – 25 live shoots of difficult and varying lighting situations                 – 6 bonus chapters    Check out some of these before and afters from the video workshop to see the cool looks you can get from utilizing an off-camera light! Before After Before After Having lighting knowledge can 1) save your butt when working in tough lighting situations and 2) it can also be a way of offering your clients two different looks from the same location. We can’t wait to get this knowledge in your hands!... Read More
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We are off the grid

With our new baby growing, us selling our house and building a new one, and the dire need to spend some time together, we are going off the grid for a few weeks!   We will be updating some happenings on Instagram and Twitter (follow us at @zachgray and @jodygray), but all blogs will cease until mid-July. When we come back, we have some BIG news of our latest project that we have been slaving over for literally MONTHS! We can’t wait to share it with you all and chat with many of you soon!!... Read More
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Bret & Jillian | An Alabama Wedding Part I

We are about to take a month off and thought we would entertain you with our last wedding while we’re having some good ‘ol R&R! Even though we’re taking a sabbatical this year (if you missed the news, make sure to read Announcement #2 on this blog post), we couldn’t resist this sweet couple who we actually met with two years about shooting their wedding.   We know everyone says it about every couple, but Bret & Jillian are THE sweetest and most excited couple and there was no way we could say no! They were a dream to work with and their day was just the most even paced and loving event we have had the privilege to shoot.  We decided to blast you all with images from their charming Alabama wedding :) A big thanks to Matt Britton for 2nd shooting at this wedding! Enjoy Part 1 Aren’t these bouquets the coolest?? We’d like to introduce to you, Mumford and Sons II  ;o) One of the most precious first looks, ever.. :) Yes, Jillian is snapping Bret’s suspenders… lol We loved all the available areas right around there that we could go and shoot! Yup, most adorable couple ever.   Ah, so precious. As you can see, these two are adorable.  We’re so glad that we were able to capture their... Read More
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Moscow Here We Come!

Come August, we will be adding a new location marker to our decal wall map!!   We have been asked to speak in Russia!     We are headed to the MyWed Party which is an amazing community of photographers from MyWed.ru – They come together each year like a small WPPI and we are ecstatic to be speaking there August 6th – 8th!   If you are going to be in the area, come and see us!!    ... Read More
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CONNECT Retreat 2014 Registration is LIVE!

CONNECT 2013 was such a blessing to be a part of and we are excited to announce that… registration for CONNECT 2014 has officially opened!! Get away with your spouse to CONNECT, refresh and relax! This is designed for couples who work together (you do not both have to be shooters). Reserve your seats for only $149, with remaining payments split evenly between the months leading up to the retreat. Space is limited and we anticipate a sellout. Join us and the fabulous Woods, and Alsops! View the trailer by Rob Adams Films!  For more information visit CONNECTretreat.com. See you at CONNECT... Read More
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How to get the bride in a better lighting situation

When photographing weddings, everything happens very fast and it is critical as the person in charge of capturing memories, that we anticipate what is GOING to happen next. When we are out shooting a wedding we try and think ahead about what will soon happen (like the bride getting into the dress), and start thinking about where the best place for that to happen might be so we can shoot it really well. We rarely have ideal conditions for capturing moments and when we were out shooting Bret & Jillian’s wedding in AL a few weeks back, it was no exception. We want to talk about two situations where the bride was not in an ideal location, and how we moved her to better lighting or a better place for moments to happen organically.   Scene One: Make-Up The bride was getting her make-up done in this chair near the only decent light source in the room. As I walked over to chat with the bride and asses the lighting and composition situation, I noticed that the make-up artist was standing in the light and blocking it from hitting the bride in a flattering way. I also noticed that the center of the light source (the window) was not above the center of the eyes which means the shadows on her face would be pushed off to one side too heavily. The first thing I did, was simply ASK. I said hi to the make-up artist and told her her work was looking amazing! Then I asked her if she minded scooting over to the side so we could... Read More
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Friday Fun | What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into?

It’s official peeps! We are building a home! Because releasing our 3rd video workshop this fall (no worries, you’ll soon be hearing about our 2nd IN-CAMERA video workshop releasing soon!) and having our first kid isn’t enough (yes, we’re prego – if you missed the announcement, you can read about it here), we have bought property and will be building over the next few months.  Estimated completion date: end of November/December… oh my! How it happened: We knew our first home that we have been in for the last 3 years wasn’t our “forever home” and we had started compiling a list of “wants” for our next home.  Here and there, we had looked at homes for sale, and started realizing what we were looking for in the area we wanted, didn’t exist and figured some day we would probably build.  Then an opportunity presented itself – an acre lot only 3 miles away from us, only 10 lots in the whole community, still in the heart of Franklin where we love, good neighbors close by, and everything just fell into place! We are building a home!  ahhhh… So the  next steps: 1. List our current place and get it sold while the market is hopping 2. Find a place we can live in until our new home is done! ahhhh….. I know, it’s crazy this is all happening now, but what can you do? :) We are excited and looking forward to all the changes ahead :) For those of you who have built a home what are some great tips and advice that you can give us?... Read More
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Friday Finds – Don’t get Apple Mapped!

So, after getting Apple Mapped (that is when Apple Maps screws you and takes you completely the wrong way and destroys your trip!) once again last week, I had had enough! :) So, my amazing friend Zach Prichard from Rhetorik Creative (the team that shot our new IN-CAMERA DVD Series), told me to get back on Google Maps.     I thought since it is not integrated into the iPhone and since Apple is trying to destroy the world with one proprietary system after the next, that I would either have to buy this app (and it would be super expensive) or it would not easily work with the phone. Wrong!! It has everything you could want and more! Easy to get directions with real travel times based on traffic conditions, easy to find food, local transit, and it even has Google Earth and more more more! It also works with the phones GPS and is voiced turn by turn directions that you can actually understand!! (Sorry Apple, but your fake British lady does not speak English very well which is ironic). When we are headed to a shoot, we can’t afford to go the wrong way and Google is the standard when it come to mapping. And, the app is totally free! Get it on your phone and start getting where you are going in the RIGHT direction and don’t get Apple Mapped... Read More