WELCOME TO THE BLOG
This giveaway has ended and the winner has been chosen!
Do you want an all-inclusive business transformation for 2015? Well you are not going to believe this, but we are giving one away in honor of the launch of our brand new website and it is worth over $8,000!!!
All you have to do to enter the contest is Click HERE and enter your email address for a chance to win! Oh, and you can actually get MORE chances to win when you Tweet, FB and share this giveaway on social media!
(this giveaway has ended and the link to it removed)
Someone will have a completely revamped business for 2015, and it could be you, so enter now.
(Deadline to enter is December 26th and the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning!)
Zach & Jody
PS. Don’t forget to share the contest to give yourself way more chances of winning!
We are so excited that after months and months of designing, tweaking and prepping, our brand new site is finally here! This new site has been designed specifically for you, the photographer, and is packed full of ways to help you grow your photography business!
We have a HUGE thanks to send out to the one and only Melissa Love, creator of The Design Space, who has once again, knocked out a beautiful site for us!
Melissa never ceases to amazing us with her creativity and ability to come up not only with great ideas for us, but also make possible our crazy ideas! Make sure to check out her site where you can get her beautiful designs for your own website, blog and brand!
…And without any further ado, here’s a few highlights of our site and then enjoy looking around to see all of the new benefits and features we have created for you!
Our new website Home makes it easy for you to get access to our newsletter sign up page so you never miss a post, and when you scroll down, you can quickly see the latest information to help you grow your business!
You can see right from the Home page our business position, and how we have converted our entire brand to help photographers reach their goals with their business. We have been there, done it, and now are ready to bring thousands more of you closer to the business you have always dreampt of.
Our blog is now integrated into our site so you never have to leave to find what you are looking for. We also have easy access to our best free content on the right side if you want to pick up our eBooks on Lighting and Business Essentials.
This is HUGE! We now have a “Learn” section of our site!
We have literally spent months redesigning and tagging all of our 1,000+ posts on business, shooting, lighting and content videos so that you can easily find the topic you need and find it fast! No more hitting “search” to scroll through posts!
If you want to share in our journey and know all about what we do and how we did it, then check out our new About Section to see our entire path unfold. You can also access our portfolio from here and find out all sorts of fun details and facts about us (and some cute baby photos too!)!
Our goal is to continue bringing quality educational posts, products and services to all of you amazing photographers so that you can keep on running amazing businesses that bless you, your families, your friends and your pocket book.
Zach and Jody
PS. Please let us know in the comments below what you think of the new site and start the conversation!
We recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Tog Tools about how to do more than just keep your business moving even when things are slow.
Back in 2008 when we were still photographing weddings full-time, we were in the process of building our brand, all while the nation-wide economy was tanking. We only knew one way to build a business, and that was when economically, we should have failed. We didn’t just survive that year, but we thrived and made our first 6-figure earning year!
In this podcast we will share some of the lessons that we learned including:
- Why you should niche down to build a brand
- Why being excellent is no longer compelling
- How to create a new category to stand out
- Why bootstrapping your photography business is the best approach
- How to make a financial plan for the slow season
- Why you should get in a Mastermind
This last video in our 4 part series on Growing your photography business in the slow season is all about getting tools that can give you an edge and get your business on track faster. We also have something really amazing that we have been working on just for you, so watch the video and read the post!
A New Free Tool
We know that many of you need the tools that we talked about in this video, and we are excited to make them even more accessible this Cyber Monday!
To hold you over until Cyber Monday, we wanted to give you a FREE copy of our brand new Essentials Tool Kit! This kit has the 54 must-have tools to give your business a head start.
If you want to know more about the killer deals we are offering for only 24 hours THIS CYBER MONDAY, and you want our new Essentials Tool Kit, then Click HERE to immediately get your free download and be one of the first to hear about our specials on Monday!
PS. If you have a friend that could use this tool kit, then share it instantly!
When we started shooting weddings back in 2007 there was just one thing we needed more than anything else. Clients! The problem was, we had never really worked with anyone in order to get referred, and in order to get referred, we need to work with someone. Sound familiar?
This catch-22 is a problem that needs to be solved, and this video is the first step to start getting MORE referrals now when you needed them more than ever!
(To watch video 1 in this series on standing out, click HERE)
(To watch video 2 in this series on pricing, click HERE)
If you thought this video was the best video that we put on our blog today (it is because it is the only one) then click HERE to instantly tweet about it OR, copy and paste the below into FB:
“This 3rd video from @zachandjody on growing your photography business in the slow season is just what I need to get more referrals! http://tinyurl.com/o27vqln”
If you have a unique way that you are “remarkable” with your team, then share with us below what you do and how you do it!
PS. Did you miss the first two videos? Follow the below links to view them:
In this second video of our four-part series on growing your photography business in the slow season, we are going to be talking about something that most of us DREAD.
Pricing is complex and sometimes feels like a crapshoot. Today we are going to bring some much needed clarity to the pricing problem and help you guys get paid MORE and get paid more often!
(To watch video 1 in this series on standing out, click HERE)
If you enjoyed this video, then share it with your followers by clicking HERE to tweet it out instantly!
If you have had pricing issues, let us know about them in the comments below and we would love to chime in!
(All pricing data is from the BrideReport.com 2009 national averages)
As the days get shorter and we start to head into the holidays and into a slower season for most of our photography businesses, we know that it is actually a great time to focus on growing your business! We have created a 4 part video series just for you that gives you some powerful solutions for your photography brand so you can start working ON your business instead of just maintaining it.
This first video in this 4 part series focuses on how to stand out in a sea of photographers and get your brand noticed!
If you loved this video, then tweet it out and share it with your friends! Click HERE to instantly tweet it out!
What other ways are YOU standing out and being remarkable to your clients? Please share below!
When we were shooting weddings, we had a 95% close rate when someone sat down to meet with us about their wedding day. This wasn’t luck and wasn’t because we are the best wedding photographers. It was because we know why people buy, and made sure to give people what they wanted. Today we want to teach you one of the tools we used so you can start to get the same results.
The Why of Buy
People show up when there is a sale, people buy cars when the dealer throws in a set of tires, and when what you want might be gone tomorrow, people buy because of scarcity because no one wants to miss out.
We know that people buy when they see value, when there is scarcity, when they feel safe, and when they are incentivize. So how can we use these facts to help give our clients what they want and help us close more deals? Simple, INCENTIVIZE! (Click here to Tweet this out!)
When a client comes in and sits down with you to decide whether or not they are going to book you, there sometimes comes a moment right after you “close” (ask them if they are ready to book you), that they hesitate. This hesitation is what I call “riding the fence.” They didn’t say no to you, and they didn’t say yes. They are right on the fence and just need a little, soft push from you to fall on your side.
In these situations, we always have an Ace in our pocket (an incentive). We would use an engagement session as an incentive to push them over to our side of the fence and book. Here is how it might sound in a real client meeting.
Us: So, does booking us sound like what you are looking for?
Client: Man, we really love you guys but we are just not sure about it.
Us: What is your hesitation?
Client: Well, we really want to add an engagement session, but that will put us over the budget and we are not sure we can spend that much.
Us: Well, here is what we can do. We loved your story and you guys are the exact type of client that we want to build our business with. We would love to GIFT (not give) you guys a 30 minute engagement session (instead of our normal 1.5 hour one), as a wedding present from us to you for booking. How does that sound?
Client: Wow! You guys are very generous and this is exactly what we wanted and we would love to book you!
Us: Great! Here is the contract and we just need 50% down and we are all yours!
This is actually a scenario that happened to us many times over the years. Sometimes the client would not give us an answer right then, so we would create scarcity with the gift and let them know that we would hold the offer for 24 hours and as long as they called us no later than tomorrow, we would still offer the gift.
When thinking of what incentive to use, try to have it be something that takes a small amount of resources, but gives huge value.
This style of offering more for more (instead of removing value from us by giving a discount) helped us have a 95% close rate. Find a good incentive that you can always have in your back pocket that you pull out any time a client is hesitating on closing the deal. Use it and see the results for yourself!
We are pumped to be back speaking the Imaging USA photo conference in February right here in Nashville, TN!!
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Conference: Feb 1-3, 2015
Our Platform Class: Sunday, Feb 1st, 7:30am-9:30am, How to Avoid What Most Small Businesses Do – Fail (You are welcome to come in your Pajamas :)
Imaging USA is a fabulous 3 day event where you get to not only learn from your favorite photographers, but you get to see your favorite companies, in the flesh, and be exposed to the latest and greatest in the industry.
In honor of us being a part of this conference, we are giving away ONE FULL CONFERENCE pass!!
How to Enter to Win:
Winner will be selected at random on Monday and notified via twitter!
Can’t wait to see you all there!
PS. We are tossing entertaining the idea of facilitating a mini-workshop in Nashville, the day before PPA begins (on Saturday, Jan 31st), if you’re interested, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below letting us know if it’s something you would like to be a part of and what you would love for it to be on (natural light shoot, posing, off-camera light, business, a photowalk, etc.). Stay tuned!
When meeting with a potential client, there are three words we should never use. When we do use these words, we might still book the client, but we can create major problems later on that we didn’t even realize would be an issue.
The three words are:
This is a dangerous word. The word “discount” tends to come up when we get to the money part of the conversation. People ask for discounts for one reason, the price you are asking them to pay is more than the value that you created for them. (Click here to Tweet this out!) Instead of doing discounts, we need to add value. Value is added by creating a more dynamic client or meeting experience, demonstrating value by selling something MORE than just images (like a great story), or by adding something (like an engagement session) instead of taking something away (reducing your price).
Unless something is asked that goes against your values, then we should never tell a client no. If a client wants a cardboard cut-out of themselves (yes we have been asked to do this!), then the answer is yes! If they want it, then we will deliver it. Now, of course we won’t do it for free and the client will have to pay for the time and resources it takes to do it, but like I (Zach) learned in my internship years back, MAKE IT HAPPEN!
When we say no to something that a client thinks is important, we can lose their faith in us. We once shot a wedding and the client asked me to take an image in some bad lighting and I said no because the light was better somewhere else. Guess what he kept talking about and remembered about me after that? That I was the photographer that said no.
Now giving sounds like a good word, but in the wrong context, it can be a word that if you say it, you will regret it later. There’s a difference between GIVING and GIFTING.
When we want to offer something to a client as an incentive, the last thing we want to do is “give” it to them, because when you just give things to people, they start to expect it and will more than likely tell their friends, and their friends will expect the same as well.
If instead we “gift” things to people, then we are being generous instead of offering a hand-out. Giving something away for free can quickly sound like a discount, but a gift (like a wedding gift) is something that you offered because you care. Gifts also are not expected when you tell your friends about it and therefore referrals won’t expect the same offer.
Those are the three words to avoid using! We mentioned that “Gift” is a great word to use. Gifting can be so powerful that we have a post on Thursday sharing how using this word will help you close deals when in client meetings. Stay tuned!
For those of you who like to know the nitty, gritty details, this is for you!
By submitting an entry to the Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”), you acknowledge that you have read and agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of Zach & Jody, and that you satisfy all eligibility requirements.
The Sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”) is open to all humans age 21 or older at time of entry. Residents of Taiwan, South Korea, Portugal, Italy, Austria, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Greece, France, Japan, Spain, and Czech Republic are not eligible to enter or win. Employees of Zach & Jody (the “Sponsor”), its respective parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, distributors, merchants involved with this Sweepstakes, and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible to enter or win. Sweepstakes governed by United States law. Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning.
HOW TO ENTER:
PRIZES & APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUES (“ARV”):
Maximum ARV of all prizes: $8,000. Prize includes:
- Full Day of Gray Mentoring Session with Zach & Jody in Nashville, TN (if applicable, winner is responsible for rental car and hotel arrangements)
- One round trip flight voucher up to $300 (will be reimbursed upon winner booking flight)
- Zach & Jody’s Business & Shooting 5 DVD pack (Digital downloads of: HARVEST, IN-CAMERA: Light, IN-CAMERA: Shooting, IN-CAMERA: Post, and In the Raw)
- Complete branding kit for site, blog and print design from The Design Space
- 1 free year of Showit websites
- 1 Complete KISSbooks studio sample kit (includes 10×0 15 spread leather KISS, 10×10 15 spread linen KISS, 10×10 15 spread Tuscan KISS, 1 leather littleKISS, and swatch set).
- Bay Photo wall cluster (One wall cluster or split, any size/any configuration, up to $605)
- Zach & Jody’s Branding, Marketing & Sales Bundles (digital downloads)
- 2 SanDisk Extreme 64GB CF cards
- 2 SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SD cards
- 1 SanDisk Extreme 16GB flash drive
If winner is unable to receive payment then prize will be forfeited, and an alternate winner may be selected in accordance with these Official Rules from among the remaining eligible entries for that prize. Prizes may not be transferred or assigned except with permission by Sponsor. Full Day of Gray Mentoring Session is based upon Zach & Jody’s availability and all prizes, if not used or redeemed, expire 12/31/2015.
Zach & Jody’s Lighting e-book and Photo Business Essentials Kit will be sent as a download in a separate email, no later than one week after the giveaway.
Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received during the Sweepstakes Entry Period.
THE FOLLOWING APPLIES TO THE ABOVE:
Winners will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries received. Random drawing will be conducted on or about December 26th, 2014by a representative from the Sponsor whose decisions are final. Winners will be notified by email and/or mail and at the judges’ discretion, will be required to complete and return an email confirmation of prize acceptance and possibly a Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and a Publicity Release (“Affidavit/Release”) within 7 days of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected. Prize awarded within 30 days after receipt and verification of completed Affidavit/Release or prize notification. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, or if Affidavit/Release is returned as undeliverable or if the selected winner cannot accept or receive the prize for any reason, or he/she is not in compliance with these Official Rules, the prize will be forfeited and may be awarded to an alternate winner. If a winner is otherwise eligible under these Official Rules, but is nevertheless deemed a minor in his or her state of primary residence, the prize will be awarded in the name of winner’s parent or legal guardian who will be required to execute affidavit on minor’s behalf. No substitutions are permitted except if prize is unavailable, in which case a prize of equal or greater value will be awarded. Prize is not redeemable for cash and non-assignable and non-transferable except to a surviving spouse. Winner is responsible for all federal, state, local sales and income taxes. Any other incidental expenses on prize not specified herein are the sole responsibility of winner. Entry and acceptance of prize constitute permission to use winner’s name, prize won, hometown and likeness for online posting and promotional purposes without further compensation, except where prohibited by law. Limit: one prize per household. Prize is guaranteed to be awarded. If Zach & Jody goes bankrupt or out of business then the year they go out of business is the last year of payment for the premium service. If Zach & Jody is acquired or merges, it’s the new owners discretion to keep paying for the premium service. If we go bankrupt or out of business then the last year they are in business will be the payment for the premium service. Cash value of the prize cannot be redeemed.
Participating entrants agree to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, and release, defend and hold harmless the Sponsor and its affiliated companies, and all other businesses involved in this Sweepstakes, as well as the employees, officers, directors and agents of each, from all claims and liability relating to their participation, acceptance and use or misuse of prize. Winner assumes all liability for any injury or damage caused or claimed to be caused, by participation in this Sweepstakes or use or redemption of prize. Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Sweepstakes or in the announcement of the prize.
Winner acknowledges the Sponsor and all other businesses concerned with this Sweepstakes and their agents do not make, nor are in any manner responsible for any warranty, representations, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relative the quality, conditions, fitness or merchantability of any aspect of prize.
In the event of a dispute over the identity of an online entrant, entry will be deemed submitted by the “Authorized Account Holder” of the e-mail address submitted at time of entry. Authorized Account Holder means the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Entry materials/data that have been tampered with or altered, or mass entries or entries generated by a script, macro or use of automated devices are void. The Sponsor is not responsible for: (i) lost, late, misdirected, damaged, illegible or incomplete entries; or (ii) error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alterations of entry materials, or for technical, network, telephone equipment, electronic, computer, hardware or software malfunctions of any kind, or inaccurate transmission of or failure to receive entry information by Sponsor on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any web site or any combination thereof; or (iii) any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in the Sweepstakes. By participating in the Sweepstakes, you (i) agree to be bound by these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements, and (ii) agree to be bound by the decisions of Sponsor and the independent judging organization, which are final and binding in all matters relating to the Sweepstakes. Failure to comply with these Official Rules may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes. Sponsor reserves the right to permanently disqualify from any sweepstakes it sponsors any person it believes has intentionally violated these Official Rules and cancel the Sweepstakes if it becomes technically corrupted (including if a computer virus, bot or system malfunction inalterably impairs its ability to conduct the Sweepstakes), and to select winner from among all eligible entries received prior to withdrawal. Legal Warning: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN individual, whether or not an ENTRANT, TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE, destroy, tamper or vandalize this WEB SITE OR interfere with the OPERATION OF THE SWEEPSTAKES, IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS and SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES and diligently pursue all remedies against ANY SUCH individual TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.
This Sweepstakes shall be governed by and interpreted under the laws of the State of TN, United States. without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions. By participating, entrants agree that any and all disputes arising out of or relating in any way to this Sweepstakes shall be litigated only in courts sitting in Franklin, TN, United States.
For a winners list (available after December 27th), send a stamped, self-addressed envelope by December 26th, 2014to:
c/o Zach & Jody Gray
PO Box 680114
Franklin, TN 37068
By entering, the information you are only signing up for the Zach & Jody newsletter. Your information will never be sold to anyone. You can unsubscribe easily from Zach & Jody’s newsletters by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the bottom right of any email.
c/o Zach & Jody Gray
PO Box 680114
Franklin, TN 37068
Sweepstakes is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by [prize_brand], nor is [prize_brand] associated with the Sweepstakes in any way. You understand that you are providing information to the Sponsor and not to [prize_brand]. Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the Sweepstakes must be directed to the Sponsor or Administrator, and not to [prize_brand]. [prize_brand] is a registered trademark of [prize_brand].
Ross & Rebecca, along with daughter Alyssa, were a joy to work with in Canada this past weekend. Ross is a film landscape shooter and Rebecca is a wedding photographer and their wedding (and bridal party) was a blast!
Below is a highlight of the day and some of my favorite parts!
We shot a family session the day before the wedding at a stunning park that had some sick fall leaves and we shot film and digital for this session.
The wedding day itself was a tricky one with on and off rain and some tough shooting situations, but our job as photographers is to make great images no matter what, and the day turned out great!!
I (Zach) shot this wedding with my good friend and great photographer Matt Britton who rocked it with me!
My second shooter Matt rocking the off-camera light!
Congrats you two! Can’t wait to hang again soon (maybe at WPPI????)!
When you start a photography business, there is this assumption that running a photography brand is you getting to shoot a ton of cool images and get paid to do it.
Unfortunately, that is not the WHOLE picture of what it really means to have a photography business. Jody and I have had the privilege of working with over 1,100 businesses and one theme has permeated them all. The management of their brand is the hardest part of what they do.
This was our Zach and Jody Business workshop where we take all the proven tools and systems that make a photography brand a success, and walk along side each of our 35 students that came that day and help them implement that into their brand. We help them create a vision for their business, figure out how to keep their values and not compromise, and set goals that will work.
Students are given the tools, the systems, and encouragement to start to believe that this business CAN be something that they love and that does not dominate their lives. For those that are starting out, this workshop gives them the blue-print for how to start RIGHT and not get stuck later on because they built it right from the start.
We don’t think we know everything, so that is why we Skype in experts like Melissa Love who is a branding expert from the UK, and we also brought in Katelyn James who showed us how she creates community with her clients, and Luke and Cat who showed us how they have created a high-end brand in a place you would never think possible (and make $400k a year doing it!). Getting perspective from not just us, but from current photographers who are running amazing brands right now is also important to the learning process.
We had 3 breakout sessions where photographers are encouraged to have self-discovery and start to implement what they already were learning that day.
We had some powerful moments together talking through where our brands wanted and needed to go, and each shooter had a chance to share and start building a brand that day that they were proud of and would stand out from among all the other photographers in their area.
We had such a great time and can’t wait for the next one this coming spring! If you want to be there and have your business rocked like never before with the chance to make a great living and have fun doing it, then sign up for our newsletter HERE to be the first to know!
If you are reading this post and say “I can’t wait for spring and need my business to get on track now!” then we are excited to also announce that our coaching sessions for 2015 are opening up now! We have just a few slots open each month for Full-Day Coaching and for our Skype Sessions. We also build custom packages for photographers that really want to take their business to the next level which are typically 6 months worth of coaching. Luke and Cat (who are now teaching other photographers how to build a brand) did 6 months of coaching with us (that turned into 3 months because they got so good so fast) and after coaching with us, their business has now grossed one Million dollars in 3 years!
If you want to set up a custom coaching package, just email email@example.com and we can set it up!
Thanks to everyone that came out and we know that your businesses will do something great IF you put the hard work into it!
(iPhone Only image from David Molnar)
If there is one area of shooting that can seem to be intimidating, it is off-camera lighting. There are 50,000,000 options with gear, modifiers, power-supplies and the list goes on, then we have to figure out where to put the light, how to balance it with the ambient, and at this point many of us just give up. But all of us know that sometimes we just need off-camera lights to get the shot and sometimes we want them to create a certain cool look.
This workshop solves all of those problems by showing you a simple system for shooting off-camera lit images that makes it so easy to do that you will never have to be afraid of off-camera lighting again!
We started off the day learning the system and looking at the tools and scenarios we need to be able to overcome to get the shots we want. We had a sold-out crowd of 18 students for the day and had an awesome time eating together, learning together, and getting to know each other at our home in Franklin, TN.
We then headed off to our shooting location and I intentionally found a spot with a cool looking background, but that didn’t have the best natural lighting. When you bring great lighting with you, you can shoot in places that normally you would never dream of!
I first walked through the systematic steps we take to get perfect results with the very first image and zero guess-work.
I pulled back after going through our system and then took 5 images. Here are two of them below.
After shooting these images I showed the students just how simple this whole thing is and then we all started shooting together. It was now the students turn to use the system and it was amazing to see them getting the exact same results as me!
This was one of my favorite shots that I took that day with Micah (the studly husband of Elly our bride). I shot this at 2.0 on my 85L lens. When I shoot guys, I always side light them at 45 degrees to add that high contrast which looks much more manly.
This was a set-up that Jody took the students through. It was a tricky spot for lighting with the hot spots on the wall, but once we added light, it made for a cool dynamic portrait!
For this set-up we used the Sunny 16 rule in order to get the sky above the couple to not be blown out. Any time the sun is hitting anything, the exposure is ISO 100, 1/100th second and f/16. Knowing that rule helps us quicky power up the light to get the look that we want.
We looked to the side of the last shot above and saw this cool stage that had some nice light on it already. We added just a touch of flash to really make our bride and groom pop and got this shot.
After tons of shooting around our cool Factory location, we headed out to this farm to shoot the sunset. During our Natural Light Workshop the previous day, we shot here with a completely different look. It is awesome using off-camera light and natural together, because you get a really great variation in your images that many photographers don’t have, so that helps your images to stand out from the pack!
For the last set-up of the day, and after each photographer had gone through our system themselves, we set up a more complex 3 light shot to show what you can do once you master one light. This shot had a main light to camera left, a fill light to camera right, and then a kicker light in the back left. This allows us to exposure for the sky, fill-in the shadows, and also separate our subject from the background.
Each student walked away with our IN-CAMERA Light DVD so that they could review the content any time they needed to.
It was such an amazing day and we are so glad that we got to spend it with this amazing group of photographers! Thanks to everyone that came out and we can’t wait to chat with you in the private Facebook group! Welcome to the tribe!
If you want to attend a Zach and Jody Workshop, they are very limited and when they launch, they sell out within 24 hours. To be the first to know about the next one coming this spring, and to get our free lighting eBook, click HERE to sign up!
When a photographer decides that they are tired of having to over-edit their images to get the “look” they want and are REALLY tired of how much time they spend in editing, that is when they are open to finding a new way to do things. Do you ever feel that way? Maybe you love editing the few shots that are your favorites, but then when you look at the daunting task of editing your entire shoot, you feel a bit overwhelmed. All the while your kids are asking you to play with them (or, you wait until they go to bed and then get to work), and then you start wondering if this is really worth the effort.
What you really want is the below. Images you are proud of, that are finished and ready to send off to your client, and you want it to be easier! Well, it can happen and the real key is finding the natural light and using it really well. When we do that, the images almost edit themselves and your business starts to get a lot more fun! Here is a re-cap of some of the images I shot while teaching our Natural Light Workshop last weekend!
We started off the day teaching how to find that amazing natural light and where to look for it, and then had an amazing lunch right at our home with our 20 students. We had a great time getting to know each other, hearing about people’s struggles and joys in their businesses, and made some great new friends.
All of our students that attended got a copy of our IN-CAMERA Natural Light DVD and also our entire keynote slide-deck from the first-half of the day. Our goal is to have them leaving with every tool they need to go out and create amazing images that they love!
Now it was time to get out on-location and shoot some awesome shots in tons of different lighting conditions and show how we create great images no matter what hand we are dealt.
We walked straight into this alley for the first set-up and once I saw that sun bouncing off the brick wall to the left, I knew it would kick some nice light back into the little bushes and small trees and we could use those as some nice backgrounds. Even though there was not a lot of space, there was great light, and we ALWAYS shoot where the great light is. The following images were shot just behind where my (butt) is in the below picture. :)
Once I shot a few images, then I showed the students right on the back of my camera what I was getting once I used our Natural Light Photography System that we go through each time we shoot to get killer results that require very little editing.
Now we had the students go through the process of using all the tools and techniques we had taught them that morning, and they started getting some AMAZING images!
In the below iPhone image, you can see that we lost our good light bouncing off the walls, so we showed the students how to get great light even when it is coming straight down on top of their heads. We moved up this staircase and then shot down at them so our cameras could get a good angle on the good light that was there, but not able to be seen from standing down on the walkway.
For this image, I shot through the grated staircase to add this texture over the image and make it look more etherial.
We then had some nice light pop through the other side, so we had our couple walk in that direction for a few action shots.
Next up we wanted to shoot in some really harsh sun, so we found a tough spot with hard, direct light and used the Westcott Parabolic Umbrella to diffuse the it. What we demonstrated here, was how to get a low-key shot (where the background is very dark) and you do that by putting your light source (in this case the umbrella), really close to your subject. When light is in close, it falls off, or gets dark, very fast and that can help darken the background like you will see in the final image.
We then headed out to a great location to get some sunset shots! The sun was not down just yet, so we set up this fun shot by diffusing the sun, and then bouncing a little hard light back into the background of our subjects. The background trees stayed in the sun to create a hi-key image (where our subject is the darkest part of the shot) and it turned out really cool!
Here I just moved in close to get a portrait shot of just the bride sitting on the white couch. The Westcott Parabolic Umbrella was used here as well and it is one stunning diffuser!
Now the sun finally started to set, and used that golden-hour light to create some warm back-lit images of our couple.
This image is a panorama of 5 images stitched together to create a HUGE shot that is close to 80-100 mega-pixels in size!
For this last set of shots, I opted to exposure for the sky which had the warm glow instead of exposing for their skin tones. This helps to create an environmental shot where our subject blends in and it makes very romantic looking.
All of our students gave us 9.5 to 10 out of 10 reviews and we all had a blast at this first workshop we have done in over 2 years!
If you are interested in attending a workshop at our home in TN, we are potentially planning one more weekend of them in the spring, and if you want to be there, then sign up for our email list at the top of the blog or click HERE. This workshop sold out in less than 24 hours, so when they go live, do not hesitate as seats go fast!
A BIG thanks to all of our amazing students and we are so grateful to know you and have spent this time with you. We will see you all in the private IN-CAMERA Facebook group!!
The fall season is upon us and there is one thing that stinks about this time of year – business can get slow for LOTS of photographers out there! But, business being slow can be a blessing in disguise, and we are going to show what you should think about doing in the off-season and start planning it NOW!
Why an intro video COULD book you more clients, and better clients come Christmas.
We all know that right around and right after Christmas lots of couple’s get engaged, lots of people want family photos done and people are willing to start planning out the new year in style. This is your opportunity to showcase your brand and excite your clients about the experience that you can offer them. One of the BEST ways to do that is with an Intro Video on your website, and here are the 5 keys that you need to for a successful intro video!
1. Showcase Their Emotion
Just like you would tell an engaging story at the booking meeting with a client, you want to draw out the emotional side of what you do. You want to show in this video that you are real people who care deeply about your clients and the story you get to tell for them. Showcase your clients laughing, some tears, some sort of great, genuine emotion with a focus on your couples (or families or whoever you shoot).
2. Showcase YOU
As important as it is to show potential clients what it is like to have their images taken, people will begin to trust you when they get to know YOU. (TWEET THIS OUT!)
Show them some of you, some of the things you like, something personal, and be genuine. People trust people, so don’t make it about being too cool (unless that is your brand), or too distant.
3. Showcase your Position
If you don’t have a position yet, then think about creating one (read more about that HERE). But if you have a niche, a specific type of weddings or seniors or families that you shoot, then showcase that to draw in your potential client. Think “Estate and Vineyard Photographer” or “tattooed Brides” or “Girls Only Senior Sessions” and if you have a unique position for your market, then talk about it and showcase it in the video!
4. Hire a Pro
When getting a video done, trust us, you can do it cheaply! We used to have a 30 second promo video that we shot on a Flip Cam (remember those things?) and guess what? It worked at the tiem! But, we still recommend having a pro shoot the video for you because if there is one place to invest $$$$ into your business, it is the brand. Perception is not reality, it is the ONLY reality (as Jack Trout says) and we want to give a good representation of what our brand is all about by keeping it pro.
5. Short & Sweet
The average website only gets 42 seconds of air time, so the key is to QUICKLY draw in the client with something different (the video), keep it SHORT (about 30-45 seconds) and have it done well so it is engaging to the viewer to give them a reason to look at more of your site.
Check out this example intro trailer from the amazing Amy & Jordan Demos who are taking Arizona over by storm with their powerful brand! The video is simple, professional, engaging, emotional and short. Everything you need for a great video that helps get you booked!
– Think about what makes you and the experience you offer your clients unique
– Research and hire video team (or barter!) that can create your intro video (or spruce up your old one) and make one (or make a new one if your old one needs an update) during the coming slow season.
– Get one of your old clients that love you (or do a casting call!) and go out on a shoot with the video team and your clients. Write a short script of what you want in the video, shoot it and get the edit done! Then, add an auto video player to the intro of your site so that the FIRST thing people see is this video and YOU.
PS. Are you excited to get an intro video made and have a better chance of booking more of the right kind of clients next year? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!
If you have ever wanted to have a super light flash set-up that is able to create studio quality lighting while shooting on-location, then you are not alone. We have used speedlites for years, but always felt like we were compromising light quality when doing so. Now, with these new modifiers we have, today we are going to show you how to create some really cool photos using speedlites and a steel wall!
Post By Zach|
I was 22 years old and my biggest hope for my life was being the assistant manager at a tie store and getting a raise to $7.75 an hour so I could live on my own without the help of my mom. I didn’t go to school past the 3rd grade and my dad left when I was 5 years old and even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had a deep need for someone to guide me. I needed someone to see that I could be and do more with my life because I certainly couldn’t see it.
One day the youth pastor from my small church took me out to a lunch that would change my life. He told me he believed in me and knew I could do more. Something amazing happened. I believed what he said and did it. I left Northern Minnesota 3 months later and never came back. That youth pastor was my first of many coaches (or mentors) over the years that would help me learn to see what I could’t and inspire me to something greater.
Do you ever feel that you are stuck like I was back in MN? Do you feel like you want this business to move forward but are just running in place? Do you feel like you can’t see past today and don’t really know what tomorrow could hold for you? You might need a coach. Someone that can look you straight in the eye and tell you that they believe in you, that you can and will move forward and achieve what you have dreamt of.
Here are four powerful ways to get a coach that can change all that for you!
1. Read about One:
Reading business books is the most consistent coach we have had over the years. We read Purple Cow by Seth Godin in late 2007 and that is the main reason that our business stood out in 2008 and helped us make a six-figure income that year. Even though this kind of coach is not personally invested in your business, you do get to glean from their wisdom for only $12 or so.
2. Be One to get One:
Starting a MasterMind Group 2 years ago was one of the greatest things I have ever done for our business. A MasterMind Group consists of 8-12 members that are all dedicated to meeting each week, learning new things together, becoming each others board of directors, and opening up their business mind to you and you to them. They are very difficult to create (mine took 4 months just to get all the guys in a room together), but once there is a commitment, it can be powerful. Dan Miller says that 1+1=3 meaning that when you get two great business minds together, it is like creating a 3rd mind because of the new ideas you both spawn.
(If you are interested in starting a legit MasterMind Group, then reply to this email from our newsletter and I will send you a PDF on how to create one).
3. Subscribe to One:
There are tons of inspiring videos, Newsletters and courses from great coaches out there that you can get your hands on for free or for small monthly or one time fees. We subscribe to Jeff Walker, Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins and CopyBlogger for great marketing and life balance coaching on a weekly basis.
Zach and Jody Coaching – Jody and I also have weekly coaching through our newsletter, and we offer DVD courses on Shooting, Lighting, Editing, Studio Work and Business Strategy which have helped thousands of photographers shoot better and make more money.
4. Book One:
(Image from a Skype Coaching session we did last week for UK wedding photographers Sansom Photography)
Hiring a coach that you look up to is powerful because you get them personally. Jody and I spent over $5,000 last year hiring a coach to help us transition our business into more online teaching & to help Jody work less and be a mom more. It was WELL worth the investment!
Jody and I have been personally coaching other photographers since 2009 and set aside time each month for different types of coaching sessions.
Skype Sessions so that we can have real face time with you, and a look at specific strategies to help you move forward. These sessions are either for photographers that need specific issues adressed, or for photographers that need follow up sessions after our full-day mentoring.
Full-Day Coaching is our most powerful and effective mentoring that we do. We spend an entire day with your studio, and days before hand deep-diving into your brand to really pull it apart and see how it can best move forward. We did this for Luke and Cat in 2011 after that had made just $150 per wedding in 10 weddings. They booked a full-day coaching session and 3 follow up Skype Sessions and to date since we coached them, they have grossed over 1 million dollars in just 3 short years! yes, you heard that right, One Million Doallars.
If you want to book a one of our limited Skype Coaching Session with us that are now becoming available for 2015, you can do that HERE
Our Full-Day Coaching sessions are now available for 2015 and will sell out fast, so if you need a deep-dive, you can book a full-day session HERE and get ready to have your business completely changed.
Whatever path you decide to take with coaching, just be sure you do it. If you don’t have a coach, it will be hard to know where you are going and you may never get your business moving forward.
Do you already have a coach? If so, share with us how they have inspired you and helped your business move forward in the comments below!
Today we have a brand new video that shows you a simple way to get great light from your off-camera speedlites and shows you how to use them in tight spaces with a simple piece of gear.
The Westcott Pro-Grip is a simple to use handle to get into tight spaces for those of us that don’t want to carry a stand around and need a fast and easy way to get light where you need it.
Do you have a good system that you use to get some flash into small spaces? Share with us below your secrets!
“90% of selling is conviction, and 10% is persuasion.”
What do you want more than anything when you walk into a meeting with a potential client? You want to book them, right? Of course we want the right clients, fun clients and clients that “click” with us, but at the end of the meeting, you want ONE thing more than anything else – the retainer.
The retainer fee paid at the end of the meeting signifies something. It says that your client believes in you. It says that they trust you and that they want you more than any other photographer to capture their event. That is a good feeling and we need to have those feelings often so that we can pay our bills and keep our kids fed.
How do we have those feelings more often, or should I say, how do we get clients to pay us more often? How do we close deals and get booked and make it happen on a regular basis?
In the coming weeks we will talk about persuasion techniques like engaging in the story, controlling the conversation, building rapport, creating trust and others, but the most powerful persuasion tool of all is that of conviction.
If you are convinced about how good your products and services are, then your prospects (those who you want to become clients) will be convinced. If you are unsure of yourself, then your client will be unsure of you. You MUST have complete conviction about what you can do when you walk into a client meeting (with a bride, a vendor or another photographer), and believe that you are capable.
There is something inspiring and engaging about someone who has complete confidence in their ability to do something and it should never smell of arrogance.
Confidence is not just about being a good photographer, it is really about how you feel about yourself. (Tweet this out)
Confidence comes from deep within you and is built by speaking truth into yourself through repetition. Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich, says this:
“Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.”
If you need more confidence, then this is your action plan to becoming more confident and more convinced of your worth as a photographer.
1. Write down your goals on paper (I want to book more weddings, be more confident in my selling etc.)
2. Read those goals OUT LOUD each morning when you wake up, and each night before you go to bed.
3. Believe that you will become that person that is able to achieve those goals.
4. Each time you doubt, replace that thought with one that is uplifting and positive and refuse to accept those negative thoughts.
This may sound too simple to work, but the truth is that once you are convinced in your own MIND, you will convince others. You have to win the battle over your mind first, and then it will follow in your actions.