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Table Rock Mountain Shoot + Business Interview | Framed

Table Rock Mountain Shoot + Business Interview | Framed

We are super excited to finally share our Table Rock Mountain shoot and extended (and exclusive) interview we did for the Framed Network! It is now available to see right here for free! Watch us in-action shooting an engagement session in the blistering winds of Table...
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We are super excited to finally share our Table Rock Mountain shoot and extended (and exclusive) interview we did for the Framed Network! It is now available to see right here for free! Watch us in-action shooting an engagement session in the blistering winds of Table Rock in Boise, ID, hear an interview with us about what we believe, think and how we interact with each other in business, and watch it all from the comfort of your office or living room!

Check out the video below!

3 Ways to Shoot at sunset | Part 3

3 Ways to Shoot at sunset | Part 3

(This is a 3 part series, and you can access part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE for further images, diagrams and info!)  In part 1, we talked through shooting backlit as the sun is still a little high in the sky and how to get that “glow” on your images that all...
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(This is a 3 part series, and you can access part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE for further images, diagrams and info!) 

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In part 1, we talked through shooting backlit as the sun is still a little high in the sky and how to get that “glow” on your images that all portrait shooters love. In part 2, we talked about adding contrast to your images by using the just-setting sun directly to get a completely different look. Now, here in part 3, we are going to cover shooting with highly reduced contrast as the sun finally goes down.

The image above was shot AFTER the sun had completely set. This is a great time to shoot because the sun itself is not a source of light that we have to deal with, but rather the sky (that the set sun is still lighting up). The sky is now one HUGE soft-box that creates really soft light that has reduced contrast due to its large size in comparison to our subjects.

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As you can see in the final images, the shots are soft, slightly flat, and have a very low contrast ratio from highlight to dark.

This time of day looks best with clear to partly cloudy skies so that the sun can bounce off the sky and send light our way. If we have an overcast day, then this timeframe for shooting can look really dreary and dark without some sort of additional lighting or lighting modifiers.

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The great thing about shooting in this light, is there is not much instruction needed for HOW to do it, because we just have one gigantic light that is really easy to deal with. We can have our subjects posed in ways that flatter them, and then just expect to see everything since the light is hitting it all. You do have to be careful at this time of day because you can’t use light (or the lack thereof) to hide any parts of your client that you may not want to see. You have to use posing and correct lens choices to get flattering images. But, as you can see, the images will all have very soft skin tones that is flattering in that respect.

With these three options for shooting at sunset, you should be able to get a great wide variety of images in a very short amount of time that your clients will love! Now get out there and shoot!

 

3 ways to shoot at sunset with natural light – part 2!

3 ways to shoot at sunset with natural light – part 2!

(For part 1 in this series, click HERE)  After the sun starts to just dip into the horizon, but BEFORE it is completely hidden from view, we like to create some photos that have more contrast and depth versus the ones we did in part 1 of this series. Here are the...
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(For part 1 in this series, click HERE

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After the sun starts to just dip into the horizon, but BEFORE it is completely hidden from view, we like to create some photos that have more contrast and depth versus the ones we did in part 1 of this series. Here are the simple steps to do this.

Step 1. Short Light the Ladies

We will position our ladies so that the sun is coming in just over their shoulder in order to create a very flattering lighting effect on their body, and also give the image depth and dimension. The guys can be placed with the light hitting them a little more straight on, but then the key here is to position the camera so that the lighting is coming from the right (or left) side of us like in the image above. This allows the camera to see the highlights and shadows that the light is creating.

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If we just walked over and put the sun to our back, then the image would come out flat and because there is still a bit of direct sun coming at them, it would be pretty unflattering.

Step 2. Use Open Sky for Fill

If you place your subjects in the exact same way as we did here, but to camera left had a big dark building or a bunch of dense trees, then you would not have much detail on the shadow side of the body. We prefer to have some details on the shadow side, so we use the open sky to camera left in order to create fill-light to give us the final look.

(BONUS!) Step 3. Create Layers for more Depth 

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If you can, put something between you and your subjects that can help create a 3rd layer. If you just shoot your subject and the background using this technique, it can make a nice image, but if you can put something in the foreground, then you will have a really pro looking shot that is dramatic and slick.

Final Tech Specs: 

Canon 5D mark 3, ISO 200, f/2.0 at 1/640th second – Canon 85mm 1.2L lens – Edited in LR 5 – Color and Exposure Captured using the Expo Disk 2.0

Stay tuned for part 3 coming this Thursday!

twitter_logo2PS. Did you enjoy this post? If you did, then be awesome and share it for us! Click HERE to Tweet it out to your fans!

How to Make $400,000 in your photo business!

How to Make $400,000 in your photo business!

Do you want to have a business that rocks like one of the following photographers?   Luke & Cat Have grossed 1 million dollars over the past 3 years Luke and Cat were in the family business of cattle farming in Texas when they got the bug to start...
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Do you want to have a business that rocks like one of the following photographers?

 

Luke & Cat

Have grossed 1 million dollars over the past 3 years

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Luke and Cat were in the family business of cattle farming in Texas when they got the bug to start their own business and shoot weddings. They read blogs and worked their circle of friends and after 1 full year in business had grossed just $9,000 after shooting as many weddings. Once they took out taxes and expenses they were making around $150 per wedding!

They felt defeated.

They either had to change something or give up.

They did something incredible and over the next 3 years they grossed 1 MILLION dollars and will hit close to $400,000 this year alone!

So what changed? What was the catalyst for their success?

A Business Jump-Start

Luke and Cat came and spent $3,500 on a personal coaching session with us at the end of 2011 when things looked bleak. We poured our heart and soul into them and worked with them to get their business on track. They took what they learned that day and went home, did the hard work, and implemented everything with some spice of their own and blew their business up!

If you want to learn the same information that we shared with Luke & Cat at a fraction of the price, and take your business forward, then don’t hesitate, don’t put it off, don’t be the one that thought “maybe next year” and miss out on getting your business working now!

We have 8 seats left for our 2014 Business and Marketing workshop that is going to be at our house here in Franklin, TN on October 28th. This workshop has changed the lives of attendees many times over and you can be one of them.

It won’t cost you $3,500 to get this same knowledge, it will only cost 3 payments of $217 over 3 months!

Book your seat!

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Want to pay in full? Click the below button!

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(Oh, and by the way, Luke and Cat will be coming in to this coaching session via webcast to teach you more about how they have made their business grow!)


Amy & Jordan

Tripled their prices, doubled their bookings, & Cut their editing time in half

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Jordan and Amy Demos were just starting out with their wedding business when we met them at a speaking event on business & marketing that we were doing in Phoenix. After they heard us teach that night, Amy attended our natural-light workshop and devoured our business & marketing teaching resources we had available.

This is the result:

“Zach and Jody’s workshop was the best investment we’ve ever made in our business. Since their workshop, our growth has been absolutely explosive both in-camera and in business. We can’t recommend it highly enough. Since taking the workshop in 2012, we’ve doubled our prices, tripled our bookings and cut our editing time in half!”

They have turned their brand into one of the fastest and most visible brands (yes, even their work has been featured in People Magazine – so cool!) and are now starting to teach photographers all over the country the things they have learned!

This is what investing in your business can do.

This can be you. You can be the next photographer who decides to make their business do something great and move forward. Or, maybe you just want to shoot better pictures and spend more time with your family.

Either way, 3 payments of $217 is worth it. 

We only have 1 spot left to attend our Natural-Light Workshop on October 26th. If you know you should be there, then this is your chance.

Take a look at some of Jordan and Amy’s stunning natural light images!

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View More: http://amyandjordan.pass.us/zach-jody-and-jax

 

Yes, Amy and Jordan even shot our family photos!! We are now good buds with these guys and love being with the both of them! They made a trip out to Nashville earlier this year and they rocked this session for us! :)

If you want to be able to capture images like these, then this is your chance to learn! IN-CAMERA: Shooting is only 3 payments over 3 months of just $217 to be with us LIVE in-person and get $600 of bonuses included!

Book your seat

 

Want to pay in full? Click the below button!

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Allison Davis

Is able to shoot in any lighting situation and be more creative with her art.

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When Allison Davis attended all 3 days of workshops, she came in ready to learn and ready to figure out the methods for creating stunning images in any lighting situation. She learned that and more and this is what she had to say about her time with us.

“When I attended Zach and Jody’s 3 days of workshops I was intrigued by the premise of ‘getting it right’ in the camera. I was tired of living my life in front of my computer and since I am mostly self-taught, I knew this was a great opportunity to learn some things like nailing exposure, white balance and more. The hands-on experience was invaluable to me and the knowledge I received has opened up doors for me to shoot in any lighting situation and be more creative with my art!”

Take a look at some of Allison’s incredible images she shot in-camera with NO retouching and barely any editing!

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If you want to be able to fast-track your lighting and shoot stunning images in the camera in any lighting situation, then learning from a us first-hand is the best way to do it.

We have seen so many incredible stories, testimonies and businesses turn around after these workshops that this post is just the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t wait, as this might be one of the few chances you have to come and spend this time learning with us in-person. We are dedicated to YOU for that day and to seeing you succeed. The bonuses alone that we are giving to you are worth the price of the coaching session, and we know those tools will help you way beyond the day itself.

If you are ready to make your images work all the time, then do not miss this chance! It is only 3 payments over 3 months of $217 to come out to IN-CAMERA: Light, and we can’t wait to see you there!

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3 ways to shoot at sunset with natural light – part 1

3 ways to shoot at sunset with natural light – part 1

This is a 3 part series and parts 2 and 3 will come out next Tuesday and Thursday respectively! :)  Natural light, at just the right time of day or in the right circumstances can be a thing of beauty. Today, we want to talk about 3 key ways that we use natural light...
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This is a 3 part series and parts 2 and 3 will come out next Tuesday and Thursday respectively! :)

 Natural light, at just the right time of day or in the right circumstances can be a thing of beauty. Today, we want to talk about 3 key ways that we use natural light during sunset in order to get 3 completely different looks. Variety is important to you as an artist to keep your work fresh, and it gives your clients great choices which can help lead to more sales.

 

Set-Up #1 – Backlit Diffusion

 

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The image above were shot at about 45 minutes prior to the sun-setting. When the sun is still a little high in the sky, we tend to use this method we will talk about today as our first option. There are the 3 key things we do in order to make the light soft and have the sutble “glow” to it that you see here. When you follow these steps, you will get really stunning lighting on your images that your clients will LOVE!

Step 1. Find Natural Diffusion 

First, we find something to take the sun (which is still a little bit up in the sky) and diffuse it, but NOT block it completely. Then, we put their backs to the sun so the light creates a nice halo effect around them. We live in TN and we have LOTS of trees here, so we try and find one with some colored leaves on it that can tone down the power of the light and give us that glow and vibrant color.

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You can see how the tree spreads out the light and gives us that softer diffusion to create that glow around our subjects. The light hitting their backs is still direct, just toned down.

 

Step 2. Open Sky as the Main Light

Next, we make sure that there is open sky hitting their faces. If there was a tree with diffused light, but our subjects were facing a huge hill or a dark building, then the light bouncing back at them would be dull. If, however, the sun that is behind them is lighting up the sky, then bouncing back into their face and body, then we will have a nice “main” light to give good, soft light on them. If you were in the camera position from the above shot and turned your head around and looked behind you, you would see nothing but a bright open sky and that is what is hitting their faces – soft, reflected light.

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Step 3. Use a Reflector as Fill-Light

When we are further away like in the shot above, then we don’t need perfect light in the eyes. But, as soon as we get close, we need to use a reflector in order to open up the shadows that the main light (the sky) is creating. This will give our images that finished look in the camera before we even put them into post-production. We used the silver side of our reflector for this shot because it gives lots of reflective power. If you are NOT reflecting direct sun, then silver is a good bet. If you are reflecting direct sun, then using white is a better option. (See our post on using reflectors HERE for more info!).

Essentially, we are using the silver side of our reflector and bouncing light back up into the shadows that are coming down the face from the sky (our main light). If you want to know which reflector we use, then you can download our free gear list HERE.

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In the final image, you can see how we have that soft light on their faces, you will notice the reflection in her eye which is the reflector filling in the shadows, and the overall image comes out nicely.

 

For added effect, you can add a touch of sun-flare to the shot (like this one has), by just moving your camera ever so slightly into the bits of sun peeking through the tree. Removing your lens hood can help you get better lens flare as well. (For more info on shooting with great lens flare, read our entire post about it HERE).

 

Stay tuned this coming Tuesday for part 2 on this post!

 

PS. If you loved this post, then you know what to do! Share it with your fans on Twitter by clicking HERE!

Registration is LIVE! | Grab your seats before they’re gone!

Registration is LIVE! | Grab your seats before they’re gone!

This is a pinned post! Scroll down to see our most recent posts :) IN-CAMERA Workshops released to newsletter subscribers 24 hours ago,  most are sold out but there are a few seats remaining!       What are the IN-CAMERA Workshops? Our IN-CAMERA...
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This is a pinned post! Scroll down to see our most recent posts :)

IN-CAMERA Workshops released to newsletter subscribers 24 hours ago,  most are sold out but there are a few seats remaining!

 

pay in full

payment plan

 

 

What are the IN-CAMERA Workshops?

Our IN-CAMERA Workshops are a personalized, hands-on workshop that teaches you a specific area of either photography or business so you can learn ALL the tools, tricks and tips in one day to catapult you forward to shooting the way you want faster, and running your business better. We have personally taught over 1,000 students at these workshops and they are back!

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Where are these Workshops?

The workshops will be held at our new home in Franklin, TN! This will be an amazing chance to spend time with us in our own home and sit at our dining room table, hang out in our living room and spend time with us on the back porch around the fire!

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In the past, photographers have traveled from all over the world to attend these IN-CAMERA workshops including Puerto Rico, England, Florida, California, Texas, MN, MI, IL and more! This will be the event that will change your career and coming to Nashville will be an amazing experience!

Early Bird Access

Class sizes are limited, and it has been two years since IN-CAMERA workshops have been available, so we anticipate a fast sell-out. Get first access when registration goes LIVE next Monday the 15th by making sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter (when you sign up you also get a free copy of our off-camera light eBook!).

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THREE DAYS of WORKSHOPS

 

We have three days of workshops available for you. You can come to one workshop, two, or if you attend all three you become a VIP and not only do you get a price break but additional privileges as well!

Day 1 | IN-CAMERA: Shooting

(the natural-light workshop)

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Sunday, October 26th, 2014 – 10:30am-8:30pm

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What you will learn:
This workshop is all about natural light. Where to find it, how to make it better, and how to shoot in it with amazing results right IN-CAMERA.

We will teach you our entire system for shooting perfect exposures, perfect color and killer compositions. You will walk away confident and capable of shooting in any natural lighting conditions with ease.

We will also walk you through our system for lightning fast editing! You will follow along as we edit images from the day’s shoot and you will learn the 3 main keys for lightning fast editing! (We can edit an entire wedding in just 2.5 hours and a portrait session in just 30 minutes or less. You will get the tools to start editing faster!).

Also covered:
Posing couples, posing individuals, flattering the female body, 3+ hours of shooting with live models on-location, the chance to build your portfolio and much much more!

Details:
Class size 20 ppl max. Workshop includes classroom teaching time, on-location shooting with models, instant feedback & instruction from Zach & Jody during live shooting, catered lunch, catered dinner, snacks and beverages, and a killer “Hello My Name Is:” name tag.

Bring it if you got it:
Laptop with Adobe Lightroom 5 installed to follow along through our end of the day editing workflow.

Prerequisites:
Basic knowledge of your DSLR with at least one fixed aperture lens (non-fixed aperture lenses are welcome, but not recommended).

Is this workshop for me?
This class is for beginner to intermediate photographers or anyone interested in raising the quality of their images IN-CAMERA.

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$600+ in BONUSES Included with Your Registration!

  • Our Lightroom pre-set pack ($29 value)
  • IN-CAMERA: Shooting DVD given at the workshop ($249 value)
  • $150 discount code for IN-CAMERA: Post DVD
  • Access to the IN-CAMERA Facebook group of over 450 past attendees!
  • Exclusive access to a 1 hour Q & A followup webinar with other IN-CAMERA: Shooting attendees
  • Invite to the Saturday evening mixer at our home (Sat, Oct 25th – the evening before this workshop!)
  • Discount codes from event sponsors
  • Entry into sponsor gear giveaways

 

 


Day 2 |IN-CAMERA: Light

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Monday, October 27th, 2014 – 10:30am-8:45pm

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What you will learn:

This is THE workshop that will end your off-camera lighting fears forever.

Not only will you master our system for off-camera flash portraiture, you will feel as though you had been doing it for years. We teach the most sophisticated lighting in the simplest way possible to give you complete confidence in any portrait lighting scenario.

If you have always wanted to learn off-camera lighting, or want it to be more consistent, then this is the workshop for you.

You will also learn:
Lighting styles that flatter your clients body type, lighting couples, lighting in harsh light, lighting with small speedlites, lighting with more than 1 light, controlling a manual strobes on location, lighting ratios, lighting styles, composition, file finishing techniques, followed up with bonus class time taking attendees through how we apply these same principles to our reception lighting process.

Details:
Class size 18 ppl max. Workshop includes classroom teaching time, on-location shooting with models, instant feedback & instruction from Zach & Jody during live shooting, catered lunch, catered dinner, snacks and beverages, and a killer “Hello My Name Is:” name tag.

Bring it if you got it:
Laptop with Adobe Lightroom 5 installed to follow along through our end of the day image review and file finishing techniques.

Prerequisites:
Basic knowledge of your DSLR with at least one fixed aperture lens (non-fixed aperture lenses are welcome, but not recommended).
This class is for beginner to advanced photographers or anyone interested in raising the quality of their off-camera lighting images IN-CAMERA.

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$600+ in BONUSES Included with Your Registration!

  • Our lightroom pre-set pack ($29 value)
  • IN-CAMERA: Light DVD given at the workshop ($249 value)
  • In the Raw video on Advanced Lighting ($99 value – digital download)
  • Access to the IN-CAMERA Facebook group of over 450 past attendees!
  • Exclusive access to a 1 hour Q & A followup webinar with other IN-CAMERA: Light attendees
  • Invite to the Saturday evening mixer at our home (Sat, Oct 25th)
  • Discount codes from event sponsors
  • Entry into sponsor gear giveaways

 


Day 3 | IN-CAMERA: Business & Marketing

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Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 – 9:15am-6pm

with special guests, Katelyn James, Melissa Love, and Luke & Cat!

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What you will Learn:
This all-encompassing workshop dives into the most important areas that you need to have in place for running a modern day, cutting edge photography studio that will continue to thrive regardless of the economy.

In this workshop we will teach you the 6 major keys to running a successful photography brand. We will show you how to stand out, how to get paid more, how to sell your work for what its worth, how to WOW your clients and much more. If you want to make more money and have more freedom in your life then this is the workshop for you.

We have had the privilege of teaching thousands of photographers all over the world our business and marketing strategies that helped us go from shooting our first wedding at $500, to making over $100,000 the very next year. This is a rare chance to be with us in-person where we work on your businesses in a small, intimate environment.

Special Guests!

Not only will you have access to us for the entire day, but we are also bringing in some of the hottest industry leaders and up and comers in the country via webcast to share their expertise.

Katelyn James

Photographer & Business Coach

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Katelyn James started her professional photography career as a Junior in college and was shooting 25+ weddings annually within her second year. After growing her business and gaining recognition in national publications such as Professional Photographers Magazine, The Knot, Southern Living Weddings, Southern Weddings, Eco Weddings and multiple other publications, she began teaching and coaching photographers from all over the country and internationally. Her work has also been featured numerous times on national wedding blogs such as Real Simple, Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, Inspired by This, Grey Likes Weddings, BRIDES and Green Wedding Shoes.

Melissa Love

Branding & Design Specialist – United Kingdom

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Melissa specializes in helping creative types design themselves into their own businesses, by putting them at the heart of the design process. She loves to work with photographers, artists, designers, fashion labels and artisans of all types.

She is based in Cornwall in the UK, but thanks to the magic of the internet, she work with clients all over the world.

And she also has a nifty little design store with all sorts of design goodies to make your life easier.

Luke & Cat

Top Industry Earners

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This dynamic duo from Texas went from grossing 9k in their first year of business (2011) to grossing close to one million dollars in their last 3 years combined. Luke and Cat trace their entrepreneurial beginnings to agribusiness and Texas cattle ranching, and now have built a thriving photography business utilizing principles from their agriculture roots and pairing that with a passion for connecting with their clients.

They have traveled internationally photographing weddings, had their work featured by prominent editors at Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, and The Knot, yet Luke and Cat consider the authentic relationships they cultivate with their clients to be their highest reward.

These two amazing business minds along with their two bulldogs, Wilma and Hudson, are doing something right in this industry and attendees will learn the top five tips that have allowed Luke & Cat to exponentially grow their business.

Additional topics covered in IN-CAMERA: Business & Marketing:

Marketing, branding, standing out, pricing yourself to succeed, investing in your clients & vendors to work for you, creating balance, making more money, sales that work, booking more clients, dreaming big dreams, and executing goals.

If you want more time with your kids, then this is the workshop for you.

If you want to make more money, then this is the workshop for you.

If you want a lasting business, then this is the workshop for you.

Further Details:
Class size 30 ppl max. Workshop includes classroom teaching time, live webcast by above mentioned special guests, breakouts, snacks and beverages, catered lunch, and a killer “Hello My Name Is:” name tag.

Bring it if you got it:
Laptop or i-device for note taking.

bonus_button_360$500+ in BONUSES Included with Your Registration!

  • Harvest Business DVD given at the workshop ($249 value)
  • Sales Bundle with mp3’s and sales documents ($35 value)
  • Marketing Bundle with cost-free marketing guide, client consult guide & pricing guide ($35 value)
  • Sales Bundle with Strategy Guide, mp3, & our Sales Documents ($35 value)
  • Access to the IN-CAMERA Facebook group of over 450 past attendees!
  • Exclusive access to a 1 hour Q & A followup webinar with other Business & Marketing attendees
  • Invite to the Saturday evening mixer at our home (Sat, Oct 25th)
  • Discount codes from event sponsors
  • Entry into sponsor gear giveaways

 

 

pay in full

 

 

 

payment plan

 


 

This could be you…

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- Limited to 10 Seats -

We have an exclusive opportunity available only to our newsletter subscribers for a special VIP attendee experience. For those attending all three workshop days as a VIP, in addition to receiving the bonuses each workshop offers, VIPs will also receive these additional three privileges:

  1. A private dinner with us and the other VIPs on Saturday the 25th (5:00pm-7:00pm) before the workshop mixer begins!
  2. Every product we offer in our storefront ($1,350 value)
  3. Exclusive VIP savings of $400 on your registration price

 


 

What Others have said about the IN-CAMERA Workshops:

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This is the best investment I could have made in my business. I’m so thrilled I did it early on in my business.”
– IN-CAMERA: Business attendee


Loved it, Love it, Loved it! Learned so much it blows my mind!”
– IN-CAMERA: Shooting attendee


This is the most beneficial class to learn how to improve my photography. It was broken down in a way we could easily understand and apply it.”
– IN-CAMERA: Light attendee


This is truly one of the best workshops I have ever attended!”
– IN-CAMERA: Shooting attendee

Read more reviews at these links!

Renee Booe Photography

Rand J Studios

The Blessed Everyday

Lynette Smith Photography

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We have partnered with the below companies who are giving away gear valued at over $1,500, coupon codes and more!

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Travel Logistics

Take advantage of the private facebook group that you will get access to upon registration, to reach out to other attendees to share rental cars and hotel rooms.

 

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Airport:
Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Driving Directions:
The workshops will be at our home in Franklin, TN and the final driving directions will be emailed to attendees 1 week prior to the workshop.
(Point of reference address: 1505 Murfreesoboro Road, Franklin TN)

Hotels:
Drury INN from $119 per-night (5 miles away from workshop location | Approx 8  minute drive)
1874 West McEwen Drive • Franklin, TN

A-Loft Hotel (for the hipsters) from $184 per-night (6.5 miles away from workshop location | Approx 11 minute drive)
7109 South Springs Drive • Franklin, TN

Comfort Inn from $78 per-night (3 miles away from workshop location| Approx 5 minute drive)
4206 Franklin Commons Ct • Franklin, TN

Days Inn from $79 per-night (3 miles away from workshop location| Approx 5 minute drive)
3915 Carother Parkway • Franklin, TN

America’s Best Value Inn from $68 per-night (3 miles away from workshop location| Approx 5 minute drive)
4201 Franklin Commons Ct • Franklin TN

 

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1 simple trick to making awesome flash images

1 simple trick to making awesome flash images

(Image that was set-up and shot at a real wedding within 60 seconds using today’s technique)   If you’re looking for the secret to making your off-camera lighting shots look exactly the way you want  – we’ve got the answer in two words:...
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(Image that was set-up and shot at a real wedding within 60 seconds using today’s technique)

 

If you’re looking for the secret to making your off-camera lighting shots look exactly the way you want  – we’ve got the answer in two words:

Lighting Ratios

Understanding and executing lighting ratios is one of the most important elements to creating off-camera lighting shots that look the way you want them to. I hate being confused and REALLY hate being stuck in front of a client wondering how to get a shot to look right. Today’s lighting ratio tip is going to solve that problem for you with many of your off-camera flash shots!

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Whether you go BIG or small with off-camera lighting, you need to know how much light to put on your subject vs. how much is in the background in order to get the right look. And getting the right look using the right ratio of light is going to give your images their unique style and make your shots stand out! The above images are shot at 3 different lighting ratios.

  • The first is 3 to 1, which means that the main light is 2 times brighter than the ambient light that was already hitting our subjects face.
  • The second shot is 5 to 1 lighting and has the off-camera light set at 3 times the power of the ambient light hitting her face and now (because of the unique conditions of the light on this day), the background starts to get detail in it (I am giving these ratios based on the light on her face, NOT the light in the sky).
  • The third image has the main light 4 times brighter than the light already on her face which gives us LOTS of contrast and lots of sky detail. All of these images were shot with just 1 light in this example.

 

Pick the Ratio Style you Like, and then:

So once we decide which type of image ratio we like or want for our set-up, how do we get our settings on the flash and camera to execute that every time?

 

 

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One awesome trick that we learned a LONG time ago that we still rarely see others teach, is how to make your light-meter give you the ratio of light you are looking for in one step, and that is what I am going to show you today.

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In this image, you can see some of the main settings on a typical light meter. But, on the Sekonic light meter (and on some others), there is a unique setting called “Flash Percentage” that you see at the middle right. This is the secret. This is a powerful tool that most people don’t know about!

What it Does

When you set-up your off-camera light (no matter what type of light it is) on manual power settings, and then simply take a reading with your light meter, the meter will give you this % rating. What the meter is doing, is reading the existing light in that particular area that the meter has been placed, and then it is reading the flash that hit it. Then, it does something remarkable. It tells you the DIFFERENCE between the two, aka the RATIO of flash vs ambient.

If it reads 50%, that means that the image will have 50% flash and 50% ambient light at those camera and flash settings. Every 10% increase in the percentage is a doubling of flash power (the percentage represents how much flash is in the shot), so if you go to 60%, then you are putting 2 times more flash into the existing ambient light, or, you have a 3 to 1 lighting ratio! Now, look back up at the example images and then decide if you want 3 to 1, 5 to 1 or 9 to 1. You can then just power up the flash until the meter reads the percentage that you want!

60% = 3 to 1 

70% = 5 to 1 

80% = 9 to 1 

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(Now this does not work in every situation, so you have to know when you can and can’t use this technique to get the results that you saw above).

How To Learn More First-Hand

IN-CAMERA Workshops

These are the kind of techniques that we will be teaching at our revamped IN-CAMERA Workshops.

Mark your calendars! Event registration goes LIVE this Monday at noon CST first to newsletter subscribers for 24hours, and then everyone else can grab any remaining seats on Tuesday! But, if history repeats itself, then most or ALL of the seats will be gone on Monday!

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Fall 2014 IN-CAMERA Workshop Details are here!

Fall 2014 IN-CAMERA Workshop Details are here!

  (This is a pinned post, scroll down for our most recent blogs!) You have been waiting for the 2014 IN-CAMERA Workshops, and we are excited to release the details! View the trailer below to get a glimpse into what all the hype is about.   What are the...
read more

 

(This is a pinned post, scroll down for our most recent blogs!)

You have been waiting for the 2014 IN-CAMERA Workshops, and we are excited to release the details!

View the trailer below to get a glimpse into what all the hype is about.

 

What are the IN-CAMERA Workshops?


Our IN-CAMERA Workshops are a personalized, hands-on workshop that teaches you a specific area of either photography or business so you can learn ALL the tools, tricks and tips in one day to catapult you forward to shooting the way you want faster, and running your business better. We have personally taught over 1,000 students at these workshops and they are back!

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Where are these Workshops?

The workshops will be held at our new home in Franklin, TN! This will be an amazing chance to spend time with us in our own home and sit at our dining room table, hang out in our living room and spend time with us on the back porch around the fire!

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In the past, photographers have traveled from all over the world to attend these IN-CAMERA workshops including Puerto Rico, England, Florida, California, Texas, MN, MI, IL and more! This will be the event that will change your career and coming to Nashville will be an amazing experience!

Early Bird Access

Class sizes are limited, and it has been two years since IN-CAMERA workshops have been available, so we anticipate a fast sell-out.  Get first access when registration goes LIVE next Monday the 15th by making sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter (when you sign up you also get a free copy of our off-camera light eBook!).

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THREE DAYS of WORKSHOPS

 

We have three days of workshops available for you. You can come to one workshop, two, or if you attend all three you become a VIP and not only do you get a price break but additional privileges as well!

Day 1 | IN-CAMERA: Shooting

(the natural-light workshop)

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 – 11:15am-8:45pm

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What you will learn:
This workshop is all about natural light.  Where to find it, how to make it better, and how to shoot in it with amazing results right IN-CAMERA.

We will teach you our entire system for shooting perfect exposures, perfect color and killer compositions. You will walk away confident and capable of shooting in any natural lighting conditions with ease.

We will also walk you through our system for lightning fast editing! You will follow along as we edit images from the day’s shoot and you will learn the 3 main keys for lightning fast editing! (We can edit an entire wedding in just 2.5 hours and a portrait session in just 30 minutes or less. You will get the tools to start editing faster!).

Also covered:
Posing couples, posing individuals, flattering the female body, 3+ hours of shooting with live models on-location, the chance to build your portfolio and much much more!

Details:
Class size 20 ppl max. Workshop includes classroom teaching time, on-location shooting with models, instant feedback & instruction from Zach & Jody during live shooting, catered lunch, catered dinner, snacks and beverages, and a killer “Hello My Name Is:” name tag.

Bring it if you got it:
Laptop with Adobe Lightroom 5 installed to follow along through our end of the day editing workflow.

Prerequisites: 
Basic knowledge of your DSLR with at least one fixed aperture lens (non-fixed aperture lenses are welcome, but not recommended).

Is this workshop for me?
This class is for beginner to intermediate photographers or anyone interested in raising the quality of their images IN-CAMERA.

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$600+ in BONUSES Included with Your Registration!

  • Our Lightroom pre-set pack ($29 value)
  • IN-CAMERA: Shooting DVD given at the workshop ($249 value)
  • $150 discount code for IN-CAMERA: Post DVD
  • Access to the IN-CAMERA Facebook group of over 450 past attendees!
  • Exclusive access to a 1 hour Q & A followup webinar with other IN-CAMERA: Shooting attendees
  • Invite to the Saturday evening mixer at our home (Sat, Oct 25th – the evening before this workshop!)
  • Discount codes from event sponsors
  • Entry into sponsor gear giveaways

 

 


 Day 2 |IN-CAMERA: Light

(the off-camera lighting workshop)

Monday, October 27th, 2014 – 10:45am-9:00pm

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What you will learn:

This is THE workshop that will end your off-camera lighting fears forever.

Not only will you master our system for off-camera flash portraiture, you will feel as though you had been doing it for years. We teach the most sophisticated lighting in the simplest way possible to give you complete confidence in any portrait lighting scenario.

If you have always wanted to learn off-camera lighting, or want it to be more consistent, then this is the workshop for you.

You will also learn:
Lighting styles that flatter your clients body type, lighting couples, lighting in harsh light, lighting with small speedlites, lighting with more than 1 light, controlling a manual strobes on location, lighting ratios, lighting styles, composition, file finishing techniques, followed up with bonus class time taking attendees through how we apply these same principles to our reception lighting process.

Details:
Class size 18 ppl max. Workshop includes  classroom teaching time, on-location shooting with models, instant feedback & instruction from Zach & Jody during live shootingcatered lunch, catered dinner, snacks and beverages, and a killer “Hello My Name Is:” name tag.

Bring it if you got it:  
Laptop with Adobe Lightroom 5 installed to follow along through our end of the day image review and file finishing techniques.

Prerequisites: 
Basic knowledge of your DSLR with at least one fixed aperture lens (non-fixed aperture lenses are welcome, but not recommended).
This class is for beginner to advanced photographers or anyone interested in raising the quality of their off-camera lighting images IN-CAMERA.

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$600+ in BONUSES Included with Your Registration!

  • Our lightroom pre-set pack ($29 value)
  • IN-CAMERA: Light DVD given at the workshop ($249 value)
  • In the Raw video on Advanced Lighting ($99 value – digital download)
  • Access to the IN-CAMERA Facebook group of over 450 past attendees!
  • Exclusive access to a 1 hour Q & A followup webinar with other IN-CAMERA: Light attendees
  • Invite to the Saturday evening mixer at our home (Sat, Oct 25th)
  • Discount codes from event sponsors
  • Entry into sponsor gear giveaways

 

 


 

 

Day 3 | IN-CAMERA: Business & Marketing 

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 – 9:15am-6pm

with special guests, Katelyn James, Melissa Love, and Luke & Cat!

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What you will Learn:
This all-encompassing workshop dives into the most important areas that you need to  have in place for running a modern day, cutting edge photography studio that will continue to thrive regardless of the economy.

In this workshop we will teach you the 6 major keys to running a successful photography brand. We will show you how to stand out, how to get paid more, how to sell your work for what its worth, how to WOW your clients and much more. If you want to make more money and have more freedom in your life then this is the workshop for you.

We have had the privilege of teaching thousands of photographers all over the world our business and marketing strategies that helped us go from shooting our first wedding at $500, to making over $100,000 the very next year. This is a rare chance to be with us in-person where we work on your businesses in a small, intimate environment.

Special Guests! 

Not only will you have access to us for the entire day, but we are also bringing in some of the hottest industry leaders and up and comers  in the country via webcast to share their expertise.

Katelyn James

Photographer & Business Coach 

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Katelyn James started her professional photography career as a Junior in college and was shooting 25+ weddings annually within her second year. After growing her business and gaining recognition in national publications such as Professional Photographers Magazine, The Knot, Southern Living Weddings, Southern Weddings, Eco Weddings and multiple other publications, she began teaching and coaching photographers from all over the country and internationally. Her work has also been featured numerous times on national wedding blogs such as Real Simple, Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, Inspired by This, Grey Likes Weddings, BRIDES and Green Wedding Shoes.

Melissa Love

Branding & Design Specialist – United Kingdom

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Melissa specializes in helping creative types design themselves into their own businesses, by putting them at the heart of the design process. She loves to work with photographers, artists, designers, fashion labels and artisans of all types.

She is based in Cornwall in the UK, but thanks to the magic of the internet, she works with clients all over the world.

And she also has a nifty little design store with all sorts of design goodies to make your life easier.

Luke & Cat

Top Industry Earners 

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This dynamic duo from Texas went from grossing 9k in their first year of business (2011) to grossing close to one million dollars in their last 3 years combined. Luke and Cat trace their entrepreneurial beginnings to agribusiness and Texas cattle ranching, and now have built a thriving photography business utilizing principles from their agriculture roots and pairing that with a passion for connecting with their clients.

They have traveled internationally photographing weddings, had their work featured by prominent editors at Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, and The Knot, yet Luke and Cat consider the authentic relationships they cultivate with their clients to be their highest reward.

These two amazing business minds along with their two bulldogs, Wilma and Hudson,  are doing something right in this industry and attendees will learn the top five tips that have allowed Luke & Cat to exponentially grow their business.

Additional topics covered in IN-CAMERA: Business & Marketing:

Marketing, branding, standing out, pricing yourself to succeed, investing in your clients & vendors to work for you, creating balance, making more money, sales that work, booking more clients, dreaming big dreams, and executing goals.

             If you want more time with your kids, then this is the workshop for you.

            If you want to make more money, then this is the workshop for you.

            If you want a lasting business, then this is the workshop for you.

Further Details:  
Class size 30 ppl max. Workshop includes classroom teaching time, live webcast by above mentioned special guests, breakouts, snacks and beverages, catered lunch, and a killer “Hello My Name Is:” name tag.

Bring it if you got it:  
Laptop or i-device for note taking.

bonus_button_360$500+ in BONUSES Included with Your Registration!

  • Harvest Business DVD given at the workshop ($249 value)
  • Sales Bundle with mp3’s and sales documents ($35 value)
  • Marketing Bundle with cost-free marketing guide, client consult guide & pricing guide ($35 value)
  • Sales Bundle with Strategy Guide, mp3, & our Sales Documents ($35 value)
  • Access to the IN-CAMERA Facebook group of over 450 past attendees!
  • Exclusive access to a 1 hour Q & A followup webinar with other Business & Marketing attendees
  • Invite to the Saturday evening mixer at our home (Sat, Oct 25th)
  • Discount codes from event sponsors
  • Entry into sponsor gear giveaways

 

 

 


 

This could be you…

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VIPworkshops

- Limited to 10 Seats -

We have an exclusive opportunity available to our newsletter subscribers for a special VIP attendee experience. The first 10 people to register for all three days will not only receive the bonuses each workshop offers, but VIPs will also receive these additional three privileges:

  1.  A private dinner with us and the other VIPs on Saturday the 25th at our home before the workshop mixer begins (5:00pm-7:00pm)!
  2.  Every product we offer in our storefront*  ($1,350 value)
  3.  Exclusive VIP savings of $450  on your registration price

*Does not include mentoring sessions.


 

What Others have said about the IN-CAMERA Workshops:

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 “This is the best investment I could have made in my business. I’m so thrilled I did it early on in my business.”
– IN-CAMERA: Business attendee


Loved it, Love it, Loved it!  Learned so much it blows my mind!”
– IN-CAMERA: Shooting attendee


This is the most beneficial class to learn how to improve my photography.  It was broken down in a way we could easily understand and apply it.”
– IN-CAMERA: Light attendee


This is truly one of the best workshops I have ever attended!”
– IN-CAMERA: Shooting attendee

Read more reviews at these links!

Renee Booe Photography

Rand J Studios

The Blessed Everyday

Lynette Smith Photography

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We have partnered with the below companies who are giving away gear valued at over $1,500, coupon codes  and more!

 

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Travel Logistics

Take advantage of the private facebook group that you will get access to upon registration, to reach out to other attendees to share rental cars and hotel rooms.

 

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Airport:
Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Driving Directions:
The workshops will be at our home in Franklin, TN and the final driving directions will be emailed to attendees 1 week prior to the workshop.
(Point of reference address: 1505 Murfreesoboro Road, Franklin TN)

Hotels:
Drury INN from $119 per-night
1874 West McEwen Drive • Franklin, TN

A-Loft Hotel (for the hipsters) from $184 per-night
7109 South Springs Drive • Franklin, TN

Comfort Inn from $78 per-night
4206 Franklin Commons Ct • Franklin, TN

Days Inn from $79 per-night
3915 Carother Parkway

America’s Best Value Inn from $68 per-night
4201 Franklin Commons Ct • Franklin TN

 


Don’t forget…

Mark your calendar for Monday, October 15th!  Registration opens up for 24 hours to newsletter subscribers starting at Noon, CST!

We’re excited to have you join us!!

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How we became better photographers

How we became better photographers

  “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, INVOLVE me and I will learn,” -Benjamin Franklin There is great value in being able to hop online, head to a blog, listen to a podcast, watch a video on Youtube and get some really great...
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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, INVOLVE me and I will learn,”

-Benjamin Franklin

There is great value in being able to hop online, head to a blog, listen to a podcast, watch a video on Youtube and get some really great information on how to do things better. We have valued that for our own education and know that many thousands of you that read this blog each week have valued that from us.

But is that enough?

Back in 2006 when I (Zach) first picked up a camera and starting learning to shoot, I went to the library, went online and devoured any piece of information I could get about shooting great, natural light images. Then I would go out and practice. It seemed that it was hard to take what I had read or seen online and quickly translate that into real-world experience. It was hard. Do you know that feeling? The feeling of wanting to produce something wonderful, and falling short? I know I do.

An image-changing Friendship

That same year, a photographer named Evan Baines emailed me and said he wanted to connect and support me in my journey to becoming a better photographer. We went on shoots together, critiqued each-others work, and he really was the biggest mentor in my shooting that I have had to date. Our very first photography workshop we ever did was a joint workshop with his studio! The lessons that I learned by working and shooting side-by-side with a talented photographer that I respect has paid dividends for years.

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So here is our question to YOU, the photographer reading this post. Who is your mentor that you actually spend time shooting with? If you want to become a better photographer and advance your shooting as fast as possible, then you need to work with someone that you look up to. It can be a great shooter in town that you email and ask to tag along with, it can happen with second shooting gigs, and it can happen by attending well-reviewed workshops with a photographer that really cares about you becoming a better shooter.

 

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$12,500 Worth of Pictures 

One of the biggest lessons we learned early on in our natural light shooting, was to look for, and understand, what great natural light looked like, and then shoot in it. Understanding the subtle difference between soft-light and directional soft-light allowed us to capture some stunning images at weddings that our clients fell in love with.

The couple above, Mark and Kelsey, came to our home studio after the wedding to see their images, and were so excited at what they saw, that they spent a total of $12,500 on their wedding pictures. That wedding was also shot so well, that Photo-Vision did their first 5 part series on it and exposed us to 35,000 photographers around the world. That is what beautiful, story-telling images and a great experience can do for your photography!

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We love natural light, we love shooting in it, and we love finding it and controlling it. We also love teaching other photographers how to use it and use it well so that they can blow their clients away with its stunning power.

 

 

IN-CAMERA Workshops

Tomorrow, we are revealing the dates for our extremely limited re-launch of our revamped IN-CAMERA Workshops. If you want to come and shoot alongside us and spend a 10 hour image-changing day working with us on your imagery, then you are going to want to be back here tomorrow!

 

More info to come.

 

Do you have an idea for becoming a better photographer? Share your ideas with us in the comments below so we can see how you are making your images better!

 

PS. Did you enjoy this post and are excited about becoming a better shooter?

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Share this post on Twitter with your fans by clicking HERE!

 

 

BIG light on a small budget + Giveaway!

BIG light on a small budget + Giveaway!

This post is not only on how to get AWESOME light on a small budget, BUT, we are giving away the gear we are highlighting today! (Giveaway info is at the bottom of this post!) Today we are going to talk about using BIG lights. We mean, REALLY BIG LIGHTS but on a small...
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This post is not only on how to get AWESOME light on a small budget, BUT, we are giving away the gear we are highlighting today!

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(Giveaway info is at the bottom of this post!)

Today we are going to talk about using BIG lights.

We mean, REALLY BIG LIGHTS but on a small budget.

Now, when you go out to shoot, it is nice to be nimble and fast and move from shot to shot really easily. But sometimes, you just want to take some of the images from your shoot and make them look really different OR, you just don’t have any great light and need to make your images look awesome with some stand out off-camera lighting.

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MOST of us look at the above shot and all we see is lots of gear and assume it costs a lot and then tune out… but don’t do this! STAY WITH US! :) We are going to demonstrate how to shoot images exactly like the ones you see above but using your speedlite and a cheap modifier that is super easy to use.

Large Light Rocks

Plain and simple, large light looks AMAZING on skin. It looks like butter when it hits your subject and is incredible. The times that you love shooting natural light most is just after the sun dips and we get that “golden hour” of light. The reason that light looks so good is because the sun itself (which is small in comparison to you) is no longer lighting your subject, but the SKY (what the sun is lighting) is now your main light. The sky is HUGE and makes the light at that time of day amazing.

So, whenever we can, we like to use the biggest light modifier we can and get it in close to make it as large as possible in comparison to our subject. This creates ultra-soft light (now there are other ways to soften light other than just having a huge light, and we have written a few posts already on those techniques. You can find some of them HERE).

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The key for this look in the above shot is to go BIG! This image was shot with a 59 inch Westcott Para Softbox. This light is HUGE, it has 16 angled edges (vs 8 on the normal octo-bank) which helps the light wrap around your client’s face and make the sickest light you have ever seen. This light modifier is awesome, but it comes at a price: $699. We are also using our Elinchrom Ranger Speed Kit for the light source itself which is another 2k (crazy expensive!).

The gear used is needed for certain types of shooting, but is not for every photographer. So, what if you want to shoot some stand out portraits, but not spend that kind of cash? Here is what you can do to make stellar off-camera lighting shots, while sticking to a budget (oh, and did we mention that TODAY we are giving away 1 of each lighting modifier that we are talking about thanks to Westcott?!).

Option #1 – The 50 inch Mega JS Apollo light from Westcott

 

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This light costs $169 and you can use a light you probably already have to shoot with it – your speedlite! You just need any old light stand and this mounting bracket to rock. It sets up in seconds and you pop your speedlite on the inside (firing it with a wireless trigger that you can find on our FREE gear list HERE).

Option #2 – The Westcott 7 Foot Parabolic Umbrella

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It is so simple it’s insane. It costs just $99 and all you do is pop open this umbrella, put in on any light stand, add this mounting bracket (which holds the umbrella and your speedlite), and you are ready to rock some HUGE light. (Again, you must have a wireless trigger for your speedlite which cost around $80 total and are found on our free gear list).

Option #3 – The Westcott 26 inch Rapid Box

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This light we have used a TON and even though it is the smallest one of the bunch, it puts out some stunning light due to the really good design of the unit. It needs a light stand, but comes with the speedlite mounting bracket included!

The images you see below all utilize the easy to use speedlite modifiers we mentioned:

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The total expense to get the gear you need to re-create shots like these is between $250-$300 for your stand, wireless triggers, mounting bracket and lighting modifier (we also recommend using a light meter for all your off-camera shooting that is done on manual settings, and you can find the one we use on our free gear list).

Why Buy Expensive Gear?

You may be asking, “Why would anyone buy that expensive gear from the beginning of the post, when you could spend less that $300 on this stuff and buy speedlite modifiers?”

The answer is POWER. When you use a speedlite you are sacrificing sun-stopping power that a speedlite just does not have even when using high-speed sync. The Elinchrom Ranger has 1,100 watt seconds of power vs an average speedlite has around 90 watt seconds.

The way to use speedlites effectively to get shots like you see above, is to use them under lower lighting conditions. Use them late in the day, use them in shade or cloudy days, or use them after the sun sets. If you use them at those times, then you will have incredible results!

 


What’s the Next Step?

Does lighting have you excited? Are you ready learn? Want to win some good stuff??

Read on!

STEP #1. Enter the Westcott Lighting Modifier Contest!

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Nothing is better to get you started then winning FREE gear! Westcott has been gracious enough to give us one of each of the 3 lighting modifiers that we talked about!

This is all you have to do to enter to win:

1. Sign up for our email update list HERE (and when you do, you will get our free lighting eBook called the The Quick Start Guide to Off-Camera Flash! If you are already on that list, then move on to step 2).

2. Click HERE to Tweet the below message and officially enter to win! (Bonus points if you share the message on Facebook. Copy and past the following:

Enter to win a free speedlite softbox from @westcottco on @zachandjody’s blog at http://bit.ly/LightContest #ZJGear

[Prizes not redeemable for cash. Winners will be announced on Tuesday September 9th at noon central time. Winners will be chosen at random from our list of email subscribers and contacted on Twitter. Winners will have 24 hours to respond with their mailing address at studio@zachandjody.com or a new winner will be chosen. Modifier will be mailed directly from Westcott to the winners address].

 

STEP #2. Read the Blog Archives

A great place to learn more on off-camera lighting is right here! You can comb through this blog (we have around 400 posts on shooting, lighting and business) to find the techniques that we use to shoot images just like this. It might take you a while, but you will get there!

STEP #3. Watch us in action teaching you these techniques, step-by-step

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We filmed an entire 4-hour DVD that explains every single step in our process that we use to shoot amazing off-camera lighting portraits using small or large lights. It gives you step-by-step instructions on our systematic lighting process, what gear to use, lighting styles, how to set up your light, what settings to use and tons of other info to get you shooting lit images fast with no guesswork. Then, this DVD takes you on 25 live shooting segments where you get to see the process in action in a variety of different lighting scenarios.

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If you have other great gear recommendations you want to share with everyone for doing flash inexpensively, then let everyone know about them and leave links in the comments below!

 

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PS. If you enjoyed this blog post, then share it for us! Click  HERE to Tweet it out!

How to Create Stunning Black & White Images (Video)

How to Create Stunning Black & White Images (Video)

  Do you ever pull images into Lightroom or Photoshop and decide to make a black and white image of one of your shots, and when you do, it just seems to lack a little life and vibrance? When we first starting shooting, I would always feel like my black and white...
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Do you ever pull images into Lightroom or Photoshop and decide to make a black and white image of one of your shots, and when you do, it just seems to lack a little life and vibrance? When we first starting shooting, I would always feel like my black and white images lacked something, that little bit of extra POP that would make them come alive.

What I discovered was a simple technique that takes your images from just a regular black and white, to an image that really stands out. That trick is explained in this short, 7 minute video!

 

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If you want to grab our full-set of 29 Lightroom Presets, you can do that today over at the store!

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Did you enjoy this video? If so, then please share it with your network! Click HERE to Tweet it out!

Featured Showit Live Webinar | Off-Camera Flash Tips

Featured Showit Live Webinar | Off-Camera Flash Tips

We just wrapped a Live Webinar with the team at Showit and you can watch it for free right here! Check it out to learn tips on reception lighting, slimming your clients with lighting, what type of lighting to use and more! ...
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We just wrapped a Live Webinar with the team at Showit and you can watch it for free right here! Check it out to learn tips on reception lighting, slimming your clients with lighting, what type of lighting to use and more! 

 

Top Reads | 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal

Top Reads | 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal

Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal! Today we are featuring 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New...
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Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal!

Today we are featuring 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal.

48days

Author Dan Miller is all about finding what you love and DOING IT! ….AND making a good living while you’re at it.

Make sure to check out our other top reads we love and recommend!

4 Simple Steps to great Wedding Day Portraits + Video

4 Simple Steps to great Wedding Day Portraits + Video

Have you ever been on a shoot, and just KNOW that your client is feeling uncomfortable? Then you start to feel uncomfortable and things just go downhill from there? We have felt that way before and it is not a fun experience for anyone! (image from Daniel &...
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Have you ever been on a shoot, and just KNOW that your client is feeling uncomfortable? Then you start to feel uncomfortable and things just go downhill from there? We have felt that way before and it is not a fun experience for anyone!

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(image from Daniel & Stacia’s super fun non-awkward wedding!)

Because we know that clients are not always sure what might happen at a shoot, and there is a chance that they might feel awkward and not know what to do, a number of years ago we decided to create a system that gave us a great chance to combat the very beginning of the shoot and get our clients feeling calm and comfortable in no time!

Making your client feel calm and relaxed is SUPER important.  The more calm and comfortable they are feeling the better chance you have to get amazing, natural shots of them (and of course, they then feel better their whole experience with you because they felt so comfortable!).

 

Now we want to share with you our 4 steps to awesome wedding day portraits!

1. Encourage

Clients always have a fear going into their portrait sessions that they won’t look as good as what they saw in your portfolio. We realize that our number one job is to make our clients FEEL good about the shoot, and when we they feel good, they loosen up and we get great pics every time!

Most of what we do and say to our clients is for the sole purpose of encouraging them in everything that they are doing. If a client moves in a way that does not work for a shot, we tell them, “That looks great! Now let’s try a few like this!” We never say, “no” or, “that does not look right” or, “turn left and not right, you block head!” :) Everything the client does on the wedding day is exactly what they should be doing, even if it isn’t! Encouragement is key! Even when we bring out a piece of gear like a reflector, we let them know what it is (in simple terms) and that it’s purpose is to make them look even more awesome! They love it!

You would be shocked on how effective a simple smile can be while you are shooting. Just smiling lets the client know that you are enjoying yourself and that helps them do the same.

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(Craig & Nicholle at the Palms Hotel in Miami Beach in 2010)

2. K.I.S.S. ‘Em! 

K.I.S.S. stands for Keep it Simple Stupid and we always strive to make whatever we ask our client to do, is the easiest thing possible. When we first start photographing, say, the bride and groom together, the last thing we want is to have our camera up their nose and have them hold super still while turning their head 4.456 degrees to the left and holding their arms 2.565 degrees to the right. Ouch! That is too complicated! :)

You will see in  the video that more than once we were demonstrating posing for our clients. We figure that if we have to touch a client to get them in position, then we have done a really poor job of communicating the pose we want to shoot them in.

We spend a lot of time acting like mirrors for our clients which make things super easy for them. We put them in an area with great light and shoot the interaction, and we don’t get up close to them until we have had one or two scenarios where they feel like we are giving them space and shooting from a distance. Then, as we move closer to them, we will start adding reflectors and lights if need be as they get more comfortable with us.

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(Rhett & Nicole from Two Rivers Mansion Nashville, bride simply walking down the steps, 2010)

3. Create Scenarios

We love giving our clients something very natural to do, like walk while holding hands and looking at each other. We almost always try to start out with something anyone can do (walk, look at each other and make each other smile) so that the first shots feel like there was no work involved. Then, later on, they are more willing to do something a little more difficult (like stand on their heads while holding hands and hopping ;o).

Every time we do some simple scenarios, our clients feel more relaxed and we have a better session. We are also sure to keep the encouragement coming for the first few images and let them know that they look great and all the shots are turning out just like we thought they would.

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(Ryan & Sara who actually hired us because their first photographer made them feel uncomfortable!)

4. Be Ready

Back in the day, we would have such a fun time with clients that while we were interacting with them, we would forget to grab the amazing expression they were having during the in-between moments! It is so important to always be ready to snap a shot when a client is making those genuine expressions. What they are going to really remember when they look back on your images is not how good your lighting and bokeh were, but how they FELT when they were being photographed.

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(Bret & Jillian – we were walking out into a field to shoot some portraits right after they said their vows, and before we even left I – Zach – was prepared to shoot. As we walked out he instinctively grabbed Jillian and picked her up and I was ready to capture this image of them with the reception, altar and their family blurred into the background, and this genuine expression of love on their faces).

Back in January of 2012, Al & Kim Kozak flew in to do a full day mentoring session with us and work on some of these exact topics.  Then, that weekend, they came out with us to a wedding that we had.  As a surprise for us, they took video footage of us at the wedding and sent it to us!

 

Click below to see us in action at this real wedding with Matthew & Taylor!

Click on the below image or the link to view a highlight of the above  wedding day on our blog or click HERE to see Taylor’s bridal shoot!

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Do you have some ideas to get your clients comfortable in front of YOUR camera? Share them with us in the comments below!

PS. 
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US Session | Matt & Joanna

US Session | Matt & Joanna

In 2001-2003 I (Zach) interned in Rockford, IL at a large church, and one of the girls in my class was Joanna. She married a talented photographer named Matt (click the link to see his FB page!) and the two of them over ten years later, called us up for a portrait...
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In 2001-2003 I (Zach) interned in Rockford, IL at a large church, and one of the girls in my class was Joanna. She married a talented photographer named Matt (click the link to see his FB page!) and the two of them over ten years later, called us up for a portrait session in Nashville. They said that even though he was a pro shooter, and she was a make-up artist, that they didn’t have any professional images of the two of them other than some “stick the camera on a tri-pod” type of stuff. Many of us pro photographers know that feeling, don’t we?

They knew they wanted something that showed their sleek side and their love for each-other and Jody and I were honored that they came down from Ohio to have a session with us. We not only loved shooting them, but were blessed and encouraged to be with them in our time together last week. We had lunch and got to catch up and get to know each other better, and talked about growing stronger marriages, kids and lots of stuff in-between.

It was a great time together and we are excited to show a little sneak-peak of their shoot with you all!

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You guys are amazing and we can’t wait to see you again in the near future!

Top Reads | Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends

Top Reads | Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends

Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal! Today we are featuring Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence...
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Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal!

Today we are featuring Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends.

Love

The sub-title says it all… How to win in Business and influence friends…. Want to have any real value in this new economy that we live in? Learn from Tim Sanders the 3 most important assets you can posses…

Make sure to check out our other top reads we love and recommend!

Top Reads | Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Top Reads | Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal! Today we are featuring Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable....
read more

Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal!

Today we are featuring Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

PurpleCow

Do you want your business to be like everyone else’s business? OR do you want your business to STAND OUT and be a purple cow amid all the other brown, plain cows? This book by Seth Godin will teach you exactly how to do that!

Make sure to check out our other top reads we love and recommend!

IN-THE-RAW Video Teaching Series

IN-THE-RAW Video Teaching Series

We have just released the brand new In the Raw Video Series!       Why In the Raw?   – How to shoot more creative portraits – Using Multiple Lights indoors – Ground Glass photography for in-camera effects – Full...
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We have just released the brand new In the Raw Video Series!

 

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Why In the Raw?

 

– How to shoot more creative portraits

– Using Multiple Lights indoors

– Ground Glass photography for in-camera effects

– Full Post-Production workflow for the entire shoot including Photoshop enhancement of images

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….. Much much more!

GUESSING IS FRUSTRATING

How did they do that??

How many times have you seen an image from a photographer wondering how in the world they were able to capture that? What gear did they use? How did they shoot it? What were their camera settings? What post processing was done to the image?

It’s so frustrating having to guess at all those unknowns.

 

WE ALL START SOMEWHERE

When I (Zach) was trying to learn more about creative lighting and portraiture I was devouring any resource that I could – from books to blogs – you name it (and no, at that time big, online teaching resources were non-existent).

I found it so hard to get detailed instructions on how to shoot creative lighting images, and was frustrated not knowing all the nitty-gritty details of how to specifically do it.

 

I DID THE HARD WORK

After reading and watching whatever content was available, I went out, I spent hours practicing, and had a LOT of trial and error refining these techniques on my own.

I finally was able to get my creative portraiture to a skill and level that I was proud of, and I knew exactly what I was doing.

I could now take the knowledge I knew and add it to any session we did, whether a bridal shoot or family shoot or any other shoot and execute it with confidence.

THE SOLUTION FOR YOU

It’s because of my frustrations that the new In the Raw video teaching series is here.

No more guessing with this easy process to up your photography game.

With In the Raw you will…

See how I shoot & interact with the client

Know what camera settings I’m on

Learn about the gear I use.

Listen to the process in creating the shot.

Watch how I edit.

 

WHAT YOU GET WITH IN THE RAW

5 videos showcasing 5 different setups on the Andy Davis creative portrait shoot.

The In the Raw Videos Contains:

  • Zach shooting the setup
  • Live shooting instruction
  • Which gear is used and why
  • Lighting diagrams
  • Detailed instructions
  • Post-production segment including Lightroom

Also included:

  • Shooting ground glass images
  • Using multiple lights (up to 4!)
  • Fundamental lighting tips
  • Utilizing props and other elements
  • Shooting on a white background
  • Gear list download specifically for this shoot

BONUSES (available until tonight at midnight)

  • All 20 of my Lightroom pre-sets to help create the final look of my images

 

WHAT PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT IN THE RAW

The videos break down the craziness of photo shoot in digestible chunks and help you understand what is going through Zach’s mind during each part of the shoot…

Awesome photoshop effects without the need for photoshop! Way cooler!…

The videos have a very causal, honest and personal feel to them, like Zach’s sitting across the table from you having a chat.”

-Matt Badenoch Photography | London, UK

 

Zach does such a great job of going step by step and explaining every little detail. These videos were great! I can’t wait to advance my lighting skills and put these great tricks to good use!

– Nicole Klym Photography | NJ, USA

 

“I primarily shoot weddings, but it was helpful to learn about different lighting set ups and techniques for creative shots. I really liked the post production and the interaction between Zach and the client.

– Mimi Kay Photography | TN, USA

 

FOR A LIMITED TIME

29 of our Lightroom actions for FREE ($29 value)

Sale price of $79 for almost 2 hours of teaching (reg. price $99)

Launch special pricing ends TONIGHT at midnight (CST)

Don’t miss out to get a deal on these videos before they go back to their regular price!

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A new Video series | In the Raw

A new Video series | In the Raw

We are excited to introduce to you a brand new video teaching series entitled In the Raw! The Pain This series was birthed out of my (Zach) frustrations when I first began photography and was trying to learn more about creative lighting and portraiture. When reading...
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We are excited to introduce to you a brand new video teaching series entitled In the Raw!

In the Raw video series zach gray

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The Pain

This series was birthed out of my (Zach) frustrations when I first began photography and was trying to learn more about creative lighting and portraiture.

When reading other tutorials I felt like the specific how-tos and technical key information were missing, which prevented me from learning what I needed to know. Not to mention the fact that I (and most other creatives) are visual learners.

After devouring whatever content was available, I went out, practiced, and had a LOT of trial and error refining these techniques on my own (thank-you, Jody for being my subject ten times over :)

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Above is one of my first creative portraiture shots. Yes, we all start somewhere.

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The Answer

Understanding this exact pain is how In the Raw came about.

After spending the last 8 years shooting, learning, studying and teaching photography, we decided to create and release a video instructional series that brings you, the photographer on real, creative portrait shoots with me, Zach, and walks you through every step of the process.

 Features: 

  • Almost 2 hours of teaching content
  • 5 full set-ups on the Andy Davis creative portrait shoot
  • Live shooting & detailed explanations of all set-ups
  • Lightroom & Photoshop editing of final images
  • 20 Lightroom pre-set downloads included ($29 value!)
  • Full gear list of equipment used on the shoot with direct links
  • Much much more!

 Click below to see what other photographers are already saying about it!

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Top Reads | How To Win Friends and Influence People

Top Reads | How To Win Friends and Influence People

Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal! Today we are featuring How To Win Friends and Influence People.     If...
read more

Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal!

Today we are featuring How To Win Friends and Influence People.

Win Friends

 

 

If you learn more about people and how to win them then you do learning how to shoot, then your chances of running a successful business will be much greater! This book will show you exactly how to do that!

Make sure to check out our other top reads we love and recommend!

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