If you have ever asked me a question about photography or why I love what I do. There is a 99% chance that these 2 wonderful people have come up in conversation. I remember my friend Alex said to me on the way to a wedding. He said you need to go follow Gray Photography as they were called back then.
So I did and I got hooked! I loved the way they taught. It was my language of systems and not guessing. After experiencing my not so love for wedding photography. I had one more opportunity to make it happen. I had just lost my job and I didn’t know anyone in my area. The few I emailed never payed attention to me so I did the the one thing I didn’t think was possible.
I emailed Zach & Jody. Told them my story and to my surprise I received the most encouraging email of them cheering me on. I would’ve never thought in a million years that would happen.
I saw they were teaching a wedding weekend course on Creativelive.com. I watched it live and with the last of my money I bought it. I saw everything and soaked in everything they shared. It was my last straw at wedding photography. A few months later I had my first two weddings back to back and I loved it. It was a different process. One that was less “business” and more personal. It made a huge difference in my shooting and attitude. I wasn’t showing up to a strangers wedding. They were my friends now!
Through the years I have always commented and encouraged them through social media. I almost drove 14 hours once to Nashville wanting to assist Zach in a shoot he posted about on twitter. It was something I felt I needed to do. I thought, who is encouraging the top industry leaders. They need love too and always responded and commented. I figured the people around me were not paying attention. So I went loving my way to the top while never forgetting to love the people at the bottom too.
A year later I met a good friend of mine on a Facebook group called Shoot and Share. I was always talking about them. So she said one day. Watch! These people are going to know who you are one day. You’re a rock star and everyone loves you. My response was nothing good comes from here and no one knows who I am. In disbelief I thought it was funny. Every opportunity just seemed to pass by with wanting to at least hug them.
In 2016 I went to WPPI and spent about 2 weeks in Vegas. People knew me from groups and I had met some of my favorite people at United. It is such a crazy amazing story. Totally blew me away!
Zach and Jody sent out an email saying that they will be in Las Vegas teaching asking their email list who was going to be there. Knowing the list was probably in the 1000s of photographers. I responded saying I will be there. It’s my first time I’m so excited I also signed up for your class!
Wait for it! Great Scott!
They responded with what I thought would never happen in a million years. For real! I never would have guessed it. It just seemed what made me so special. The truth was there the whole time with Ashley telling me.
They emailed me back saying let’s schedule coffee and I of course said yes! I also said I kinda have my friend Ashley with me I am not ditching her because she’s my ride too. Doesn’t seem right.
We made it to Wppi and attended a dinner that the lovely amazing Showit people hosted for us showiteers. I walked in and was standing and out of no where Jody Gray walks in front of me and says Hi! I will never forget this moment. 1 because in my mind I said Holy crap it’s Jody Gray. And 2 Ashley said she was like your a rock star see they came up to you. You’re popular. Later on Zach came over and said hi! I was honestly so nervous I had no idea what to say other than describe how awesome the hotel was. Haha. I relate to Zach after hearing his story I was in tears watching creative live saying. That’s me! I had said I attended their class earlier but they were swarmed with people. I didn’t want to be that one extra person. Plus I had them to myself the next day.
It was cool to sit with them and be encouraged and know these rock stars we have in our heads are just normal humans. I sad there still in shock not knowing what to say. Just hearing stories and Jody saying You better not pay for coffee! I probably still have their orders memorized somewhere in the back of my mind. I’m not a coffee drinker so I faked it with a Hot chocolate. To this day it is surreal how opportunities and friends can speak life into you. You are not going to believe it. But when that one friend says you are going places kid. Whether or not you believe it things will happen. Since then my life has not been the same. You got this Friends! Don’t give up!