Meet Katelyn James
Giveaway closed: The winner is commenter #140-Jillian (we will be in touch with you)
Meet Katelyn! She is super gracious and kind hearted! Her images and business reputation are impeccable from her new website to each of her joyful images. She has created her business with a lightness that makes people feel comfortable and relaxed with her. Every client becomes a dear friend to her and her business partner and husband, Michael.
Don’t let the light feel of her work and approach trick you into thinking that everything has been easy for Katelyn, though. She’s worked hard, consistently, to build her business and attract her favorite kinds of clients. Today, she’s sharing how she got started, as well as little tips she’s learned along the way.
GIVEAWAY: Katelyn is giving away her super popular Mini Guide Bundle (usually $99) and we are giving away a Kelly Moore Bag. To enter the giveaway, just ask Katelyn a question or tell her what inspired you about her work and/or business in the comments. She will be answering your questions, chosen at random in the comments, through out the next couple of days.
how long have you been in business and how did you get your start?
I’ve been in business almost 8 years! I started my business in college after being asked to photograph a family friend’s wedding, with absolutely no experience! I ended up falling in love with it and decided to start my own business from that while I still had a few years of college left!
you seem to have risen to popularity super easily and quickly. We all know, that is never really true.
What has your journey been like? What is your motto or words you live by?
I’m very thankful for the success I have experienced in my business but it hasn’t always been an easy journey! There were countless 80+ hour work weeks, nights being stuck behind my computer instead of spending time with my husband, Michael, and honestly, figuring out a healthy life/work balance is still something I’m working on but we’re getting so much better at it! The hustle was intense my first few years and while it was worth it, I do regret missing out on some of LIFE just to grow my business FAST. My business could have still reached this point even if I had slowed down some!
I don’t really have a motto or specific words I live by… but a good friend of mine, Emily Ley came up with “Grace not Perfection” and that’s been a phrase I’ve been using a lot lately with myself, Michael and our business!
What three things have you had to overcome to push through to get to the point you’re at?
tip for you: if you’re feeling a lot of pressure to grow your business quickly, ask yourself, “Why?” See if you can grant yourself a little more grace as you grow
what three things have you had to overcome to push through to get to the point you’re at?
three things I’ve had to overcome or push through over the years would be…
- The fear of being too young to have my own business and actually be successful in it! I’ve worked hard to fight this fear by striving to be professional from the very beginning, when I first started my business.
- Another area I’ve had to push through and grow in was in my lack of experience with advertising. When I first started my business I had no idea how to advertise and market well, but I’ve been diligent about learning how to market myself and my business PERSONALLY and that’s primarily through my blog!
- A third area would be the struggle of comparison to others in the industry. To overcome this I’ve had to make the choice to not check my facebook news feed or other blogs very frequently. I used to check them multiple times a day and honestly that just wasn’t healthy.
tip for you: write down three of your own fears, identify ways you could push through those fears to get to the other side of them
you have forged some genuinely wonderful relationships and friendships in the photography industry.
How did you do that?
I’ve been very blessed by those friendships! I think a transformation started to take place in the photography industry and creative industry when we began establishing a community. A popular phrase in the industry that Michael and I are so passionate about is “Community Over Competition!” Michael and I enjoy building relationships and investing in the lives of other photographers in our industry just as much as we enjoy building relationships with our couples! We have done this by serving others and not just being all about ourselves!
I think some of the things that have helped me to form deep industry friendships are:
- Not always just thinking of myself but caring for others
- Cheering others on even when they are pursuing something I wish I could in my business
- Being intentional with others when we’re together
tip for you: reach out to someone you’d really like to get to know, without asking to pick their brain, cheer on their success and become genuine supportive friends
you’ve just recently launched a fantastic editing course.
What are the three biggest mistakes you see people making in their post processing work? What three fixes do you suggest?
Yes, we launched the KJ Consistency Course for the first time in November and then again in March! We have been blown away by the response we’ve received from our students. We polled photographers as we were creating the course to find out what areas they were really struggling with and then we built the course customized off of the responses we received. I think editing consistently, no matter the lighting, location, weather etc. and having images that match your defined style is a BIG struggle for a lot of photographers. So the purpose of this course is to equip photographers to create consistency in their editing and to educate them on how to curate their images in a way that creates a defined style that will attract their ideal clients.
tip for you: if you’re struggling with editing, go grab Katelyn’s new course
you seem very organized and like you’ve worked a very specific plan to get where you’re now. Is that how it’s worked out for you?
Did you know what you wanted, made a plan, and made it happen or was it more of a guessing games along the way, wondering if you were doing the right thing the whole time?
There have definitely been seasons of my business where I’ve questioned just about everything! But then there are seasons of confidence and really feeling that Michael and I are right where we are supposed to be. It’s taken nearly 8 years of business, lots of trial and error, and seeking advice from mentors to really establish a workflow and systems that really work well for our business! And our systems aren’t perfect, there are always areas to continue growing in. When a business owner stops thinking through ways to grow and improve… their business will begin to crumble. I’m definitely still learning as I go!
tip for you: identify one area in your business, that you do more than once, that you could create a system for
how do you turn around a day that feels like you’re not making progress or that feels like you need to just go back to bed and start over?
Michael and I have “Stay at Home Days”, these are days for us to accomplish tasks that get pushed to the back burner while we are travelings, shooting weddings, etc. and often times they aren’t fun tasks. These days can sometimes be overwhelming and ultimately unproductive. I’ve recently discovered that I’m most productive on days like these when I categorize my tasks as “Maintaining Tasks” (these often slow me down, they are tasks that can be very time consuming, monotonous and not life-giving) and “Growing Tasks” (Tasks that I’m excited about because they are fun, dream projects or things that automatically show me how they’re impacting my business in an awesome way!). Once I figure out what type of tasks I have to accomplish, I’m more productive at actually getting them done instead of being overwhelmed by them.
tip of you: plan out your days, with specific tasks, so that you know what you’re doing each day and not getting overwhelmed
you’ve created an amazingly successful business and a pricing guide.
What tips do you have for photographers who struggling to make their business profitable?
Well that’s a hard and very big question because there could be lots of reasons why their business isn’t profitable. This is a question I often spend a lot of time working through in Coaching Sessions with other photographers! Some basic things I’d encourage them to think about… Are you really charging what you’re worth? Are you attracting your ideal clients? If not, why not? Are there micro changes to areas of your business you could make that would have a macro impact on your business?
tip for you: ask yourself the questions that Katelyn asks her coaching clients; what big and little changes could you start implementing to have a big impact?
you seem incredibly busy with business and traveling but also make time for your husband and family. How do you do that?
Balancing running a business and family life is such a struggle some times! I by no means am an expert in this area but I have found over the years that I really have to check my priorities and remind myself that my family is more important than my business or my success. I also am SO thankful that Michael and I are in this business together, that’s been a huge blessing for us! Because he’s joined me full-time in running this business, we get to travel together, work alongside each other shooting weddings and have our “stay at home days” together! I honestly could not run this business without him!
tip for you: create a little note next to your computer that reminds you of what’s most important to you and plan your days off for resting and playing
find katelyn james
See Katelyn online in these locations:
Katelyn is giving away her very popular Mini-Guide Bundle! It’s a bundle of 12 mini-guides, each 5-10 pages of content covering posing, portraits, shooting details, and so much more! You’ll definitely want to check these out if you’re wedding photographer!
When you win the giveaway, you’ll also receive a Kelly Moore Bag of your choice!
you shoot a lot along with traveling a lot.
What’s your favorite Kelly Moore Bag to use on a wedding day?
I LOVE using the Kelly “Boy” Bag, which I know is meant for men but it’s my favorite! I love that it has two strap options, a sleeve that unzips to slide on a roller carry on handle, the material is incredible durable, it’s classy, stands up on its own, easy to access my lenses, and has plenty of space for all of my gear and personal items! I highly recommend it!!