Have you ever just admired the ambition, drive, and genuine love someone has for what they do in life? That is exactly how I, Nicole, feel when I watch content from a well love photographer Katelyn James. So, when I was able to attend a live event she hosted last Tuesday with Ryan, I was a total fan girl!
Normally, I’m not like that when it comes to any sort of celebrity, but Katelyn James (KJ) was a little different. Over the past few years, I have really wanted to step up my photography game and start to specialize in weddings. In my journey of working towards this goal, I stumbled across a free webinar KJ was hosting and it was downhill for my wallet from there (J/K…. maybe).
Before this, I felt like I had no direction for my photography career and just did EVERYTHING! As I began starting to have a life with Ryan and the kids, I knew if I was going to give up my weekends and evening, it had to be something that brought joy and happiness to my days. To be 100% honest, family photography was not doing it for me. Yes I love getting to capture a few family sessions each year, but I knew deep down I was not passionate for family sessions.
So, I began to learn more and more about what it took to truly capture a wedding day like the “pros.” As I mention, during that journey, I came across a free webinar from KJ and I have no clue what it was about. Why you may wonder? Well, because I loved her drive, passion and approach to wedding photography, I have pretty much purchased every type of education she offers. No it’s not because I’m “brand loyal” but it’s because, I loved the way she saw the wedding industry and that is how I wanted our business to be.
My goal was to create a business focused on providing an amazing experience where we get to love on our clients and become more than “just those photographers” they hired a year ago to capture their wedding. I wanted our business to be more than transactional. I didn’t want our clients to be done with us once they had their photos. I wanted a business where we created friendships and watched each other’s lives grow. I wanted to see the amazing things coming out of our client’s lives and in return, they get to see the amazing things we were doing. I wanted more than what I was led to believe photography was about in my early career.
About this time last year, Ryan and I were driving somewhere when an email popped up from KJ talking about her yearlong wedding business course she was launching in January and part of the course would be the ability to attend a live event. I admit this knowing I’ll get side glances from Ryan, but I purchased the course immediately… not a single discussion with Ryan. (Totally not normal…. Typically I run it by him). But there was just something in me that knew I needed this!
I needed this for more than the technical part of things and it was not until the live event this month at the Main Street Station in Richmond VA that I realized whey I needed it. The past few months, I have been struggling to be happy and content in life. It felt like my life was at a standstill. Almost like I was just performing the every day motions. I was in a rut with everything…. business, work, health, life, marriage, and myself.
Then, I sat in an all-day conference, hearing from a woman who has had so much happen to her in the past 3 years and yet, she still loves life. Katelyn James spoke on how to protect and keep passion while finding a purpose in what you do in life. She spoke on sharing your story. How you may feel your story means nothing or is just “ordinary” but it’s not.
As Katelyn stood on stage in front of close to 400 people, mostly strangers, she shared some of the most intimate parts of her life and her story. She shared what everyone hides. Why? Because, she felt by sharing who she is, what she believes, and what she has to offer would bring hope to someone. Yes there were plenty of things she spoke on that I could not personally relate too but that wasn’t the point. Sometimes our full story doesn’t resonate with everyone, but a part will resonate with someone. Someone who may need it more than we know. I know my, or our story, will not resonate with everyone but doesn’t mean it’s not worth sharing.
What I learned from this course includes plenty of valuable photography business knowledge but it was also how being a little vulnerable is not a bad thing. How celebrating our wins, both big and small, are vital to being happier a person. Being excited and happy in what you have accomplished is not prideful. We need to acknowledge the good as well as areas of improvement. Not to mention, everyone’s journey is different and that’s okay. Someone may have the ability to be a full time photographer, while others, like Ryan and myself, are still working a full time job along with running our business. And that’s is okay!
The past week, I’ve been really thinking about what I want my life to look like. How I want to fill my time and where I want to be in the next year, 5 years, and 10 years. The journey will not be easy or always joyful, but it will be mine. With that, I promise to share this journey with those who love us… whether it be our clients, family, friends, or people we only know through the online world. Wedding photography is a passion of mine, but it’s not the only thing I am.
Here are just a few cell phone images from the event!
My super big cheesy smile!
Hopefully you will follow along on this journey!