Courses + Products


Our Top 5 Game Changing Business Experiences

Ask Anything

filed in:

I can’t believe that I’ve never talked about this before. I feel like I’ve shared tips, tricks and advice about how to grow your business but there are several game-changing experiences that helped us grow that I haven’t shared before! Why? Well, I guess I didn’t think it would be beneficial because not everyone is going to be able to do these EXACT things… but the value of this post is that people need to see how certain decisions and experiences led to business growth!

So what were some of my experiences that made massive differences in my business? Here they are! :

1. Signing up for WPPI and Spread the Love with Justin & Mary
2. Hiring Jasmine Star as my wedding photographer
3. Being an early adopter of Showit
4. Being asked to speak at Pursuit
5. One conversation with Jody Gray during lunch

These probably seem really random… but the truth is, random experiences and opportunities are what MAKE businesses thrive! If I had one piece of advice for small business owners in this post, it would be to take every opportunity captive.

take every opportunity captive!

So here’s how these five experiences impacted my life! :

1. I signed up for WPPI for the first time with my friend Jessie Smith and I only knew about 3 photographers in the industry! : Jasmine Star, Becker, and Rae Barnes. That’s it! I had a narrow view of the industry and I was so naive! Going to WPPI showed me just how massive this industry is and gave me a totally different perspective on everything! I also signed up for Justin and Mary’s “Spread the Love” tour and this was my FIRST educational event! I remember driving to DC and thinking I was going to be so out of place here. But I sat in the front row, raised my hand a few times and Mary commented on my boots. :) I talked with them afterwards and the rest was history! They are dear friends of ours! Not only did I LEARN a ton, I made a small but super significant connection.

2. Hiring Jasmine Star for my wedding was a game changing experience because I got to be the BRIDE. I had a photography experience of my own and it was wonderful! I learned so much from her and the way she treated me. I remember thinking “I’m just a baby photographer… and really a baby in general!” Jasmine was late twenties and I was barely 22 and yet she never made me feel like I didn’t know anything. Our friendship has continued over the years and her advice and encouragement has meant the WORLD to Michael and me!!!

3. From the very beginning, I was an early adopter of things! Showit came out and I was one of the first to commit! Where did that lead me? It led me to a bunch of friendships in the industry and eventually led to me being a leader of a Showiteer group… and then a SHARE group… and then a speaker at UNITED three years in a row. Don’t ever underestimate your relationships!

4. I remember over three years ago thinking that I would enjoy speaking… but that’s not something you can just decide to do one day… you have to be given the opportunity to give it a try. When Karen asked me to speak at Pursuit three years ago, that was my chance to explore this new passion in my heart. It changed everything. I started seeing my business more and more as a ministry and I started getting more and more inquiries about speaking because of saying “Yes” to that one opportunity. Was I nervous? Yep. Did I feel unqualified? I still do! But I’m so glad I did it! :)

5. One day at the Connect Marriage Retreat, Jody Gray and I were talking about my dreams and I quickly mentioned wanting to start an online store… but not having anything to share. And then I said “Well, it’s crazy but someone asked to buy my bridal guide! … But that wouldn’t be popular!”. Well, I was very wrong. Jody encouraged me to launch this store and make this bride guide thing happen. She gave me pricing outlines and launch ideas and I’ll NEVER be able to repay her for that wisdom! Our store has become a MASSIVE part of our business and I’m SO thankful for that one meal in GA with Jody… it led to big big things!!!

So what’s the moral of this story? Never take your opportunities for granted… AND, there may be some instances when you need to create your own opportunities!! These small little instances add up and before you know it, you’ll be looking around and thinking “How did I GET here?”…. and you’ll realize that little by little, your decisions, experiences and your friends are the very aspects of your life that have brought you to this season!!! So take advantage of your opportunities, think “big picture” and live life to the fullest!!! Talk to people, put yourself out there and never stop dreaming!!!

top 5 game changing business experiences

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

The Sledge & Hugo Family Legacy Family Portraits | Maymont Park

What’s better than doing a family session for one KJ couple? Photographing TWO and adding in Nonna and Grandpa!


Have you ever closed out of Lightroom unhappy with the end result?


5 Essential Lightroom Tips I can't edit without these!

5 Go To Ceremony Shots

5 Must Have Ceremony Shots You can’t miss these!

There are no do-overs, or second chances while photographing a wedding ceremony, so we want to make sure we capture it all!

R6 Flat Files

How to Fix Flat R6 Images We finally found a solution!

A year ago, we promised to find a solution for those who were complaining about their R6 raw files looking dull and lifeless in Lightroom. However, due to various circumstances, we couldn’t deliver on that promise until now.

The Katelyn James Podcast

Kelly is an incredible wedding photographer who has been shooting 90 weddings a year. I know, it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true! Kelly’s success and the volume of work she handles is truly impressive.

Kelly Sea & Katelyn James

Ep. 34 | How She is Booking 90+ Weddings a Year And staying sane while doing it!

The Katelyn James Podcast
Free Posing Class

Free Posing Class The KJ Way

Your sessions should be working FOR you not against you!



"Best money I have EVER spent on education! ... and I've spent a lot!”


"I love all the lessons I'm learning from KJ All Access! Thanks Katelyn!”

- Shannon Drummond, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"I find very few educational resources worth it ... this one is!”

- Kate gansneder, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Being able to see behind-the-scenes of Katelyn interacting with her clients has been SO impactful!”

- Angie mcpherson, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"SO worth it! It's amazing the amount of knowledge you get out of them!”

- Brittany Lowe, ALl ACCESS MEMBER

"I learned just as much in one All Access as I did in a whole course! SO GOOD!"

- Joanna Krueger, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER
10 Steps to Starting Your Photography Business
Helping a friend survive a season of Infant Loss
How to photograph a first look in Harsh Light
A Lake Como Destination Wedding - Greg and Kate
A Letter to the Go-Getters fearful of Motherhood

The KJ blog

The KJ Blog is where you get to know me, where you meet our KJ Couples and see their beautiful wedding days, where I have been building an archive of education for over a decade and where I let you see a peek into our life, our home, and hear about our purpose! 
don't miss the
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ


Join 95,000+ others and learn, grow and get connected via our Youtube Channel! This is where I'm constantly sharing new content, talking all things gear, business, tips, tricks and letting you into the behind-the-scenes of our everyday life! 

The KJ Learning roadmap

If you're a visual learner, this real-life, behind the scenes training was created just for you!

Create clients who can't help but rave about how you made them feel in front of your camera!

A 4-step educational preset process that will make Lightroom seem like a friend instead of a constant frustation.

The only thing you'll need as a beginner to kick start your photography journey.

The most popular, most transformational KJ Course of them all! Learn how to find great light in any location no matter how challenging!

The course that teaches photographers how to master Lightroom, find their unique style and trasnform their workflow!

Not only can artificial intelligence edit your images in minutes, it can now edit your work exactly the way KJ would if I was editing it myself!

Create polished, scroll-stopping images!  If you’re tired of “normal” and are ready to access the “Next Level”, this course was designed for you! 

"I have invested in all of KJ’s education!

The way she teaches makes so much sense and I’m so grateful for her! My business will be forever changed!"

- Renee Nicolo

"KJ education has been life-changing

 It has elevated my work so I could quit my day job and work from home with our baby boy!"

- joanna k.


and none compare to what I get from KJ!"