The Basics of Branding

  • Wants, Needs, & the "C" Word

how much time I WASTE looking at my ginormous list of blogs that I check daily!  It’s one of my favorite parts of the day…. checking my “List” of blogs.  It’s great to get inspiration and ideas… but sometimes I admire all these other blogs and I get tired of my blog! I start looking at other amazing brands and I find myself getting bored with mine. (I’m the girl that would re-decorate a room EVERY season if Michael would let me!). I get bored VERY quickly and I LOVE LOVE LOVE branding and marketing so I can easily grow sick of my “look” and jealous of another’s style. I was just talking to my friend Korie Lynn Herold about this the other day!

She has a fun new brand going on HERE and I’m in love with it!  When I first saw it I thought “Ohhhh why didn’t I pick WOOD and a pretty swirly font like that?! Shoot!”.  Then I’ll look at Snippet and Ink’s simplistic style and think, “Oh… I think I’ll rebrand and go SIMPLE this time”.  WAIT WHAT?! Hold the horses! WHY do I need to “re-brand”?! I don’t. I have a brand and I have colors and fonts and a theme….. I just have a problem deciphering between my “wants” and “needs”. I’m a very visual person and so I feel like I need a sensor when I see other styles that I am fond of.  I need someone to tell me “Katelyn, …honey…you can look but you can’t HAVE…. you don’t need a new look, be happy with what you’ve got” (I’m envisioning like an older, grandma type voice).  I really am happy with “my look” and “my brand”…. I am! Promise. My teal and my damask design with the “cottage” feel is SO me.


As photographers, we can easily fall into scary patterns of comparison and even COPYING. Yea, there it is… I said the “C” word. It’s tough to talk about because it’s so prevalent in this field. I’m guilty of it and I’ve definitely been a victim of it as well. It’s so easy to let this bother me.  What I am trying to remember as I watch this crazy industry grow is that there is only ONE Katelyn James Wedding Photographer. ONE.  There is only ONE Katelyn with crazy orange hair and an obnoxious obsession with TEAL and PEACOCKS….. only ONE. My shabby/chic teal cottage brand was designed for me… just me. And Jasmine’s clean, sophisticated, magazine styled brand was designed for JUST her and Lauryn’s playful, artsy, simply “look” is HERS and only hers.  I have to keep telling myself this over and over.  WHAT MAKES MY BRAND “MINE” IS “ME”.  It’s the only way we’re going to make it in this industry where EVERYONE is becoming photographers these days! We have to stick with what we know BEST and that is OURSELVES.  So whenever you’re a victim of the “c” word…. or feel like you are being overlooked and swallowed alive by this world called “photography”…. stick to your roots and don’t lose YOU. Sink your heels into the ground and make a decision to keep your business true to who YOU are….and those copycats will disappear… because no one can be completely, 100% you. They can copy your new pose that you’re so proud of but they will never be able to make their clients laugh the way you do…. or write Thank You cards like you do… or share personal stories on their blog EXACTLY like you do.  Stick to YOU and stop wanting what others have (I’m preaching to myself).  It’s better that way, much better. And I didn’t figure this out on my own…I’ve heard this from numerous other photographers…. it has just taken me until NOW to really understand how true it is!


I’ve realized that branding is SO much more than colors, themes, and designs.  I may have a teal blog and a swirly font but that isn’t the foundation of my style… my style and my “look” comes from me and only me. Without “Katelyn”…. Katelyn James Photography is just a whole bunch of TEAL and that’s about it. Without my personality, my brand would be empty and incomplete. So enjoy being confident in who YOU are from now on. Life is a lot more enjoyable that way:)


Enjoy your weekend everyone and get that SHOPPING done!

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