Well if you had shown me this picture back in 2008 when I was nervously asking people to pay me $50 to take their college senior portraits, I would have passed out. How in the world did this happen? What started as a little dream then turned into a business powered by a blog that became very popular. Then that blog began serving two purposes… 1. I showcased my amazing clients and 2. I started educating for free… for YEARS. Not only did I share tips and knowledge but I shared my life. Fast forward to 2017 and I was certain that it was all over.
I was pregnant… I was about to enter a new season… I was insecure about it all… I was nervous… I lost my vision I had ALWAYS had as a business owner. Surely…. this was the end of the KJP roller coaster ride of growth…. but it wasn’t.
Why? Because I kept doing what I had always done. I kept sharing what I knew and what I loved and I trusted that that was what I was supposed to do!
After our world shattered in 2018 with the loss of James, I started picking up the pieces of what I felt like was the next step for our business and that was to take a DECADE of business experience and knowledge and put it into a Business Course that would radically transform photographer’s lives.
I decided to do this through hosting a year-long Business Journey. I anticipated about 250 people to invest…. but we had 700 photographers join us for this 12 month journey and it was amazing!!! The icing on the cake? The LAST module was going to be recorded LIVE at an in-person event for all of our Business Journey students!!!!
I anticipated about 150 people showing up to this event and I was once again very wrong!! 400+ attendees drove in and flew in to be a part of this day and I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around that! It was surreal in so many ways and also so intimidating but I truly loved it. It was an honored and a privilege to teach, in person, about how our passion is directly connected to our purpose and that we have so much to offer this world when we choose to see our stories in a different light!
The 6 hour day wasn’t long enough and we learned so much about hosting our first solo conference. Will this happen again? Whew. It’s undecided. For now, we’re still riding on the high that came from pulling this massive undertaking off!! I was so nervous…. SO nervous… but also so thankful. This will forever be one of the greatest joys and biggest accomplishments of my career and I didn’t do it alone! I have SO many people to thank:
My Team: Michael, Emy, Momo, Joe, Daddy, Mimi, Grammie, Erica…. everyone played an important role in this day! From registration to setup to childcare… I’m so thankful for each one of you!! Michael and Emy…. you especially had to deal with so much behind the scenes…. mostly me freaking out. Thank you for supporting my crazy ideas and then pushing me to keep going when I start to doubt that I can actually make my ideas come to life!
Kat: You are patient and organized and kind and calm…. and did I say patient? I’m so thankful for you. We literally wouldn’t have been able to do this without you!!! You made this planning process so easy and the day-of so stress free!! Matt, thank you for all of your help as well! You two are such an incredible team!
Buddy & Jill: You continue to blow us away with your support and love for us. Thank you for being our biggest cheerleaders and for coming into town, finding childcare and serving all day!
Tyler: Well none of this would have been recorded if it hadn’t been for you!! Thank you for not only your involvement with the event but also with the ENTIRE YEAR! You are so much more than just our videographer! You are a dear friend to us that is always pushing and encouraging us to grow in new ways and we’re thankful for you!
The Mix House: You were the sweetest part of the whole event! Literally! Thank you for taking on this project! Surprising everyone with Mix House coffee all day was such a fun way to start the day. We are so proud of you!
The Tuckers: What a GIFT it is to have such talented and gifted friends capturing this day!! You are just a JOY to be around and like always, you went above and beyond for us! Printing a photo THAT NIGHT before our “Thank You” dinner?!?! How did you even do that!?! Thank you for being a part of this with us!!!
Main Street Station: Thank you for hosting us! The Shed was SO much cooler than any stuffy conference room! We had historic views of the city on each side, glass walls, glass FLOORS, natural light and so much open space!
Jennifer Olmstead of Tonic: Jen, you’re my designer (For life! Don’t ever retire!!!!) and dear friend! Thank you for coming and answering questions for our students and supporting our crazy idea!
Davey & Krista: Krista, we missed you and Jack! But we’re so thankful that Davey was able to come down and represent you guys! Davey, thank you for not only your time at the event but also your commitment to answering questions constantly in our FB Groups! You’re a wealth of knowledge and our students love and appreciate you!
Todd Watson of Showit: Where do I begin? Flying all the way from Phoenix to meet our students?! You are one of a kind Todd Watson!!! Thank you for supporting us and loving us and for running the most incredible website company that we are PROUD to share with the industry!
Gavin Wade of Cloudspot: Gavin, you may win “traveled the furthest” in the sponsor category!! We’re so thankful that you were there to represent Cloudspot… even in the midst of having a newborn at home! Transferring to Cloudspot was one of our BEST decisions of 2019!
Shaun Gordon of KISS Books: Shaun, you are the real deal. Thank you for coming and sharing and inspiring our students to help their clients save the legacy of their stories forever! Also…. brunch was incredible! Your Orange cranberry scones could win awards!!
Julia Woods of The Beautiful Outcome: You feel like an extended part of our family. You know us so intimately and God has used you to change our life and our marriage in the most amazing ways. I’m so thankful that you flew out for the event and were willing to take a risk with us!!!
Caroline Fox of Engaged Legal: Where do we begin! Caroline partnered with us to provide our KJ Business Collection with a legit, friendly yet professional contract for ALL of our students!! Caroline, you are such a sweetheart and have selflessly served us and our students all year! What a gift you are!
Chef’s Catering: You catered my sister’s wedding years ago and I never imagined that you guys would be willing to travel all the way to Richmond to be a part of this event! We’re so grateful!
Paisley & Jade: You basically make EVERYTHING we host look beautiful and we’re so grateful for not only our rentals but for your friendship through all of these years!
Courtney Ingram: This was basically a WEDDING! Doing florals for tables for 400 is A LOT to ask and you did the most amazing job with ease and grace! Thank you so much!!!
Vanessa Kynes & Rachel Allene were not able to make it but they contributed education to our students throughout the year of the Business Journey and we are SO thankful for them!! Vanessa is also incredibly active and generous with her time in our FB Group and we’re so grateful!
Enjoy this video recap of the day (Thanks Ty!) AND then keep scrolling to see images from The Tuckers!! :
Starting a school for our kids and community was going to be a big undertaking, we knew that! But we have learned so much alongside our kids that has made this endeavor all worth it.
It’s hard for me to remember the last time that I took portraits at the infamous Virginia Tech Duck Pond but I know it had to have been several years ago!
It’s no surprise that this GORGEOUS wedding was picked up by BRIDES Magazine! Between the perfectly paired color scheme, beautiful florals, an amazing venue, the list goes on. The details that Paige + Nikhil thought about for their wedding day are simply stunning.
I walked into the venue for the welcome dinner.. And I knew it was going to be dark.. But I didn’t think it would be THIS DARK!
There are several seasons of starting a business and what it looks like to continue to grow and scale as the business changes! We’re on the last episode of the Startup Series and the stage of business that I’m still in.
Can a professional photographer use the Canon RF 50mm 1.8 or is it necessary to have the high end Canon RF 50mm1.2L? We’re going to put them to the test to find out!