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KJ Student Spotlight

November 2020

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Maybe it’s just me…. but I feel like this fall is FLYING by! It seems like just the other day that I was sharing about three more KJ Students who are doing amazing things in their businesses! Well, this weeks marks the beginning of November and I have three amazing students to introduce you too!!!

These students have all different KJ Education experiences! Some have completed our full scale courses, some are KJ All Access members, some own KJ templates like the best-selling KJ Bridal Guide and one of these students finished the KJ Bridal Details Mini-Course in one DAY! These women are motivated, passionate and talented! I’m THRILLED to introduce them to you!!!!

MEET ALYSON:

Alyson is a KJ Student who started her business in the midst of so many other responsibilities happening in her life. I loved reading her responses to our questions because I can resonate with her business journey. It’s so hard to start a business in a season of life where it can’t be your main focus! I love that one of the key moments where she has felt successful has been the season where she took the leap to be full time! We hear this over and over again…. as a photographer, there is such a feeling of freedom and excitement when you finally get to be full time and do what you love as your career!!! I’m thrilled for Alyson! She has worked so hard for this amazing season that she’s in! I hope you enjoy getting to know her and reading her responses!

1. What has recently happened in your business that has made you step back and go “Oh my gosh! That just happened?!”

First of all, just being asked to be a featured photographer on the Katelyn James Blog was one of my biggest “OMG!” moments of my business! I have admired Katelyn’s work, drive, and ambition for so long so this is a true honor! With that said, another one of my biggest and proudest moments in my business is wrapping up my first year as a full-time photographer! For the last nine years I juggled high school, sports, college, internships (not related to photography) while also running my photography business and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Finally being full-time felt like a weight off of my shoulders and gave me so much more time to invest in my clients, education, and more importantly, myself. I am so proud of myself for going through all of the struggles to get here because it has been my most successful and profitable year that I have ever had! I am already so excited for what’s to come next year and the years to follow!

2. What part of your KJ Education experience has impacted you the most?

This one is tough, I feel like every time I re-watch the courses I have purchased from Katelyn James I find another valuable piece of information to implement into my business! However, if I had to choose just one, I would say Katelyn’s organization process. Ah, I struggled with organization of my photos so much before taking the Consistency Course. When I would edit I’d have all of the photos from the session in one place and I would pick and choose as I was going which photos I wanted to edit and deliver. This took up so much of my time and became so frustrating when trying to get images back to my clients! When Katelyn explained how she culled her weddings, set up designated folders for each category of the wedding day, and how she chose images to blog, I immediately implemented that into my workflow process. Now, my external hard drive is so organized and I’ve even carried that organization into my personal images as well. I know exactly what month my photos were taken, where to find the raw images, the blog images, and the gallery images. I feel more professional now that my images all have a specific place! Is that even a thing?!

3. If you could sit down with a photographer that feels incredibly defeated and discouraged, what would you say to help them? Is there a story of overcoming and victory in your own story that you could share?

I love this question because I wish others would have said this to me when I first started my business at thirteen.

“In your business, whether you’ve been photographing for two weeks or twenty years, you will have moments where you struggle. This may be in editing, posing, blogging, etc., but just keep practicing and learning. Invest in education as much as you possibly can because sometimes even the things you think you may already know may be explained by someone else that could change your whole outlook on the way you are running your business. As a photographer that had no past experience working with another photographer, I felt like I started from scratch without any guidance or help on how to run my business. I juggled between whether I wanted my photos to be “light and airy” or “dark and moody” for the longest time. I purchased so many presets that I don’t even touch now. Once I stopped comparing myself to others in the industry and stopped letting others control my business, I was able to really put forth photos that I really loved and that others loved too. It is so important to genuinely love what you’re creating because you give off a different vibe to your clients when you do. Go for the editing style that makes you giddy to get up in the morning and edit, market for the clients that you want to photograph, and educate yourself in the areas you struggle with most and I promise you will see drastic improvements not only in your work but in yourself.”

FOLLOW ALYSON: Website, Instagram

 

MEET JONI:

Joni is one of our most active and engaging students in our Facebook groups! She’s passionate, she’s dedicated and she’s talented!! I love seeing Joni’s posts about her wins and I also love how effortlessly Joni has become involved in our online community.  She mentions below that COMMUNITY is one of the greatest gifts you can receive as a photographer. No one should do this alone!! She also mentions that when it comes to feeling inadequate, she remembers this :  “One of the things I’ve stuck to recently, especially in the realm of comparison, is something KJ said. You can’t compare yourself to anyone else because there isn’t another you anywhere else in the world. You are the only you that’s out there. Your story is unique and no one can copy that.” I firmly stand by that quote and I love that it’s made an impact on Joni! She has so much to be proud of and I’m so thankful that she’s in our KJ Community!!!

1. What has recently happened in your business that has made you step back and go “Oh my gosh! That just happened?!”

One thing that’s made me step back and do a double take was going through the KJ Bridal Details course, I finished it all in one day! I then recently had a wedding where it was super difficult to find a spot for the detail shots. The only place was right outside the getting ready room on the ground of the little stone patio that was there. It was super cold and windy and the sun kept going in and out from behind the clouds, making lighting a challenge. But channeled my inner KJ and chose to use the dress bag to lay on the ground for a white clean background and added the veil to soften it. The sun and wind were a challenge but I took deep breaths and held my patience. I ended up getting the BEST detail shots I’ve ever done! Because I followed KJ’s order of shooting for the details and once the light cooperated, I was able to whip out the flat lay first and then re use that same area for all the details and got through it pretty quick! Once I came home and started editing I was blown away with what I got! It was like a lightbulb clicked!

2. What part of your KJ Education experience has impacted you the most?

The part of my KJ experience that has impacted me the most would have to be the incredible community that KJ has created. The love and support of other like-minded photographers who are all there to help each other and lift each other up no matter what level they are in in their photography journey. It’s been so incredibly helpful and inspiring and even life saving at times! I don’t know where I’d be with my business without KJ and the amazing tribe she’s created that’s purpose is basically to love others.

3. If you could sit down with a photographer that feels incredibly defeated and discouraged, what would you say to help them? Is there a story of overcoming and victory in your own story that you could share?

If I could say anything to a discouraged photographer, I would say I feel you. I was there so many times. I’ve been a photographer for 5 years and it’s not been an easy journey for me. There were times I wanted to quit and almost did. There were times I was super passionate about pushing forward and doing it for real and then someone told me I needed to step down from it and give it up. I’ve had my heart broken over it and have felt so inadequate before. But one of the things I’ve stuck to recently, especially in the realm of comparison, is something KJ said. You can’t compare yourself to anyone else because there isn’t another you anywhere else in the world. You are the only you that’s out there. Your story is unique and no one can copy that. If we look at everyone else’s work and see that that’s their personal brand and their story of who they are, we look at it through the eyes of appreciation rather than self doubt. We can appreciate others for their craft and their work because it’s them. Just like my work is me. If this is your true passion and you also have a feeling of using your business for a higher purpose than just making money, stick with it! Don’t give up. Push through the difficult things and trials and use those as learning opportunities. Never stop learning and honing your craft. If I can do it, you can too!

FOLLOW JONI: Website, Instagram

 

MEET TALIYA:

 

What I love the most about Taliya’s answers to our questions is her honesty. This interview is transparent and genuine and I’m so glad she agreed to share with us (and you!). Taliya mentions below that she has struggled with ADHD and this is why the KJ Posing Course has been the most impactful educational KJ resource that she has invested in! It makes sense because the KJ Posing Course gives photographers a posing system and the ability to execute it with confidence when you’re with your couples during their day or during a shoot!! I’m THRILLED that she has found that course to be a game changer!! As you read through Taliya’s responses, pay attention to her final response. She encourages us to take time and create space to be able to really analyze why we feel discouraged sometimes in business and I echo that advice!!! It’s so wise take a step back, especially in photography, and really process what we’re feeling about our work, our position in the industry, how we’re handling comparison and why we sometimes get discouraged. Taliya thank you so much for your answers to these questions!! It’s an honor to feature you!

1. What has recently happened in your business that has made you step back and go “Oh my gosh! That just happened?!”

This wedding season in particular I have felt amazingly confident in my work! I’m starting to really feel my consistent look. My October weddings made me feel over the moon. I come home, get the preview up and my boyfriend is even like, “wow, you did amazing, babe! The lighting looks perfect.” And things like that. Although, because I’m raising my prices little by little and not everyone of my friends can afford me anymore, this year in particular they have all been asking for sessions or saying they wish they could afford a session with me. Even though I can’t book everyone, the fact that they really want to means the world to me.

2. What part of your KJ Education experience has impacted you the most?

From the All Access, to the posing course, every little thing KJ has said has helped me. I love that the All Access is a little bit of everything and we see examples of exactly what Katelyn and her team were doing. I love the Posing Course the most though, for me personally. I have anxiety and ADHD and before her posing course I STRUGGLED with direction. I had posing cards on my phone and I’d be like, “uhhh do this?” I wouldn’t get very many images let alone strong ones. I would take hundreds of photos and only give them 25-30. Now I still take hundreds of photos but I have the final image gallery to back me up. It’s amazing how much more variety I have. Look, lean, laugh; him, her, hands, saved my life. When I struggle. Those two phrases save me every single time. Posing is so important me because I’ve always had trouble public speaking, but with those two phrases, I’m golden every time.

3. If you could sit down with a photographer that feels incredibly defeated and discouraged, what would you say to help them? Is there a story of overcoming and victory in your own story that you could share?

I’d say, get analytical. What is it that’s making you feel discouraged? Try to understand where those feelings are coming from and tackle them one day at a time. If you’re not booking, try going to styled shoots, 2nd shooting, or using a friend as a model to keep active and grow your portfolio. When I’m feeling a little lost or in a slower season of my business, I try to keep taking photos no matter what. Don’t put the camera down. I went to some styled shoots this year when all my summer weddings were moved due to COVID-19. I felt so good being around other photographers that I could learn from and it was a great chance to get more pretty photos into my portfolio. I got to shoot a designer wedding dress, a Hayley Paige dress (eeeek!), which I had never had the opportunity to do before. I put that photo on instagram and got so much attention. While likes don’t measure success, I found that it helped me feel confident in my work during a really stressful time in the world. As I have mentioned, I battle with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. When I have my camera in my hands, I feel inspired and creative. The world is at my finger tips, and every click is progress towards my goal, even if they aren’t all keepers. Keep clicking!

FOLLOW TALIYA: Website, Instagram

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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