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KJ Student Spotlight

October 2020

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I’m so excited to share another addition of Student Spotlights from our KJ Education community! It’s so funny to us, but quite often, we find that our friends who know us in everyday life but aren’t in our industry really have no clue what we do! They think we shoot 10 weddings a year and that’s the extent of our work these days but oh… that couldn’t be further from the truth!

We currently have over 15,000 students involved with KJ Education right now! These students range from being members of the KJ Lighting and Location Course, the KJ Posing Course, the KJ Business Collection, the KJ Consistency Course and our industry-leading Behind-the-scenes KJ All Access membership program! Our hope through this series is to share and highlight some of our students who we are so incredibly proud of… and to also let others into the part of our business that doesn’t always get showcased on the blog!!! So enjoy meeting three more KJ Students, hearing how they have grown, what parts of KJ Education have been transformational for them and see some of their work!!

MEET BRIELLE:

Brielle was recently a part of our KJ Business Journey and we just love her enthusiasm and joyful spirit!! She’s grown so much in her business these past two years, even in the midst of a pandemic and we’re so proud of her! She’s taken almost all of our technical courses, she’s been through the KJ Business Collection and she’s also a KJ All Access member (which means she learns from watching me behind the scenes every single month!). I’m so excited for you to get to know her and hear about her experience as a KJ Student and what her knowledge has done for her business AND her life as a momma to a young child!!!

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

Let me start this off with being a featured KJ student!! I am so grateful and owe a lot of success in my business to my education from Katelyn and her team. I even planned a mini vacation with my family driving 7 hours from New Jersey to Virginia to attend her live event for the Business Journey because her education has meant so much to me! So to say I’m excited about this the understatement of the year!

My latest win in business just came last month from past bride from over a year ago who inquired and ordered a wedding album. Her only request was that her album design not only included wedding photographs, but extra spreads to have my ENTIRE blog post from after her wedding included at the end of their album! You cannot deny the power and lasting impact of Katelyn’s 48 hour workflow! On top of that, while being pregnant in the middle of a pandemic shooting less weddings than ever, I have received more genuine inquiries and consistent bookings for next year than in the past 6 years of business!!

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

This is SO hard! I proudly admit that I have maxed out my KJ Education including every episode of All-Access! I have learned more about business and life through Katelyn’s education than I can ever thank her for!! I can easily say that because of KJ education my business does not have to be “my baby” that needs constant attention to function smoothly. I am finally confident enough to charge my worth, have efficient workflows, and not be consumed by anxiety before I leave for a wedding or session. Thanks to the Lighting and Location Course I am able to get photographs in camera to look the way I want without spending hours making extensive edits. The Posing Course gave me the knowledge and confidence to guide my clients through their sessions without going completely blank because of nerves! Most importantly the KJ Business Collection brought balance to the chaos of juggling motherhood, a husband who was working full time and in law school with a photography business that was not efficient. The KJ Business Collection renewed my sense of purpose, and helped me build foundations to run it the way I had always imagined. I will now be a mom of two in December, and feel like I am one step ahead of my business instead of always choosing between my family and my work.

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?

When the comparison bug hits remind yourself that not one business owner is alike. You do not know what season of life someone is in from a curated feed on social media. Find your weaknesses in business and do not be afraid to educate yourself until they become your strengths. Give yourself the grace and freedom to share what is unique to you, and define your own version of success!

FOLLOW BRIELLE: Website, Instagram

 

MEET SHANNON:

Blog reader, meet Shannon!!! Shannon is one amazing KJ Student who I just recently had the privilege of chatting with during a Q&A Zoom call this week! She’s talented and has such great words of advice for photographers who may feel like they are at the end of their rope with burn out! What I love about what Shannon has shared is the invaluable sense of community that she has gained by being a part of KJ Education!! The truth is, being a photographer can be lonely if you don’t allow others to join in a be a part of your journey!! I’m so thankful that the KJ Education world has been a place where Shannon has found friends and fellow, like-minded peers in the industry!!

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

Um, that is easy…KJ wanting to feature my business, of course! Aside from that, there are so many victories that I have cherished along my short journey as a photographer. Having a wedding featured in a bridal publication and vendors referring me without doing anything extra are just a couple of examples of how God will make room for you if you just take that first step toward realizing your dreams.

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

The KJ Education courses and community have been invaluable in my career. If I had to choose one aspect that has impacted me the most, I would have to say KJ All Access. Being able to “shadow” Katelyn on wedding days allows me to see that even experienced photographers face many of the same challenges that I, as a newer photographer, experience. It also allows me to think through these challenges in real-time and validates my thought process as well.

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 would tell a struggling photographer several things. First, we all struggle and go through phases in our careers. Burnout is real, and you should only do what gives you joy. Also, find a group of photographers that you click with (pun totally not intended LOL). Through the KJ community, I have met several photographers from across the country that I call friends. We vent to each other, celebrate with each other, and encourage each other when needed. Finally, I would tell the person that if photography is truly their dream to not give up. We go through hard times, but they do get better. It does get easier.

FOLLOW SHANNON: Website, Instagram

 

MEET KRYSTAL:

Internet, meet Krystal!! She’s just as sweet as she looks!! She’s been a KJ Student for years and she is currently experiencing the REWARD of her hard-earned work!! She’s transformed not only her business but she’s also transformed the way she views the purpose of her business in her life! Reading through her responses to these questions makes me want to sit on my couch and cry because this is what we hope for! Yes, we want to see work transformed and yes we want photographers to understand their camera and lighting and Lightroom better but, ultimately, we believe that being a photographer is so much more than that! We are creative people with a purpose to fulfill through our gifts and abilities and Krystal gets that!!!! I’m so proud of her!!!! Enjoy getting to know her!!!

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

So SO much has changed in the last year in my business!! After shooting my couples weddings I have received some of the most AMAZING reviews from them! And not just any reviews, these are reviews and feedback I PRAYED for, for what seemed like an eternity! I have couples who have not batted an eye at my pricing, booked me, and trusted me COMPLETELY while at the same time treating me as if I were an old friend and not just another wedding vendor! THIS means absolutely EVERYTHING to me! I am a believer in God and things in my life look a lot different than what they did years ago. I could write you a book on this question but to try and keep it short and sweet, this business, KJ Education, and KJ herself has sprung not only my business but my LIFE in a direction I prayed for so hard. This business has changed my life in a way that I can finally feel like I am truly able to to make an impact in peoples’ lives!! A few other changes I thought I never in a million years would see are: I have gotten recognition in other platforms and publications online (including Southern Bride Magazine!!), I have made a few truly good friends in the industry, and my top favorite wedding venue selected me for their preferred vendor list AND put me at the TOP of their list on their website!!!

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

Oh my gosh, are you ready for a NOVEL on this question?? Where do I even begin? Ok so the part of my KJ Education that impacted me the most has absolutely ZERO to do camera settings, the photography industry, making money, how to pose, how to properly light, running a business, etc. It has EVERYTHING to do with the ultimate underlying PURPOSE behind Katelyn James Photography, KJ education, Katelyn James and her amazing team. I have bought many other tutorials, courses, webinars… but KJ education, for me, was MORE than JUST courses. It was a TURNING POINT for not only my business but more importantly my PERSONAL LIFE. It was a turning point for my perspective on life, my attitude, and what I wanted MY overall purpose to be. I see life and the world a lot differently than what I used to and I will FOREVER thank Katelyn and her team for being so dedicated and GENUINE in what they have to offer the world. To know and feel in your heart that an educator has such a bigger purpose than what you would see at surface level allowed a beautiful change in PERSPECTIVE for me. I whole-heartedly believe if my perspective, my attitude, and my outlook on things had not changed, I would NOT still be in business and THRIVING! Without a clear underlying purpose for what you do AND determination to continue to fulfill that purpose, it becomes really tough to reach a point where you thrive, ultimately aiding that feeling of wanting to give it all up! Therefore, if anyone out there may be struggling to find themselves, struggling with your “why”, and are simply just hungry for something MORE than just a business that produces income….KJ Education is 1000% worth it!

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 would first tell them, “I was you probably 6 months ago!” Then I would say “Stop right now and think to yourself what things have you accomplished? What goals have you achieved? What are some of your recent wins?” I would tell them to really think about their journey thus far. Because running a business is all about learning and growing. If I were to sit back and think about my business from the VERY BEGINNING in 2016…I can still remember what things I learned and accomplished that pushed me to keep going! It could be as simple as getting a good review from a client, learning a new photoshop skill, correcting a mistake you made at previous shoot or wedding…All of these things should be CELEBRATED and not down-played as not a big deal. These types of things are the building blocks of a great business and having true passion and dedication to the craft! I would also remind them to think back to their ultimate purpose, let it manifest within your soul, and DO NOT GIVE UP!! There were SO MANY times where I ALMOST completely threw in the towel, told myself I completely sucked, told myself that people hated me, and COMPARED MYSELF to other photographers! The truth and reality is, there is only ONE YOU. There is only ONE ME. I believe with all my heart that each of us has a purpose and each of us can offer something completely different and amazing to the world. I would tell them to stay strong, focus on what makes them who they are, and stay true to themselves. My win or my friends win is NOT OUR LOSS!! And again, don’t give up!!

FOLLOW KRYSTAL: Website, Instagram

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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I’m so excited to share another addition of Student Spotlights from our KJ Education community! It’s so funny to us, but quite often, we find that our friends who know us in everyday life but aren’t in our industry really have no clue what we do! They think we shoot 10 weddings a year and that’s the extent of our work these days but oh… that couldn’t be further from the truth!

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