Today’s guest—who for many needs no introduction—is photographer Katelyn James. Katelyn started her photography business during her junior year of college and since then has shot hundreds of weddings alongside her husband Michael, and been featured in national publications such as The Knot, Southern Weddings, BRIDES and others.
Beyond that, Katelyn has influenced the wedding photography industry in so many different ways—especially when it comes to marketing one’s business. So it makes sense that thousands of photographers have enrolled in her online courses and her newest membership program: KJ All-Access, where one gets behind-the-scenes access to real weddings, engagements, and portrait shoots.
During this interview, I wanted to discuss how Katelyn would market a business if she was starting one today. We reflect on how she built her business, why she started blogging both her professional work and stuff from her personal life, the importance of networking, mistakes she sees business make today, and her approach to marketing.
03:30 The first time I met Katelyn
09:01 How Katelyn started her business
13:56 What drove inquiries early in her business.
19:53 How Katelyn decides what to share of her personal life.
24:19 Where she would start if she was building a business today.
30:55 The value of blogging today.
32:10 The most effective way to approach networking.
33:52 The power of building relationships within your industry.
38:56 Where Katelyn focuses her social media efforts.
40:34 Are email lists worth it?
43:15 The benefits of building a community around your business.
50:58 Choosing to focus on your own business and not what everyone else is doing.
55:54 What marketing mistakes Katelyn sees people making.
1:02:21 What you need to do if you want to raise your prices and have longevity in your business.
Katelyn started her professional photography journey as a Junior in college and was shooting 25+ weddings annually within her second year. After growing her business and gaining recognition in national publications such as Professional Photographers Magazine, The Knot, Southern Living Weddings, Southern Weddings and multiple other online publications such a Style Me Pretty, BRIDES, Inspired by This, Real Simple, etc. She then began teaching and coaching photographers from all over the country and internationally. In 2015 she was named “Top Ten Educators to Watch” by Rangefinder Magazine and has had the honor of speaking at conferences such as WPPI, United, Creative at Heart, Local PPA meetings, The Rising Tide Summit, The Reset Conference, The Pursuit Conference, Making Things Happen, The Connect Retreat, Blink and more!
Katelyn hosts 2-day workshops throughout the year at her home in Richmond, VA. In 2012 Katelyn was joined by her husband Michael and they are officially a husband/wife team. Since joining forces, Katelyn and Michael average 12-15 weddings annually while teaching thousands of photographers through their online courses and KJ All Access monthly membership program! They are parents to their daughter Everly, their son James in heaven and are puppy parents to Bokeh, the Bichpoo! They are passionate about traveling, home design, & spending time dreaming and brainstorming with their closest friends!!
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest
Resources Mentioned in the Episode:
KJ All Access
Search Engine Land article about referral traffic
Nancy Ray’s Foundations in Team Building
A note about the transcript: The interviews are transcribed by an online app, and there may be errors in the transcription. While we do our best to correct errors—especially those that may change the meaning of what a speaker was trying to say—we do not catch every error. Thus we ask that people refer back to the audio/video for quotes. Also, please refer back to the audio/video if something is not clear in transcript; however, if you are hearing impaired, feel free to email us for clarifications.
Katelyn: 00:00:07 We want to look at our life and our business and what we’ve done for 10 years and recognize that even though the world’s changed and the Internet has changed, there’s one thing that has remained the same and it’s that whatever your God given gifts are personality wise, you’re always going to win with that. There’s no way that that won’t work for you.
Davey: 00:00:33 Welcome to the Brands that Book show where we help creative service based businesses, build their brands and find more clients. I’m your host, Davey Jones. Today’s guest who for many needs no introduction, is photographer, Katelyn James, Katelyn started her photography business during her junior year of college and since then has shot hundreds of weddings alongside her husband Michael, and has been featured in national publications such as “The Knot”, “Southern Weddings” and “Brides magazine”. Beyond that, Katelyn has influenced the wedding photography industry in so many different ways, especially when it comes to marketing one’s business, so it makes sense that thousands of photographers have enrolled in her online courses and in her newest membership program, “KJ all access” where one gets behind the scenes, access to real weddings, engagement and portrait shoots. During this interview, I wanted to discuss how Katelyn would market a business if she was starting one today. We reflect on how she built her business, why she started blogging, both her professional work and stuff from her personal life, the importance of networking, mistakes she sees businesses make today, and her approach to marketing. Be sure to check out the show notes at Davey and Krista for the resources that we mentioned during this episode, and I’d like to hear from you about what kind of content you’d like to see on the Brands that Book podcast as we move forward. I’d also like to know what kind of episodes or what episode did you enjoy so far and why? So to leave your feedback head on over to the Davey and Krista facebook page and send us a message now onto the interview.
Davey: 00:02:20 Well, Katelyn, welcome to the show. I’m so glad that we’re finally able to do this.
Katelyn: 00:02:23 Me Too. It’s been a long time coming.
Davey: 00:02:26 Yeah, for sure. And when I was brainstorming topics and questions– that’s the thing about brainstorming topics for this conversation in general. I mean, how long has your business been in existence?
Katelyn: 00:02:38 This is crazy. It’s been in existence since, well, 2010. So I mean actually 2008 is when it actually started. I feel like it really wasn’t a business until 2010 because that’s when I really started making money. But it is–
Davey: 00:02:54 Important for any business.
Katelyn: 00:02:55 Yes. It’s coming up on a decade, this August…
Davey: 00:02:55 That’s incredible.
Davey: 00:03:00 And because of that there’s just so many things that you could talk about. I mean, I could pick I think any business topic and you could have spoken to it. So that was one of the challenging things. I’m really excited to talk with you about how if you were to start a business today, how you would go about marketing that business. So I’m really excited to dig into that with you. But also while I was thinking about this interview and just preparing for it, what came to mind was the very first time that I met you.
Katelyn: 00:03:00 Oh no!
Davey: 00:03:30 And I don’t even know. I don’t know. This is, this is fun. I don’t even know if you would remember this but it was back at Natalie Franke’s wedding because you shot her wedding, you and Michael and Krista was the maid of honor. And so Krista and Natalie, they were really excited and I knew of you but we had never met before. And you know Krista and Natalie, they’re so excited to have you be shooting the wedding. Right? And so we get to the wedding day. We never I don’t think we ever really formally met there. But here’s what I remember: I think it was at the reception. You were taking a picture of Krista and I think Natalie together and I, and one of my friends who was also there, photo-bombed the picture. And I remember you looking at me and it was with this look that was both simultaneously sweet and terrifying. All right? Basically like, you need to get out of my shot right now.
Katelyn: 00:04:34 This is Natalie Franke’s wedding and don’t mess it up hahaha.
Davey: 00:04:42 Hahaha, well, you know in your defense it was a photo that definitely shouldn’t have somebody photo bombing: the bride and the maid of honor. So, I definitely deserved it.
Katelyn: 00:04:49 That’s hilarious, I don’t even remember that. But I want to go back and find it.
Davey: 00:04:51 Hahaha oh yeah that probably got culled that picture. I mean the, the next picture you took of them without me in it, I’m sure it made it, but that picture probably got culled. And I just remember thinking to myself, “oh man, that was kind of scary. I feel like that’s a look maybe you reserve for like Michael. It’s like a typical parent look. Like I wonder if you use it with Evy, if it’s evolved into that where, only the person that’s being looked at knows that’s any anything’s wrong.
Katelyn: 00:05:24 It’s kind of the look that I give Michael when I’m like, move that flash. Oh, I know the look exactly that you’re talking about and I’m so sorry you experienced it in context and that was our first interaction.
Davey: 00:05:36 No, I was looking back, just kind of impressed. But anyways, so moving on a couple of years, you know, a couple of years go by. Natalie, Krista, Huey and I have founded “The Rising Tide Society”. And again, by then I definitely knew who you were and you had this great reputation and I always joke around with Tyler Herrinton– if you listened to his interview even on my podcast, but I also think on his podcast, you’re on his podcast, he talks about how he was, a KJ fan girl, right?
Katelyn: 00:06:06 Yeah. And he’s still kind of claims that title, which is very endearing.
Davey: 00:06:12 Yeah, he’s very proud of that. But I’m just not that kind of person. And so Krista and Natalie go on and on about you. I’m like, guys, okay, listen, chill. Like, I’m sure Katelyn is great, but you need to chill a little bit.
Katelyn: 00:06:28 I’m very boring in real life actually.
Davey: 00:06:29 No, no, no, no. So I remember we were starting the first RTS Summit and we had never really dealt with webinars before and so we weren’t sure how we were going to execute it. So we were kind of brainstorming, like who can we reach out to to help us with this? And we ultimately reached out to you. And this was really my first, I think, true interaction with you. And I remember getting off that call with you and turning to the girls and being like, okay, now I get it. Now I get why people love you so much. Just because, and I think this is true of both you and Michael, that when you’re around people you’re just so present. I mean you guys are definitely busy people, but when you’re interacting with people, you just, it just feels like you’re the only person being spoken to and I think that’s a gift that both you and Michael have.
Katelyn: 00:06:29 Aw, thank you.
Davey: 00:07:37 It was in that moment that I kinda got, “Okay, this is why people love her” because I think the Katelyn that we see on instagram and through the blog and all these different channels is the Katelyn that you’d get in real life.
Katelyn: 00:07:48 That is always the goal. And so it’s so encouraging that that is what people experience because you don’t know if that’s what people experience because you can’t know that. So that’s– thank you. That’s, that’s good to hear.
Davey: 00:08:01 Well I think that’s a good segue into what we’re talking about today because to me from an outsider looking in, that has to be at least a little bit of the reason why your businesses have been so successful is just because you come across in a way that’s true to yourself in all that you do marketing your businesses. So I’m excited to dig into that with you.
Katelyn: 00:08:23 Me too. I’m glad you mentioned that because as I was thinking about this, the foundation of what I feel like you’re probably gonna ask me comes down to really that. And so we’re startin’ well! Everything is going to be good. I can feel it. Good deal.
Davey: 00:08:39 We do start every interview off with just I want to, I want to hear about how you started your business back in 2008, you know, when you weren’t making any money and then how that transitioned into making money in 2010. So on. I want to hear about that and I’m sure listeners do too because I’m sure a lot people listening already know you and already familiar with you. But for those who aren’t, you know, where did you get started?
Katelyn: 00:09:01 Oh Gosh, that’s a good question. And I feel like every time I answer this question, I give a different explanation because there’s so much that has happened in a decade of business. But basically, you know, the basics are I started in college, I was a junior and I realized I had an internship being a graphic designer. I was in an office in a cubicle and I’m like, oh my gosh, this is what my day in and day out it’s going to look like: I’m going to pack a lunch, I’m going to get there. I’m going to have a boss that’s changing everything, that I decide I don’t like this, I want to work for myself. So I started doing photography and I honestly, I started before the wave hit right before the wave of tons of people getting into photography because of the Internet and because of how easy it was to market online.
Katelyn: 00:09:50 I just kinda got in before that big wave came. And so I started growing the business, started shooting weddings. Michael eventually joined me a couple of years after we got married, and we became a full blown husband and wife team. Then we transitioned into starting kind of our second business off of Katelyn James Photography, which was Katelyn James Education and that was a, a huge turning point because I started realizing as much as I love serving clients as a wedding photographer, I really loved educating people and allowing people to see like I can do this too, like I can be a photographer too, and I and I can make this happen for myself. So Katelyn James Education was born from Katelyn James photography. Now honestly, we educate more than we shoot and that has been, I think something that has come about as we have become parents.
Katelyn: 00:10:46 So the evolution of our business just continues to move forward and I feel like I have a picture of what’s coming next. But every time we enter, like every two years, I’m like, wow, I didn’t see that coming, you know. And so that’s what I’m excited about. It’s, I think that we’re in a really cool place where we get to help people, but we still have 10 to 12 clients a year that we’re shooting weddings and so I’m still in the grind of being a wedding photographer, but it’s not the shooting 40 to 50 weddings a year like it used to be. I’m glad we did that hustle phase where we basically just worked because I learned a lot during that phase. And I think it set it up, set us up for where we are now. So yeah.
Davey: 00:11:27 Going back in time, back to 2008, 2010, when did you learn that photography was going to be a business for you? You know, like when did you learn, like when did you have that? Um, the, the flip switch from just it being something you’d like to do to being, oh, I have a steady stream of clients now. This is a thing.
Katelyn: 00:11:46 Right? I think for me honestly, it’s when I started—this is gonna sound dumb. When I first started getting checks that were like four digits, you know what, when I got a deposit that wasn’t 250, it was like 750. And then I got a final payment for 1200. I’m like, oh my gosh, like this is, this could legitimately like, this could be a thing. And I honestly, I started when I graduated college. I think it really hit me that like, this was gonna be my thing. This is what I want to try to do when you know what, I’m not going to apply for jobs. I think I’m gonna, I think I’m going to just graduate college. And my goal was to make—I have it on a posted note that I wrote in college to make $24,000 a year.
Katelyn: 00:12:30 That’s what I wanted to make. And I made that within my first couple of years of business, you know, not combining them each year is 20 something. But that’s so funny to me. Like that was my goal. I just need to make 20K after expenses as my goal. And when I did that during college, I think that’s when I realized I could actually do this. So yeah, it was when I decided my college roommates were all applying for all these jobs and internships and I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and hope that it works.
Davey: 00:13:00 That’s so funny you say that because I remember when Krista started in photography as well and it was a similar feeling where all of a sudden she’s making over a thousand dollars per wedding and I’m thinking to myself, man, if you shot 30 of these a year, then you’re like over $30,000. And as a teacher, I mean, I mean, first of all I’m like, I’m not going to diminish 20 or $30,000. That’s a lot of money. But at the same time as a teacher, I mean I was making probably $45,000 a year, so $30,000 a year. I mean that was almost my salary by doing this, you know, at the time, it kind of the side hustle. Yeah. So I mean it’s just this incredible. I think light bulb moment like, oh my gosh, there’s so much potential here. But going back to it as it takes off, what was, what was driving the growth of your business? Was it just that, you know, you would shoot a wedding and other people would hear about you through word of mouth or what was, what were driving those inquiries?
Katelyn: 00:13:56 So I think what’s important is, I remember back when I started, I followed Jasmine Star. She was literally one of the only photographers, Jessica Claire Becker, which I have some of these people don’t even, I don’t even, I don’t know if she shoots anymore, but there were like five people that I followed blogs and, and they were the only people I could really find that actually blogged somewhat regularly. So I just followed what Jasmine was doing. I started blogging all the time. I would sit in like communications class and I look across the room and there’d be like three girls looking at my blog post from another girl and another comp class. Like, oh, this girl is getting in. She started her own business. She’s doing a thing called blog and I’m so the blog took off because there wasn’t a lot of people to compete with.
Katelyn: 00:14:44 And so I started creating content that way. And little did I know I was only doing that because I couldn’t to pay for paid advertising. That’s the reason. But the cool thing is, is that I literally, that was like jackpot because I grew to number one SEO-wise. I mean if you look for Virginia wedding photographer, even though I haven’t been blogging reasonably, I’m still like on the front page and that really set me up for success. But I think the fact that I was sharing the way that I was, I wasn’t busy enough because I was a full time college student. It wasn’t busy enough to share professional work every day. So what happened was I, uh, I started sharing about my life. I got to fill in the blank. Somehow I’m going to share about my life. And that was another jackpot moment where I thought, I’m just trying to get by.
Katelyn: 00:15:33 But really it was genius because not only were people not blogging as much, they really weren’t blogging and sharing their personal life so people would get to know me online, then they’d meet me in real life. And surprisingly, I think I matched what they hoped that I would be. And then it was just this natural like, oh, you got to work with her. And um, and I didn’t realize that was happening until years later. I’m like, why is this going? So why this is working? And I honestly, it has so much to do with the way that we made people feel. And I was thinking about, you know, this whole conversation earlier today, and I was thinking about how I really think the way that we approach making friends, you know, is the same way that we should approach business running. Like if you go out on a double date, you and Krista with a new couple, you never met him before, but you’re trying to have more community or something.
Katelyn: 00:16:29 You know, you go out to eat, you’re sitting at the restaurant, you’re going to hope that that client gets in the car and says to their spouse or their significant other like, oh, that was so fun. Like I loved hanging out with them. Maybe maybe text them, see they want to go to a baseball game next week. I want engaged couples to leave their engagement session being like that was so much better than I thought. Like I loved hanging out with them and that is how I’ve run my business and everything comes back to how you make people feel. And there are traits to being a people person that I think are naturally ingrained and it just comes natural. But I’ve learned through our posing course anyone can be trained to know how to make people feel loved and cared about. And business and friendships go hand in hand. And I just wish more people knew that, so I think that’s why we grew.
Davey: 00:17:28 It was really you, I guess it generated that persona, not that it was a persona, but you, um, you communicated that rather through your blog back in 2008, 2010. You’re not only blogging weddings at that point, but you’re blogging, you know, personal stuff as well. Right. Do you still blog personal stuff though. So it seems like to a certain extent your strategy hasn’t all that much. I mean, you still, you still blog, personal stuff. Do you still think that there’s value in that?
Katelyn: 00:17:57 I honestly think that that is the only thing that has lasted, you know, the blog is not what it used to be. The blog used to be people. People would refer about my blog as the blog to other people who have blogs. I’m like, wait, wait. That’s how big of a deal it was. Like, Oh, you’re going to be on her blog. And, and now it’s not really like that anymore because the Internet has changed. Um, but the thing that is the same is the style of content that I’m sharing. And I think that’s what’s important. Um, you know, we just recently went through a hard season, lost our son, and I realize like, gosh, the Internet is desperate for realness and vulnerability, not for the sake of getting response, but for the sake of recognizing that like someone else’s story can impact someone else’s life in a really positive way.
Katelyn: 00:18:50 And so whether you’re sharing something that’s heartbreaking but hopeful at the same time, like our recent story or whether you’re sharing things like what I shared, you know, a couple days ago, like pictures of our family life in the last six months, just pictures of our daughter—people relate to that because I have to remember the people that I’m trying to bring into my business. I’m the only thing that I can relate to them is like that I’m a real human being. You know, I’m not just a wedding photographer because if I only shared my work then I’m only giving one category of connection for people to be able to resonate with me. And so yeah, I mean, I don’t think there will ever be a time in my life where I don’t share who I am personally on the blog or through instagram or through any, whatever other social media comes out in the next decade and will always share that part of my story because I know that like personality wins, it always wins. Even though the method of where we’re sharing it has changed so much.
Davey: 00:19:53 So how did you decide? How do you decide what to share personally? Because I got to imagine that there are some areas of one’s life that don’t make it onto the blog or don’t make it onto social media. So how do people navigate that? Um, what’s, you know, what’s too much to share? Do you have—I mean, this is gonna sound silly—but do you have like a formula? I mean, that sounds so contrived, but do you have some, some formula for how much personal stuff you share too, how much of your work that you share? Because I got to imagine too that even though people might fall in love with you and your personality, they also want to know that when you show up on their wedding day that you’re going to be able to do a good job.
Katelyn: 00:20:35 Are you going to show up and bring your 16 month old because that’s all I see you post? Um, no. I think that’s a great question. I think there’s a lot of filters that I use. One I feel you can share. I’m pretty much any part of your life. Even the hard stuff, if you share struggles victoriously, you know? We, we felt pretty hopeless, you know, losing a baby at points, but I would never share something unless I had gotten to a point where I’m like, “Hey, this sucks and this is what’s really, really hard, but I’ve, there’s something hopeful that I’m learning in all the pain.” There’s a little bit of hope and there’s victory and I can share that victory because honestly, I think people want social media, I think they want it to be inspiring, entertaining and helpful in some way to take their life to a next level to learn something.
Katelyn: 00:21:26 And if it’s none of those things that it’s either something just self promoting, something that’s going to make people jealous or something that’s just self seeking and that’s a real big turnoff to people. And so for me, we share the wins and the hard parts of our life, but only in a way that it’s going to help people and not just be, you know, you don’t want to be the ‘negative nancy’ of Instagram. So I think that’s a filter I use. Uh, I also think that, when we share personal things about our life, we have to balance it with making sure that we still have professional posts. When I look at my grid, you know, on Instagram or if I think about blog posts now I want to make sure that it’s not just a list of personal posts and like, oh yeah, I forgot I’m also a wedding photographer.
Katelyn: 00:22:13 Here’s an engagement session. So I do try to balance that and I think that, um, I think ultimately though it’s important to think about the season that you’re in, you know, we have such a personal brand that people actually, after we lost James, our son back in May, I had to postpone tons of shoots and I picked back up as soon as I was off of recovery and maternity leave. I shot like six engagement sessions in two weeks and I blogged really quickly. So all of a sudden people having like engagement session, I had so many people in tune with the series of events that just happened that people would email me and be like, Katelyn, I, I really hope you’re not doing too much. I hope you’re not pushing yourself too much. And I’m like, isn’t it interesting that people are so engaged with like the series of events that our life that they’re worried because all of a sudden I went from being super personal to super professional so…
Katelyn: 00:23:07 People pay attention to that and I’d have to be careful about it that I don’t do too much of one thing, but honestly I ride the waves as they happen and this year was a lot of personal and then we just recently kicked back into professional and um, but it’s interesting. I, I’ll blog and engagement session after that hard season and I started the blog posts with like a lot of, you know, that we haven’t been around professionally the last couple months and here’s why. And you can read the post here about our story and it was never like I’m trying to hide something and it wasn’t a surprise to people. Yeah. Yeah. So I don’t know if that helps. I don’t know if that answers that question, but I do think filters and I think that I’m the biggest filter. I find people need to know what’s too much to share. And I need to make sure Evy can read this stuff and I would be proud of it years from now and I want to make sure I’m positive and encouraging without sugarcoating the hard stuff of life. So if I can share it victoriously even though it’s hard and if I’m going to be proud of it decades from now, um, and it’s not going to embarrass my kids, I think it’s okay. And I think it actually makes me human the more that I can share within those parameters.
Davey: 00:24:19 Sure. So if we were going to fast forward in time, so let’s say Katelyn James brand as we know it doesn’t exist, which that’s, that’s hard. That’s hard to think about just because the ways in which you’ve influenced our industry. But let’s, let’s use our imagination and, and try and try to say that. Okay, Katelyn James brand doesn’t exist and you wanted to build a photography business today. Where would you even start? Oh, that’s so hard—such a broad question.
Katelyn: 00:24:51 Well, I was just gonna say I, I have thought about this before, even before I knew this call was coming and I have thought to myself how I’m panicky, I might have felt because there is this sense when you’re like a go getter mind set. Like that’s how I’m wired. I’m like, Oh yeah, we’re going to do this. I feel like there would be a sense of panic that could set in because there’s so much to overcome. Like there’s so much competition. And when I started at didn’t have that, um, or I didn’t feel that in the same way that I think I would feel if I started right now. And so I just want that out there. It’s definitely hard.
Davey: 00:25:25 And I, I want to put a caveat in there because it wasn’t as if there were no other photographers when you started. And I think again that speaks to the way in which you built your business is that you’ve, you’ve changed the industry I think in so many different ways or affected change in the industry in so many different ways. Because there were, I’m sure, there are plenty of photographers, but there are, I think that there weren’t, like you said, there weren’t a ton of photographers who were blogging per, you know, blogging in general, blogging a mix of personal stuff and a professional stuff. So I think the way in which you went about your business made it feel like maybe there was less competition than there actually was.
Katelyn: 00:26:00 Yes. It was almost like I was paving my own way and honestly the hard part about that I had to just kind of like decide which way I was going to approach it was when I started teaching other people how to do exactly the same thing because all the sudden it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, book Katelyn, because she’s super personable and you can’t get to know any of these other photographers really anything.’ All of a sudden it’s like, oh no, there’s like seven other photographers in my area that are killing it, and I can’t take credit for their growth. But I knew that I had taught them like some things and I’m like, well now I just created competition, and I can either be bitter about that, but if I’m going to be bitter about that than I have no right to be an educator because you can’t, you can’t be an educator.
Katelyn: 00:26:51 And then not like the fact that what you’re teaching is working and now you have competition. So instead I just had a view and as you know what, I know that there’s only one me, there’s never going to be, so I’m going to dive in deeper to the fact that there’s only one me and I’m going to keep sharing the heart out of Katelyn and Michael’s story and who I am, what I love, what I don’t love, what I’m passionate about, what I’m not, and I’m going to hope that that stands firm as a foundation for my business and I don’t really have competition. And that’s exactly what happened. So yeah, I definitely did. Did I answer that question?
Davey: 00:27:25 Just if you were to start today, what, what marketing channel to you focus on? Would it be, would you, uh, I’m sure at some level you would have a blog, right? But would that be your, your biggest focus?
Katelyn: 00:27:36 Yeah, I don’t think it would be, but, um, like I said before, I think the style of what I would share would be the same. The content would be the same to market even if I started today from scratch, but the method in which I shared it probably wouldn’t be as much focused on everyone get to the blog. It would be more more so through Instagram, which is more readily accessible. People can check in and see more of what it’s like microblogging in a way, you know, um, but I would still blog for the sake of SEO. I would want a place to archive a portfolio of my work to show that I’m busy and then I’m thriving. Instagram can do that in a way, but not the same way I want.
Katelyn: 00:28:18 I would want to have a blog to highlight my couples and to write more about them than just a paragraph on instagram. And to save that for families to be able to go and visit, but I, I think it would still be worth it. It just wouldn’t be as powerful as it used to be. And I think it’s important for me to recognize that because it’s very easy to. When you experienced the growth from a blog like I have, I remember a couple years ago someone said like, Katelyn, you got admit blogging. It’s not the same. And I think I was having a little bit of denial and no, it’s still the same. It’s still great. But honestly it has changed and it’s not as vital to my business as it used to be. So if I was starting over, I think that what I would do is I would focus on marketing in a way that allowed what has worked in the past, which is personality, client service, the way that I make people fall in love with our relationship between me and other people.
Katelyn: 00:29:13 Whatever I’m doing to make people love me. I would stick to that, but I would do it through networking and I would do it through other forms of social media. And blogging would be the secondary thing that I use social media to push people towards, almost like meet me this way, fall in love with me through blogging. And I, I think that that would probably be my, my approach. Whereas if I was starting a business where was selling something online, maybe I wasn’t to be a wedding photographer, then I would approach paid advertising on online because it would be an online business that I’II need to funnel some people in my direction so I could actually reach them. Whereas now I was thinking like, gosh, how do I know that there are new photographers in Richmond where I live? The answer to that is because I’ve talked to other people who’ve worked with them and they’re like, oh, have you heard so and so she’s new, but she’s great. And I’ll look her up on instagram when I find her on Instagram.
Katelyn: 00:30:08 Something she’s posted is engaging enough for me to remember her. And then when people email me, they’re like, hey, I can’t afford $10,000 for a photographer, do you have someone more in the $2,500 range? I’m like, oh yeah, so and so just told me about this new girl in Richmond. And I sent her the referral. So there’s a lot of things that happened there. One that person, that new person made themselves available to be able to be known by one of my friends and has a great experience in person with her, then I found her online and found her to be personable and I referred her. And I think honestly if I was starting, that’s how I would win at creating a business now is the networking side and that would be supported by a great online presence.
Davey: 00:30:55 And there’s so much to go through there. One, I’m glad that you mentioned blogging just in general. It’s definitely not what it used to be—and nothing is right? Everything evolves. But what’s interesting about SEO and Google search traffic, right, is that we’ve come kind of full circle in that for the first time since 2014 Google search traffic has outpaced social media referral traffic, which I thought was really interesting. I think if I asked 10 people like, “Hey, what do you think the biggest source of referral traffic is nowadays?” People would say social media. But the truth is, is that in 2017, at least it was Google. So I still think that blogging has a place. And also I think, what I hear you say is just there’s this almost story that a clients go through from getting to know you and that handshake through, you know, as you put it, falling in love with you through the blog. And different channels are meant for different, different things.
Davey: 00:31:58 For networking specifically, where should people get started? Because I think there’s a lot of people that that terrifies them. Like showing up and handing out business cards or something like that. Like how would you recommend somebody go about networking?
Katelyn: 00:32:10 Okay, I don’t, I don’t want this to seem like I am really watering down the complexity of how hard networking is, but I go back to like the double date example. Like what about sitting down with somebody and hanging out with them? What makes people want to be your friend? Like that’s what I’m constantly pulled back to and normally when I think about meeting new people and really loving being around them, they are positive. We have a term that we use in our life, they’re “life giving,” like I leave them and I feel like energized and like more positive after leaving their conversation. Um, and a lot of times that comes from people being really interested in me, which sounds selfish, but like we’re all human. I think it’s really special when people are really engaged asking me questions about my life and I’m like, oh, they want to get to know me.
Katelyn: 00:33:02 This is great. I will. That’s so sweet of ’em. And I had this great conversation where it’s not painfully hard to talk. And I think a lot of times people worry so much about, like the networking professional side of everything, whereas if they walked into a scenario where they’re meeting up with a planner that they’ve never met or they’re trying to get to know another photographer they’re going to second shoot for, you know, if they just worry about like, I just want to become friends with these people. That is way more appealing than anything else that they could do. So don’t worry about showing them a portfolio. Don’t worry about talking about, oh, how much experience you’ve had. Like, oh, make sure they know I did this, this and this. Just worry about forming a friendship. And, and I think that is sounds so simple, but that is how I have formed so many friendships in the past.
Davey: 00:33:53 Yeah, and I got to imagine that’s a, you know, as you just shared with, um, through the story of figuring out who, who’s new in your area, even one relationship, the amount of opportunities that that can create, you know? And I just think like somebody who’s just getting started, if they go to a networking event and you know, they hit it off with a planner, you know, that they’re just trying to get to know as, as you said, like as a friend almost, not only could that lead or more inquiries or referrals from that planner, but then also meeting other people in the industry. I think that, and then you meet somebody else and it leads to more inquiries and more referrals.
Katelyn: 00:34:30 Yeah. And I think it’s so important to be the person that a planner or another photographer meets that they enjoy just being around and not like, oh, that person, they just want to get bookings. Like they’re just in it for them. Like, that’s never going to work. And, and I think about that, um, you know, Tyer and Ashley Herrinton are a great example of that. They weren’t trying to network with us when they met us, but they genuinely helped. Like they had a genuine, a genuine interest in helping us with our business, with their gifts and their abilities. Tyler’s like Kaitlyn, have you ever thought about doing more videos online? And now our entire business is videos, um, but when Tyler offered for like that part of our business to grow and he was like genuinely like, I just think I could help you with that.
Katelyn: 00:35:16 And now who is the number one videographer that we tell everyone that we need to work with? I mean, I, I probably shouldn’t say this out loud, but I give people discounts if they’ll book them because that’s how much I want to work with them. So like brides will say, hey, the Herrinton’s are too expensive and I’m like hey, I’ll take a thousand dollars off if you work with them because I love working with them. So how did the Herrinton’s get to be that place in our business relationship? It started with the genuinely just wanted to be friends and they wanted to help us and it was nothing selfish about it because for years, honestly they just continually, we’re just so giving towards us and so sweet. And I’m a course I want to work with them because of how much I enjoy being around them. And so I think that, uh, you know, it comes back to having a lot of confidence in the way that you make friendships, and if your heart’s in the right place, you have nothing to worry about, you know, you just need to walk into those situations and make sure that people know, like, you just want to get to know them and you form a community with them and not just give me some bookings, you know, refer me, refer me.
Katelyn: 00:36:23 I’m so sick of hearing people say that, you know, so
Davey: 00:36:27 Yeah. And I, and I liked what you said about or I don’t want people to glance over the fact that you said it, it took years, that relationship with the Herrinton’s, right? You took years. And so that’s, I mean, that’s a long time, right? It. But think about it, think about what the impact that that’s had on the Herrinton’s business, let’s say, you know, and the people that they’ve gotten to meet through you. And so definitely I think worth it. And uh, and again, I don’t want to make it sound like, oh, they’re just building business connections, right? Because you guys are really good friends as well, so I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want, make it sound like.
Katelyn: 00:37:06 We joke about that all the time where like guys we’re real friends, we’re not just blog friends, we’re real friends. Um, but I think honestly for other people they would be, it would be in their best interest to form friendships like that in, and it can be life changing to have, you know, I would say a lot of our, even, you know, you guys like you and Krista, you know, some of our good friends and um, we were not friends because we want to get bookings from each chapter. But there’s positive things business wise that come from investing in the people that are in your industry instead of reframing and, and being pulled away in the opposite direction. So, um, yeah, I, I think, I think in a nutshell you got to form friendships and genuinely care about people. That makes a huge difference. Not just with networking but with your clients as well.
Davey: 00:37:49 Yeah. And I think while it might take longer to do that, then to create a beautiful Instagram feed that the results are much more longterm and powerful then, you know, building a, a pretty instagram feed. But I don’t want to downplay channels like social media. So you’re, you’re starting your business. Networking is definitely the one of the first things that you would do I’m hearing you say. After that, moving onto, would it be social media? I also do want to ask you, and I don’t want to, I won’t, don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but I wanna ask you about email lists because we hear a lot about email lists now. And I definitely, um, we didn’t build our photography business. using an email list, you know, so when I hear people say you have to have an email list, I’m thinking well I’m not sure you have to have any specific channel, you know, you can make it work with just word of mouth. But I am interested in hearing whether you think that has a place for, you know, a photographer or a planner or a florist who’s building a service based business. So I’ll just put it in your court. Where do you think, like where do you start their social media wise? Where do you start?
Katelyn: 00:38:57 ocial media wise? I think if you were starting right now in this day and age, I still think Instagram is where it’s at as far as being noticed in getting engagement. And I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard to start a feed like that, but you have to view, um, you have to view that method of engagement as it’s a support system for what you’re portraying in real life. So don’t view instagram as like it’s like, oh my gosh, I’ve got to pay to get found. I got to get some people looking at my stuff. No, you, you want to be extremely personable and strategic in what you’re sharing. Sharing who you are—don’t hold back in that area so that when you meet people and they start following you, that’s supporting who they met. I think that’s really important and honestly, like the example I gave before, that’s why I choose to refer people that I hear about through word of mouth because I look them up and I’m like, oh, I like what they’re putting out there, so it’s supporting the rumor that I heard about them and that makes a big difference in who I choose to connect myself with.
Katelyn: 00:39:55 So that’s one way. Um, and I think Instagram then allows you to send people elsewhere. So you do a blog post where you creating this archive of this client. You worked in all this great stuff that you did. You can push them to the blog from Instagram. I think that’s important. Um, but when it comes to like email list and thinking about how does that play out? Like if I started my business right now, not the education side, but just the wedding photography side, would email list be a huge part of that? It’s funny, I had a newsletter way back then. Honestly, I collected email addresses.
Davey: 00:40:31 Way ahead of the curve, at least in our industry.
Katelyn: 00:40:34 Yes, no, definitely. Um, but I didn’t do anything with it because I was like, I was sent a few newsletters and it would be literally like, guys, guess what? We got a puppy and I shot three weddings and I’m like, why am I emailing people this? I think it’s a way to let people know that you’re busy, that cool stuff is happening, but when you really think about bringing a lead in as a wedding photographer, this is not a reoccurring thing. You get married once. Yeah. And, and so what we would have to do, if you want to use email lists in a way that really, really worked, you’d have to get some type of lead magnet out there. You’d have to be attracting engaged people in some way, maybe with some tips or tricks about like, “Hey, are you about to be engaged?” Like that’s hard to do.
Katelyn: 00:41:21 How do you people that are not quite engaged or about to be engaged? Then you, they’ve got to come on your list at the right time to where you can help them and train them into like, oh my gosh, this is all great content. I’m getting this photographer, I should book her and then you’re trying to convert someone to spend not like $29 on a digital download. You’re wanting them to convert to thousands of dollars so you know all that you gotta think about it this way. All the effort that goes into creating that funnel to work, to make a conversion is what else could you be doing with that time? You know what I mean? Um, that’s, and I know that there are some digital marketers out there that completely disagree with this opinion, but in my world I just don’t know if that would effectively do what I want it to do. And I would rather put my effort into hosting a KJ bride and groom cookout at our house where you can bring your maid of honor and your best man, the guy’s best friend as well. That is way more effective to get me more weddings. Then you put all this effort into an email funnel.
Davey: 00:42:27 I want to talk about that specifically in a second because I’m interested in hearing more about that. And I think one of the things people know about your businesses, how good you are at creating a community. But the last thing about the email list, because I’ve thought about that a lot too, and with weddings, especially the timeframe in which you have to nurture somebody is just so short. But if you’re a family photographer, maybe, and you do mini sessions every year, then it might be, you know, that it’s something where, yeah, I really wish I’d have those emails so that come October every year, I can just blast out an email to people who I know are already interested in this. But I would agree with, for weddings that the timeframe is just, it’s just too short to nurture and time is probably better spent.
Katelyn: 00:43:15 Well, some of it, yes. I mean, we wanted to do on this year, it was supposed to be may or June and of course life through us, a big curve ball with losing James and so we haven’t done one this year because we’ve been trying to get back on our feet, but we literally built our house to be able to serve with our business in a way that I don’t think other people have really ever done. And obviously I know that you can’t be like, you know what, I’m going to host cookouts. Let’s build a house, you know, that’s not what you do. But we were in a place in our life where we knew we wanted to put down roots and we grew up in the country. I want him to grow up in the country. And I knew like, I want to be able to invite 50 couples into the country and have a barbecue in the backyard and not have an HOA yell at us.
Katelyn: 00:43:59 We can literally, we just have this vision of we’re there for this important part of our couples days. We want to invest in their life beyond just getting a big check from them and then delivering a massive gallery to them. If that’s the only transaction that happens between us, I’m going to die a very unfulfilled person. So we want to pour into their lives and what better way to have them join in, in our life and feel like they were changed by us then to let them actually come to our home. So we’ve only lived in this house for a year and a half, so we haven’t had a of time to do a lot of things. But we did have a cookout last year and it was so much fun. We had a couple drive down from New York City to come to her house for a cookout and it was great because like the sun was setting.
Katelyn: 00:44:43 I took a few engagement pictures for each couple and all at the end of the night they’re like, can we do this again? Like, sure. Like this is great. So honestly our biggest problem is our past KJ brides and KJ couples, they’re mad that they didn’t get to come to the house because they weren’t 2016 couples and I’m like, guys, we have 300 couples that we’ve worked with. I can’t invite 300 people. That be like hosting a wedding at our house. So, but it works. It is not just about marketing. Um, and having those brides and those couples talk about how much they loved getting to revisit with their wedding photographer for their anniversary photos. It’s not just about that, it’s about the fact that, you know, we have a relationship with Jen and Gino for example, that we never would have had if we literally were just transactional and now we have his friendship with them that goes far beyond just being clients and we just have a whole a whole talk that I do about building community over just customers and I, no matter what I am serving people with or selling online or doing business wise, that will always be our mantra because it works and it is more fulfilling than just running a business for the sake of making money.
Davey: 00:45:59 Even online, you know, those relationships online, you have a group for your brides, right? Yes. Yeah. Facebook group. Yeah. And so what’s interesting about that too, again, being ahead of the curve, uh, Facebook has recently announced in the last year that they are kind of discounting the business page and they’re prioritizing groups and family and friends and connections and things like that. So you have this group of brides and I imagine that the value they offer each other, it goes beyond that. You just chiming in and providing value for them on how they can take, you know, how they can make the most of their wedding day, but they probably add a ton of value for each other.
Katelyn: 00:46:33 Yeah. And I, what I love the most is that it’s, a lot of those brides now are moms, so there’s posted in there about moms and things that moms need to help each other with. There’s people who are like, Hey, um, you know, we’re looking to buy our first house and they ask opinions and advice to other brides who are three years ahead. You’ve already done that step of life and the goal is not, you know, to have real estate leads being passed around. When people think about Katelyn James Photography years after they got married, they still find value in working with us. They still think like, you know what, I don’t know what to do about this, but, well, maybe the KJ brides would know, like there’s, there’s just this community mindset that I want people to feel and, and I’ll be honest as we’ve gone from shooting 50 weddings a year, 40 to 50 weddings a year to um, to 10, I’ve got to be more strategic.
Katelyn: 00:47:24 That’s means I’m only adding 10 people a year instead of adding 40. That’s four times less than what I had. And so the conversation can sometimes dwindle when there’s less people, but the nurturing of community is still the same. And so even if I have to pop in there and I’m like, guys, we have a new 2019 KJ bride welcome her. Like, that’s okay. When people fight it all over again. Um, people in those facebook groups were so supportive for us. Like for, you know, losing James and walking through that season, like we got more gifts in the mail from KJ brides than I ever imagined. I mean, every day we’re getting Amazon deliveries and I’m like this person I shot through winning 2011 and they’re still committed to following our story, which is awesome.
Davey: 00:48:07 Yeah. And if they’re that committed to you, you got to imagine too, and this is not why you do it as you’ve made clear, but as it, as a result of that community in that and fostering that community, you got to imagine that when they have a friend that’s going to get married and that friend is asking for vendor recommendations that your name comes up. Because you’re a great wedding photographer, but for all of these other reasons have and how you’re invested in, in their lives.
Katelyn: 00:48:34 Right? Right. And the great example of that is, um, you know, we, so I’m shooting a wedding and a DC, so really nice wedding. It’s going to be up north next year, shot this bride’s sister’s wedding like two or three years ago at Pippen Hill this past week. This bride’s mom sent me a letter in like a gift in the mail, talking about how my story with James, his life has really hit home for her because she had also lost a baby. And I think about all that’s happening with this one family. And I think about the impact that we’ve been able to have by saying yes to this one wedding. And I’m like, this is what it’s all about. This is exactly what I want to happen. I want to book people because they love us, but also because God’s allowing us to have an impact on their life in a way that I never thought I could until I allowed myself to view my business in a different way.
Katelyn: 00:49:27 Um, I think the other thing that’s interesting is what you said about people you know, booking because their friends like, hey, who should I work with? There’s a lot of people that probably hear us being referred that will never ever book us because we’re too expensive. Um, but it’s the bridesmaids that remember three years ago what I was liking the bridal suite, what Michael was like with the groomsmen, how we handled ourselves at the reception. Those are the people are like, you know, what? I saw them, they match with what they are like online, I’m going to splurge and I’m going to be a Kj bride, you know, all 10 of those a year now. So I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, but I have to be more intentional about the experience in person. It’s not just a, you know, a numbers game on instagram like some people think it is.
Davey: 00:50:13 Well, I think that’s something that’s becoming really clear to me through this conversation is that you’re not necessarily worried about what Joe Schmo photographers doing and how many followers they have on Instagram and you know, whether they’re educating people or this and, and I think that’s the kind of stuff that so many people get caught up in and they look at that as their picture of success. You’re just hyper focused on serving your clients you do have as well as you possibly can and you’ve created this experience. You’ve taken what could be just a one day experience and you’ve turned it into a experience that, you know, through things like a facebook group and a cookout and so many other different, uh, aspects last 365 days a year. And you just serve those people really well. And as a result, you know, you’re finding more clients.
Katelyn: 00:50:58 Yeah. So that’s, that’s the point I want to make sure about. I don’t want it to seem like I don’t worry about other people because I actually have to choose to believe. Like sometimes I think Katelyn, you don’t know what the rest of the industry is doing. You’re behind, you’re outdated. You, you’re missing the mark. Like all these photographers aren’t doing what you’re doing in that makes you wrong. But then I have to remind myself of what you just said. Like, no, no, no, that’s not what everything about my business that I’ve done because it was my idea and I wasn’t looking at all the noise of the rest of the industry. Um, those are the ideas that still work and it’s not just Katelyn James photography. Like that’s the case. Katelyn James Education is the same way. Like people were doing a certain method of things even a year ago and we weren’t really thriving with it. We were trying it but it wasn’t working great. And so one night I had this idea and it was, it was this idea to let people follow me around, like behind the scenes. And um, it was crazy because who in their right mind would let someone see the behind the scenes of shooting a wedding?
Davey: 00:51:59 Kind of like the instagram stories to the like if, if, if courses, if like you’re, if you’re, if you’re normal online courses, Instagram, I feel like this is the Instagram Stories of that, you know, like people get to see real weddings, real issues, you know, kind of as they unfold in almost real time. I know you go and you edit the footage so it’s not just eight hours, but I’m right,
Katelyn: 00:52:22 But it’s one of those things where that idea, um, I got so nervous that it was going to be horrible because it wasn’t what the rest of the world was doing and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. And so when you go back to wedding photography, I think it’s encouraging that I look back at the last 10 years of business and I can honestly say that the best ideas, the most profitable ideas or the ideas where I decided to not look at what the rest of the world was doing and to make it my own. And those are also the most scary ideas because of who invites people to their house for a cookout. You know, in a business setting, no one else is doing that. I think it’s weird, but it works and it’s really encouraging to me. So I, I am very much self conscious about that sometimes, like I want to make sure I’m up on all the newest trends, but I also have to recognize that trends don’t work for us. We have to create trends and when we create trends, that’s our best work that we ever do.
Davey: 00:53:18 Yeah, I think that’s probably going to be refreshing for a lot of people to hear you talk about how you still have that anxiety, you know, so then you have to remind yourself, um, but it is a good reminder for people to, to even when they’re posting on social media, like who are they posting this for? Are they posting it for their potential clients? Are they posting it for the other photographers in the industry or the other florists or whoever it is. Whatever industry you’re in because. Because you’re going to look a little bit better, but you know, that look a little bit better. It doesn’t necessarily put food on the table, you know, that doesn’t pay the bills, impressing the other photographers in your area, doesn’t pay the bills, what does his booking another client. And I, so I think that, you know, even there seems to be this idea that for people to grow their businesses, they have to then start posting for other people in their industry, but I think only one way, you know, one way to go and not everybody’s called to that. So I think, you know, again, just taking a lesson from you and just being hyper focused on serving your community, building that community and serving your clients well, um, is really what created the business that you have today.
Katelyn: 00:54:22 Yeah. And the, the perk of that is that the more that you focus in on what you’re really good at, we realized early on, we’re really good at this. We’re going to focus on this. You know what I’m not really good at. I’m not really good at being published in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. Like, I’ve never done that and I’ve never really been good at making sure that I could get in these big name magazines and I think that that should be refreshing to people. You know, I’m charging 10 grand a wedding, but I’ve never been the person with the perfect feed on Instagram that’s been like, you know, featured all these places. And I think, you know, a mistake that some people make is that they can, um, they think they have to choose between. I’m either going to market personally or I’m going to mark it by being publishable.
Katelyn: 00:55:06 You know, that those are the two worlds that people see and they feel like they can’t do one or the other. And I actually think there’s a huge hole in a wedding photography market where if some of those big names, super talented, fine art shooters, if they would let themselves be a little personal, oh my gosh, they would just dominate briefing because when I follow some people like that, um, and I see little snippets of their life on Insta story, I’m like, oh my gosh, I love your work and I really love who you are, who you are with your wife, who you are with your kids. But they won’t share that that often because they’re so focused on being published. So I just wish people would realize there’s freedom in doing things your own way. And we are, we are proof of that. So anyway, that was a tangent. That was for free.
Davey: 00:55:54 Well, I do, I do. As we, as we wrap up here, I do have one other question for you about trends that you see in marketing and, or, uh, some common mistakes that you see people make and I’ll let you decide where you want to start there or if you really want to start with one or the other. Um, but what are you seeing now?
Katelyn: 00:56:14 Um, I think what I just said that was a good example to choose between being personable or being publishable and that, that you can’t intersect the two. Either your feed, it’s got to be this perfect like fine art display of everything workwise, but nothing that’s not an iphone photo. I think sometimes there’s some misconceptions there, but I also think that there’s a lot of fear behind people thinking that they’re personable, they’re not professional. And I think that that’s a common even at our workshops and like people come to our workshops and I think to myself, um, have you not read anything that I’ve talked about the last time because why would you still think, how are there people that follow what we do and still think that sharing who they are is going to be a mistake. You know? Uh, and I think so many people say, well Katelyn, I don’t have a cute dog or Katelyn, I don’t have a design background.
Katelyn: 00:57:08 I don’t decorate a pretty house like you do. And I’m like, first of all, those are things that you make up in your own head and it’s really an excuse so that you don’t have to try this new avenue of marketing and I wish more people would realize the trend of pulling away from personal marketing because you think it’s going to make you unprofessional, um, you’re doing a huge disservice to your brand because you can share personally while still having a professional persona online. And I think people are missing out on this huge avenue of marketing power because they just pull back from that and they think that personal marketing is reserved for people like me that, you know, it started because you had a cute fluffy dog and you’re, you’re an extrovert. So it’s easy for you. But that’s not true. That’s not true at all.
Katelyn: 00:57:54 And I think that there’s so many people that they need permission to go do it. And I wish that they would. I wish that they would take a leap. One of the best parts of when we do workshops at our house is the last night. And we’re sitting there in my living room and there’s photographers that are like, you know what, I just don’t have anything to share. And I’m like, no, no, let me tell you, I’ve known you for two days now. We’ve spent two days together and I’ve heard you talk about your Sushi obsession for two days. And I think it’s a little strange, but it’s also really interesting to me that, you know, so much about Sushi and I think that there’s other people in the world that probably are equally obsessed with Sushi. And you could gradually introduced that weird nuance of your life into a way that people would get attached to it and be like, oh yeah, I resonate with that.
Katelyn: 00:58:41 And then you start sharing things about what are, what are other aspects of your life that you’re passionate about? Because the more that you give people something to be passionate about with you, the more that they’re going to keep coming back. And I, I wish I could sit down with everybody that struggles with this and be like, no, no, no. Let me tell you what I just heard. That’s exactly what you should be sharing. Um, but I can’t do that with everybody, so I just picked it on a podcast and say stop backing away from it, like professionally sharing your life personally, if that makes sense.
Davey: 00:59:15 When I had Tyler Herrinton on, we talked about this a little bit, especially if your video, I mean, again, I’ve said it a number of times, especially in that episode where instagram and instagram stories is a great medium to get used to that because it disappears after 24 hours. So as hard as it is, you just have to deal with it for 24 hours and then it’s gone, you know, and the more you do it, I think the more comfortable you get with it.
Katelyn: 00:59:39 Yes. And the more attached people get to you and they don’t even look at your feet anymore, they just want to see videos of your daughter. And then when you have a great wedding that you blog, it’s like icing on the cake. Like look at these gorgeous pictures that they’re pushing me towards through Instastory. So yeah, totally instastories you have no excuse, you know, you just give it a shot. So I, I definitely think, and I know a lot of people say this, all the same message, but I want people to look at our life and our business and what we’ve done for 10 years and recognize that even though the world’s changed and the Internet has changed, there’s one thing that has remained the same and it’s that whatever your God given gifts, our personality wise, you’re always going to win with that. There’s no way that that won’t work for you.
Katelyn: 01:00:24 I’m the only way it’s not gonna work is if you start backing away from that. Um, and I think most people do that for three reasons. One, you’re burned out too. You’re lacking in experience and you’re not confident or three, you’re just working for money’s sake. Those are the three types of people that can’t seem to make the personality marketing work for them. And it’s because their heart’s not in the right place, um, or they don’t have the capacity to market their business that way. So if you’re in those three categories, we need to get you out of there so you could start personally marketing in a way that’s effective.
Davey: 01:00:56 And that makes so much sense. Right? I mean, that’s, I mean, that’s how we connect with one another outside of business. Why wouldn’t it be true for our businesses? And I think even just the way, I mean the ways that social media is developing kind of validate that, you know, like uh, and Tyler, if title says this will laugh at me, but messenger marketing, Facebook Messenger marketing is a, is becoming a thing. You know, people will be in dmd on instagram like I have, you know, especially one of my younger siblings, um, he, he chats with his friends through Instagram DM, you know, and so it makes sense that more and more people are going to start reaching out to you through, you know, messaging and that just that just makes sense. So is there anything else?
Katelyn: 01:01:42 Yeah, I would say, you know, this is, I’m glad we talked about what we did because this is the heartbeat of why we are still thriving 10 years later when the average wedding photographer in their business at year eight, um, I think that’s the normal cutoff point for most photographers.
Davey: 01:01:58 Is that, I guess, I guess, okay. So I would assume that the average life of a photographer, not life, but a business life that you’re really depressed and he’s two years. The average business life is probably much shorter than eight, but if you, if you have a, if you grow a business that makes it past maybe five years, then you probably get to eight average. Yeah.
Katelyn: 01:02:21 And I think that a lot of people, um, yeah, they can’t get, their price point is high enough to where they can shoot less weddings and make the same amount and they get burned out and they have to have a change of pace. They can’t keep doing what they were doing. Michael and I could not be shooting 40 weddings a year like we used to and start our family and grow our family. Um, I know other people that do it and it’s incredible, but there’s a cutoff point where it’s like, this is too much even physically to keep every weekend. And the reason why I think that’s important to what we’ve been talking about this whole time is that the only way that you can rise above the standard price point in your area or in your market as a wedding photographer. The only way you can beat that, um, it’s either if you are super in demand because you were just incredibly fine art focus and publishable, or you have people falling in love with you to where they’re going to spend whatever they can to become a KJ bride. And that is happening because of personality, not because my images are spectacular. So if you want to raise prices and maintain longevity in your business and not get burned out and still enjoy what you do, you’ve got to learn how to raise prices and that only comes through the value of who you are personally. And that was a mouthful. I hope that makes sense.
Davey: 01:03:33 No, it definitely makes sense. I also think that this kind of a personal prediction that we’ll start to see more and more people scale their business with associates, you know, I think that was something that used to be more common and I think that people are going to drift back to that because it makes sense for so many people. Some people might love to be photographers, built a successful business, but necessarily don’t want to necessarily deal with the photography aspect of things before, so they’ll go work for somebody else or vice versa. They’ll let others, um, work for them.
Katelyn: 01:04:02 I think the person to look to that has done that so well, but also it’s still marketed personally is Nancy Ray because Nancy Ray constantly, she has associates, she has a great team, but she doesn’t, a lot of people say if you have associate’s, like, oh Katelyn, you’ll never have associates because you can’t market yourself personally anymore. It’s not about working with Katelyn, it’s all this team of people. Um, well I don’t think we’ll have associates. I do think that it’s very possible to personally market an associate photography business and Nancy Ray does that. I, I love seeing behind the scenes of their team meetings and their team events, they go out to dinner with the whole team and they hang out with their husbands and I know her entire team just like I know her because of the way that she markets her team personally. And so if anyone wants to do that or wants to have a team, Nancy Ray has a shop that is incredible and it has resources that I have not been able to find elsewhere. So just a little plug for my friend, my friend Nancy, but she’s great and it has all the resources for that.
Davey: 01:04:59 So I might have to reach out to her and, and have a separate conversation about, you know, team building and things like that with her because again, I got gotta imagine that marketing a personal brand and even having associates makes people trust those associates that much more. Yeah. So I want to thank you for, for coming on the show and sharing all of that with us. And there’s just so much, I think for people to, uh, to work through, which is such a good thing, but if people want to learn more, where should they go?
Katelyn: 01:05:31 Um, honestly, it’s going to sound funny, but I honestly think that Instagram is a great place to get to know who I am as a person. Um, but once you’re on instagram, you’re going to quickly find that like there’s two different worlds of our life. There’s the photography world for like being a wedding photographer and then there’s the education side and the educational side. Um, I, I think being a part of our email list, we have a KJ education, um, facebook group that you do not have to buy anything to be a part of. It’s just a free place to gain insight and to be in a positive community online. And so that’s a great place. And um, and if you are a photographer that’s looking to learn, but in an affordable way, KJ All Access is probably our most exciting, most popular. It’s definitely our most popular way that we’re educating. Um, and it’s also our most personable because basically what we’re doing is we allow people every month that you can become a member and you just constantly, every month you get content where you’re watching me shoot through my wedding season and my portrait season. So it’s behind the scenes shoots, weddings, portrait sessions. It’s hilarious. But you do learn something. I promise.
Davey: 01:06:39 Well, you know, and, and one thing I want to say about that, which you, I’m sure if you’re just getting started out, this is, this is a great place to go, but even if you are an established photographer, this is, this is also a community for you. One of our good friends in our area, she, she has an established business, um, and she is part of KJ All Access and uh, and she loves it, you know, and she’s, she told herself that she doesn’t really like, you know, going on. She doesn’t, she doesn’t, she’s never online courses. I’ve never really jived with her but she loves this because it’s just so nice to see how somebody else does it, you know. And then, and then also to be part of the community.
Katelyn: 01:07:18 Right? And I think the cool thing about KJ All Access is that for me, um, I am just doing what I do and then I go back and I rewatched what I do and I think, oh, Katelyn, you look like a hot mess, but I get to go and I, there’s no better way to explain people, uh, thought process then to film yourself in the process of doing it and then being able to teach from that point on. And, and um, and that means people are seeing like the bad stuff, you know, me tripping over everything, a weird lighting situation, bad vendor interactions, you know, how we, I mean, they literally get access, they get all access to everything behind the scenes. And we’ve had people say, Hey, I’ve been in business for eight years, um, and I needed inspiration for how to change and move forward.
Katelyn: 01:08:03 I don’t want to get burned out and this is the answer. And then we’ve had people say, Hey, I’m just getting started and I’ve learned more from this than I did second shooting because I can rewind and rewatch it over again and um, and so that it’s really cool. It was this idea I had in the middle of the night and now it’s really affecting thousands of photographers’ businesses and I love it. So yeah, there’s, there’s links to that through our Instagram account. You can, you can find it there. But really we just, we feel honored and blessed that we get to share in people’s lives and in their businesses. And um, if God allows us to keep doing this for a long time will be really excited about that.
Davey: 01:08:38 Well you’ll also be able to find a link to that in the show notes. So if you head over to the show notes, we’ll make sure that we link to your instagram and KJ All Access and all the different resources that you have available to people right now. So thank you again and uh, you know, hopefully we’ll get to do this again soon.
Katelyn: 01:08:38 I would love that, Davey.
Davey: 01:08:59 Thanks for tuning into the Brands that Book Show. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider subscribing and leaving a review in iTunes. For show notes and other resources dead on over to DaveyandKrista.com.
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