I’ve followed Katelyn James for a few years now from her days in college, to planning and perfecting every detail of her wedding, to now being a full time photographer. I absolutely love her style, and more than anything, I love how she makes ALL of her clients look amazing in front of the camera. Being a fellow photographer and Jesus lover, I figured why not ask Katelyn a few fun questions that will help you get to know her as a photographer and how she got to where she is today!
That’s one thing that I love about being a wedding photographer. It’s almost like you have this bond with other photographers without evening having met them. You can relate to them through their photography and through their stories and it makes this industry a unique and positive one. Some photographers might ask, “WHY would you feature another photographer on your OWN blog?”, but to me it’s not about ME… it’s more about learning from one another and educating future brides. If you like my style and my personality, then THAT’S why I’d hope to be chosen as your photographer! There are so many photographers out there and so many different styles that I think it’s important to FEEL something when you look at a photo… if you can feel something through an image… you may be on the right track to finding YOUR photographer!
So, without further ado… Katelyn James
What is your favorite:
Color: TEAL of course! 🙂
Food: Barbaque Chicken Pizza!
Book: Oh gosh I’m such a bad reader!!! But “Redeeming Love” was awesome and I actually finished that one!
Day of the Week: Thursdays! Because I blog weddings on Thursdays! 🙂
TV Show: Modern Family!
Amanda Joy: Did photography start as a passion for you and when did you realize photography was something you could do full time?
Katelyn: Yes! Photography started with me buying a Canon Rebel and thinking “Oh, I’m definitely going to have awesome pictures now!!…. I paid $1,000 for a camera!….I literally thought that because I paid big bucks for a camera, that I was amazing. Welp. I look back at those images and I am SO EMBARRASSED! After a year of shooting on “Automatic”, I began to teach myself how to shoot manually. I started understanding the technical side of photography and I loved it. I was planning on doing Graphic Design but after a friend asked me to shoot a wedding with her… I realized photography allows me to include my love for design and pictures AND people! Perfect!!
Amanda Joy: What was your last job before you became a Photographer?
Katelyn: My last job was a part time graphic design intern for Ferguson Center for the Arts at Christopher Newport University. I got paid $7 an hour and I worked in a cubicle… I’m really loving my job now 🙂
Amanda Joy: What are the main things you remember struggling with when you first started out, and how did you work on them?
Katelyn: I wanted to be the BEST… IMMEDIATELY. I was in college, engaged and trying to grow a business at the same time. So I struggled with wanting to do too much too fast and was jealous of those who were a few steps ahead of me. Let me tell you, jealousy never helps you grow a business. The moment you stop to envy another persons work… you’ve started falling behind. It’s not worth it. I struggled with being ok with my own pace and not wanting what everyone else had. I also struggled with being organized. I was SO busy and had so much happening in my life, I couldn’t find a workflow that was right for me. Luckily, now that I’m married and full time, I have created a schedule for EVERYTHING! It’s wonderful. I have workflows and tons of LISTS! my mother would be proud! Using organizational tools that work for ME has really helped my business grow!
Amanda Joy: How many weddings did you second shoot before you went out on your own?
Katelyn: Whew, only 2, but I WOULD NOT recommend that at all! My first solo wedding came a lot sooner than I thought! I recommend that starting photographer’s shoot at least 5-8 weddings before EVER attempting one on their own!
Amanda Joy: For the photographer’s out there still trying to run a lean business, and not sure if they’re ready to make the plunge into a whole website… tell us how your website helped transform your business?
Katelyn: Well this is an interesting question, but my WEBSITE is amazing and it has done SO much for my business. However, my BLOG gets all the credit for transforming my business. The website is my formal introduction and my blog is my constant conversation. Both parts have very unique and vital roles in my business! A website or blog is a MUST for photographers. You really can’t be taken seriously without one. Websites show clients how professional you are and it shows off your FINEST work! My Showit sit really completed my “brand” and I am in LOVE with that company!!
Amanda Joy: We all know that there are some out there that aren’t super comfortable in front of the camera. When you’re in those situations where they’re just a little stiff, how do you connect with the couple?
Katelyn: The 3 P’s of posing always help those awkward, tense situations!
You can read more about those here: http://katelynjamesblog.com/wedding-photographer-posing-tips/
Amanda Joy: Have you ever shot a wedding and walked away feeling disappointed in what you’d taken that day?
Katelyn: Hmmm… this is a great question and the answer is YES. I have left some weddings thinking… “Where was my head? Why didn’t I use that pose? Why didn’t I realize my ISO was so high? Ugh!!!” Even with some of my weddings that look beautiful on the blog, sometimes I am still a little disappointed that I didn’t try something new and didn’t push myself.
Amanda Joy: Does Michael second shoot with you? If not, do you have a dedicated second shooter?
Katelyn: Michael does second shoot and I love having him there with me! He gets better and better with every shoot but he also has a full time job, so when he’s not available, I have a couple specific friends that I really trust to second shoot with me and represent my brand!
Amanda Joy: Being a photographer, how important/how long did it take you to find your wedding venue? The light was fab!
Katelyn: Well, it actually didn’t take long at all because I didn’t have many options! We wanted to get married in our little country church where we grew up and it’d in the middle of nowhere!! My home is in the country and it’s half a mile from our church so we decided to have a tent reception in the field behind my house! It was a ton of work to design but i LOVED that my wedding was in my backyard. I remember my feet hurting during the reception, so I ran up to my bedroom and found some old flip flops to put on! It was so much fun and I’m so thankful we didn’t celebrate our wedding in a venue that wasn’t “us”. Our was was 120% “us”, and we loved every minute of it!
Amanda Joy: What makes Katelyn James Photography different? How do you set yourself apart in an industry that is growing so rapidly?
Katelyn: Katelyn James Photography’s brand is based off of ME! This makes it possible for me to be set apart from other photographers because no one can ever be “Katelyn James”. My images and my shooting style can be copied by anyone but my personality cannot! I try to be personable and honest and true to ME… and it seems to be working so far!
Amanda Joy: Is there a defining moment that you’ve had/captured through your photography or just in your career that sticks out in your mind that you know you’ll never forget?
Katelyn: When I shot Brandon & Chrissy’s wedding I discovered my style. I remember scanning through their images thinking, “This is ME… this is MY LOOK!”. I will never forget that feeling!! I have also had many moments when I am overwhelmed at how awesome my job is! It’s SUCH an honor to be a part of my client’s lives!!
I absolutely adore the fact that Katelyn chose this photo to showcase because it’s one of my favorites of hers!