I had the wonderful opportunity to fly to Virginia for Katelyn James’ business journey event! I flew in on Sunday to be there in time for the full Styled Shoot- led by KLayne Styled Shoots. After an entire day of shooting and meeting new photographer friends, vendors, and couples, I made the trek back to Richmond for the next day’s live event. I had such an amazing time shooting and being in my element doing it. Shooting weddings really fill me up and that makes me happy. I got to shoot alongside five wonderful photographers! Tiffany and Mallory were super fun to shoot with. Adrienne and Dani are one of my photography clients I edit for and they were in my group, which made me super excited!! And then after a day of shooting with Britni, she pulled me aside after the Katelyn James event and told me she wanted me to edit for her- which MADE my day! 🙂
When I first walked into the live event, I was walking next to Jessica, one of my new fall photographers I edit for. It was funny, because when we exchanged names we realized that we work together and she said “Wait! You’re my editor!” Ha! What you have to understand about private photo editing, is you could work for people you may never meet in person. My clients are in several different states: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, California, and so on! So when KJ (Katelyn James) announced there would be a live event included in the business journey course, I jumped on board for the idea of possibly meeting her and a few of my photographers that were in the course that may possibly go to the live event. It was a no brainer. What I didn’t imagine were the new connections I would experience with other photographers and vendors like I did. It was amazing, and of course Katelyn and her family were amazing! It was such an awesome experience.
I learned so many things at her live class, but the two that stick out for me the most were:
- Celebrate your victories- whether big or small. If you are not content in your current “wins” and are always looking for the “next big win”, you’ll hurt yourself and others who are cheering you on. I could shoot the most amazing wedding (had several of those this past year) and then think I’m not succeeding because I need to book more of those again. But NO! Your gradual growth and learning is key to consistency, staying with it when times are tough, and not hurting those who are rooting for you. Those who support and root for you can clearly see your success and are so proud of you, but then we disappoint them when we say it’s not enough for you.
- The second most important lesson I learned from the conference was the difference between one specific lie and truth in our businesses.
The lie we believe: There is a set standard for how you have to grow your business.
The truth of that lie: There is freedom in NOT doing what you feel you “ought to” and focusing on what fills you up.
So many business owners, especially photographers and editors, see people doing something they think will make them successful. So they start doing all the things they see that other person doing, thinking it will make them succeed. And if it doesn’t, they either keep running themselves ragged to keep up and compete, or they give up and quit.
My take away from this meeting really helped me understand that I don’t need to be like everyone else. And I think I may have discovered something that I would love to add to my business, that is all my own. And if I study it and really look up what benefits I could have for my business I may or may not do it. But it’s MINE and it’s my dreaming or a possibility that will fill me up too!
If you are reading this and feeling like your business is just not taking off like you would like it to, but it FILLS YOU UP, PLEASE don’t give up. In 2016, I almost gave up shooting weddings entirely when we moved to a smaller town. I thought to myself, there’s just no way anyone will want to book with me, because I just don’t know anyone that would refer me. It was the type of town that you didn’t book a wedding unless you knew anyone or had someone referring you. I was feeling so sad, because photography and editing were my passion, and the thought of dropping photography and just only do editing, made me feel so defeated. I just couldn’t. It was one part of my business that would fill me up, and I couldn’t give up. I decided I would reach out to other vendors, and I found venue owners that I just loved their stories. One had the passion and built their own venue. Another became the owner of a venue and loved it. Another family had built their venue as well and wanted to build cabins for wedding parties. You could see it really filled each of these three venue owners up. I got to know them and their families, and I started being referred by a few of them and vendors as well! That year I started with only THREE weddings, and by the end of that year, I had booked and shot SIXTEEN! Since 2016, I’ve shot FIFTY weddings. That’s half of my wedding shooting career I would have NEVER seen if I had given up.
Now imagine if I quit shooting weddings in 2016. I would have never met some of those amazing venue owners and vendors. I would have never connected with my wonderful couples- FIFTY of them! And I probably would have never continued editing, because I would have been so disappointed I ended my own wedding photography that it would have brought me down in my editing business. Everything you do has a consequence, whether good or bad. Every time you let others dictate what your business should look like, you end up being disappointed and you feel like you want to give up. Just know that you are not alone. I totally understand the struggles and fears, and my best recommendation is to listen to where your heart and desires are calling you. Don’t give up if it fills you up. You can do this, friend!
See some of my favorites below from my trip and if you are on the fence about any of KJ’s courses, I say do it! I’ve taken all of her courses to date! 🙂 If you want to see some of my wedding couples from 2016-2018 ( my 2019 couples aren’t blogged just yet) check out the links here!