The Workshop Experience | Jacksonville NC Wedding Photographer

Last month I checked something major off my photography bucket list-- I attended The Workshop Experience with the one and only Katelyn James! I've admired Katelyn for years and have learned so much from her online education resources. I knew meeting her and absorbing her knowledge in person would be transformational for my business! Up until this year I could only daydream about attending her workshop, but thanks to a commitment to growing Alicia Q. Photography and some financial wrangling, I was able to make this dream a reality! The timing was perfect, as I had recently realized I needed to make major changes in my life, starting with this business.

DAY ONE

On day one, Katelyn and Michael opened their front doors and welcomed us in with big smiles and hugs. I'm not ashamed to say that I geeked out like a fan girl. I like to think I was pretty composed and chill, but inside I was freaking out. It was a rush sort of like the one you would get on a blind date, but I immediately felt at ease as if hanging out with old friends for the first time in a long while. Katelyn and Michael just have that familiarity about them. I suppose it helps that I have been following their lives on social media for so long. Needless to say meeting baby Evy and Bokeh (the cutest bichpoo on the planet) was the icing on the cake. I feel like this all sound a little stalker-ish, but if you're a wedding photographer, this makes total sense to you. I swear I'm not crazy! Lol.

Day one was full of valuable information about shooting, posing, and lighting, all leading up to our very own styled shoot (I'll be able to share the images from that later). Katelyn's style of teaching is so personal and authentic. She holds back nothing and it's so obvious that she wants everyone to succeed. In an industry saturated with cutthroat competition, it's inspiring to see someone at the top of her game invested in growing the rest of the talent pool.

Shooting alongside Katelyn and new friends was so fun! Believe it or not, I'm really shy and it takes a ton of courage for me to "put myself out there." Sharing space and energy with other creatives has always intimidated me, but I found myself feeling empowered! I drove back to my hotel that night knowing that if day one could be so impactful, I was in for a real treat on day two.

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katelyn-james-photography-workshop
 This space off the kitchen was transformed for the styled shoot. I can't wait to show you!

This space off the kitchen was transformed for the styled shoot. I can't wait to show you!

katelyn-james-photography-workshop
 The great thing about this workshop is getting to learn in a relaxed environment! Look how cozy we all are! © Katelyn James Photography

The great thing about this workshop is getting to learn in a relaxed environment! Look how cozy we all are! © Katelyn James Photography

 We look like paparazzi, right?? © Katelyn James Photography

We look like paparazzi, right?? © Katelyn James Photography

 She makes it look so easy. Lol.  © Katelyn James Photography

She makes it look so easy. Lol.  © Katelyn James Photography

 Back to the house! It's pretty, huh? © Katelyn James Photography

Back to the house! It's pretty, huh? © Katelyn James Photography

DAY TWO

Day two started off with headshots! I was super nervous to have my photo taken so I enlisted the help of my talented friend Ally of Allyson Wonderland to make me up beforehand. I felt so beautiful and I knew that Katelyn would get great shots of me no matter how big my cheeks got when I smiled (my cheeks are out of control, y'all). Also, isn't it weird to see me without glasses??

 © Katelyn James Photography

© Katelyn James Photography

After headshots, we got back to work, learning about community marketing and how to run a purpose-driven business, two things I feel like Katelyn has revolutionized for this generation of wedding photographers. It was during this part of the workshop that I could feel myself recharging. On day one I shared with the group that I needed a spark of inspiration, some motivation and a fresh perspective. Listening to Katelyn speak about serving her clients and why she's a wedding photographer did just that for me. It was like a light bulb turned on! I've never not loved this job or industry but sometimes you just need someone to stoke the fire a bit.

It was the next conversation about outsourcing and managing our time more efficiently that resonated with me most. One of the gals shared with the group that she felt like there just wasn't enough time to do everything life requires of women who are simultaneously mothers, wives, and business owners. The simple truth is that there isn't enough time. We have to decide where to let go (i.e. outsourcing) so that we can grow our businesses and thrive. I've known for a long time that I spend too many hours at my desk, toiling over tasks that someone else is perfectly qualified to do. If I'm honest with you, my family's home life often suffers at the hands of this business. It's not healthy to go to bed at 4am, wake up at 7am and spend the day stressing about "all the things." Along with my family, my physical and mental health have suffered over the last several months. I've looked in the mirror many nights and questioned the heavy costs and burdens of being a business owner. 

Maybe it was Katelyn, or maybe it was the camaraderie of being amongst my industry peers, but I could feel my heart changing. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and I could envision success like never before. I don't hide the fact that my family relies on my income to support our basic needs, but on day two of The Workshop Experience I truly started to believe that my business could do more than just help us survive. With the right steps, my business could be and do so much more. Not just for me, but for my clients.

 Group photo after our headshots! © Katelyn James Photography

Group photo after our headshots! © Katelyn James Photography

 Not sure what I'm doing here but I love that we weren't afraid to be ourselves! © Katelyn James Photography

Not sure what I'm doing here but I love that we weren't afraid to be ourselves! © Katelyn James Photography

katelyn-james-photography-workshop
 Katelyn's sister Emily prepared food for us both days! This spread was one of my favorites! It was so colorful and I'm obsessed with chips and salsa!

Katelyn's sister Emily prepared food for us both days! This spread was one of my favorites! It was so colorful and I'm obsessed with chips and salsa!

 I really tried to get Bokeh to love me, but he didn't give me the time of day. I had another attendee help me set this shot up because Bokeh loved her. If I couldn't get Bokeh cuddles, I at least wanted a cute photo to remember him by!

I really tried to get Bokeh to love me, but he didn't give me the time of day. I had another attendee help me set this shot up because Bokeh loved her. If I couldn't get Bokeh cuddles, I at least wanted a cute photo to remember him by!

I left The Workshop Experience with an action list a mile long. It'll take some time to implement all the new changes I have planned, but I'm happy to say that in the past few weeks since my time with Katelyn, my quality of life has improved. No joke. I've outsourced some business tasks (thank you Align Album Design), I've committed to sleeping when most normal people sleep, not letting my business steal time away from my family, and serving my clients in a way that makes them feel valued and loved. I could do any number of jobs to provide for my family, but I've chosen photography because it affords me the opportunity to have an impactful and lasting relationship with the people who entrust me with their most important moments. How could I ever want more than that? Thanks to The Workshop Experience I now move forward every day with the intent to honor the unique privilege of being a wedding photographer.

 I love this shot! © Katelyn James Photography

I love this shot! © Katelyn James Photography

 Our last group shot! I changed into black leggings and a black t-shirt after headshots because, well, stretchy fabric is my jam. © Katelyn James Photography

Our last group shot! I changed into black leggings and a black t-shirt after headshots because, well, stretchy fabric is my jam. © Katelyn James Photography

 I had to take a picture of the house right before I drove away! I loved how the sunset painted it pastel.

I had to take a picture of the house right before I drove away! I loved how the sunset painted it pastel.