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I’m not going to say much here because I say a little TOO much on today’s video blog! Today’s post almost wasn’t shared. I recorded it and then I worried that what I was trying to say wouldn’t make sense. Basically, I wanted to share a little bit of my heart about some struggles I’ve had and some points of tension that I think EVERYONE experiences at some point in their business! If this resonates with you… SHARE IT!! Everyone feels better when they realize that they aren’t the only ones struggling!! In fact, knowing that we’re not alone makes us realize that we’re NORMAL!!! Enjoy this little piece of my heart and happy Wednesday!

xoxo, Katelyn
36 Comments Ask Anything, Education, Video Series
  1. Jenny reply

    great video! I love defining my own success, and revisiting it when it needs tweaking. For me it used to be making my living entirely off photography. Now, it’s more about quality of time spend, and using my talents for more than making an income. Would love for you to blog at some point about how you define yours!

  2. Nikki reply

    Omigoodness Katelyn! I really needed to hear this today! Thank you so much for sharing – you nailed it! :)

  3. Daisy reply

    A friend of mine once told me that God wasn’t interested in how much I could do or get done but how it affected my character. Does it produce a character that is pleasing to the Lord? Sometimes the answer doesn’t align with my ever growing/changing dream, and so I try my best to let it go. It’s so easy to compare our dreams to others but at the end of the day, it’s how we serve Christ that matters most, and that looks different for everyone. I have to remind myself of that often. Thanks for sharing. God uses you mightily!

  4. Melissa Hunt reply

    Oh Katelyn thank you so much for sharing your heart today!!! Over the past year I had struggled with defining success for my business. One of the first things I did was stop following others on social media. This helped clear my mind and focus on what I wanted to do!! PS: I just watched this with Noah by my side and he says “Ooooh she has a pretty house!” :)

  5. Caty reply

    I feel like God has entrusted you with the gift of encouragement in a major way. I remember you talking about this at the Workshop Experience and it was life changing for me! Thank you for sharing your heart!

  6. Laura reply

    Wonderful, Katelyn! Yes! My version of success has been to serve my clients well, make them happy, and support my little family along the way. I’ve done this by ignoring trends, having a close group of creative friends who support each other, and just sing my own thing. It hasn’t always been this way for me, and I struggled until I came to some major realizations just a few years ago. Thank you for sharing you heart!

  7. Brittani Croft reply

    This needed to be said and you said it in a beautiful way :) Thank you!

  8. Jill reply

    Love this, absolutely lovely advice that is so needed! You are not alone!! And we aren’t either :)

  9. Nicole Salter reply

    I was starting to worry again the other day since I’m in a booking slump, I don’t what’s going on right now or what yo do about it but I had a bride text me yesterday, “is it weird that every time i think of Taylor Swift I think of you!?” Personality branding win. You keep me trekking girl!!

  10. Deb Kepiro reply

    Katelyn –

    Thanks for sharing this! The timing is perfect… it is so easy to feel “small” in this industry when we compare our journey to others. This is a great reminder to stay in our lanes and remain focused on our own business! Thanks!!

  11. Anna Grace Paulovkin reply

    Love this so much. Thanks for sharing your heart! It is a beautiful piece of wisdom!!!

  12. Tina reply

    THANK YOU KATELYN! This post was 100% SO needed today. It’s so hard to feel your own type of successful when you are constantly comparing your business to others, even though sometimes they are years into it more than I am. I needed this so much today. Thank you again!!

  13. Tonya reply

    Wow, God knew…He used you today for sure…thanks so much!

  14. Hannah Byrne reply


    You will never know how appropriate this video blog was for me. Last night I laid in bed next to my exhausted husband and just couldn’t stop rambling about how I’m not content with where I am right now and how I want so much more for my business. He kept reassuring me that it takes years to build a “successful” business and it’s never going to be an overnight thing. He patiently listened as I plowed over his loving words with discontent.

    So thank you! Thank you for opening up and sharing this today! The Lord truly is using you to speak truth into strangers lives like mine – What an amazing legacy you’re leaving!

    :) Hannah

  15. Carmaleta Ann reply

    Great post! You are definitely right on it and not alone. I love taking portraits and I like weddings but I knew though I could do them, that’s not where my heart was. But all the blogs I follow are wedding photographers and since they were so awesome I found myself pushing to do what they did because that was what successful photography was.
    Such a helpful and encouraging post.

  16. Melissa Farmer reply

    I have to say this doesn’t just apply to business and people in the industry. I feel down sometimes when I’m looking at other bride’s weddings, or other people’s Facebook lives in general and it can certainly be suffocating/crushing if you start comparing! Thank you for sharing, helps more folks than you know :)

  17. Sarah Anne Hayes reply

    I loved this. Thank you for sharing, Katelyn. As a newer business owner, it’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone in this. :)

  18. Brianna Venzke reply

    Amazing video Katelyn!! It’s soooo important as photographers for us to understand it’s okay to be ourselves and not do what everyone else is doing, in order to stand out in the crowd, being ourself is the only way. Thanks for sharing your heart <3

  19. Tina T reply

    I really appreciate you doing this post! Some days I feel like I fall into almost all of those traps, and hearing someone like you, that I honestly find inspiration from, say these things really feels good and calming. You seem to have such a positive, soothing aura about you. I’m hoping we could sit down and talk some day, I’m in RVA too! :)

  20. Callie Lindsey reply

    I need to watch this video every day for the rest of my life… thank you so much for sharing!

  21. Abby Grace reply

    SUCH a good video blog, Katelyn!! I struggle so, so much with trying to keep up with so-and-so down the street, which is why I’m CONSTANTLY going through my IG list of folks I follow to weed people out. Something as simple as seeing someone else’s post of how they were featured in a magazine is enough to start that downward spiral, and it’s so unhealthy!

  22. Karen reply

    My mom gave me the book “Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich” by- Dr. Lois Frankel … don’t shun it because of the title …. but it said that success is different for everyone … enjoyed that read! :)

  23. Katelynn Dow reply

    Katelyn, you constantly show me so much leadership, kindness, and GENUINENESS! Even though we’ve never met, I feel like we are such dear friends! Thank you for sharing your heart and allowing others to relate! I DEFINITELY struggle with everything you listed, and am encouraged to keep pursuing photography! :)

  24. Michelle reply

    Beautiful said Katelyn and just what I needed to hear!

  25. Rebekah reply

    Beautifully stated, Katelyn! People are so in need of encouragement and truth, especially in that area. God has given you such a unique ministry in photography and creativity. I love to watch your pages and blog, and I have started learning so much more in photography since then. You are shining His light right where He has you at this time. Keep following Jesus, loving people, and shining His light always! <3

  26. Megan Kelsey Marcus reply

    God totally speaks through you in this video Katelyn! Love you!!!

  27. Maria E reply

    Hey Katelyn! Thanks for sharing! I know you were hesitant to post this, but I’m so glad you did because we’ve ALL been there. One of my best friends is a wedding photographer, and there’ve been times it’s been hard not to compare myself to her, but success does look different for different people and that’s a good thing! So good to hear again from one of the photographers I look up to the most.

  28. Cyndi reply

    We said, and as someone else said, true for all, not just photographers! Good reminder for everyone! :)

  29. Rici reply

    Watching this made me feel like sitting right across from you! So wonderfully done dearest! Loved that you included God´s plan into this! I know the Blog – reading thing well. I have not read Blogs for a couple of weeks and now I started missing it a lot ;) So here I am ;)
    Ramit Sethi helped me crazy much by defining what success looks like for me. Have a great weekend!

  30. Krista Browning reply

    Ummmm, yes Katelyn, this completely resonates with me (and many others I am sure). It is funny, because I just blogged about the Pursuit Conference from last year where I realized that God determines my worth, success, and purpose. Here>
    Thank you for sharing!!!!

  31. Christin reply

    This was very encouraging. Thank you for sharing!

  32. Tracey Jazmin reply

    Gah, Katelyn I’m in tears.

    This is the epitome of the place I’m at in my business. I’m checking off incredible things on my business and personal bucket list with getting to do what I love but even still it’s not what matters.

    What matters is sitting in my favourite coffee shop in tears yet again (I’m a cry baby apparently, ha!) reading the sweetest thank you emails from my clients after a triple header wedding weekend telling me how much they appreciate me. Not my work. Me. Who I am, my personality, how I interact with them and their families. This is my version of success and why I am a photographer.

    Thank you SO much for sharing this little piece of your heart. It was the perfect amount of words and advice and nothing less.

  33. Natalie Kent reply

    Awesome! Love it! “Think for yourself and follow God’s calling” That’s good stuff! I’ve been struggling for the past year wondering, Am I successful? I then realize this journey I am on has involved more shoots over the past year, so that in itself is a success! God has a plan for me, and I will enjoy each step I take down His path according to His timing! Thanks for sharing your heart! Hugs!

  34. Kelsey reply

    I know this was published last year, but I wanted to write you and tell you that this video refreshed my creative spirit this morning. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom. It was truly needed. Take care and God bless!

  35. Lyndley Kane reply

    Hey, I listened to your video last year and it made sense i just re watched and i gotta say its absolutely right! I use to Facebook stalk other photographers because everyone thought they were better, Now i don’t bother looking and just focus on my own style,clients. And the feeling like a success is true as well, I recently just been made redundant from a sales consultant position and i fell back onto shoots Im now producing way better images and have more time to pay attention and feel like success is happening everyday.

    I just have to admit your one photographer i idolise seriously your work is amazing and if you were in Australia i’d definitely have you to photograph my wedding (its a while away, trying to get the other half to propose hehe).

    Anyway I just wanted to say Thankyou :) your an inspiration to this young photographer in North Queensland Australia.

    • Katelyn James reply

      Aww thanks so much Lyndley!! You are too sweet! I’m so glad the video has been helpful for you and your business! :) When your special day comes, feel free to email and inquire! We love traveling for weddings and we love Australia! ;)

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