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Welp! Maternity leave is ending and we’re gearing up for not only a WEDDING this weekend but also prepping for our FIRST WORKSHOP in the new house! To say I’m excited is an understatement! Each year when I’m getting ready to start wedding season again I like to establish some GOALS for the new season! One year, I had the goal of getting better at Off Camera Flash! I challenged myself at EVERY wedding to create unique and creative portraits using flash and it helped me grow immensely!

I’m a firm believer that if you don’t verbalize what areas you want to work on, you will stay in the same place year after year! I have found that it is really powerful to name at least ONE key area that you’re committing to improve, at the beginning of each season, and so I’m going to share some of my goals for our 2017 wedding season in hopes that it inspires you to create your own as well! :


I naturally shoot wide portraits! I’m drawn to creating compositions and backing up to fit full trees or rolling hills in the background! That part of shooting comes very naturally for me! However, what isn’t QUITE as natural is remembering to shoot really TIGHT and close up whenever I’m photographing a Bride and Groom! Whenever I do shoot REALLY tight, I always love it and so I want to commit to doing more of that this season!!!


You may think “Didn’t you already have this as a goal before, Katelyn”?  Yes! However, I haven’t always been super great about using an umbrella to soften light for detail shots. I normally just find other ways to diffuse the light and that approach works just fine, but I want to get better about using an umbrella because I think that if I got used to it, it would eventually save me some time and mean fewer test shots! I also have some Mag Mod covers that I want to play with! I sound like I’m SO techy right now and that couldn’t be further from the truth!!! ha!


Michael and I started praying together before wedding days several years ago and we haven’t missed a wedding since starting this tradition. It doesn’t matter if we’re cutting it close on time or if I’m anxious and ready to get started….. we ALWAYS start our weddings day off by praying for the day, our couple, the vendors and the families involved. We pray specifically for patience and wisdom and clarity as we make decisions and execute the day! This is such an important part of our shooting tradition and I want to commit to another full wedding season of intentionality!

So! What are your goals?! Do you need to step up your posing game? Do you need to work on your turn around time? Are you nervous around bridal parties? Set some goals for THIS season and you’ll love feeling like you’re getting better and better with each wedding season that you shoot!!!

Ps. If you want some INSTANT HELP with some of the technical aspects of the wedding day, check out our collection of Mini-Guides in our store!! We created these for photographers just like you!

xoxo, Katelyn
13 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Ryan & Rach reply

    Great advice Katelyn!! We’ve been doing number two since last year and have loved how well detail shots are coming out with that extra pop of light!! Also the magmod gels are great for this as well!!! Your number 3 is totally going to the top of our list this year, thank you for that!! Enjoy the start of your 2017 season!!! ❤️ R&R

  2. Jaye reply

    My goal is to master some serious off camera flash this year! I also want to up my game with my detail photos :)

  3. Jenna reply

    Love this advice! Your 2015 goal is one of my goals for this year – love it!

  4. Paige Mercer reply

    Ahh I need to work on my WIDE shots! Haha I can do tight all day and forget about the solid wide ones. Totally struggle there.
    Wow I love that you guys pray before the weddings, that’s amazing!!! Going to implement that! Thank you KJ!

  5. Traci reply

    LOVE number 3! Just read it to my hubby and we decided to add this to our weddings too! xoxo

  6. Sarah reply

    Umbrellas are great but I’ve found a love for a pop up beauty dish for my off camera flash game! I use it for a kiss of light in 99% of my images! I wish you the best in stepping up your flash game! It’s great once a system is developed!

  7. Meredith Jamison reply

    aw I love that y’all pray before weddings! I may just start incorporating that into my workflow on wedding days! Thanks for the idea! xxoo

  8. Amelia Renee reply

    These are great! I don’t know how I haven’t thought of this before…but I’m definitely stealing it :) maybe I’ll even blog about it, too! ;) Thabks Katelyn!

  9. Catherine D. reply

    Great post! My goal is to do more close-ups and to shoot more horizontally lol! I’m working on it!

  10. Mattes reply

    Sounds similar to my goals for the next Season ;)

    Just my goal for the Portraits will be different, because i will try to take more wide pictures ;) Till now i work often with lenses up from 85mm… I will us 35mm or wider this year.

    And try to use more different posings from wedding to wedding :)

  11. Virginia reply

    LOVE that you guys pray before each wedding!! I added that to my list for this year.

  12. 3 Goals for Wedding Season | Meet Marissa Monday » Marissa Eileen Photography reply

    […] that now would be the perfect time to set a few goals for the upcoming wedding season. Thanks to Katelyn James Photography for the inspiration behind this […]

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