• And Why it Should Make Us Grateful

I’m just going to be honest. Most of the time, I’m preaching to myself with my blog posts. I’m serious. Most of my BEST blog posts have resulted from me having to learn a hard lesson. I think EVERYONE…. even people not in the wedding industry… would agree that the photography industry is exploding. Everyone knows someone that’s “getting into photography” or is a photographer. When this started happening years ago, I was really bitter.

I was bitter because people told me that I was gifted… and that I was talented… and that I had found “MY THING!”.  But when everyone else starts doing the SAME thing and they were being told that they were talented and that they were born to do this… it kind of watered down my “special calling” that I thought I had miraculously found. Suddenly the thing that I had that was so special was seemingly “so easy” for others and that stung.  I don’t know why it bothered me so much but it did.  I struggled with it for a while and I still struggle with it sometimes. We all want to feel like we are “Special” right? It sounds so elementary but it’s true. Sometimes I want to be able to do something that no one can copy… that no one can do because they aren’t ME.  I know I’m not the only one that has felt that in some capacity.

Thankfully, God has done a lot of work in my heart over the years and instead of becoming increasingly more and more hard-hearted, I started realizing that instead of being bitter, I should be building others up. This is better for my well-being, better for business and better for the industry.  It’s not always the most natural thing to do way but it’s always worth it.  I was just talking with a dear friend of mine the other day about hard this is sometimes and after our chat, I continued thinking about it and this is what I realized.

So many people want to be photographers because:

  • It’s a way to make a living as an artist.
  • It allows you to be creative.
  • You’re not sitting in a cubicle all day.
  • You make your own hours and success is up to YOU.
  • There is no ceiling or cap on your income.
  • You are your own boss.
  • You get to serve people.
  • Every shoot is different and exciting in some way.
  • You can market yourself however you want.
  • You can work as little or as much as you want.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive to begin compared to other businesses.
  • It seems easy to start.
  • Based on other photographer’s Instagrams, it seems like a fun life!
  • You may get to travel with your business.
  • You get to create your own success.

When you read through this list of reasons of why people are attracted to this career path, it makes sense.  Who wouldn’t want to give this a shot? And who is to say that the they can’t try simply because there are “too many of us” already.  EVERYONE DESERVES A SHOT AT THIS.  Being bitter about not being “special” is just plain selfish.  If I was 20 years old right now and wanted desperately to make a living being creative and being my own boss, I would be starting my business this year. I can’t IMAGINE what it would have been like if everyone had told me “Well, there are already A LOT of photographers so…..”.  I had my chance… and I MADE IT.  I worked my butt off to “make it” and I created a career for myself.  And THAT’S the key!!

Everyone deserves a shot… literally.

EVERYONE should have the chance to build their dream business.  Will everyone succeed at it? No. Is EVERYONE cut out to be wedding photographer that attempts it? No. Am I the one that should be determining who enters the industry? No. Should I be encouraging those that are just trying to do what I have had the honor of doing the last seven years? Yes.

The fact that there is an enormous amount of new photographers starting businesses on a consistent basis is NOT A THREAT to established photographers.  The THREAT to the established photographer lies within themselves. When established photographers complain that new photographers are killing the industry, THEY are the ones hurting the industry.  Their inability to see past an industry’s saturation issue is what is hurting their business and will ultimately shut them down. No one will EVER be able to stop the growth or lessen the attractiveness of the photography industry.  The more that technology grows and the more affordable it is acquire professional gear, the more the industry will expand.

Embrace growth.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to the “Mr. Grumpy Gills” of the industry…. I want to be the encourager and the one that is elevating industry standards through education. That’s why we offer workshops, coaching and launched The Collection! We have realized that those “bitter” days have passed it’s time to move forward. We’ve also realize that whenever we get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of new photographers entering the industry, we need to be grateful.  We need to be grateful because are attracted to what we’re doing because WHAT WE GET TO DO IS AWESOME. :) Start thinking of it that way from now on and I guarantee that you’ll see bitterness take a backseat in your business. Life is a lot more enjoyable that way! :):)

If you’re a newer photographer that is just hearing about us for the first time, we have a lot of resources for photographers in The Collection!!  We JUST launched, for the first time ever, some educational resources about PRICING and knowing what you’re worth! We still have a handful of KJ Pricing Kits that are still discounted $40 OFF!! Use CODE: kjpricing at checkout! Enjoy!!!!

xoxo, Katelyn
41 Comments Business, Education
  1. Amelia Protiva reply

    Yes, yes, yes!! ❤ I love you heart, Katelyn.

  2. Kimmie reply

    Love this Katelyn! You are an encouragement to the industry and I’m thankful for your honesty! Thanks for shedding light from this perspective and giving us all the opportunity to reflect on how we can do this better on our own terms.

  3. Natalie reply

    Katelynn I understand where you are coming from and although people may be able to replicate things you do- no one can replicate you and that is what being a photographer is about- selling your photography and yourself in one package.

    Also I hope you found found the pun in that post ;). “Everyone deserves a shot.”

  4. Shaina Koren reply

    Love this post Katelyn! Thank you for embracing your community and inspiring others to do the same.

  5. Sarah Anne Hayes reply

    I think this is true for a lot of creative industries. I’ve felt a bit like this myself as I’m just started my stationery business — that there are already so many businesses, why should I enter such a saturated market — but the encouragement I’ve received from other established stationers has been such a blessing. And I know other photographers feel the same way about you, Katelyn. :)

  6. Tatyana reply

    Thank you so much for your vulnerability and sharing this!

  7. Nicole Salter reply

    I’ve felt this way for years. In high school, I knew I wanted to be a photographer, and even going into college – everyone said I was amazing at it and I knew of no one else who even entertained the idea of being a professional photographer. It’s true. Everyone wants it because it IS the best job in the entire world. If they really want it, they’ll get there. You give what you get out of life. I try not to be bitter about it and God will take care of who really belongs there.

  8. Amanda Hedgepeth reply

    A shining light in the industry my friend!!!! I love you!!!!:)

  9. Hunter reply

    Yes! I love this! Thank you for being open and honest. The line that really hit the nail on the head for me was when you said, “the threat to the established photographer lies within themselves.”
    I think this applies to any and all careers/callings/passions. If I feel jealousy or resentment towards someone else’s work, then I need to focus on why I don’t feel like I’m good enough. What can I improve or change in my own work to make me feel fulfilled? And I firmly believe that if you work hard, are talented, and have a huge passion for it, your success will always shine through. Look at your amazing business! You have such a specifically unique style that no one could truly be just like you, even if they tried.
    Thank you for an awesome post.

  10. Cinnamon reply

    #preach! =)
    In all seriousness though, I felt that crazy pressure when I first started two years ago. I thought everyone I knew would be like, “oh you think you can just pick up a camera and be a photographer?” Finding a community of creatives who are more focused on building up than tearing down has made all the difference in the world to me. Being an encourager is who I am by nature so I always wanted to incorporate that into my business somehow but wasn’t seeing a lot of that in the industry. Finding people like you has given me hope that this industry WILL do great things as long as we all keep realizing that the industry IS big enough for everyone who really wants to build and grow and serve!

  11. Kelsey reply

    As a photographer just now coming out of the gates after a 4 year Studio Art education, I truly appreciate this mind set. On the opposite end, when someone tells me right now, at 22, that the industry is too saturated and I “may need to look into doing something else” or that I’ll never be able to afford the high quality equipment, so I might as well not start, it is extremely difficult to not listen. Ignoring the negative and tuning into welcoming photographers, like yourselves, is the only thing that gets me past that! I just want you to know that you positive spirit is helping young women and men, like myself, be able to believe in a bright future for themselves. Otherwise, I would feel that my entire education was a waste. Thank you!

  12. Natalie reply

    Such a beautiful, amazing post! Love!

  13. Shalese reply

    YES. I have struggled with feeling bitter and struggling to feel “special,” but I have to remember . . . I am one of the ones just taking a shot and trying to make it, too! It’s your attitude that counts!

  14. Laura Matthews reply

    YES! It’s easy to feel bitter when you work so hard. I’ve had those feelings, it’s normal! However, when we realize that what we OURSELVES put into our business, that NO ONE else can replicate, that’s when those feelings dissipate. There are enough of the right clients to go around for everyone!

  15. Allie reply

    What an amazing post and great advice!

  16. mandi reply

    Thanks so much for writing this! I really appreciate your honesty and vulnerability! I have struggled with this same thing. Thanks again!!

  17. Sheng reply

    thank you sharing. Because of photographers like you, I am a better photographer and I will continue to pass that good energy!!

  18. Karen reply

    I SO needed to read this today. I have a young photographer who I’m meeting with shortly who wants to intern w/ me … I have mixed feelings, but am open to see where this goes. Thanks for the encouragement!

  19. Sydni Jackson reply

    This is great, and speaks to my heart too as someone who wants to stand out from the crowd. One other thing I thought of (which you’ve probably already thought about and know more about than me)… even though there are many more photographers now, there’s also a much higher demand for quality pictures. People didn’t used to necessarily want pictures of their engagement, almost no one did “anniversary” shoots, most senior shoots were taken with the school photographer, etc. People want to pay for professional photos way more now. I guess maybe the wedding industry is more saturated and that’s probably what you’re talking about, but at least there are plenty of opportunities for people to be photographers in other areas! Just something I thought of :)

  20. Meg reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Such a good reminder!

  21. Sahmra reply

    Thank you Katelyn, for your kind words and encouragement. Thank you for recognizing and living out your love for community in this industry. You’re such an inspiration and blessing.

    Learning to ” embrace growth”…

  22. Emily Malizia reply

    Great post KK! Very well written. :)

  23. Jill reply

    I can’t find the words right now to tell you how much I loved this blog, (and all your other blogs!!!) thank you for this one and helping me see a new outlook for this industry!

  24. Trae reply

    Thank you for being a part of everything that is wonderful and great about this community. Seeing the positives and finding your worth not in what others do or say about you — but in who you were created to be! I LOVE this article.

  25. Sara reply

    So I’m kind of in my grumpy stage right now. Sorry, not trying to be a downer, I’m just not through the thicket yet. But what I am trying to do while I’m in this stage is find a way to make myself more valuable. I’m concentrating more on graphic design at the moment and have been getting some word-of-mouth referrals. And while I love that, and am encouraged by that, it’s still not going out and taking photos of people or events, and being their memory-keeper. Design is great, and I can make a business out of it, but it’s just not where my heart lies. The market I’m in right now is quite flooded photographer-wise, so I’m just waiting out my time here. Luckily change is on the horizon for me, and with that, I can see the breaks in the clouds. The sun is trying to peek through. Great blog!

  26. Kellie reply

    this is perfect. And true. Lord, let me always be an encourager and build others up. I have been blessed to be a part of a smallish group of local photographers. We meet up. We shoot. We have lunch or coffee. We share ideas and solve problems. I’m so thankful for this super group of ladies who pour into each other.

  27. Jane reply

    What a wonderful post and how encouraging to others. Jealousy and envy create such havoc on our lives. The ability to recognize it and move forward is an even greater accomplishment.

    This is one of my favorite quotes by a dear friend who passed:
    Success is measured in lives changed.

    So, keep on keeping on!

  28. Kari Layland reply

    It’s so hard to avoid getting bitter when you see the prices dropping all over the place. It’s scary! Thanks for the positive spin. I need to remind myself of this regularly :)

  29. Jamie reply

    Thank you for being so honest about this subject~ I have also struggled with this and I’m a new be. LOL~ I took every word to heart!

  30. Gina reply

    Love your new perspective in this. I once followed the blog of a talented food blogger/photographer who started to diss all the newbie photographers that were popping up. It hurt my feelings (as someone who was trying to better my photography skills) and I haven’t followed her since.

  31. Bethany McDonnell reply

    Yes, everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I am so thankful that photographers like you are willing to share with beginners like me!

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  33. Sophia Jablonski reply

    I think many industries everywhere are exploding, not just photography. There’s tons of new food businesses, places and ideas opening every year. Hundreds more retail stores and boutique shops opening up. And even more Technololgy based companies popping up. I realized years ago saturation was everywhere when I had applied to an Administrative Assistant position and there were OVER 290 applications for that one job alone. I was shocked, it didn’t even pay that well and yet hundreds of people were applying. At one point, I felt like I could never be original, whether I was getting a degree and working for a company or starting my business. I felt like everything was TAKEN and there was nothing for me. I was too worried about the rest of the world and what they were doing and not worried about myself. I realized that I have my own strengths and unique traits I can bring to anything I decide to do. It’s just up to ME. I control my own destiny and my success in anything I do. I’m so happy others are finding their way and that I get to journey through life finding my own. We’re all just doing this together, kind of like we are one big giant family. :)
    Thank you so much for sharing Katelyn and being so honest and open. It gives others the strength to do the same ♡
    Much Love,

  34. Erin reply

    I’m a freshman in college and have been taking pictures for several years now and portraits for about a year and a half. You put into words so many of the thoughts/feelings I have had about something I have a passion for and my frustration when others would pick up on it. And now I even see that the reason some of the people I know may have made the first jump to a dslr is because they’ve seen what I can do and just how fun it can be. (That doesn’t sound very humble, but I mean it to be!) Thanks for the perspective! So glad I came across your blog :)

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  36. Lacey Smith reply

    Hi Katelyn! First things first, you’re an incredible photographer! Not that you needed to hear that from me lol, but I want you to know I look up to you! I’m gleaning so much wisdom from your site. THANK YOU!!! I would LOVE to book you for my wedding if that day comes! :) Next month makes one year since I started my own photography business. I have been drawn to photography since I was a little girl doing photo shoots of my Barbies’ senior & wedding photos haha. Photography became a huge part of my life, but I hesitated starting my own business because there is already so much talent in my area. My own brother even said, “Great, just what Jackson County needs- another photographer!” lol But it was my passion & I knew I had some talent. So I began & it meant so much when an established photographer nearby referred me to a couple for their wedding & another photographer praised my work & wanted to book me herself. Major kudos to you & established photographers showing encouragement to us newbies! It shows confidence & such grace. I was disheartened though, when not even a week after announcing my business, an acquaintance started her own photography business, followed by another, & then another lol! However, I’ve learned that there’s room for everyone & I shouldn’t worry about what others are doing or who is booking with them & not me. I am my competition & should be occupied with perfecting my craft. So I wanted you to know this article resonated with me. I have no formal training & still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing lol, so thank you again for selflessly sharing your tips! Sincerely, Lacey Smith

  37. Rajeev Ranjan reply

    one of the best article i ever read ma’am. It was like story of mine in first paragraph only.. almost every other person is photographer now with a DSLR and sometimes we doubt there is nothing special in US to be become better than others..Thanks again for this beautiful article.

  38. Joanne Delbiondo reply

    Hello, thank you for your article I needed to read that. I have been very bitter and feel exactly how you felt. Photigraphy isn’t easy. It is a struggle and I’m still learning. I find myself comparing my work and feel like giving up. I don’t feel good enough but yet I have people tell me they love my work. I’m really struggling so thank you for your article.

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