• WPPI 2014 Recap | Part One

you guys were right. I spent a lot of time freaking out about not having anyone show up to my talk and we had an amazing turnout this past Tuesday night! I still can’t believe it’s over and I can officially say that I spoke at one of the largest photography conferences in the world. That’s pretty exciting and I’m honored that I had this incredible opportunity!!! Now before I share some fun highlights of this experience, you have to hear this story. So, at WPPI, you can do something called “Pre-boarding”. This is when you signup to attend a class before the conference begins to claim a seat!

Well, like any good husband, Michael emailed the conference coordinator to check on our pre-board number…. and we didn’t hear anything…. or so I thought. I figured she was too busy and so that’s why we didn’t get a response. It turns out, she responded and her answer was devastating. Michael had gotten the news that only 40 people had pre-boarded for my class. I know that I could have impacted 40 people and it would have been so worth it.. but deep down, I was disappointed.  At a conference with thousands of photographers, 40 pre-boards wasn’t what I was expecting. I got this news right before heading to lunch with Zach and Jody. We talked about it and Jody reminded me that it’s not about numbers… and she was right. So I started preparing myself for 40… which would mean that the first two rows of my room would be filled and the rest would be empty. I reminded myself that this was my first year and it’s just an honor to BE there…. so who cares if the numbers are low!? A few hours passed and I was ready to crank out some instagrams and tweets to try to drum up some excitement…. in hopes that more would join us.

You see, I worked HARD on this talk…. probably more than any other talk. I knew that what I had to share would help photographers grow their businesses and we poured our heart into this talk….. so naturally, I wanted people to hear it…. as many as possible!!! The idea of creating community is powerful and we have grown SO much with this business model! The brand loyalty that we have created through our #kjbride community is just insane and the love I have for my clients is something that EVERY photographer should have the opportunity to experience.

Fast forward a full day…. we’re sitting at Justin and Mary’s Soiree and Michael gets an email…. and he looks shocked. He looks at me and he says “Oh Katelyn…. this is great news!”. I immediately stopped my conversation that was probably centered around something related to coming to my talk because I was desperate for attendees and I listened to what his email was all about. He told me that there had been a mistake…. the 40 person pre-board wasn’t for my class, it was for a panel that I was on later in the week!! AHHHH!!! It felt like a MIRACLE!!! No seriously, I felt such a weight being lifted off of me when he told me this news! What a RELIEF!!!!!!

So as we were setting up for the talk, someone entered the conference room and explained that my talk was listed on the speaker screen as “Stand-By”. What that meant was that it was sold out and the only people able to come in were those that pre-boarded. The line ran all the way down the hallway and unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we weren’t able to move to a larger room and a large group of people were unable to join us. This was heartbreaking to me and I’m so sorry for everyone who wasn’t able to attend. However, I have to admit that despite the overflow issue, I was beyond relieved to see a room full of friends.  I had been preparing myself for 40…. and so when the room filled up, I was just beside myself! :)

I truly love to speak. I love connecting with people and seeing photographers “get it” and find hope. I told the class that my goal for our time together wasn’t to ENTERTAIN them… it was to EQUIP them and I hope I did just that. I hope that everyone who attended learned the VALUE of creating a community with their business and are inspired to go home and love on their clients!! If I could write out the whole talk in a blog post, I would in a heartbeat!! But for now, I’ll just leave you with some highlights!! :

–  We gave away 50 of the book “Tribes” By: Seth Godin!! I felt like Oprah!! 

– I had the opportunity to share part of our story and how God is using our business in mighty ways.

Tyler Herrinton is THE MAN and helped us created not one but TWO films for this talk and I owe him BIG time!!!!! So thankful for him! 

– My BRIDES who contributed to one of our videos are ah-mazing! I can’t thank them enough for their time and effort! Their willingness to share totally MADE this talk and I am SO grateful for them!!!! 

– Huge thanks to Mary for helping prep and prepare in so many ways! And Thank you to Jody for the sweet introduction! I felt so loved by these two. :) 

– Two of our best friends, Buddy and Jill decided a few weeks ago to make the trip out to be a part of this and we absolutely LOVED seeing them!! It’s always a fun adventure with these two and we enjoy their company so much. Their friendship is SUCH a gift!!!

– Michael put up with me… and my mental breakdowns about false pre-board numbers and I love him for it. :)

– Huge thanks to Align, AlbumExposure and PASS for offering some awesome giveaways!!!

The listed could go on and on and on. I’m so thankful for all of the prayers, texts, emails, FB posts. I was so encouraged before I even got on the stage… so thank you to EVERYONE who sent us some love in some way, shape or form!!!! I’m so honored that I was able to be a part of this conference and I think it’s safe to say that I love speaking…. I guess I get it from my daddy. Such a PK. :) So enjoy this video that I shared during my talk from some KJ Brides!! Thanks again to Tyler for his help!!



And here are some shots taken by our awesome friend Matt Kennedy! So thankful he was a smart photographer and brought his camera! We were so busy getting stuff ready that we didn’t take ANY pictures! Grateful for him and these shots from the presentation!! This first one is of the sweet Jody Gray introducing me! Thank you Jody!!! And the second is of my watching the clip from our intro video created by the awesome Tyler Herrinton!!!

And this was taken before I started speaking… as the room filled up and I realized that my freak outs were for nothing:) So thankful for everyone that came!

We talked about “Community”and so it seemed only appropriate that we practice creating a “social” community!!! Love these #creatingcommunitywppi instas!! 

xoxo, Katelyn
36 Comments Photography, Speaking
  1. Tyler Herrinton reply

    Woo, so proud of you katelyn! I know you put a ton of work into this presentation. I’m so glad it all worked out, and everyone loved it! Thanks for letting me help out!

  2. Tyler Herrinton reply

    Woo, so proud of you katelyn! I know you put a ton of work into this presentation. I’m so glad it all worked out and everyone loved it! Thanks for letting me help out!

  3. Megan K. Marcus reply

    Awww how crazy that the line was that long! You touched so many people! I will have to check out that book!! :)

  4. Katie reply

    I am so happy for you!!! I knew it was going to be a packed house!!!! Your joy for what you do is contagious and people can’t get enough! I hope the video of your brides speaking was wonderful ;) XOXO love you!!!!!

  5. Kat reply

    WOOHOOOO!!! Girl, that is AMAZING!!!

  6. SHalese reply

    This makes me want to go to WPPI next year SO much . . . so you’ll have to speak again in 2015. ;)

  7. Sharon Elizabeth reply

    so happy for you katelyn <3

  8. ashley barnett reply

    You did SO amazing Katelyn! I was so inspired and excited by everything you said – and a crying mess by the end hahaha! LOVE YOU!

  9. Ashley S reply

    SO happy i got in! your class was a highlight of my trip to wppi. Thank you for all the inspiration! xo

  10. Tiffany farley reply


  11. Valerie Duvick reply

    So happy to hear it went so well! You deserve it, girl!! :)

  12. Jackie reply

    Katelyn, your story is so inspiring!

  13. Ali SrokA reply

    It was a great talk. So happy I could be apart of it!! Just so inspiring! Forever a wppi community.

  14. ashley link reply

    so you should totally write a post on this or do a video! just saying! i know so many people would want to watch it!!!! me included haha. so happy that it was sold out!!!! :)

  15. Matoli Keely reply

    This is amazing Katelyn!! I am sure you did a fantastic job:) Whoot!!

  16. Stephanie Messick reply

    I’m so THRILLED reading this post, Katelyn!!! Totally deserve it! xoxo

  17. Kristen Driscoll reply

    If I had been able to make it to WPPI, your talk would’ve been the first one i signed up there, and the one that I would’ve been looking forward to the most! I hope you someday blog about it! :) So happy for you that it went so well! :)

  18. Natalie reply

    You are such an inspiration! Love you both!

  19. Frank reply

    Knowing how you put God first in your business model, I think this is a great example of Luke Chapter 6 verse 38. I am sure those that attended saw Him through you!!

  20. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    I’m so glad your talk was sold out!! How the world would change if everyone treated their customers like you do!!

  21. Annamarie reply

    Yayyy!! So proud to be a #kjbride!! Also i think the fact that I am legitimately friends with almost every bride in that video says a lot about how well you create community! :)

  22. Charlotte Jennings reply

    Awww yay!! So happy for you Katelyn. When you first mentioned 40, as I read, I thought “YEAH right! There had to be a mistake!” ;)

  23. Sara Winant reply

    We are soooo proud of you Katelyn!! I just know you rocked it and thank you for letting us be a part of it! your couples love you!!!

  24. Brenda James reply

    KK, What a blessing it is for me and your Daddy to see how God is using the incredible gifts that He has given you. And we are unspeakably thankful that you have Michael by your side . . . and what a wonderful team the two of you have become!!

  25. Breanna reply

    Katelyn…crying over here! This video is so sweet, and the wedding photography community could not be more proud of you. You are genuine and authentic in such a competitive industry. For a job that primarily revolves around people in love, it is so refreshing to see you share your love with your clients and other photographers. We LOVE you!!! :)

  26. Angela reply

    Yay, I made the blog!! Katelyn, you were amazing, Vegas was worth it just to see you. Always an inspiration :)

  27. Kristina W. reply

    I knew you’d be a huge success at WPPI! :) Great job Katelyn and Michael!

  28. Lindsey McClennahan reply

    Katelyn, Your class rocked my socks. I honestly got so much out of it, and felt so moved. I thought about it all the way home, and ways to apply it. I was inspired, and touched by the people that you and michael are! Thank you for dedicating so much of your heart and time to this community. the work needs more people like you guys!! love love love!! : )

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  30. shannon reply

    Oh katelyn, I cant believe you ever doubted your fan base. I Don’t think you really know how special you are!!! I was not at this years wppi but I’m going 2015 and sincerely hope you will be there. Your a true inspiration to the photography community. And I cant wait to learn from you.

  31. Paulina reply

    wooooo we made the blog!! how exciting! it was so worth waiting in line to hear you, katelyn! -)

  32. Melissa Jill reply

    Loved seeing you up on stage Katelyn! You were incredible!! So proud of you!

  33. Annetta reply

    LOVE your video! Some day I will get to WPPI!

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  35. Matt Kennedy reply

    Miss you guys so much! I wish we didn’t give up our seats for those last 3 people that got in half way through! I need to learn more from you! GET WILD!

  36. Michael reply

    I have wanted to get down to a wppi event for a long time now but I’m always busy, im going to have to make time eh! Congrats on your talks success.

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