I was sitting outside in our front yard. My son Greyson was splashing in his plastic blue pool while I edited away next to my mason jar full of iced coffee. Ping! An email notification flashed on my screen. I didn’t need to read the whole thing. Because the important words were already jumping out at me. Katelyn James, last workshop, open seats. I could not click fast enough! I didn’t look at the date, I didn’t look at the price. I just knew there was a reason that I saw this email immediately. And I was not going to let this opportunity slip away.
For real though, if you would have told me a year ago, that I would get to go to The Workshop Experience, I would have full on belly laughed at you. No way! This is a side hustle and it won’t ever be more than that! I’ll never make that huge of a leap for this business! I hate flying! I’m not good enough! There are so many others that are more worthy! But here I am now telling you that I shut that voice down. Sometime last year I stopped berating myself, And started cheering myself on! That switch guys, from one voice to the other, has opened more doors, possibilities, and adventures I could ever imagine!
I have been fan-girling over Katelyn James and her work since I picked up a camera. So being able to meet her, hug her, learn from her, was nothing short of surreal. I remember sitting in the gelato shop with the other 11 wonderful ladies. You could tell when people walked into Gelati Celesti, who was there for the ice cream, and who was there to meet Katelyn James! The excitement was plastered to our smiling faces! When she and her husband Michael walked in, and there was no computer screen between us and her… WOW that was crazy! Here is the amazing thing… The reason photographers are so obsessed with this wonderful woman. Yes she is talented no doubt about that, but she is also so down to earth. She has such a serving heart of gold and you can’t help but be drawn to her!
Katelyn and Michael welcomed all 12 of us into their home for 2 whole days. The entire family was nothing short of amazing to each of us. Also, huge shout out to Emily, Katelyn’s wonderful sister for feeding us! It was SO hard to come back home to my mediocre cooking!
On day one we dove right into all things technical. Lighting, posing, you name it! Followed by a gorgeous styled shoot planned by Dear Sweetheart Events. Fellow photographers, if you are not a part of KJ’s All Access… you need to be! Because watching her work is nothing short of amazing!
Then on day two, we got into the real stuff. The heart of our work. The stuff that had us all clawing for the box of tissues. Katelyn shared her story of their sweet baby James. (If you are not familiar with their story please read it HERE) Who Katelyn and Micheal knew would not survive. She carried her baby as long as the lord allowed. They loved him while they had him. This beautiful family’s story, reminded us all, that we are doing so much more than taking pretty pictures. We are giving people memories. Memories we cannot get back.
At the end of it all, we hugged, wiped away our tears, and felt ready to change our businesses. Because Katelyn had changed us. It sounds dramatic, I know. But it’s so true!
One thing I did not expect to gain from this experience, was the friendships. Yes, I did have hopes of meeting some amazing photographers who also fan-girl over Katelyn! But actually connecting with these 11 ladies, and feeling like we were always meant to become friends, was nothing short of amazing!
I could honestly type and type and type about how wonderful this workshop was. But I’ve missed my babies a lot over this past week. And they missed me! So I’ll end this here, with a note to the amazing woman who has welcomed so many photographers into her home and life to teach them straight from the heart. Katelyn! I keep trying to find the words to express how thankful I am that you and your whole family welcomed us into the workshop experience. But I cannot find ones good enough. So even though you definitely deserve more, I’ll have to settle for a simple thank you! From the bottom of my heart! I came away from this experience with a wealth of knowledge and an adventure I’ll never forget!!!!