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Community Marketing for Wedding Photographers

Lesson 2 of 4

Reasons to Form Community

Katelyn James

Community Marketing for Wedding Photographers

Katelyn James

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Lesson Info

2. Reasons to Form Community


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2 Reasons to Form Community Duration:21:10
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Lesson Info

Reasons to Form Community

So these air five reasons like forming community could be a game changer for your business and not just be something that works for me that's always my concern like I don't want to get in front of all these people and tell them do it this way do it this way without it being one hundred percent certain that you can do it as well but after years of coaching and teaching people is and watching others create a community like this I know that it's possible for you so let's talk about why it could work for you one marketing endurance so I should probably explain to you because I use this term a lot during the presentation but katie brides are forever kj brides they always have that title that's what I call my bride's so if michael knight shot your wedding your cage a bride okay and some brides love it some people use that title sparingly, but all my bride's know that when she book with us that's what you're called you have a name okay? So cagey buys forever kj brides and I realized this when...

we started a facebook group for all of our couples actually just the bride's the groom's we've had a few grooms say, what about me? So we're trying to build up the groom experiences will I don't know the groom's would care but they dio eso what happened is that we started this facebook group and I said, ok, we're going to put a night like two thousand ten to two thousand thirteen brides because two thousand eight brides they have babies now they have families, they don't care about being in a facebook group with their wedding photographer and all of her current clients and they were offended the two thousand eight brides were slightly offended that they weren't included and you know what that taught me? It taught me that my marketing last forever once a cage, a bride always occasion bride, the current brides, the two thousand sixteen brides they're excited because they made the cut two thousand eight brides are excited because they were there since the beginning and I didn't realize that they would care but they do and so marketing last forever what this means is the more weddings that you shoot, the more lifelong marketers you have without doing extra work, I think I often that is you literally just have to shoot weddings created experience provided community for people to be a part of and you're making more money you're raising value in demand for your business, but you don't have to do traditional advertising, so I'm getting ahead of myself I get really excited about this because this is literally the heartbeat of our business and it has transformed our business into something that I wish everyone could experience so the second thing, second reason why this could work for your business or you should consider giving it a try is because we're playing to human natural desire, it's in our dna, how many of you have heard of maybe, like crossfit gyms? Yeah, anybody have you ever noticed where those people pay all that money to go? It's not the classiest place it's normally like a garage somewhere, but the reason it works it's because they understand you connect people, you give them a community, and we are naturally drawn to that. Another example is so imagine you are a high school senior, you graduate, you go to college, you're in this huge campus of people that should feel like family. But what a girl's dio and guys, but mostly girls, they pay big bucks to be a part of even smaller tribe, and they have a title over their name and they have an older sister and the little authority they're paying for community because we love feeling like we're part of something. So my thought is if that's something that we're naturally all desire ing in our life, we all want to feel like we're part of something that and would you agree if you don't feel like you're part of something it's hard? You started out your purpose when you don't have a neighborhood or you don't have a small group of church or you don't have people in your life that you feel like get you, you you feel like you're out of your element, so if we nationally desire this, why don't we figure out a way to make that a business strategy? This is a natural human desire great, so I'm running a business, how can I take that natural human desire and build it into my business? My brides are in the same season of life, they should know each other, they should connect so I could get all theological I always do this, it went where it works out said I'm like, I think everyone desires to be connected to something greater than themselves, and if that's the truth, then this could be a huge, huge thing in our business, a huge strategy in our business. So third reason I'm not a saleswoman. I said that before, but I don't think I really hit hard like I'm really not a saleswoman and I don't know what it is about maybe it's because my sister she's like the more dominating sister like sheet well, that's so love you mean she's watching I politics, but she has a more strong willed personality and I didn't get that I have a more meek personality and I like being front I can teach you but if I had to sit you down at a coffee shop and explain why I'm awesome and why you should book me that is not my personality I struggle with that and that's so interesting because I lied all these people but yet I have a problem with selling myself in terms of business so I I really give this example quite often cause I think people can understand it but did any of you have to come home from elementary school with wrapping paper like fundraisers you to sell wrapping paper yes yeah ok good I was like, gosh, if these examples if these people in the west coast don't have the same fundraisers is us I'm gonna be sunk but as soon as you get home with that wrapping paper and my mom would see it and she would roll her eyes because she knew I'm going to have to sell all the wrapping paper because caitlin can't sell anything. So if you sell certain levels of the wrapping paper then you would win prizes and there's always that kid and they got the walkman for free because he sold so many roles wrapping paper and I could never measure up to that and so fast forward a decade later maybe a little longer than that I'm starting to run a business and I'm trying to say sit down and sell myself to clients just asking them to pay fifteen hundred dollars that's all like I'm worth fifteen hundred dollars. Well, now we charge over seven thousand dollars for wedding, and I still know that I can't convince people that it literally makes me sick to my stomach to think about going to meet with a potential bride and having to sell myself to her and so creating community allows me to get out of that my bride do the selling for me, and that is awesome. We got an inquiry guess it was, uh, you're you're so ago it was a destination wedding, and so if you want to have michael and I come to a destination wedding, you not only have to pay the package for the wedding, but you also have to pay for two flights and two nights in a hotel, and you have to pay for a rental car and it adds up, and so when we get destination enquiries, I would say maybe ten percent of them actually book because of the price point. And so I just got this inquiry and started reading in the last paragraph struck me because the bride said she said, I just want to let you know that one of my best friends is just may. And just may was one of your bride's last year, and she took me out and we got coffee and she basically said, I don't care what you have to do. You have got to book caitlin michael that's got to be a priority. Maybe you get rid of the deejay or the band or you skimp on a little bit of the cocktail hour, but you've got to make it worth. You've got to make it worth it to you because it is literally the best decision of our wedding. And this is what I realised michael and I, we went to a really great restaurant here in seattle last night. It was on capitol hill, a friend rest recommended. It was called chop way was it was a come chop shop. Okay, yeah, it's great. It was amazing. And you know what? I did the first we got in there, and I'll just tell you the whole story, why not? So we walk in there and our reservation table wasn't ready. And so the host or the hostess said, you can actually just sit at the chef's counter if you want. And most the time when you're like sitting at the bar it's like, ok. Best decision ever because the chef was trying out new recipes and he was so passionate about everything and he kept giving us little plates to try and get our opinion and we got toe watch michael's pork chop be made and like the process it was amazing and you know what the first thing we did was we pulled out our phones and we texted are best friends and said oh my gosh next time we come to see how together we're going to this restaurant why did I do that because when you love something and you have a great experience with something you want to tell your friends about it it naturally happens just like it naturally happened for bob and jess bob and just loved working with us and so she couldn't help it but take her friend and take out the lunch and say you just got engaged you've got to have caitlyn and michael you just have to and you know what that did to me I literally just welcomed her created a booking proposal online and she booked and I never had to sell myself and never had to sit down with a sweet bride and convince her to spend thousands of dollars just flying us because jeff had done the hard work okay so does that make sense yeah I want I want the seattle dinner experience that happened for us last night toe happen to my business every single weekend I want lifelong marketers I want that to happen for me every single weekend, and I want to teach you how to do it. The fourth reason is it's experience centered ok, so basically I love I love talking about this because so many businesses you swipe your card, they book you, maybe cinema, welcome email and say, hey, I'm so excited to work with you on dh, then you step up and engage incessant session you, you shoot it at a lot of messes in one on one and then you literally given the images and you're done, you're done so the experience was the typical photography experience you shoot the pictures, you deliver them right? That's, great there's, nothing to talk about there's, nothing special about that, so of course, if you're struggling to rise above and an industry full of photographers and can't understand why you can't raise your prices, there's no way to add value unless you sell products or which is there's nothing wrong with that, but if you're like me and you can't fell, then there is a problem with that you're going to be miserable and you're going to end up doing a part of the business that you never most of you get into it because you love being artistic and you know you can bless people with amazing images so my thought is, why don't we take our love for people and our love for imagery and for being creative and artistic and create experience from beginning to end? The more experiences you have with one bride and groom, the more chances you have toe win, and while them, hasn't anyone ever been tio japanese steakhouse like a hibachi grill? Okay, you know, were they ok? Good again, another example of I hope they have japanese steakhouses on the west coast, so japanese sake houses you go in, you sit down and they do this whole production of the suit you're going to think I'm obsessed with because all my examples had to do with food don't forget the wrapping paper that was not food related, so they do all these different things they like stack the onions and the poor oil, and they catch it on fire and, like, act like the two to train. Hopefully you know what I'm talking about and then and then they do all these things where they throw the egg up in the air, what happens if they throw the egg up in the air and it doesn't crack perfectly on the spatula? Is your whole experience ruined? No. Oh, because the experience is created through a bunch of little tiny experiences, and it makes us amazing end result so what happens if you go to chipotle and you go all the way down the line and they put sour cream on top and you hate sour cream? Let's even go a step further? You literally are allergic to sour cream, it's life or death, and they just put sour cream all across what happens. You've got to go all the way back. You have to start all over, and that was to poll plays, one shot, they had one shot to win you over and they ruined it. You're gonna think I hate poli! I don't hate to, poli we just ate there today, but you know what? The polling has nothing on our dinner last night, and our dinner last night was seven times the price, and I would go back there. We try to go back there for brunch this morning, but I was too nervous for my talk, so I couldn't go, so so I I wish I wish that I could create a japanese steakhouse experience for my couples over and over and over again because most photographers have a chip, holy experience, two polar experiences, you have one chance to win them over and then you're done, but with japanese steakhouse, I can have an album that comes and the covers messed up and people still love us. I can show up on a wedding day and maybe forget that the ceremony is fifteen minutes later than I thought, which has never happened, but little things can slip and they still adore caitlin and michael and so I want an experience centered business because I want to make sure that I can win and wows with the end of the day. Kj brides are obsessed with being kj brides so try to think about your business as I want to jacking steakhouse business I don't want to just order burrito ok if that's the one quote that gets out from this whole talk, caitlin james says don't make your business about being a burrito that's gonna be bad, but hopefully you get the picture hopefully you understand why if you were just showing up shooting delivering, you're probably not good you're going to hit a wall, you're going to hit a wall where you can on ly charge this much and you see other people charging more and you don't know why it's because you literally don't have anything to offer except what everyone else does okay, so experience center that's one reason why a community based business is better than just a transactional customer base business number five all right, we're almost done with this and then we get to go into the good stuff five loyalty leads to value that story I started with the grandma I love that story and I love it because who who reads a blawg over and over and over again to the point where grandma gives you your inheritance in the form of a wedding photography payment that's crazy and on a much less serious note michael and I have an example in our personal life, so we used to live in this teeny tiny little house where he first got married and it was in the middle of short pump virginia we have the weirdest names waste live in short pump virginia now we live in gooch lynn, virginia I'm sorry, but that's a horrible name for a place to live so what? We love it so we moved like fifteen minutes away from our little house, but near little house was a dry cleaners and the dry cleaner she'd spoke very broken english, but she knew you're the wedding photographers. You I know you're the wedding drivers and she would always make sure that our clothes were ready before friday's because she knew they've a wedding on saturday and she put us ahead of other people because she knew our story and she was invested in us so guess what will we moved? We drove all the way to her even though she was not the closest cleaner why? Because loyalty leads to value I would rather give up fifteen extra minutes of my day to go give business to her because I'm a loyal to her because she cared for us because she was personally invested in us how many of you use mac products apple products yes you can good I feel like you're in good company here you could raise your hand will we not agree that they're geniuses I mean they have sold products to my husband that we don't even need an apple watch being example I don't even know why we have that thing but he loves it he loves his apple watch and the reason why is an apple watch is because he is a part of the mak community he's like a die hard they just announced something else like the new ipad it's literally just a bigger version of the ipad and he's probably gonna want to get one and write it off as a business expense because he's so obsessed with their products and the reason why is because apple stands for something like deeper than just cool products they stand for changing the world with their products they've a deeper meaning behind their business and so when you buy an apple product what do you get? You get a little white sticker right? You know I'm talking about this little white apple stickers do they still do that? Okay good again that would have ruined my example if they got rid of the um what do you do with those stickers you put him on the back of your car, you put him on a bag, you put him on your laptop sleeve and whenever you see those stickers guess what you know that you have something in common with that guy or that girl because you love apple too loyalty leads to value time after time after time we see this to be true and all sorts of businesses starbucks were in starbuck central right now I'll be honest when I go to starbucks I pay big like large dollars for what do I get eliminate peach green tea that's my new favorite drink I don't even drink coffee and I like going to starbucks because of the way it makes me feel. So if loyalty leads to value, what can that look like in a wedding photography setting here's an example this's carly and oliver and they got married in two thousand nine when I didn't really know what I was doing I was a new photographer and short they have beautiful images but I look back in like sometimes your first weddings you look back here like wow, what was I thinking? This is one of their better portrait's and they were so sweet they trusted me they invested in me but the price point wasn't outrageous sixteen hundred dollars that's what they asked for that's what they were able to contribute to their wedding photography budget then read a bill. Rita is oliver's, baby sister. She gets engaged in two thousand thirteen. And caitlin jane's photography has grown in the last few years and that is now my price point for the same experience. They paid it. They pay that. And the funny thing is, is that I was at a chamber of commerce. Means y'all chamber of commerce. Okay, good again. Glad. I don't know why. I'm acting like the west coast is like a completely different world. But with this southern girl, I just get worried, like chamber of commerce is nothing good. So chamber of commerce meeting michael and I grew up in the middle of nowhere. So I've known michael, my husband since I was fifteen. Well, actually, I've known him since I was like, two, and then we started dating when I was fifteen and he was seventeen. Okay, so we grew up in the middle of nowhere. There aren't a lot of people that's, not why I married him. Some people like you just married because there was no one else to choose that's not true. I love him so. So we grew up in this little town full of farmers full like small little businesses that are owned by like mom and pops so they asked me they're like ok caitlin she's from caroline and she's running this great business she's going to come and be our guest speaker and I was like, ok, so we met up in a truck stop that's where they have their meetings and and it was awesome because I got to speak to farmers and mom and pop business owners about our business but I made the mistake of explaining to them that our wedding started sixteen or sixty eight hundred dollars and their jaws dropped because you've got to imagine these your people who won't go out to applebee's because it's too expense it's like they're conservative lower income area and they thought they thought that this was ridiculous and one man in his country accent and his overalls he stood up and he said who in their right mind would pay that and guess whose mom was sitting there reading because read his mom and dad he's the president of the local bank and so they were sitting there and she spoke up and she said, you know what? When rita when your daughter gets engaged and she comes to the dinner table and you're going to have your first budget meeting and the first thing she says is well, I don't care about the deejay and I don't care where I get married, and I don't care what color the bridesmaidsdresses are. The only thing I know that I have got to have caitlyn and michael, I've got to be a cage, a bride that's my on ly request just she said, when your daughter comes to you with that, what do you do? You make her cajun bride he's! They didn't have a live band and that's something their parents really wanted. They got rid of their live band instead, they had us because that's what she wanted over time from this season of life to that season, reda was invested our business ever since I was her brother's wedding photographer, and it led to an undeniable yes, we've gotta have you even though you were literally almost six times more expensive, then you used to be and I think that's important because so often photographers tell me like, well, caitlin, I can't raise my prices because all of my referrals are expecting me to be twenty one hundred dollars, right? But you're not just a photographer. Your business owner and business owners know you can't you're going to stay exactly where you are in that mindset, you've got to make the jump, but you, khun, justify that price jump if you're enhancing their experience.

Class Description

Trying to get noticed in a crowded market can feel like an exercise in futility – it is seriously tough to rise above the noise...unless you have a team of people backing you up.

Learn how to make that happen in Community Marketing for Wedding Photographers with Katelyn James. Katelyn cultivates community, not clients. That differentiation has helped her excel in business and allows her to work with enthusiastic clients who are prepared to pay professional rates.

In this fast-paced class, she’ll share her secrets for using social media to unite and grow a community. She’ll show you how to equip your community to market for you and help you establish routines and systems that constantly grows your network.

Learn how to build a lifelong community of loyal fans who believe in your work, your talent, the experience that you offer in  Community Marketing for Wedding Photographers with Katelyn James.  



She killed it... great instructor!!! This was a wonderful first impression. I love her southern charm, her mellow, soft spoken, laid back way of teaching. She had me at 'burrito'. She made me wanna be a KJ bride and I'm already married! I learned so much about what worked for her in marketing & they were great ideas that made sense. A lot of juicy tidbits to implement immediately. Congrats Katelyn James, your first time at creativeLIVE and you nailed it!


The last 5 minutes of the last video is worth 100x the investment of this course. While the entire series was a wonderful and insightful look into what a true community looks like ('s really not about you), those last 5 minutes brought home why you as a wedding photographer should ever want to pick up a camera in the first place. From one Virginian (though an adopted one!) to another, beautifully said Katelyn. And now...this guy needs to go find a tissue.


Katelyn is one of a kind. She perfectly balances the line between being a complete professional and also being incredibly personable. Such a great use time to get see a peek into her excellent marketing skills.