A Snapshot of Her Business: Mary Kate McKenna

Mary Kate McKenna

Owner of Mary Kate McKenna Photography 

Age 34

We would be remiss to not include that our Young Business Owners features' photographer is herself a thriving entrepreneur under the age of 35. Self-taught in both photography and business, Mary Kate McKenna has been providing her services to families and corporate clients for 14 years. Her business has grown to additionally employ an associate photographer and editor. 

Though impossible to estimate the number of memories she has captured over the years, she notes the volume requires her to have her shutters replaced on her cameras at least once a year. 

In between the snaps of her camera, we asked Mary Kate to share her own story.


 Her Background  

I never formally studied photography. I had always enjoyed photography but I went to school for International Studies. Studying abroad is where I fell in love with photo journalism.

I started photographing families while I was in college, and then I kept doing it. I said I'd do this until I have to get a "real job" ...and that never happened.

On Repeat Customers

The thing that makes me the happiest with my business is when clients call me back year after year. Since I've been doing it for 14 years now, I have a great base of clients. The majority of my clients are ones I worked with before. I have clients who I've photographed their wedding and now they have 12-year-olds. That's the coolest thing in the world to me - to document a family year after year. 

And it really makes me proud: proud that people trust me with really important times and memories and events, and that they continue to call me and refer me to their friends.

On Business Community

I'm a member of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek. Being surrounded by business owners that are not only top-notch at business but also so giving with their time is truly inspiring to me. They are wonderful mentors who make me want to be both a better business owner and volunteer. Our business community is an important influence on me - personally and professionally. 

What's next?

The next big project in my life is motherhood. I'll be learning a whole new workflow and set of skills for my business when there's a tiny human added to my life in September. Learning how to be a working parent and navigating out how to give my business, my community and of course my family, the attention they need will be an adventure.

I'm also still keeping my personal photo project, Doors of Frederick, going. I love seeing Frederick from a different viewpoint. 


Guard your time. When you're working, you're working. When you're at home with your family and friends, you're completely mentally and physically with them. As my husband always reminds me, "There's no such thing as a photo emergency." And he's right- it helps me to keep perspective on what's important.