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Top Performing Chapter Award

 

 

July 2021 - Photosynthesis Studios

By: Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM | Jul 13, 2021

 devonmckenna    

Devon McKenna
Owner and Lead Photographer
Photosynthesis Studios
Member since 2017
Former Director of Administration

 photosynthesis_logo_final 

Devon McKenna of Photosynthesis Studio is your “friendor” (friend & vendor) on the other side of her lens.


Life Lessons:  One of my first jobs was cleaning out cages at a pet boarding “resort.” From there I learned some important life lessons:

  • If you greet someone with a smile, you’ll get more treats. 

  • Never let someone feel backed into a corner. It’s not good for them, or for you (I learned this one from a very large Rottweiler).

  • Sometimes it’s okay to skip playtime and just take a nap. 

  • Always clean up after yourself – otherwise you’re bound to step in some s*@t!

As a photographer, I have two clients:  The actual contracted client AND the event coordinator. When I’m behind the camera I consciously take photos that are both useful to the client AND images that are great portfolio builders or reference photos for the planner and other vendors. They spend countless hours hand-picking the elements that make our events educational, beautiful, and memorable, as well as being able to share valuable images with them.  It’s a great way to be able to say “thank you” to our “friendors” (friend & vendor) for their business and future referrals. 

Career challenges:  One of the biggest challenges in my career has been trying to stay relevant in a world of ever-improving camera phones that can deliver pretty darn good images INSTANTLY. My photojournalism professor taught us that once we take an image, find three other ways to take the same photos. This lesson keeps me looking for creative angles, funky lighting, and anything that’s just different and eye-catching. Luckily, lots of events happen in challenging non-iPhone-friendly lighting situations which provides great job security, but for the ones that don’t, that desire to deliver new, creative images to my clients keeps professional photography alive. 

Introduction to MPI Georgia:  I learned about MPI from Andy Williams, my brother-in-law, back when he was the incoming President of our chapter. He invited me to attend a meeting and check it out. I felt such a positive energy from the people that I met that I not only joined the next day, but also signed up to be the annual photography sponsor. Four years later I can confidently say it was one of the most beneficial decisions I’ve made for my business.

Professional training:  I often get asked if I went to photography school. I didn’t, technically. I have a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia with an emphasis in Photojournalism. Most of our classes were focused on writing to tell a story. Towards the end of my four years a professor handed me a Nikon SLR and a roll of film (I’m dating myself here) and said: “Great, now do all that same stuff with a camera.” Telling the story of the events that I shoot from what it looked like to how the people in the room felt, still forms the basis of how I approach event photography. 

Mentorship:  Some of the best advice I received when starting my business was to “never accept a ’no’ from someone who doesn’t have the authority to tell you YES.”

Outside of work:  I enjoy trying not to kill plants, finding the bottom of a good glass of Cab, and trying to explain “why” to my 2-year-old. 

 

Author

Megan Perks
Megan Perks, MBA, CMP, CMM

 
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