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Meet McKenzie Dohm

Today we’d like to introduce you to McKenzie Dohm.

Hi McKenzie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have always had a love for photography! Whether it be a disposable camera or my mom’s smartphone as a child, I was always taking pictures! I worked for a family friend helping out with some landscaping over the summer when I was in middle school, and saved up my money for my first DSLR camera. From there, I fell in love with nature photography! I would spend my afternoons after school outside in a field near our home, taking pictures of every flower I could find.

I started a photography account on Instagram when I was a sophomore in high school, where I posted random photos I had taken, and it quickly gained a few followers as classmates saw it. A friend who was happened to be graduating that spring asked me if I could take her senior pictures, and I nervously and excitedly accepted the offer! Since then, I have fallen in love with the art of capturing people and their stories.

I have had the honor to photograph a variety of events and sessions over the years, including concerts, senior sessions, weddings, proposals, a family session of a mom who was near the end of her life due to cancer, a couple’s 50th wedding anniversary, and many more.

While every session looks and feels a little different, they all have something in common— the people have a story. I truly believe that a photo has the ability to capture things we can easily forget or overlook about someone. The way their hug feels, the way their nose scrunches when they genuinely laugh, their spunk, and the way they look at you, even when you aren’t paying attention. A photograph has the ability to tell a story in a way that nothing else can, and while it only captures a split second in time, that second often tells the story of a lifetime.

This passion for telling people’s stories and enjoying getting to genuinely know my client is something that has developed over the years and I hope continues to grow in the future. While I am from Washington, MO — a quick 45 minute drive west of STL— I am currently living in St. Louis as I attend Maryville University to earn my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. I photograph clients in the St. Louis area, as well as back home in Washington, and I have loved exploring all of the unique and various locations both areas have to offer.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has not been an easy or smooth one in any way, but it has truly made me the person, student, and business owner that I am today. Photography and Physical Therapy School are not always compatible passions, as both require a fair amount of energy and time. I often study and work during the week while I am at school, and spend the weekend photographing clients, editing galleries, and working on the business end of things. While other college students are relaxing and going out on the weekend, I am driving to sessions and running a business.

I also am 100% self taught and self funded, so by there grace of YouTube tutorials, summer jobs, my camera manual, and people that have helped me out along the way, I have learned a lot since picking up my first camera in middle school. Over the years, my style and abilities have evolved, and I find myself learning more about my art preference every day. I truly knew nothing about photography when I first started, and I still am humbled every time someone chooses me to capture a special moment in their life.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I photograph a wide variety of sessions and occasions. While I offer a select amount of weddings each year, I primarily focus on seniors, couples, and families! Senior sessions have to be one of my favorite types of work, mainly because of the one on one interaction I can have with the clients. Being a junior in college myself, I am not much older than the high school grads, so that helps a relationship easily form and right off the bat, we are able to have some fun! I think being a senior in high school is such a unique time in your life, and there is so many fun ideas to incorporate in a session that help tell your story— the horse you love riding, a car you and your dad have fixed up, your class ring, your family farm, the options are truly endless.

I am best known for my work with high school seniors, and I am genuinely proud of the experience I am able to offer my clients. I may be the photographer, but these pictures aren’t about me. I take the time to get to know my clients and let them run the show, from how many outfits they wear, the location of the session, and if a pose feels comfortable or not.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I have photographed multiple concerts at the Washington Town and Country Fair in Washington, MO, and absolutely love the rush that comes with photographing a concert! The music, the lights, and the energy all offer such a unique experience and constant opportunities for great images. Capturing a professional signing storyteller on camera is quite the fun time!

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