Friday Featured Photographer—McKenzie Deakins

Our featured photographer this week is a pro when it comes to wedding photography. She has been featured in The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, Bridal Guide, Utah Valley Bride and she is a Sigma Ambassador! This week we are telling you a bit more about the talented MCKENZIE DEAKINS! McKenzie is a Nikon shooter through and through and is a #Nikon100 photographer. We love McKenzie's fun and energetic personality and we are excited for you to get to know her better! 

1. How did you get into photography and what was your first ever camera?

"I was always interested in art, in fact, I received a scholarship to UVU for Art and Visual Communications, which is where I took my first photography class. I loved watercolor and oils, but I honestly never saw myself pursuing a career as a fine artist. I just felt like the money wasn't as easily obtainable. When I found photography it was love at first click. (I'm such a nerd!) I literally didn't need to wait for the paint to dry to create art AND it was SUPER easy to make money! My first camera was the Nikon N65, but I jumped on the digital party train pretty soon after getting that first camera. My first DSLR was the Nikon D70s. Dang! I love that camera. In fact, I have loved ALL of my Nikon cameras... except the D5000 wasn't my favorite..."

Image by McKenzie Deakins of wedding party

2. What camera(s) do you shoot with now and why?

"I'm currently rocking the new Nikon mirrorless camera (Nikon Z7) which was sent to me from Nikon (I still can't believe it). I am so obsessed with it! It's amazing! The best part about mirrorless is when you adjust your shutter speed, ISO, or Fstop, it changes the exposure in real-time. So when you open your Fstop up it gets brighter through the viewfinder. WHAT!"

Image by McKenzie Deakins of bride on wedding day

3. What does your gear bag look like on wedding day?

"Here is what I GOTTA have in my bag when I shoot a wedding:

Image by Mckenzie Deakins of dancers at engagement session

4. What is your favorite part about being a wedding photographer?

"I LOVE the pressure. I work really really well under pressure. In fact, in my school days when I had a due date for a project, I would always procrastinate and I never thought twice about it. I used to think it was a downfall of mine, but looking back, I was just preparing myself for my career to create under pressure. I love the stress and I use it to fuel my creativity. There have been times during weddings when something goes awry... whether someone is late, or we're waiting on the flowers... I take that situation and figure out what I can shoot in the meantime, how can I shave some time off this section of photos... I feel like a conductor in my hat and tails directing my clients to come in and out of the photo with ease and grace. The key is to be assertive and kind. They need to know you're in charge and yet they all still need to like you by the end of it all. DANG! I friggin' LOVE being a wedding photographer!"

Photo by Mckenzie Deakins of bride

5. What is a dream shoot that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t had the chance to yet?

"I have been SO lucky to photograph in the most gorgeous locations. From Belize to Alaska... I am really so incredibly grateful for my life's path. The one cliche location I want/NEED to photograph is the dang Eiffel Tower. I have all sorts of epic amazing ideas rolling in my mind and I can't wait for them to come to fruition."

Image by McKenzie Deakins of wedding on beach

6. We love your pastel colors and gorgeous style, what advice do you have for photographers starting out who are trying to find their own style?

"My response to this question isn't applauded by the professional photographer audience. My purpose for the first decade of being a photographer was to keep food on the table and pay my mortgage. Not many people know this but my husband was diagnosed with ADHD, Bipolar, Depression and Anxiety. At the time I was the breadwinner so it was crucial for me to be consistently booked, making it difficult to build a brand and a particular style. My style was defined by whatever the hell my bride wanted so I could pay my delinquent electricity bill. I was surrounded by fellow photographers who had husbands with amazing jobs, making it possible for their earnings to purchase better equipment which subsequently skyrocketed their style and business beyond mine. I felt stuck in a damn hole for years. Never able to set myself apart because I only attracted the same brides in the same tax bracket."

Image by McKenzie Deakins of couple with horse for engagements

"It wasn’t until my husband was diagnosed and treated that he could hold a steady income and I was able to take a step back and reevaluate what had happened over the last decade. I had been successful for sure, but at what cost. Did I have a voice as an artist? Once I could look back and my images, I noticed a pattern. I had a bright, colorful, light look to my images, but about every 3-4 years the style would slightly change to give a ‘nod’ to whatever the current look was happening. There was the ‘black and white except the red roses’ style… then the ‘yellowy vintage mason jar and birdcage veil’ style, ‘the grungy contrasty over-saturated train tracks graffiti’ style, the ‘dreamy overexposed no detail in the highlights’ style and now the ‘dark and delicious orange skin no blue in the water’ style."

"SO… the short answer is I have a colorful and fun style and always give a ‘nod’ to whatever is currently happening. :)"

Thanks McKenzie for letting us get to know you a little better and for sharing your journey as a photographer. To find out more about McKenzie, head out to her website or follow her on Instagram

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