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Big Cork Vineyards Re-Opening for the Season!

Big Cork Vineyard reopens for the season on March 18th! (11 am – 9 pm)
There’s free music from 6-9 pm and the patios and porches will be open weather permitting.

It’s a MUST visit! The views, the wine, everything.

Here’s a few photos I took at the vineyard last week!


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Thank You :: Mary Kate McKenna Photography is 12 Years Old!

Thank You.

March 2016 marks twelve years of Mary Kate McKenna Photography. Twelve. Years. It is so surreal to type that. 

Sometimes I still feel like that girl building a website with photos I’d taken while babysitting in my dorm room in DC.

Sometimes I still feel like that recent graduate in a small one bedroom apartment working a full time job who came home at 5pm to grind out a few hours of editing and emails and eat a Lean Cuisine.

Sometimes I still feel like that girl who decided to move out of the city, who wondered, as she watched the moving truck with all her worldly possessions make its way up 270, if she had just made a huge mistake or was beginning an exciting new chapter.

I am still that person. I keep every step of this journey close to my heart because it has made me who I am, and it has created a business and a life that I am so thankful for, each and every day.

I have incredible clients who not only like what I do, but respect and support my craft. They continue to call on me year after year to capture memories, events, and document life.

Recently I went through my entire photo archive to pull some images for a presentation. When looking at the dates of these photos, I was blown away that my first wedding was in 2005. I tried to think back to that time- I booked the wedding in 2004- I was a sophomore in college. It makes me smile (and laugh, and maybe cringe a little, too) when I think about all the things I would soon learn about weddings, customer service, business… 

It may be twelve years later, but I am still learning. Photography and technology have changed so much since 2004. Business models have changed. Clients needs, wants and expectations have changed. These are all good things, but all items that continue to keep me on my toes and growing as a business owner and as a person.

Please know I value each one of you- clients, wedding vendors, friends… you all help keep this business and dream going.

So I am writing you to say thank you.
Thanks you for your support.
Thanks for your guidance.
Your constructive criticism.
Your suggestions.
Your cheerleading.
Your continued trust and business.

Here’s to a fantastic year and to twelve more fabulous years of Mary Kate McKenna Photography.




Mary Kate Battles
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Charging Your Batteries :: Find Your Corner

When you have 1% battery life left on your phone, and you use it till it dies, it takes FOREVER to turn back on, even to get to 1%.

I kind of work the same way.

I have been working my butt off lately in every aspect of my life.


I’m in the middle of some ridiculously big goals, which requires a crazy amount of focus. But if I’ve learned anything over the last 12 years of being a business owner, it’s that if you hustle too hard and grind yourself down too much, it’s nearly impossible to be a good biz owner/friend/spouse/human. You get so wound up in what you’re doing, you lose the “why.” You’re so close to it that the why becomes lost in the motion of just getting things done.

I have been forcing myself to take time outs. To spend a few minutes doing things that don’t require too much brain power- snuggling my dogs, reading a (non-business) book for 30 minutes, taking a power nap, watching the snow fall. From the outside it may look like I’m wasting precious work hours, I know better. I’m charging my batteries. I’m finding my focus. Remembering my “why.” Just like our phones, if I can plug in and recharge before I get to 1%, I don’t need a stop in the action- I can just keep moving.

During one of my breaks today I read a short article that the @laracaseyshop shared about Clearing the Clutter for #FreshStartSpring. It involved clearing all kinds of clutter- social media/digital, your workspace, mental clutter, everything. It also mentioned making room for “rest space.” “We also need places to dedicated to rest, where no phones, to do lists, or busyness is allowed.” I realized that through this journey of learning how to charge my batteries before I get to the point of going dead, I have created that spot. It’s in a bedroom in our house where I do stationery/product shoots. There’s a chair in the corner w/ my favorite piece of artwork above it. I sit in that chair to read, write, & reflect. I don’t allow electronics in that chair. It’s my safe space. It’s not a big area, but it’s just enough to get the job done.

I hope you all have (or create!) a “rest space” in your home. It really helps me to stay fired up and continue in the direction of my goals.

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Random Acts of Kindness Day

A few weeks ago I shared the story of a local bank professional named Jess with my Facebook friends. As a small business owner, I go into my bank multiple times a week. She is young and vibrant and always has a great attitude.

Jess was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Being the badass she is, she’s still working. She rocks her bald head, helps her customers all day, all while going through chemo at Johns Hopkins. Her amazing attitude and spirit hasn’t changed one bit. She is such an inspiration to me.

I heard about the Frederick Mental Health Association’s Random Acts of Kindness Challenge, and I decided to challenge my friends and family via Facebook to secretly help Jess. And oh boy did they answer the call. For the last couple weeks, my mailboxes (email and snail mail) have been full of wonderful surprises for Jess.

Yesterday we delivered over $1,500 worth of gift cards and items to her. It was so emotional.

Think about all the trips to the grocery store where her bill will now be ZERO.

Imagine for a moment Jess in JoAnn Fabrics (and Michaels and Target and Barnes & Noble and Amazon!) and that moment when she realizes she can buy items for any project she wants to work on at no cost to her because kind people, some who live hundreds of miles away and who don’t even know her, care about her.

Close your eyes and smile when you realize Jess will have a full tank of gas and a full bag of books and art supplies for her next chemo treatment. It’s all because Facebook friends answered the call.

How to thank all those who helped? I’m not even sure how to begin… but I’ll start by saying, you know there’s a lot of people involved when you have to keep a spreadsheet to keep track!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Facebook is a dicey place sometimes (especially now with political stuff!) but it can also do incredible things.

By my count we added 51 Acts of Kindness to MHA’s Challenge.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. ‪#‎211ActsofKindness‬

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Doors of Frederick :: Frederick, Maryland

I have some exciting news!


Doors of Frederick is my personal photo project for 2016.

When I moved to Frederick in 2008, I instantly fell in love with the people and homes of Downtown Frederick. I’ve wanted to do a photo project for a long time, but wasn’t quite sure how or what.

This fall my husband Joe and I were walking our dogs downtown and I kept ooh-ing and ahhhh-ing over the colorful front doors. He told me instead of drooling over them I should just photograph them. Well, OK!

When I do a project, it’s a “Go big or go home” deal. So I’m not just taking some photos of doors and posting every once in awhile- I am posting a door a day. That’s 366 doors! (Thanks, leap year!)
Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 5.56.59 PM
Please follow along on my journey to document and celebrate all the beauty Downtown Frederick has to offer.

Here’s the website (updated monthly)
Here’s the FB page (updated daily)
Here’s the Instagram page (updated daily)


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