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#StartAsking and Me.


May your thanksgiving be filled withlove, happiness, and full tummies!As a photographer, I get to meet a lot of amazing families. Families of all types. And when I say all types, I mean every type of family you can imagine and more.

I get to interact with the coolest little kids. We laugh and we play as I document this special moment in time for their families. It’s such a fun job. Inevitably, a parent will say to me after a session, “You’re so good with them- you should have your own.”

Oh, I wish.

Ever since Joe and I got married nearly eight years ago, it’s been our dream to have kids. For a long time we were at that, “If it happens, it happens” stage. Then we actually started putting some effort into it about four years ago. Two years ago we began our time with a fertility specialist. We are still on that journey.

The heartache of coming up short on your dream to start a family is hard to handle. You wonder, “Why Us?” All our friends are having babies. All my clients are having babies. Lots of babies. But not us.

I’m not going to lie- some family sessions are very difficult. I do my job and get great images. But when I get back in the car and drive home, I have a little cry-fest. I want a family session. I want photos of my husband holding our five day old baby. I want to decorate a nursery. This is a tough job for someone struggling with infertility, but I love it too much to leave.

The feeling of helplessness as you inject yourself in the stomach, go to almost daily dr. appointments, then hang up the phone as the nurse tells you, “I’m so sorry…” for what feels like the 100th time is painful.

And you grieve what could have been the best Christmas (Easter, Halloween…) ever.

And your grieve for how you’ve changed physically from treatments.

And you grieve your bank account from said (failed) treatments.

And you see your husband glance at the giggling baby at the table across from yours and your heart drops into your feet. You know it hurts him, too. He was born to be a dad.

It’s been hard. Really, really hard.

But what has made life easier is talking about it. I decided when we began the journey with a fertility clinic, that I wasn’t going to keep it hush-hush. I had a few great examples set for me- three of my sister in laws had been down the IVF path and were open and honest with us. What a gift that has been.

And a crazy thing happens when you talk about- OTHERS COME OUT OF THE WOODWORK! When I first posted about our struggle publicly, I couldn’t believe the outpour of support. Some shared their struggles openly, some privately. But I truly couldn’t believe how many people I know are struggling with infertility. I go to family sessions and sometimes the mom pulls me to the side and whispers, “This is our miracle IVF baby- you’ll get there.” It is comforting to know we are not alone.

The other side of sharing was that people started asking me questions- they didn’t know much about infertility and wanted to know more. And I gladly shared. And now those folks who have more knowledge, empathy and understanding on the subject. That is huge.

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While Joe and I might be struggling with “undiagnosed infertility,” (possibly the most infuriating phrase on the planet) we certainly aren’t unhappy with our lives. We are involved in many fulfilling things. We have great friends. And family more wonderful than we deserve. For me, there’s truly no one else I’d rather have by my side on this bumpy journey than Joe.

For National Infertility Awareness Week, I think it’s important to share some information about how common it is: infertility is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age. We are that 1 in 8.

And so while we continue our journey, we also need to be vocal and talk about it. We need to talk about how crazy insurance is. (For example- right now our insurance says they cover our IVF, but refuse to pay a penny for the drugs necessary for IVF. Insanity.) We need to talk about the stigmas of infertility and blast them away. We need to help those not as far along in the journey so they can learn from our knowledge and mistakes. We need to listen to those who came before us for the same reasons. We need to stand up for those who aren’t ready to be vocal about their infertility, but who need help and guidance.


  • Employers for insurance coverage.
  • Your lawmakers and legislators to support issues important to the infertility community.
  • Friends and family to support you.
  • The media to cover infertility and the real challenges we all face.
  • Your partner to get involved.
  • Those who have resolved their infertility to stay involved.
  • OB/GYN or healthcare provider to talk about YOUR reproductive health.
  • For affordable care for treatment of a disease.
  • Legal access to all family building options nationwide.
  • About men’s reproductive health

Wherever you are on your journey, reach out. Reach out to me, someone else you might know on this journey, to RESOLVE, to your doctor… don’t be silent. Don’t do this alone. It’s hard enough already.



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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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