We had the good fortune of connecting with Alycia McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alycia, why did you pursue a creative career?
I pursued a creative career because one day I realized that photography was something that gave me so much joy. When I was young my parents got me a camera and printer for Christmas and it changed my life. I remember my extended family came over and I used my camera so much that night that I ran out of photo paper and ink all in the same day I got it. I had so much fun with it that I wanted to learn more and photograph whoever would let me. I just looked at it as a hobby though, I really felt like it could never be a career because I didn’t know anyone who was a successful photographer at that age. I never saw it so I didn’t believe it could be done. The older I got I honestly began to notice other people have more faith in my “business” than I did. I watched them say I’m going to book you and then ask me to do weddings and I was like wow. After that I started to take it serious but still not believing it was something completely tangible but the more sessions I took the more I saw this joy that I couldn’t ignore if I wanted to. I noticed that no matter how I was feeling beforehand I was always so happy after any shoot. Once I realized how happy it made me I began to go deeper, I wanted to learn everything and practice all the time, I am determined to be the best I can be. I love the excitement I receive from a client as they plan their sessions. I love that I am able to create something they love so much that they can’t wait to share it and display it. It’s an amazing feeling and a lot of the reason I do what I do. Photography is apart of me and I want to continue to build the culture and remind our youth that if you are dedicated to a craft and willing to put in the time and education needed you can be anything that you want to be. In this social media age kids have an opportunity to be inspired by what truly speaks to them because they believe that because they can see it they can be it, and I want to help push more of that.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What keeps me busy professionally is my mission to help provide images and experiences that light up my clients home or life. I enjoy making sure the client shines in any session, and creating an atmosphere that allows me to capture each individual as they are. I have a Studio but am always busy scouting out new outdoor locations. I also stay busy finding new ways to make sure the world knows that I am ready to work to create your vision, tell your story or provide a product that you can be proud of and cherish for generations to come.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Cyndi’s New York Diner – I love a diner and since day one this one has hit the spot, I am from the east coast and I am used to a diner that ALWAYS has good food no matter what you order and it reminds me of home.
Allen Outlet Mall– I love to shop and I feel they have a good variety of stores with good deals, definitely one of my favorites to shop here in the area.
Klyde Warren Park– It’s a big park here but it’s right in the city and such a nice vibe, with live music when the weather is good. but even a late night stroll or early morning work out it’s such a nice spot to visit.
Top Golf -It’s a fun game and a good time, perfect for a date or a group.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout is to God for giving me this passion and for being faithful to me throughout this journey. I am also shouting out my family for believing and encouraging me and my church home Christ Tabernacle COGIC(Waynesboro, VA) for giving me my first professional opportunity, I would not be who I am without them.
Dee Porter for my Headshot