In this episode I am talking to Karen McKinnon, owner of McKinnon Photography and Director of Family Services at Habitat for Humanity North Island, in this episode. Karen will talk about how she started her photography journey, going back to school while running a business, and how to make sure you are serving yourself.

Karen got the photography bug from her mother, she taught her how to have a compassionate and curious eye; skills that go beyond the camera lens. Karen went down many different paths, but after a devastating house fire left one of her friends dead and Karen traumatized, she took time to reflect on what she truly wanted.

After a year, Karen went back to photography school and took every opportunity presented to her. By chance, she signed up for an internship in photojournalism without knowing much about the subject. The internship sent her to Alberta, where she had a realization that changed her perspective. Photography is about making connections and telling stories. It’s about allowing someone to be truly seen.

A few years ago, Karen went back to school and completed her master’s degree in communication while still running her full-time photography business and being a mom. To make it work, Karen incorporated her family into her schoolwork, cleaned less, cooked differently, and just loved what she did. While it meant cutting some quality time with the family, it was also a way to role model work ethic to her children.

We also talk about pivots to her business through COVID.  We have a great discussion about when to let go of perfection and when to dig deeper into something that brings you joy as well as the value of setting up systems and process that set expectations while allowing you personal space.

Now, very involved in many community organizations,  working with Habitat for Humanity and still running her photography business, Karen believes it’s important to be in alignment with what you are doing in order for it to work. Does what you are doing serve you and who you want to be in the world?

Connect with Karen:


Karen (she/her) (@karenmckinnonphoto) • Instagram photos and videos

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