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About the Author

Jenika McDavittHello!  My name is Jenika.  I studied psychology at Yale, emphasis in behavioral neuroscience, where I graduated magna cum laude with distinction in the major, etc etc.  Then I headed to graduate school, the best part of which was learning to think broadly and critically about academic research, and earned an M.A. in clinical psychology.

But you probably didn’t come here to read that.  I’m an incorrigible bookworm and a nonfiction junkie.  I run a portrait photography business, where my focus is getting people to have as much fun as possible and then decorate their homes with the results afterward.
I believe that photography can change how people feel about themselves, even if just for a moment, and that makes my job the best in the world.




  • Andrew Allen - Sounds like a very familiar story – I got my B.S. in Psychology and my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. I am now a photographer both by choice and circumstance. I do alot of street shooting and feel like I’ve learned more about people in that capacity than I ever did through mental health work; it’s also a lot less draining and much more rewarding.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa Levock - I can relate…BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling…it’s funny how these studies do prepare you for a career in photography 🙂 I’m glad to have found your blog and facebook page! I look forward to catching up on all your posts…Happy New Year 🙂ReplyCancel

      • Kristen Clayville - Ha! I have my undergrad in Film Production and Master’s degree in Social Work. Thank god we have these mental health degrees because I seriously feel like we can work with any person on the planet. Give me an overbearing mother-in-law any day, that’s easy!!!ReplyCancel

    • Megan K. - This is so interesting. I got a BA in Studio Art, then got a Masters in Social Work. Haha. I have worked with all kinds of people in the mental health world, that I feel like I’ll be able to handle any kind of client now that I’m getting ready to start my photo business!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - BA in psychology, mom of three girls, stay at home homeschool mom turned photographer and trying to make a go of it. Loving your website. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Marie - “Non-fiction junkie”! Love that very much.
    Great site. I look forward to seeing your updates.ReplyCancel

  • Phil - I clicked on your “About” link to learn your name… and it still eludes me. I’d like to give due credit when reposting your articles, which are always well written and worthy of the time it takes to read them. Perhaps this information is posted elsewhere on your site – am I simply not seeing it?ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - LOL, sorry Phil! Name is Jenika. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - Stumbled upon your site and am already loving what I’m reading. I have an undergrad is Social Work and a partial Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy AND I too have a background in mental health! I have always loved photography but until recently haven’t been “serious” about it and am in a “soaking up knowledge” phase. Thank you for writing great articles to learn from!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks Laura! 😀 So cool to see how many people with psych backgrounds ended up interested in photography.ReplyCancel

  • Mark - great idea for a website! It’s very interesting to read your thoughts on the client/photographer relationship. Keep up the good work!ReplyCancel

  • Megan K. - Ok, I just saw you’re based in Kansas City! Me. TOO! Haha.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Blair - Jenika-
    You are an answer to prayer! Last year, I dropped $3400 to go to a workshop with a very highly respected photographer. Although it was a fun experience….I left feeling like I had wasted my money. I gained some knowledge in Lightroom, album design, and the importance of branding…. but I still had no idea why i wasn’t booking more clients or what to do about it. When I got home, I told my husband that I wanted to research and write about the psychology of photography and prospective clients. With a degree in psychology, I always find this stuff fascinating. It was a great idea, but I had no idea where to start or the time to even attempt it. I came across your website this week and almost started crying… All the information that I could want, right at my finger tips!!! I haven’t closed my browser in days…. I’m just soaking it all up and loving it.
    Thank you so much for all your hard work and time spent to accumulate all this information in one place. You are truly a God send.
    All my best,

    • Jackie Spell - Amen! Amen! I stumbled on this website and I lost it (due to new computer etc…). Well, I am back and I am glad you shared this story.ReplyCancel

  • rebecca massimino - I just stumbled across your blog and I can’t wait to get home tonight to read all of these amazing articles… Wow, I’ve never come across anything like this before!!ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - Ha. I’m a traffic engineer (with a thriving psychology hobby), a portrait photographer, and blogger.

    Busy – but I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Dan Waters - Loving the website. It’s very interesting to get a psychologist’s view on things. Sales and marketing is all about psychology so your website is a fantastic combination.ReplyCancel

  • Naor Cohen - Hi Jenika, I love your blog and website. Much like you, I’m too, an academic that turned to photography. I have M.A in political psychology and a PhD in communication. I think that it is not surprising to find lots of photographers with an advance experience in academia. I find photography–among many other things–to be almost the exact opposite then academia.

    Photography comes from the heart first – it gear to and aimed at people’s emotions rather then intellect.
    Although it is a mediated form of communication, it reads as unmediated.
    And most importantly (at least for me as a researcher) it is immediate and fast. You feel, compose, and click – you capture an aspect or element of reality. No hypothesis, stats and validation is required.

    In any case, I really love your writing and hope you continue sharing your experience and wisdom. They are much needed!

    • Kathy Radford - Love your comment Naor. I have “Shot from the Heart” on my business cards. I am a very emotional photographer and love people. I’m 74 years young and only have a high school education and am a self taught photographer. I painted in oils for many years but have been doing photography since I was 8 years old when I talked my grandmother into buying me a camera at an estate auction she dragged me to.

      Now retired I am in the process of making it as a professional photographer after my husbands business lost its major account. It is that warm fuzzy emotional feeling I’m after. Each and every landscape or seascape I capture I feel such emotional ties to each photo and want my customers to feel as they are standing there right beside me when I take each shot. Taking scenery shots is like standing in a part of heaven with such beauty and peacefulness.

      I think it is fascination that so many psychologists are interested in photography. Interesting topic. Glad I found this site.ReplyCancel

  • Murray - Hi Jenika,

    Hope you are well?

    Just posted a link from your blog in a linkedin discussion on wannabe’s and pro’s versus fee’s etc.

    I didn’t bother entering into the discussion as your fine blog will give all food for thought and some more followers for you too I think.

    Best wishes


  • Rachael May (Portland Family Photographer) - I LOVE this blog. Seriously…finally….someone speaking from a logical point of view. Thank you….it’s the conversations I’ve been craving to have with someone who WON’T get offended.ReplyCancel

  • Erika Kruger - Hallo Jennika I am so excited about finding your website. I am involved in many different activities that overlap with yours. I am a post-grad psychology student, I am a massage therapist and I am the studio manager for Martin Van Niekerk, a commercial photographer in Cape Town. It has taken me a while to conceptually integrate them all and to formulate a summary of that which underpins what I do. At the moment I describe myself as helping people and companies to enhance their image – body images through massage, self-image through body-mind integration and pain management and photographic images in the studio. I look forward to hear your opinions and experiences. Best wishes. Erika KrugerReplyCancel

  • April Maura - Wow, you have quite the story. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I am excited to see psychology and photography work together. I love both studies.ReplyCancel

  • Michael - I too am currently getting my masters in mental health counseling but would like to pursue photography and see where it goes.ReplyCancel

  • Sheree (shereeEclark Photography) - I am laughing. I love how there are no coincidences in life! I have literally just begun the process of creating my website when intention landed me smack dab in the middle of your dreamland-of-a-site 😉 bc you were linked in the first email I received from another blogger’s newsletter I *just* signed up for! Also cracking me up is my dire interest in psychology and passion for photography!!

    Gotta love it!


  • Chris - I am loving your site! So much great info. I think it’s really interesting to learn why people do what they do. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - Same story here! BA in Psychology, Master’s in Experimental Psychology from Dartmouth, emphasis in cognitive neuroscience. Now I’ve (mostly) turned away from academia and am dreaming of pursuing photography. I’m soaking up all the information I can get, trying to get the courage to take the first steps. LOVE your website, thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - i am really happy to find this blog and just subscribed. Psychology is the thing that works behind everything and every action. Thanks for focusing on this very important aspect and keep up the good work Jenika 🙂ReplyCancel

  • jana - Hi Jenika, I am very glad I have found your site. It’s since ever I love connection between photography and psychology. I have studies Academy of fine arts, but it was always my interest psychology, so for last 3 years I have been studying NLP , became Master Practitioner. I think it’s amazing connection.
    I will follow your blog and thinking about buying your products.
    Good luck and thanks for your work!

  • Florian Marschoun - Thank you for writing your blog! I love to read your articles and start smiling when I see how much difference the little “tricks” make. I’m looking forward to keep reading.ReplyCancel

  • Douglas White - I found your website in an article in Turning Pro magazine. I like what I’ve read so far and looking forward to spending more time reading your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Margie Heath - I am excited to learn more from you.ReplyCancel

  • Ania - I am happy to find this blog . Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.ReplyCancel

  • Trang ps - Hello Jenika! My name is Trang, from Vietnam, people call me Trang ps blogger :)) Today I by accident read your blog and really really enjoy it. I also love making friends with you and learn from you more. Thank you so much ^^ReplyCancel

  • Ann McMahon - You are a talented and smart young woman and your efforts are certainly appreciated by me after reviewing your website. In addition to making people have fun, while you photograph them, I suspect you take much satisfaction from helping us all with the website. Good for you and good for us!:>)ReplyCancel

  • Nick Wood - Jenika, I have just come across your site and I am blown away – what a great slant on an old topic. I will be recommending this to all the photographers I know – thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thank you for the kind words, Nick – I appreciate it and appreciate your recommendations to others! Have a wonderful week!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Hailey-Tompkins - I stumbled across your blog just in time to save a little of my sanity. I only hold a Bachelors in Psychology, yet I love how you tie everything in.
    Thank you for this blog!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - I was amazed at how similar we are. Your site is awesome! LisaReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Your photos are stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Jayna Green - Hi Jenika, I’d like to be able to cite one of your posts for a paper as I was presented with the task of trying to come up with a marketing plan for a new business in one of the courses I’m doing this semester. The business we created was a coffee bar and in the positioning I emphasized how the atmosphere contributes just as much to our business as the product. I thought you had some great points in your post “Is your business the coffee or the coffee shop” and would like to be able to properly cite your name. If you could help out with this it would be great!



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