welcome to the


Meet your photographer – Madison, WI Family Photographer

It’s been a while since I’ve introduced myself and the start of the year seems like the perfect time to do that!

I’m a photographer, a mama to a 4 and 7 year old, a swing dancer, a former Montessori teacher, and I have a wonderful partner. Intersectional feminism plays a strong role in my art and family life.

Photography has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad always had a camera out when we were growing up. When my brothers were little, my dad had a dark room in our basement, I remember hearing stories about it, even though it was in the house we lived in just before I was born. When I was old enough, he used to take me on father daughter dates to teach me about chasing light on Sunday afternoons, and how to meter his old 1970 Canon. My parents kept boxes of slides from our childhood and my dad’s hobby photography. Slides! I still remember that little magnifying glass and lightbox you needed to look at them, it felt like a secret to pick up a slide and not know what you were going to see until you put it on the light. He had slides from my parent’s wedding and honeymoon in Morocco and Spain, from when my brothers were babies. I’d spend hours looking at them.


Right before the holidays, we did a photoshoot with another photographer, Aliza Rand. (She’s amazing, check her out!). As someone who’s always behind the lens, it’s good to put myself in front with my littles. There were bunny crackers and we might have had some hot chocolate bribes involved. I’m so in love with the photos! It’s so good to get on the other side of the lens!


Having my littles all dressed up, I was able to grab one of my favorite photos on the way to get some hot chocolate.

For me, a huge part of my work and life is intersectional feminism. What is that? That’s the understanding that all humans deserve the same rights as everyone else. While taking into account how overlapping identities – race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation, plays a role in how oppression is experienced. My business practices are intentionally inclusive to all. I try very hard to model respect and love not only in my business but in my own daily life with my littles.



copyright McKenna Patterson Photography



I do lindy hop. My partner John and I met at a swing dance, just like my grandparents met. Although, they met on a streetcar in Milwaukee which makes their story much better than mine.








Urban Farming is one of my favorite things. We have chickens and 5 raised garden beds on the Northside of Madison. Our children have named the chicks – Cutie, Pecky, Slow and Smokey. (To be fair, John waters the garden, it would die without him.)




I love swimming, I swam a mile the day before my son was born. (Nesting is amazing, isn’t it?). And I dabble with bodypump, because I love how strong it makes me feel. My son says, “girls lift weights, boys walk really far.” (Dada has a fitbit and is determined to win the weekly step challenge!) I have a 12 inch scar that runs down the center of my belly from an appendix surgery 2 years before I had kiddos, my belly has never sat quite the same after that or my two babies. I understand that vulnerability and self-consciousness in front of the camera. I strive so hard to practice loving every part of this body that is so different now than before I had littles and to teach my kids to love every part of who they are.



We have an awesome border collie. She’s spunky, gentle, and incredibly smart. She’s almost 11 and loves to chase frisbees.






I love adventure and travel. My dream is to travel and explore with our children. We’ve been lucky enough to travel a little with them and the experiences have shaped their perspectives of the world.





Making good food with my kids is my jam. As a Montessori teacher, I loved practical life with the kids. My children adore everything from planting those first seeds in the spring, to harvesting, and chopping. Eating? Well…some things are a bigger hit than others. But they are usually willing to try bites.








I was an assistant Montessori teacher for 6 years. I worked with toddlers to preschoolers. I had the privilege of working with incredible lead teachers, and some amazing families at Woodland Montessori School. I know littles well and I know to expect the unexpected. I also know LOTS of kids songs!




As busy working parents, sometimes our clean laundry lives in what our children affectionately call, “laundry mountain.” They go spelunking in it, sometimes with headlamps, when they need a clean shirt. Until we can all catch up on the weekend!






Editing usually happens to the soundtrack of Hamilton. So do chores. Music is a great motivator in our house.









I love a hot cup of chai, even on a toasty summer morning. There’s nothing quite like it.





I can’t wait to get to know your family! Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more Montessori inspired life with my own littles in Madison, WI and to see the latest sessions with awesome families.




  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To get started with moderating, editing, and deleting comments, please visit the Comments screen in the dashboard.
    Commenter avatars come from Gravatar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *