BEHIND THE CAMERA ...
HI! I'm Connie McNiel ...owner and photographer of Ayana3 Photography. I specialize in real estate, headshots, and events & family photography. I have a confession to make... I’m addicted to photography! Whether it's taking photos or editing them...it's my unequivocal passion. I believe each of us has a God-given talent. Many people have told me photography is my talent. Let me begin by explaining the name for my photography business. I wanted something unique and from the first time I learned of the name Ayana (pronounced eye-on-na), I instantly loved it! It's a native-American name that means 'blessed'. My respect, love, and connection with Native American history and culture runs deep. Maybe because some of my roots include Choctaw, Cherokee, & Seminole. There was already an Ayana Photography...so to be different I added the 3...which is for my 3 children. So there you have it. : )
I'm a California native...born and raised, but Chattanooga has been my home for thirty five years now. I love this scenic southern city that I consider to have it all. I'm a city girl but love the country. Considering my roots are from the south, It's a perfect fit for me. I am happily married to the love of my life, Matthew. With Christ as the foundation of our marriage, we seek Him in all aspects of our union together with love, commitment, trust, faith, and honoring each other above ourselves. *Ephesians 5:22-33 *Song of Solomon 3:4 I have been blessed with three amazing & beautiful children...a son and two daughters, and seven precious grandchildren...five girls and two boys. They are all the joy of my life. First loving God above all else as He is my eternal light... my only true source of strength, guidance, and wisdom through the Holy Spirit. *Galatians 2:20
These are a few of MY FAVORITE THINGS ( including the song itself sung by the one and only Julie Andrews, as sung in the movie 'The Sound of Music'...& was written in my birth year ;). Want to hear the song?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IagRZBvLtw ) : Traveling with my husband to the mountains and hiking to breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls and rivers. This is my sanctuary and peace... my happy place. English Bulldogs ( IF you are with me OR see me in public and I SEE an English Bulldog...use extreme caution... because I will literally clear a path through whatever is in my way to get to it and pet, hug, kiss and talk really gooey to it), horses, sloths, scrapbooking, reading and writing, chocolate-covered strawberries....and pretty much almost any kind of food (except seafood) because I may be thin ...but I LOVE to eat!!
"It's one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like...it's another thing to make a portrait of who they are".
During my first year of high school I took a photography course. The first photo I developed was from a cardboard pinhole camera ( also known as a 'camera obscura' ...meaning dark room) we made in class. I was fascinated with what I had created... an actual photo from a small cardboard box that I created. From there I was hooked. One of the first cameras I used was an old 110 with the disposable flash bar that belonged to my father. I remember him taking many pictures with it during my childhood. I still have the camera today, and with it the memory of my father who passed away in 1982.
"My photography is defined by my passion, vision, and inspiration".
I believe the way to truly master the art of photography is by shooting photos...a LOT! AND by engaging your subjects. My experience has led me to understand the complexity of photography...but also the sheer beauty of it. The beauty of capturing life in a photographic image from a moment in time, producing a memory preserved for a lifetime that could've otherwise been lost forever. This is where I am most content...when I can create that precious 'life' moment in a photograph. My purpose is to serve you and give you beautiful photographic memories. I want you to have a fun, relaxing, and memorable experience. I also believe in casual conversation during a session because it's the best way I know to make you feel comfortable and allow us to get to know each other... to basically get a little 'up-close' (pun-intended) and personal. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my images. I spend an ample amount of time on editing. So rest assured... your images are always edited with much love and attention to detail.
"Get to the heart of your art".
I was led in a direction dear to my heart in 2012. I got involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation back in 2000 as a 'wish granter' volunteer. Now I have the privilege to continue giving to these brave and precious children and their families by sharing my gift of photography with them thru the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee. Each beautiful child I've photographed has occupied a permanent place in my heart. It is truly a blessing to know I have given parents memories through my photographs of their beautiful children they can cherish forever. For those who have earned their angel wings...these photos are priceless.
Want to SHARE THE POWER of a WISH? Please consider a gift to this amazing organization and help give HOPE to a precious child with a life-threatening illness: https://etn.wish.org/ways-to-help/giving/donate