Buzzworthy Businesses with Melissa McGarry of Melissa McGarry Photography

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Each week on “Buzzworthy Businesses” our hosts, Steve Strum and Chris Budihas talks to business leaders around Jacksonville who are doing great things in the community. Today, Steve and Chris talk to Melissa McGarry of Melissa McGarry Photography.


Short company description:

I started my photography business when I was 15 years old because I knew I wanted my passion to be my career. When I moved to Florida to attend college, my career in family, couples and wedding photography began to take off and thrive. By 2020, I was chosen as the St. Augustine Record’s Rising Star Young Business Owner for their 25 under 40 event, as well as being chosen as St. Augustine’s Best Photographer of 2020, leading to becoming a finalist the following year in 2021.

What Is Your Why?

My why is being able to make a difference and create something incredibly personal and meaningful to my clients. I do far more than just push a button or snap a photo of what is in front of me. I have been honored to be chosen by over 300 clients in the last few years who have trusted me to capture some of their most special and raw moments to have forever. For families, capturing them as a unit, showing the love between them that makes everyday worth it even when it feels like it gets tough, to show the family they work everyday to have and nurture. For my couples, I have the blessing of capturing surprise engagements, capturing the very moment someone’s life will change forever and the happiness, shock and tears that comes with. For my weddings, capturing the happiest day of their lives down to the smallest, most personal details of the day. For my larger group photos, capturing a family reunion and family members who haven’t seen each other in decades and otherwise would not have documented the moment. Every photoshoot and client has a different story and I am so grateful to be able to capture and freeze each one.

How Did You Get Started In Your Field or Work?

I began with my Android phone when I was 13 years old capturing the nature around me. By 14, I got my first point and shoot camera and would take it to the horse barn with me. I then started posting those photos on Instagram just for fun and ended up building my following to 18,000 organic followers with my horse photography. By 15, I realized photography was my passion and is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life so I began Melissa McGarry Photography. From there I worked to get experience in different areas of photography. My very first family photoshoot, it was like all of the pieces fell perfectly in place and that is what I have been doing ever since.

What Are Your Biggest Goals in the Next 6 to 12 Months for Your Business?

I relocated to Jacksonville from St. Augustine about a year ago, so my biggest goal is to expand and build my client base here in Jacksonville and continue to make a difference through my photography.