Best Knoxville photographer


The Professional Photographers of East Tennessee (PPETN) recently recognized me for winning Commercial Best in Show once again this year. I also won first place in Architectural, distinguished in Editorial, and distinguished in Architectural. I received these honors at the annual Awards and Christmas Banquet on Dec. 15th at Club LeConte.

PPETN is a local affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America, which is the largest and oldest professional photography trade organization in the world. At PPETN’s annual image salon, top photographers from the region compete and sharpen their skill sets. The various categories include portraits, sports, and pets, as well as several commercial subcategories. The nationally recognized judges are award winners themselves and are required to go to a judging school. The Awards & Christmas Banquet celebrates the quality and creative photography coming out of East Tennessee.

I’ve been involved with competitions at this level all the way up to the International Print Competition. I’ve won many prestigious awards, including Top 10 Commercial Photographers International, Top 10 Tennessee Photographer for numerous years, as well as the Kodak Gallery Award and Fuji Excellence Award. I would not be the photographer I am today without learning how to continually focus on improving my craft.


best photographer Knoxville

Thank you again to all my past clients, students, friends, and all of Knoxville for voting me the News Sentinel’s Best Photographer in their Readers’ Choice Awards. I deeply appreciate all of your continued support throughout the years, which allows me to do what I love. It is through your support that I’ve now won this honor for four years in a row. Thank you very much!

It is an honor to be voted Best Photographer and to be recognized for my hard work and commitment to exceptional imagery as well as to the highest level of service possible. I firmly believe that by giving 100 percent of yourself in every way and everywhere, life gives you back the most. Thanks for helping confirm this for me once again.

The News Sentinel’s Readers’ Choice Awards is the premier contest of its type throughout the region. The newspaper’s daily circulation is 128,000, and 153,000 on Sundays (the largest reach of any local periodical). Thousands of readers vote in the awards program every year, either via the ballots in the daily paper or online, choosing their favorites from seven categories–Services, Goods, Food, Drink, Health & Wellness, Knox Life, and Arts & Entertainment. Photographers are featured under the Services category. Check out all the winners in all the categories on the News Sentinel’s Best Of webpage. I’m featured on page 22!

Thanks again. As most of those who voted for me already know, I encourage you to contact me if there is ever anything I can do for you or for your business in any way. You can also go online to learn more about me, my many degrees and certifications, my other awards, and my general experience. Finally, feel free to check out what my satisfied clients have said about me and my work on my customer testimonials page.


Gold Medalist Knoxville Photographer

You might have heard of Simone Biles and Michael Phelps? Yeah, they’re gold medalists too. I won the gold at the the 2016 International Photographic Competition (IPC). Well…OK, maybe it isn’t the Olympics but it is the most prestigious professional photographers’ competition, sponsored by the largest and oldest professional trade organization in the world–Professional Photographers of America (PPA). The best of the best professional photographers around the world enter this competition. I am so pumped because this is the second-most prestigious award I have ever won in my entire career (the first being Top 10 Commercial Photographers at IPC in 2012).

I was one of only 102 gold medalists out of the nearly 5,700 entrants. A panel of 46 of the some of the most eminent professional photographers from across the United States judged the competition. To have the privilege of being a judge, they must have won numerous top awards, gone to judging school, volunteered at many competitions as well as judged at local, state, and district competitions. The reason I’m so proud of this achievement is that it was awarded by the best of my peers on the quality of my work. I am immensely appreciative of all the “Best Of” awards I receive where my clients and customers vote for me, but those awards also reflect the quality of my customer service. The gold medal award is based solely on the quality of my craft.

The four commercial entries I submitted included three architectural images (which I’m very well known for) as well as a food photography image (which is one of my favorite types of photography). All four received high awards but two of them received one of the highest possible honors: acceptance into the PPA Loan Collection. Only 1007 images received this honor. The Loan Collection images will be published in a special “Loan Collection” book and will be displayed at PPA’s 125th Annual Image Exhibition at their convention and expo, Imaging USA, which this year will be held in San Antonio, Texas.











Knoxville Mercury Readers Choice Poll 2016


Thank you Knoxville for voting me the Best Photographer over the years. I strive to provide exceptional imagery and service every time and feel these awards indicate that I’m succeeding. Winning these polls have kept my business and me in front of the public, generating invaluable name recognition. I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for the love. This is the easiest way to help me and my business besides hiring or referring me.

  1. Register to vote by going to and fill out the online registration form.
  2. You will immediately be forwarded to the ballot.
    1. You must vote for at least 20 categories.
    2. Be aware that when you select the “SUBMIT AND CONTINUE” button that you will not be able to go back to that page.
    3. You cannot vote for national chains.
  3. Please write in “Colby McLemore” for
    1. SERVICES – Top Professional Photographer
    2. ARTS & CULTURE – Top Artist
  4. After voting, click “FINALIZE MY BALLOT”

Either way, thank you for your consideration. If you are a potential winner, please contact me so that I can consider voting for you as well.


  • Darlene Clark - Colby is the best in his business.ReplyCancel

Knoxville product photography

“In a fast-paced world of technology, it is imperative to have professional and expedient resources to meet the often impromptu demands of corporate and local management teams and marketing strategies. Colby’s Photography is the solution!

A couple of weeks ago, the Director of Operations came to me with just such a request. “Our new product line is ready to launch and we need a photo shoot!” In my research I found Colby’s Photography. I explained our needs and timeline to Colby and he coordinated every detail. Colby quickly got back to me with the date and time for the session. During the photo shoot, Colby maintained the highest level of professionalism, while making the atmosphere of the session completely fun and relaxed, and he focused intently on the best quality. The images we received exceeded our expectations and were unanimously approved. Absolutely, proof you can see!” — Kenneth D.

I was recently contacted by a product development engineer with FLIR, a large international firm. Their products include industrial automation, traffic control systems, defense and military systems, maritime electronics. They had recently finished development on the product and they needed a quality product photographer immediately. When I talked to the product developer Friday afternoon, he mentioned that they needed the images before that Wednesday. I told him I’d move mountains if possible.

I quickly contacted the marketing department and asked them to send examples of the product photography for their other product lines so that I could match the style and look. I asked what the final uses would be so that I could photograph accordingly. Their immediate need was for trade show banners and promotional brochures but the product photography would potentially also go on their website, in their social media, and in other promotions.

In further discussions with the FLIR team, I discovered this particular product was designed for first responders particularly fire fighters. I have a wide range of contacts throughout Knoxville and knew a friend, Ted Esch, who had long-time relationships with the fire departments around the region. With his help, I was quickly introduced to Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley whose fire station was near my client’s office. Darryl was wonderful to work and helped me coordinate everything over the weekend. We scheduled a fire truck, some firemen, and an appropriate location for the shoot that Monday morning, and the weather was perfect. I was happy we were able to pull it all together in less than one business day.

After a quick hand shake with Darryl, the session started without a hitch. The only thing that kept us on our toes was the changing direction of the sun and making sure the fire truck, firemen, and the background worked together to tell the story of what the product was used for. We were able to display the images onsite which kept the client happy, as they knew we nailed the shots.

I was able to deliver the final images that day after a little polishing. The client was astonished that we were able to produce that high a quality imagery that quickly. We can’t always create a one-day miracle for a national ad campaign but I’m amazed at what we are able to do.

Contact us if you’d like to schedule product photography. You can also learn more about Colby and his team or read about their client testimonials.