Thank you again for giving me the honor of being voted Knoxville’s best photographer in the News Sentinel‘s Reader’s Choice Awards for two years in a row! I am both amazed at and very grateful for the support and encouragement that the Knoxville community has shown me once again this year. I strive to not only provide exceptional images to all my clients, but also to create real relationships with them, supporting them in many different ways. Quality images are important, certainly, but I have found that truly caring is just as important.

The News Sentinel has the widest circulation of any other newspaper throughout the Knoxville region, with a daily circulation of more than 128,000 and a Sunday circulation of more than 153,000. Every year, the newspaper invites its readers to send in ballots for their favorite vendors throughout the area in a number of different categories that include restaurants, artists, bands, and services—including photography. Although the Knoxville region has many skilled photographers and the competition was fierce, after all the ballots were mailed in and counted, Knoxville voted me into the “best photographer” spot once again.

This has been an amazing year for me for several reasons. Not only is this the second year in a row that I won the News Sentinel’s Readers Choice Award, but this year, the readers of Cityview magazine also named me Knoxville’s best photographer for the third year in a row. (Cityview has been Knoxville’s premier local, independently owned lifestyle magazine for more than two decades.) In addition, I also won the Big Wig Award from the Knoxville chapter of the American Advertising Federation for the positive impact that I have on the local marketing community.

To see all the winners in all the categories, click here and then select “See section.”

If there is ever anything I can do for you or for your business in any way, please contact me. Also, feel free to browse website, check out my work, learn more about me, or read my customer testimonials.


Once again, you voted and I won! Cityview magazine has named me Knoxville’s best photographer for 2014! I really appreciate all the amazing support I received from so many of my clients, customers, and friends! It is because of you that I am able to continue doing the vocation that I love so much. Click here and here to see where I’m listed with the other winners and click here to see an image of me in the magazine. Your votes not only allowed me to win this year, but they also allowed me to earn the top spot for the last two years (for 2013 and 2012)—that’s three years in a row! Cityview gives awards in three different photographic categories, and I won all three: commercial, portrait, and wedding photographer.

Cityview magazine is Knoxville’s premier bi-monthly lifestyle and general-interest magazine for Knoxville, Tennessee, and its surrounding areas. It is distributed to households, businesses, and physician’s offices throughout the Knoxville metro area. Cityview‘s “Best of the Best” awards cover just about any category of business you can think of. Community members nominate and vote for their favorites, and then the winners are named in Cityview’s November-December issue. Hundreds of professional photographers were nominated this year for the honor of Knoxville’s best photographer, probably more than any year before.

Once again, I want to thank you for your continued business and support. One of my mottos is that I strive to transform clients into evangelists, which I work very hard to earn. If there is ever anything that I can do for you or your business (photographically or otherwise), please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I believe strongly in giving back to the community that has supported me so well. Thanks again for helping me achieve the honor of being named Knoxville’s best photographer!

  • Michael Carriero - Well deserved award to the most professional, humorous, giving person I know. Congratulations.ReplyCancel

Best Knoxville, TN photography - Colby McLemore - Big Wig

Thank you, everyone, for your amazing support. Because of all your votes, I won the 2014 Big Wig Knoxville’s Best Photographer. I have been working hard in the advertising/marketing/PR/business/ commercial photography industry throughout the region and have been so proud of the final work. I’m always tickled whenever I see my images on local billboards, magazine ads, annual reports, websites, and everywhere else that I find them. It is a great honor to receive this award for my work within the industry two years in a row. I was blown away the first year, but to win twice – thanks, Knoxville!!!

The Big Wig competition is sponsored by the Knoxville chapter of the American Advertising Federation, the industry’s biggest professional trade organization. It was created to recognize “the behind-the-scenes people that make great advertising happen. Who don’t get the recognition they deserve.” If our work is done well, we are unseen while our clients gain market share through quality and memorable work. It is an honor to be considered an “unsung hero” within the market.

I received the 2014 Big Wig Best Photographer award at AAF’s awards gala at the LeConte Club on Wednesday, Oct. 22nd, 2014. As you might imagine with the LeConte Club, the food was wonderful and the top leaders of communications firms and vendors throughout the region were in attendance. When my name was announced, I about leapt out of my skin. Again, this was the second time that I received the honor. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the gala last year as I already had a job scheduled. So this was a much more visceral experience than before.

It is only with your support that I have been this successful. Your engagement with my business is very much appreciated. If there is ever anything that I can do to help you or your businesses, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Your choice of background for a portrait photography session will have a dramatic effect on the overall feel and impact of the final images. Read through the ideas below and contact us to discuss what will be best for your needs.

  • Sometimes your choices are limited.
    • Many larger corporations and franchises have restrictions on the backgrounds that must be used for portraits. Contact your marketing department to make sure that your investment will usable.
    • Ask whoever is using the portraits what they will be used for – it would be best to have them call us directly to discuss their needs. (For example, they probably don’t want a dark and dingy background for a light and airy advertisement—or do they?)
    • Many darker backgrounds necessitate a larger room when photographing. If shooting in a larger room is not possible, this will require an additional investment in editing.
    • If you are trying to match a look from a prior portrait photography session, make sure you convey this prior to getting a quote and definitely prior to the session.
  • Sometimes your choices are unlimited.
    • Digital backgrounds convey a story instead of just showing what the subject looks like, but this requires an additional investment in editing. A classic and cliché but effective example is a lawyer posed in front of law books. This is easy to do if the location has law books, but it can also often be inserted after the fact using a digital background.
  • Common choices:
    • Generally you want a background that will not draw attention away from your subject but will instead draw attention to the subject. I suggest starting here and moving away from that only if you have a reason to.
      • Lighter clothing with lighter backgrounds makes the subject stand out.
      • Darker clothing with darker backgrounds also makes the subject stand out.
      • Mid-tones (medium grey) are often the safest but least impactful.
    • Colored backgrounds
      • Generally blues tends to draw attention to a portrait subject, although that look often feels a bit dated.
      • Color coordinating with clothing is often most effective option but takes more time per clothing selection. If there are multiple subjects in one image or multiple subjects individually being displayed at the same time, this coordination takes additional time.

Again, don’t worry if this sounds complicated. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss it.

Above are some examples of standard backgrounds that we have for headshots, but the choices are really unlimited. Each image show some of the ranges for each backdrop–from the top being darker and the bottom being brighter.  Again, the darker choices may necessitate having a larger space to photograph in, so do consider that for on-site portrait sessions.

Contact Colby’s Photography to schedule your next portrait session. Check out these links to learn more about our general portraiturebusiness portraits, or staff portraits. Or click on these links to read about Colby McLemore and his team or to read testimonials from satisfied clients.


Knoxville, TN photographer - TNPPA memberColby McLemore was recently nominated to the state board of directors of the Tennessee Professional Photographers Association (TNPPA). TNPPA is the state-level affiliate of the largest non-profit national trade organization for photographers, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Their mission is to promote high standards of professionalism and quality within the photographic industry.

At TNPPA’s 2014 spring seminar, a group of prior state presidents met to discuss candidates for the board seat. Subsequently, a prior president honored Colby not only by nominating him to the board, but also by allowing him to bypass the usual first seat of Freshman Board Member to ascend to the next level, that of Junior Board Member. Colby was told that his nomination was due to his prior leadership and volunteer work at the local affiliate level of PPA, the Professional Photographers of East Tennessee (PPETN), which represents the entire region east of and surrounding Knoxville, TN.

Knoxville Photographer is PPA member

Colby has served in almost every possible capacity on the PPETN board. This year, he oversees the group as the chairman, but has also held positions as past president, webmaster, treasurer, and junior board member. PPETN has grown and prospered during his tenure on the board. Past presidents indicate that that the group has never before had the membership, number of quality workshops and presentations, financial stability, or representation in numerous trade shows—not to mention sponsoring a kid’s camp for community awareness and outreach—that it has enjoyed with the help of Colby’s leadership, support, and teamwork with other amazing local photographers.

Knoxville Photographer member of PPETN

Colby is excited to continue providing his support to the state-level association and to help educate and lead the professional photographic community. ”Serving on the state board is an amazing opportunity to build even stronger relationships with the industry’s top photographers,” Colby says, “and it’s an opportunity I’m very excited to have.”