We invite you to join us on trips of a lifetime to experience Photography, Travel, Friendship, and Adventure!

David and Ally McKay started McKay Photography Academy in 2011 after years of being asked by clients to help them learn photography. Having traveled the world photographing as well as having taught on some of the largest stages in the photographic industry, the McKay’s do not only have a passion for photography and travel, but for people.

Currently, they have taught over 12,000 people, traveled personally to 45 countries, 7 continents, and led hundreds of people on photographic tours both in the US and internationally!


The McKay’s and their team, hold their 4 main ingredients/values of Photography, Travel, Friendship, and Adventure at the core of all they do. It is the MPA philosophy that anyone can love and learn photography, and should see and experience the world!

Whether attending a class in their Sacramento Gallery and Classroom or traveling to an incredible location around the world, you will find learning photography with MPA to be both fun and educational, full of passion and inspiration, and a place to meet other like-minded people!

It is a great honor to be featured in Professional Photographers of America Magazine! 

The article features a lot of information on our travels and some very special thoughts. Please follow the link where you can read the article in a digital version. of “Connecting to the Unknown.” We hope that you enjoy it! 

We are also very excited to speak at this year’s Imaging USA Photography convention in Nashville. Find out more in the article and magazine on how you can attend one of the biggest photography conventions in the world! 




Synergistic Team Effort


noun, plural synergies.
1.the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.

So what does this TEAM look like? This is a TEAM of HIGHLY accredited, awarded, well known and knowledgeable full time working pros working with you PERSONALLY no matter what your photographic level!  

Each instructor is personally recognized by Ally and David and comes with their OWN amazing back story. Our TEAM is dedicated to the pursuit of photographic education, and to offering the best instruction available in the world, and they EACH have the background of experience to prove it.

We have stepped up our game even higher and created a team of full time working pro’s that will make sure you are having the best and enjoyable photography instruction available today. PERIOD.

Quite simply, there is not another photographic resource that has the experience of this synergistic team that has come together!

All of the MPA Instructors have CPR/AED and Basic First Aid training. 

David McKay

M.Photog. Cr. CPP

David is a co-founder of McKay Photography Academy and McKay Photography Inc. He has been a professional photographer for over 30 years starting his first photography studio at the age of 17.

David has received some of the highest photographic awards in the world including the prestigious Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsmen and Certified Professional Photographer degrees from Professional Photographers of America- the LEADING professional photography organization in the world. He has had several images awarded from PPA including “Loan Collection” images that are considered to be the best of the best in the professional photography industry.

Recently, David was one of only a handful in the world to receive a Platinum medal from Professional Photographers of America for his achievements in image competition. 

Having taught on some of the largest stages in the industry, to thousands of people, both professional photographers, and amateurs alike, he has a passion for photography and teaching. He believes just being a great photographer does not make you a great teacher and that the ingredients of both emotion and skill must be shared and taught. David shares his love and enthusiasm wherever he goes and many of you can attest to this.

You may also know David from his #1 International Best Selling photography book series, “Photography Demystified”.  Each of his 4 books in the series has shot to #1. 

Ally McKay


Ally is a co-founder of McKay Photography Academy and McKay Photography Inc. She has also been a professional photographer for over 30 years starting her career at the age of 17. Ally graduated with honors and at the very top of her class from Glen Fishback school of photography in 1988, one of the top photography schools in the nation up until Mr. Fishback’s passing.

Ally received her Master of Photography from Professional Photographers of America a year ahead of David which of course David was proud of, but forced him to acknowledge she was a Master first!

Ally’s images have been awarded at the highest levels including “Loan Collection” images from PPA and the very prestigious Kodak Gallery award. Ally feels most at home with a camera in hand and in nature. Her gentle spirit and demeanor make her a perfect patient instructor and many women find they connect with her because of this.

Tobias Gelston

Instructor – PhotoRec Toby

Toby is the founder of Photorec.tv and the incredibly popular, PhotoRec TV YouTube channel. Currently, with over 300,000 subscribers, Toby is best known throughout the world as a leading photography educator. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to recognize him on the streets of most countries we visit!

His channel is one of the top photography YouTube sites in the entire world and his incredible knowledge of gear has made him a huge asset to the MPA team.

Do you shoot Sony? No problem, How about Canon or Nikon? No problem. Have a question on the latest lens? No problem. Toby spends his days when not traveling with MPA learning and reviewing all of the latest gear and creating awesome educational content for his channel.

Toby is a phenomenal photographer and loves shooting as much as teaching. Especially the stars on a clear night!

Steve Scurich


Steve Scurich is the owner of Steve Scurich Photography and is a graduate of McKay Photography’s Pro Academy. Steve has worked with MPA since 2015 and has an infectious passion for the craft and education!

Steve is an award-winning photographer and has photographed several multi-million dollar real estate sessions including many celebrity homes.

Steve recently has obtained the coveted Professional Photographers of America Master of Photography distinction.  This is one of the highest honors available in the professional photography industry. Competing at the highest levels has also resulted in Steve obtaining several medals including Gold medals two years in a row! 

As a child growing up in Santa Cruz, CA, Steve loved art. He could draw pretty well, took up photography during his high school years, and was told by many teachers he had an artistic gift. Steve appreciated the compliments, but it was a calling he largely ignored as he pursued a career in business.

After receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of the Pacific, Steve spent nearly two successful decades in the corporate world, before starting his own photography company in 2013.

Getting started, he used to say, “I’m a corporate guy who had a desire to become a professional photographer.” However, this was not actually the case. Truth is, he had always been an artist and spent years trying to fit into a mold that just didn’t quite work. Today, he can really appreciate the marriage between his artistic expression and years of training in the business world.

Steve is an excellent communicator and educator. Plus he is just an all around nice guy! His photography career has taken off and with good reason.

Kazua (Kaz) Mayeda

Instructor & Videographer

Kazuo Mayeda has been shooting and editing short films, featurettes, and web content since the age of 15. He’s worked on multiple film productions as a videographer/editor and photographer for Imagos Films, Colorado State University, American Cancer Society, and others. He also has experience setting up and running live streaming both with Master level content from CSU to variety shows on Twitch for Starr Mazer. Currently, Kaz calls Finland home

In addition to telling a story through video, he also enjoys still photography specializing in a journalistic and event style. The bulk of his work revolves around Behind the Scenes of film productions documenting the cast and crew on location.

You’ll never find Kaz without his trusty Sony mirrorless camera ready to record a video at 30 frames per second.

If you ever want to dive into the world of movie-making, Kaz can help you navigate the cameras, codecs, audio, stabilizers, and software!

Check out the world of Kaz  www.mayedastudios.com/

Tim Scott


As a landscape and travel photographer based in Seattle, WA. Tim loves the proximity Seattle provides to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains which provide plenty of landscape opportunities. He has a growing appreciation for night photography, capturing the Milky Way and Northern Lights in AK. 

Recent McKay trips have taken Tim to countless National Parks, north to Alaska, east to Africa, and south all the way Antarctica! Future trips include a summer of bears on Kodiak Island then Polar Bears in the Arctic of Franz Joseph Land, then Greenland in 2022.

Although Tim is one of our newest team members, clients LOVE him and his enthusiasm as well as his fun sense of humor and ability to teach in an easy relaxed manor. Tim looks forward to exploring, learning, and growing with you all!

David Carr


David was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Right out of high school he found himself in a blossoming music career drumming for the band Third Day. For the next 24 years he toured the world, earned four Grammy awards, and enjoyed so many amazing experience. David also met so many incredible people along the way! Interestingly, he has always been more of a visual artist than a musical one, so when he decided to really learn photography, it quickly became apparent to him that it would be his next career step.

Since buying his first ‘real’ camera and quickly diving into the technical and aesthetic aspects of the medium, David has watched – year after year – his love and obsession with photography grow by leaps and bounds. David made the switch to a full-time photographer at the end of 2016 and is loving it!

He enjoys working with people and though he has mainly specialized in portraiture for the bulk of his photography career, he just simply loves a great image -be it a landscape, a fine art image, or an editorial piece, etc.

“I am ecstatic about the opportunity to work with McKay Photography Academy. It is with much humility that I enter the ranks of such a wonderful group of photographers and people. Having traveled as much as I did for so many years in music, the bug to roam is still there and likely will be for the rest of my life. This is an opportunity that I could’ve only dreamed of prior to now!” – David

You can visit his portrait and Fine Art web site www.davidcarr.com



Paul Anderson


Paul Anderson’s journey in photography began right here at McKay Photography Academy. Within just a few short years, he has gone from an enthusiast, to an award winning image maker at the highest levels. Beyond that, Paul is known for his easy and relaxed demeanor and enthusiasm to all he teaches! 

Paul has received numerous awards for his landscape and wildlife images.  In 2019 he was awarded the coveted “Gold Medal -Photographer of the year” from Photo Enthusiast Network.  This prestigious award gave him the confidence to begin pursuing a Master of Photography Degree from Professional Photographers of America.  Paul then competed in the International Photographic Competition (IPC) in 2020. Two of his images received the prestigious “Image Excellence Award” that are considered to be the best of the best in the professional photography industry. In 2021, all four of his images received the Image Excellence Award distinction resulting in the highest award possible at PPA, the Diamond Medal. Paul is well on his way to getting his Master of Photography degree from Professional Photographers of America in record time of 3 short years. This is a feat that takes most several years, if ever, to obtain. 

Paul’s goal is to bring out the artistic side of each of his students.  “If you can’t feel something within your image neither will your viewer”! He would like to inspire his students to take their photography journey as far as they wish to take it.  Being a “home grown” student of the McKay Photography Academy, Paul is proof all the tools to succeed are here waiting for you!

Frank Stelges


Frank was born and raised in Germany. After a normal “German-life” with school, Army, University and his own company he decided at the age of 38 that he wanted more than that. He sold his company and started traveling through the world.
One of his motorcycle trips led him to Alaska and he fell completely in love with the vast remoteness and pristine beauty of the wilderness far north.
After several years of extensive adventures in summer and winter in Alaska, he moved with his wife Miriam to Fairbanks where the couple opened their Aurora- and Wildlife-photography school Aurora Bear.
Frank got his first camera at the age of 10 but got really into photography at the age of 14 when he could develop his own pictures in the unused darkroom of a small photo store in his home town. “After school I wanted to become a professional photographer but my father talked me out of it – He said “I should learn something serious, go to university and study Mathematics and Economy…” 
So photography became only a hobby until later in life. When Frank started traveling through the world, photography became more and more important and a bigger part of his life: “When you run around with a camera in your hand every year for 4 to 5 months you get better and spending so much time somewhere in the wild, led of course to a lot of nice wildlife pictures…”
People became aware of his photography and were asking for prints, calendars and books and Frank’s photographs were published in magazines and he had several exhibitions in Germany. So when he moved to Alaska, and had to come up with a business idea, it was an easy one – and at the age of 49 Frank became the professional photographer he wanted to be as a boy!
Frank and his wife Miriam also run Aurora Bear Photography just outside of Fairbanks, AK offering education on photographing the beautiful Aurora! 


We are proud to partner with some of the best photographic equipment and travel provider companies around the world. We work with our partners to provide the best possible service and experience to our clients.