Marlena Elise McClain
Photographer /
Retoucher / Founder of Lady


Marlena Elise McClain

Photographer/Retoucher/Founder of Lady

Los Angeles, CA
Instagram @marlena.elise
twitter @ladyevent1


What do you do?

As a photographer I cater to special events clients and portraits.

Many of my clients include events focused on festivals, fine arts, gallery openings, award ceremonies, and red carpet events. 

In addition to special events I offer an open air photo booth digital files only.  I bring the studio to you. Let's make things easy! Because of my unique knack for catching the right moment, posing people and personality, I have a special relationship with all my clients and aim for customer satisfaction.  

All of the images I take I edit. Retouching and photo editing is included in many of my packages. 

I am also the founder and director of Lady

Lady is an all female collective and networking group focused on the individual artist or entrepreneur.  What has started out as a passion project, I began with a few friends in Venice and it has grown to over 500 members of all walks of life with a common goal. Every Lady Event is different. It is a combination of an event, vendor bazaar, live performance and artist exhibition. Each event has a different theme geared to raising women up with titles like Persephone, La Sirena Goddess of the Sea, and The Art of Fashion. 

In addition to art shows I have begun to teach photography and painting workshops and hosting meetups.

As a photographer I cater to special events clients and portraits.


What steps did you take to get where you are now?

Trial and Error. Passion. Strong Will. Pure Stubbornness. Refusal to Settle. Desire to Live my Dreams not Imagine them.


For other people in your field, what do they usually lack?

Determination, never quit. Mistakes are awesome because they are our greatest friends pointing us to the deepest truth. Where there is Darkness the is Light. 


What are you working on right now?

I am working with several different companies in building brands with photography, art direction and logo design. Please check my latest work at

The latest thing I worked on was work as an event photographer and photo editor for the Worthy Women. This is such a thrill for me because it is a passion for me to support other women in achieving their goals and dreams.


We are all Slashies with multiple skills, which one do you wish you could do more often?

I focus on Photography and Photo Editing the most however, I never turn down an opportunity to grow and learn.

What is frustrating you right now?

I strive for integrity and honesty, many companies expect artists who have years of experience to work for free. It's completely unethical and wrong. Many companies take advantage of their employees - this is something I'd like to bring to awareness. 

What task keeps landing at the bottom of the To Do list?

All the little things.

If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?

I'd hire them to do all the things I just haven't gotten around to doing. As well as assist with marketing and sales.

Let's bring out the time machine. What do you wish you could have told yourself, when, and why?

The power is always within me. 

If you could talk to an expert to gain more insight on something, what would it be about?

Building a stronger business. Many artists need to stop thinking as themselves as artists, rather as business women.

What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for?

Ideally I'd like to focus on events and portraits. However I am open to the possibilities that may lay ahead.

Ideally I’d like to focus on events and portraits.

What is your ideal client?

Integrity, responsible, and clear communication. Contracts work when all parties are met.  Many clients simply do not know what they want. Also having a realistic budget that makes all parties happy.

Do you allow yourself to say No?

I do my best to educate clients on ethics of my business. Many people just don't know. It is our job to fully explain what services we will provide, having a contract and clear communication before the set work date will protect all parties. Being firm about policies and business transactions is also important.

What is your rate? 

It really depends on the project. 

How should someone approach you about working together?

Nothing beats a real face to face meeting. Online and phone communication or even texting gets more complicated. I like meeting all my clients in person before finalizing on a project.

This member profile was originally published in November 2015.