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Student photographer’s side business captures memories

Senior Ella Geist captures the newlywed photos of alumni Patricia and Nick Driggers in the fall of 2022.

photo by Ella Geist


Senior Ella Geist captures small moments by indulging in her aspiring hobby, photography. Throughout her high school career, Geist learned how to handle a camera, developing her skills into a side business. She photographs portraits, family sessions, senior sessions and couple sessions, all while overcoming personal struggles and finding her voice in photography.

“It was getting my feet on the ground and figuring out what I want to do,” Geist said. “It was finding my style and my unique mark on the photography world.”

Tasked with taking photos for her mother’s day camp “Hide and Seek,” Geist learned the nuances of photography. She sought guidance from youth group leaders and family friends. She developed a love for the art and decided to take it more seriously. Geist touches on making her services cost-effective and memorable to her family and friends.

“I don’t charge much...,” Geist said. “I understand a lot of people are not able to afford the ridiculous prices for pictures. Everyone wants good pictures of their family, kids or themselves, but no one wants to pay for it. For the longest time, I didn’t charge for anybody, and that included editing and everything.”

Geist felt the emotional impact of photographing special events. She enjoys developing a deeper connection with the subject of the photo. It’s all worth the hard work when she sees her clients’ positive reactions.

Using that elation from each session, she strives to take even more pictures.

“I like building relationships through it,” Geist said. “I get to know them through that.... Sending them their gallery and them being so excited about it is what I love.”

Like many aspiring artists, Geist struggled to find her voice at first. She encountered challenges when she could not find her style or what fit her. She recalls spending hours re-editing a gallery because it did not feel “right” to her. She encountered many similar struggles when she did sessions for her senior friends and close family.

“When I looked at my portfolio recently, I deleted about three galleries from when I was starting because I felt like I was trying to reflect what everybody else was doing so people would like my stuff,” Geist said.

She overcame that mindset by realizing her work was enough for herself, and it did not need to be like anyone else’s. Geist has found what works best for her without the influence of others.

Geist touches on how she uses photography as a way to serve others. WShe rejoices knowing she can partake in capturing someone’s most precious moments.

“I love serving people,” Geist said. “I love doing everything I can to make someone happy, and I just think that it’s such a great way to do that–to give them something they can keep forever.”


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