Meet the woman whose job it is to photograph every moment of the Trump presidency

  • Shealah Craighead is the chief White House photographer for President Donald Trump.
  • She previously served as the official photographer for first lady Laura Bush during the George W. Bush administration.
  • Craighead has a unique and up close view of history in her role.

The role of chief White House photographer has been played by many different people over the past several decades. But Shealah Craighead, who for the past two years has been Trump’s top photographer, is only the second woman to hold the position.

Craighead has a unique background and resume that placed her in one of the most exclusive jobs in Washington.


She grew up in Connecticut.

Craighead grew up in Connecticut, where her parents owned a photo lab, introducing her to photography at a very young age.


She worked for first lady Laura Bush.

Craighead was the photographer for first lady Laura Bush during the George W. Bush administration.


She photographed Jenna Bush’s wedding with Henry Hager.

Shealah Craighead/The White House via FilmMagicJenna Bush and husband Henry Hager in 2008.

As part of her job photographing the first lady during the Bush administration, she also had the opportunity to capture the wedding of the president’s daughter, Jenna Bush, who married Henry Hager in 2008.


She was Sarah Palin’s campaign photographer in 2008.

“Being Governor Palin’s photographer really propelled me into the next level of political photography,” Craighead told Marie Claire.


She follows Trump everywhere.

Craighead joined the Donald Trump administration as chief White House photographer shortly before the inauguration in 2017. Since then, she has followed Trump everywhere.


She has photographed Trump at some of his most historic moments.

Shealah Craighead / Official White House Photo / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The White House photographer gets considerably more access than the press corps, giving her an up-close and personal view of the president at some of his most historic moments during his time in office.


Craighead is only the second female chief White House photographer in history.

“I’m very honored to be in this spot, that’s for certain,” Craighead told Marie Claire in an interview. “I think that anybody – male or female – in this position, it’s a real honour.”

The only other female to serve in her role was Sharon Farmer during the Bill Clinton administration.


The job requires intensive travelling.

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty ImagesShealah Craighead (left) and Sarah Sanders (right).

“As I went through college and life I also realised I had always wanted to do something that involved travelling the world and living in hotels,” Craighead told PBS NewsHour. “And that involved photography.”


She is 5’2” and often uses a stool while taking photos.

Craighead told PBS NewsHour in an interview she often uses a small stool while taking photos, citing her short stature.

“So that I’m not photographing from the ground up but sky down. I’ve brought that into the White House as well, because the president is six-foot, and I’m five-two.”


The White House role requires many different skills.

“In the White House, you’re not just documenting history, you’re also putting other caps on,” she told PBS. “You’re an event photographer, an operations director – establishing where the team should be to get all the angles. You’re a documentary photographer, you’re a family photographer, you shoot portraits. If the president is athletic, or doing sports, you’re a sports photographer too.”

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