Ella Hall at a recent media day for the LSU football team. CONTRIBUTED

Many student athletes dream of playing collegiate sports one day, but one Key West student had different aspirations. Ella Hall, a 2023 graduate and athlete for multiple Conch sports, began to focus on a different set of skills during her sophomore year of school. 

Hall combined a tireless work ethic with a natural gift for photography, and the product of her labor began to be noticed by the players she photographed, as well as the Keys Weekly. Hall has been a regular photographer for Keys Weekly for the duration of the Sports Wrap. With a knack for catching the action shots and perfect timing, Hall has turned her hobby into a career path.

Ella left for Louisiana State University early this summer, where she was awarded a scholarship and the official title of Football Student Photographer. Just what does a role like that entail? 

“If I were to say there was a ‘typical day’ at LSU football, I would be lying. It’s either I’m doing photoshoots with incoming recruits, taking pictures of team practices, capturing whatever event Brian Kelly has planned (there are a lot), and upcoming games. It’s definitely not easy, but I live for the thrill of it all,” Hall explained. The job also includes perks such as traveling with the team, sending her all over the country to capture shots of the Tigers in action. 

When asked about her role models, there was a common theme – all are women. Hall rattled off her list of inspiring people, including her mom, sister and grandma as well as Cathy Fernandez, Nancy Cruz, Devan Bittner, Emma Scepkova, Teresa Gaitan, Valerie Thene, Mirdy Charles, Savannah Chadic, Kawana Staffney-Ashe, Suzanne Otto – and Taylor Swift. 

“Yes, the Taylor Swift,” she explained, “All these women are more than just people with day-to-day jobs; they’re fighters. They’ve taught me to never give up and show the world who Ella Hall is. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.” 

Now that she is a few months into her role at LSU, Hall has no regrets. “They don’t lie when they say that LSU Football is like a family,” she said. “Being here is everything I’ve dreamed it would be and more.” 

Ella hopes to turn her part time job and now collegiate endeavor into a career. “In the future, I hope to become a creative content director for a National Football League team,” she said. And though she would be thrilled to work for any team in the NFL, she admits there is one that would be a dream come true. 

“I am a die-hard New York Jets fan.” 

If you are a current high school student and are interested in sports photography, feel free to contact the Keys Weekly Sports Wrap staff at [email protected] to learn more about opportunities for the 2023-24 school year. 

Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.