Shealah Craighead

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Shealah Craighead
Shealah Craighead (50043108942).jpg
Chief Official White House Photographer
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byPete Souza
Personal details
Born (1976-09-25) September 25, 1976 (age 44)[1]
Connecticut, U.S.
EducationLesley University (BFA)

Shealah Craighead (born September 25, 1976) is an American government photographer currently serving as the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Donald Trump. Shealah is the second female photographer in White House history, with the first one being Sharon Farmer in 1998.[2] Craighead previously served as official photographer to former First Lady Laura Bush in the administration of George W. Bush.[3]

Early life and family[edit]

Craighead was born in Connecticut where her parents owned a photo lab. As she grew up she "had always wanted to do something that involved traveling the world and living in hotels. And that involved photography." She wanted to work in Washington, D.C., where she ended up living.[4] She became engaged to a British Paratrooper and member of the SAS, Christian Craighead after he proposed to her in February 2020. The couple announced this jointly on their social media pages in July after first going public in Las Vegas earlier in the year as "Mr and Mrs Smith".[5] [6]


Craighead photographing Marine One in 2017

She attended college, doing freelance photography work with the Boston Globe, Associated Press, and Getty Images afterwards. In 2005, she worked under David Bohrer, who was the official photographer for Vice President Dick Cheney. She photographed "weddings, sports, events, news, portraits," and spot news.[4] She uses a stool while taking photos as she is only 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m) tall.[4]

When another photographer decided to not return from maternity leave, Craighead applied for their job and became the official photographer to First Lady Laura Bush in the administration of George W. Bush.[4][7] She was the photographer of Jenna Bush Hager's wedding in 2008 as well.[8] In 2008, she was campaign photographer for Sarah Palin,[9][10] and then for Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and later for Florida Senator Marco Rubio through his Senate career and presidential campaign.[4]

In 2017, Craighead was named as the official White House photographer for the presidency of Donald Trump.[11][12] The Trump administration employs a total of four photographers with different specialties including fashion, military, and administration.[4]


Craighead photographed Nancy Pelosi standing, to address a seated Donald Trump in an October 2019 meeting on Turkey.[13][14]


  1. ^ Craighead, Shealah (September 25, 2017). "I never get tired of birthdays. They open up a new year of possibilities. Each month in the year ahead is like opening a cleverly and beautifully wrapped surprise". Instagram.
  2. ^ Epstein, Rachel (2018-01-18). "The Woman Behind the Lens: Meet White House Photographer Shealah Craighead". Marie Claire. Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  3. ^ Jacobs, Sarah (August 8, 2017). "Trump's Official White House Photographer reveals how she gained his trust". AOL. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Flock, Elizabeth (August 7, 2017). "What it's like to be President Trump's White House photographer". PBS (Newshour Productions). Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Stelter, Brian. "Trump team closing in on White House photographer who worked with Bushes". Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  8. ^ Epstein, Rachel (2018-01-18). "The Woman Behind the Lens: Meet White House Photographer Shealah Craighead". Marie Claire. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  9. ^ Newsweek. Newsweek, Incorporated. 2008.
  10. ^ Scott Conroy; Shushannah Walshe (November 2010). Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar. PublicAffairs. pp. 218–. ISBN 978-1-58648-904-5.
  11. ^ Laurent, Olivia. "Meet President Trump's Official White House Photographer". Time. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  12. ^ Sekkai, Kahina. "Shealah Craighead, la photographe officielle de Donald Trump". Paris Match. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Whose meltdown? The story behind the photo". BBC News. 2019-10-17. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
  14. ^ Flynn, Meagan (October 17, 2019). "Trump tried to insult 'unhinged' Pelosi with an image. She made it her Twitter cover photo". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-10-17.