Behind the Lens: Ratcliffe procures position with Elizabethtown College photography staff

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                           Makayla Ratcliffe is set to continue her photography career at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. The Hampton High School graduate will be doing photography for the school's athletic department.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
Makayla Ratcliffe is set to continue her photography career at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. The Hampton High School graduate will be doing photography for the school’s athletic department.


Capturing the emotion and excitement of athletics comes natural for Makayla Ratcliffe.
Entering the world of letting the photos tell stories, the 2016 Hampton High School graduate was recently presented with the opportunity to continue her photography career and schooling at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Penn., for the upcoming school year.
Photography has always captured the eye of Ratcliffe, but the former HHS Lady Bulldog credited her yearbook instructor, Amy Banner, for getting her into the right direction for the profession.
“I’ve always enjoyed taking photos,” Smith told the Elizabethton Star Tuesday. “What made things click was working in yearbook with Mrs. Banner. She was such a great inspiration and really helped me see the creative side of things and taught me different ways of capturing moments.”
The moments were overflowing during her senior year of high school as Ratcliffe embarked in a turning moment in her career. Along with best friend Emily Smith, Makayla had the chance to get her feet wet in the profession, taking a trip down to Murfreesboro to cover the Bulldogs’ TSSAA state boys’ basketball tournament stint inside the Murphy Center Complex on the Middle Tennessee State University campus.
“It was such a surreal moment,” Ratcliffe said. “It was an incredible experience and something I thought I wouldn’t have the chance to do.”
Ratcliffe and Smith were able to see their work produced by the Elizabethton Star, with different photos from the ’Boro appearing in print editions and online.
“It was awesome seeing the photos being published,” she said. “Just being able to see the photos and how well they looked was an amazing experience.”
Dabbling in different forms of snapping shots, Ratcliffe developed an affection for the sports’ realm of photography.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “It is difficult compared to taking other photos but I love seeing the emotion from the fans, coaches and players. And once you get that one good shot, it is always a great feeling.”
And that experience and feeling at MTSU will carry over on August 17 as Ratcliffe makes her way up north to Pennsylvania.
“I was able to get a scholarship there,” she said about Elizabethtown College. “I’ve always wanted to travel and this was the perfect opportunity. When I had a chance to visit, everybody seemed so nice and welcoming. I can’t wait.”
Don’t expect the sports bug to go away from the Carter County native, though. Even a full photography staff couldn’t stop her from achieving a dream.
“I went out on a limb,” Ratcliffe said with a laugh. “I was going through the different professions offered and I saw there was a sports photography department. I knew it was full but I emailed them anyways and said this was something I wanted to do. I got the email back later on and they said they viewed my profile and said they’d let me be part of the staff.”
Ratcliffe is already gearing up for shooting a variety of different athletics at the college.
“One of the great things about Elizabethtown is that they have different sports that weren’t offered at high school,” she said. “I have a chance to shoot hockey, track and field … I will be meeting with them once I leave for school and then I’ll get a chance to see where I’ll be at.”
With plans to major in Biotechnology, Ratcliffe plans on continuing photography once she graduates school.
“I love it,” she said. “This is something I don’t look at just as a hobby. I’m hoping to continue this once I graduate and grow it more as a business.”
And the business is still booming before she heads out to Elizabethtown. Ratcliffe is currently offering discounted prices for senior photos for high school students. For more information, contact her by searching the Makayla Ratcliffe Photography Facebook page online.

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