SOSU student shares vision of world through camera lens

By Addison Martin
For the Bryan County News
Emily Dahl

Every day is an opportunity to write one's own history. For Southeastern Oklahoma State University student Emily Dahl, her way of writing her history is looking through the lens of her camera that she uses capturing the beauty of the world and the people in it. 

Dahl had always been in love with taking photos since she was a little girl. National Geographic was a huge inspiration for her, and her grandmother gave her a subscription to their magazine and she always impatiently waited for the next issue.

“The stories and photos made me feel so small in comparison to the bigness of the world, and I loved the sense of wonder that brought me.”

Dahl said that this all led up to the realization of her dream job: becoming a photographer for National Geographic. 

She continued to pursue this dream by committing to nature photography, which she said came easy for her. Dahl established her own technique when it came to simply taking photos of various environments.

“I learned quickly that while the whole landscape may have its charm, getting closer and finding the abnormal or little things brought me that same sense of wonder I felt when reading National Geographic,” she said

Her first iPhone was a major leap for her journey in photography. Dahl said this was the point in her journey where she could take better quality photos and begin editing them as well. But also, with an iPhone, having access social media platforms such as Instagram enabled her to see other photographers’ works.

“The real game changer was when my mom gave me my very first DSLR camera for Christmas when I was 12,” she said. “I remember being ecstatic and immediately wanting to go outside and start practicing.”

Her father took her everywhere he could to help her find new places or people to take pictures of. The camera became her prized possession, and she used it whenever she could by taking photos of people if they allowed her to.

Years later, during her senior year of high school, Dahl was personally asked by her yearbook teacher, who was a local photographer, if shooting for weddings was ever something she considered.

For her photography business, Dahl primarily photographs events such as lifestyle,
memories, portraits and weddings.

“I was nervous because I didn’t think of myself as a real photographer, and especially not one for people,” Dahl said.

She worked as an assistant for the wedding and ended up obtaining more insight and passion than she ever thought possible. She was given advice to trust her own “eye” in photography, and ever since then Dahl began to build on her skills and portfolio.

After graduating high school in 2018, she also began to book her own clients. Her first solo wedding was in October 2018, and ever since then her abilities have blossomed.

“My business has been amazing and I have worked with a countless number of wonderful people. The joy I feel when capturing life’s sweetest memories for my clients is astronomical,” said Dahl.

Besides working on her business, Dahl takes part in other organizations on campus at Southeastern. She is the managing editor of The Southeastern, the college newspaper, and is part of the honors program. Dahl is currently a junior studying journalism and marketing, and she plans to graduate in May 2022.

Follow Dahl and her photography business on Instagram @emilydahl.jpg and on Facebook at Emily Dahl Photography.