Passion meets profit

Sophomore turned photography hobby into business


Caroline Dolberry

Sophomore Ava Cappotelli takes photos at the Leopard Friday football game. Cappotelli started her own business taking photos.

When Sophomore Ava Cappotelli picked up a camera at the age of 8, something clicked. Since then, Ava started her own photography business and developed her passion for photography.

“I started photography at a very young age,” Ava said. “I went to a photography camp that my dad did at his old school, and ever since then, I’ve learned a few things from there but in middle school and started doing yearbook. Multimedia and yearbook have always been very interesting to me.”

Cappotelli started a photography business called “Cappotelli Photo” four months ago. She began taking pictures for friends and family, and the idea grew into an Instagram and Facebook business.

“I started the business when my friends were asking me, ‘hey, we want to take our pictures for homecoming’ or portraits of themselves, and I agreed,” Ava said. “From there, I made my Instagram, my website, and business email available to people. I’ve taken a few photos for friends and stuff, but nothing too big yet.”

Ava’s father, Aaron Cappotelli, has encouraged her in her photography career.

“My dad is definitely my biggest supporter,” Ava said. “He gave me so many different ideas, and I’ve definitely used a few of them. He brought in a girl named Daniel Ellis, and she is incredible. My dad has supported me and let me meet her, and she’s really been mentoring me in a way.”

Aaron Cappotelli, the yearbook, photojournalism and journalism teacher at the high school, has Ava in his yearbook class this year. Although he is her teacher, Ava doesn’t have a typical student-teacher relationship with her father.

“I just try to give Ava ideas of things that she can do to grow her business,” Aaron said. “I’ve always been a big fan of taking pictures of my own family so it was nice to see her take an interest in it and be able to share a love of photography with her.”

Because of her passion for photography, Ava is a photographer for the yearbook. Yearbook is her main extracurricular activity.

“It’s very easy [to balance my time] because I can use the same photos that I use for yearbook,” Ava said. “When I go out and take pictures for events, I can link those onto my website, so I’m getting equal coverage for the yearbook and for my website to show my skills.” 

Kaylin Taylor, a friend of Ava’s, has known her for three years. She relies on Ava whenever she needs any photos taken.  

“I’ve [seen] her start at photojournalism and then go to yearbook. I’ve kind of just seen her photography grow,” Taylor said. “I also was hiring her for our homecoming pictures because I have that much faith in her. I trusted her with everything to do homecoming pictures and all of that. So I just think she’s a really good photographer. She knows all the good angles, things that I wouldn’t know how to do.”