An eye for action: Photographer Ellorie Roberts, 13, is earning fans – Pascack Press

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Action and attitude are preserved long after the match is fought. Township of Washington eighth-grader Ellorie Roberts (inset) is turning her sports photography passion into a bourgeoning career. Here, Braeden Roberts, one of Ellorie’s brothers, pins for the Cardinals last season.

TOWNSHIP OF WASHINGTON—A township eighth-grader has entrepreneurship in focus, earning fans as an amateur sports photographer over the past year and setting her sights on a career in the field.

Ellorie Roberts, 13, is a volunteer cheer coach for the Washington Township Mini Cardinal (K-1) cheer program and last year was lauded as instrumental in that program’s success. She plays basketball and lacrosse, swims, and finds time to volunteer on the township’s busy Green Team.

Her cousin Jamison has long encouraged her with camera gear and expert storytelling through her own photography — documenting her brothers on the Grand National Cross Country ATV quad racing circuit, for example. So Ellorie says it was amazing when she received her first “serious” camera, a Nikon DSLR, for her birthday, in March 2020. 

She invested time in the pandemic lockdown studying the camera’s functions and building a body of work, which she edits in Adobe Lightroom.

With schools and sports opening back up, Ellorie followed her brothers on their Westwood Regional High School sports exploits — football and wrestling — posting the photos to Instagram (@picsbyellorie).

And there, as her mom, Lorianne says, things really took off. “All the boys went mad, wild, over her photos. They started using them as their Instagram profile pictures … she really grew over the wrestling season. Now the wrestling parents are insisting she charge the boys for her shots. And she will. She’s very diligent, she’d go to the matches, she’d come right home, she would edit…” 

Lorianne says, “Then basketball season came, and [her brothers] went pretty far. All the while, Ellorie was shooting. Sports photography is really her niche.”

She adds, “A lot of her girlfriends dance, and ‘E’ [her nickname] shoots that too. But those girls are shy, so they’re not on her Instagram. Not yet.”

Of course, Ellorie has her subjects sign photo releases.

She shoots track and field, and shot an album for the Mini Cardinal cheer program, turning her work over when it was picture-perfect. It’s their property, Lorianne tells Pascack Press. 

(Mini Card Cheer coordinator Desserie Morgan calls Ellorie a role model. Related: “Volunteers to cheer for! Township girls help power new program,” Pascack Press, Nov. 12, 2021.)

Ellorie’s sports photos are  promising. She captures the tension of the moment, anticipating decisive action and inhabiting the play along with the athletes, coaches, and refs. 

Self-taught, she is looking into free classes at Bergen County Camera on Westwood Avenue in Westwood, where she’s picked up equipment and advice. (“They’re just the nicest people,” says Lorianne.)

Ellorie’s work with Westwood Regional wrestling featured on the program’s recent Senior Night poster, guaranteeing her place in Cardinal posterity.

Ellorie looks forward to selling to the public at this year’s Family Fall Festival at Memorial Field, where a staple of  the annual community showcase (beyond the food, music, games, petting zoo, and inflatables) is a Kids Entrepreneur Corner. Youth 8–18 are invited to sell handmade arts and crafts.

Meanwhile, she says, she’s looking for families to volunteer as subjects so she can get more experience with portraiture. She’s also studying the work of photographers she admires on Instagram  and elsewhere, principally sports photography and portraits.

“I think from the first picture I took they’re getting better, and now I’m starting to edit them better,” she says.

Part of her drive, her mom speculates, comes from the energy of her family. 

“She has three brothers. She has to be bossy and strong,” says Lorianne.

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