NFL highlights creative work of Chanelle Smith-Walker ’15 as team photographer for the Carolina Panthers

As photographer for the Carolina Panthers, Smith-Walker was featured in the NFL's "Next Woman Up" series which highlights women rising up the ranks of professional football.

Chanelle Smith-Walker ’15 was featured in the NFL’s Next Woman Up series that highlights the women currently shaping and influencing the NFL.

Smith-Walker is the team photographer for the Carolina Panthers and has been since July 2021. She graduated from Elon with a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in visual arts. She then went to graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi where she was the graduate assistant for their Digital Media department, which offered a start to her career in photography.

“I’m the only photographer here for the Panthers, so not only am I shooting events or games but also archiving all of the photos so the entire organization has access to them,” Smith-Walker told NFL contributor Brooke Cersosimo.

She said it’s exciting to know she’s paving the way for women and women of color in the industry. She said her position with the Panthers has allowed her to “give opportunities to minorities who don’t necessarily have access to shooting an NFL game or shadowing a photoshoot.”

When asked what advice she’d give to women who want to pursue a career in sports, Smith-Walker said, “Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. It’s OK to fight for yourself and to be confident in your abilities. People might take advantage of people who aren’t willing to stand up for themselves, so you have to be willing to do that.”

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