Olivia Dabinett ’25 shares passion for photography, takes on new media job with women’s soccer team

Bellamy Richardson

During a media day for the women’s soccer team, Dabinett took photos of her former teammates, including her former entry-mate Indira Thodiyil ’25. (Photos courtesy of Olivia Dabinett.)

Olivia Dabinett ’25 loves sports — whether it’s playing on the soccer field or capturing action shots of athletes during a game. After deciding to stop playing on the women’s soccer team this fall, Dabinett is staying involved in the world of college athletics through photography and videography.

Dabinett has always loved photography, but she never had the chance to pursue it fully, she explained. “In high school, I shot a lot of sports stuff,” she said. “I would do it on the side, because I played a sport that took up a lot of my time[and I was] trying to get into college, trying to get recruited.”

When Dabinett took a gap year to play soccer in Spain before coming to the College for her first year, she started experimenting with different kinds of photography, such as landscape, urban architecture, and portraiture. She also took many photos of her friends and teammates.

This past summer, Dabinett was a video production intern at The Financial Times and Money-Media, where she familiarized herself with different types of video- and photo- editing software. Through this work, she was able to connect with a fashion photographer who invited her to shadow him during an open photo shoot in New York City.

Dabinett photographed models in NYC. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Dabinett.)

After taking her first professional portraits at the photo shoot, Dabinett decided to organize a self-run photo shoot, also in New York, where she rented a studio for three hours and took free headshots. Among her subjects were two New York Fashion Week models.

“I created a mini advertisement and posted it on my Instagram,” Dabinett said. “I was like, ‘[It’s] mutual portfolio building — I want to build my photography portfolio, you want to build your modeling portfolio, your business, your resume, your LinkedIn.’”

Over the summer, after struggling with health issues and talking to her coach, whom Dabinett said was very understanding of her situation, Dabinett decided to stop playing on the women’s soccer team. But thanks to her passion for photography and the experience she has under her belt after the summer, she and her coach worked out a new way for her to stay involved. Now, Dabinett works with the women’s soccer team by taking portraits of her former teammates, snapping photos during games and creating content for the team’s Instagram account (@ephswsoccer).

Dabinett says her media job with the women’s soccer team — now an official paid campus job — is a great way to spend time with her former teammates, even if she’s not on the field. “Although it’s really hard for me to step away from the sport on a playing level, I still want to be involved in ways that I love,” she said. “So [the coach and I] worked this thing out and found that it would be mutually beneficial, because, for me, I would get to cover all my friends and all the people that I had been playing with. And for her, this can be a way that we get our team out there — it could help team morale and it could help bring in prospective recruits as well.”

Dabinett creates graphics for the women’s soccer team Instagram page promoting games. (Graphic courtesy of Olivia Dabinett.)

Using photography equipment she bought with the money she earned from her summer internship, Dabinett hosted a media day for the women’s soccer team, during which she took headshots of her former teammates and created Instagram reels using short video clips of the team. After the media day, other sports teams started approaching her about her photography and videography skills.

“A lot of D[ivision] I schools do this for their teams without question, but here, it’s different — it’s a D[ivision] III school,” she explained.“They don’t really do this kind of stuff here. So, for me, I saw an opportunity to do something, and a bunch of people jumped on it.”

Though Dabinett has not yet worked out with the College how she can work for other sports teams, she said she hopes to be able to host media days for other teams in the future. For now, she is staying busy with her work for the soccer team, as well as her job as an action photographer for Sports Information.

“It’s so rewarding, because [I’m] giving something back to the team,” she said. “I just love giving back to other sports, because I know what it’s like to put in the work, and you want to watch it back.”

Dabinett, who now has her own professional website, also works with other members of the College community who seek photography services. On Sunday, Dabinett hosted a free portrait session in the Spencer Studio Art Building. Ten students signed up for time slots.

Dabinett said that while she loves sports photography, she is also finding joy in taking personal portraits. “I love covering sports,” she said. “I’ve watched sports my whole life, and I love every team here. But I also love portraiture. I think it’s incredible. It’s like a completely different form of expression.”