Sarah Cramer Shields: Photographer

Sarah Cramer Shields

Sarah Cramer Shields is not only a UVA alumna, but she has also been behind the camera working with us to capture these beautiful images and stories of UVA alumni!

  • Class of: Col ’05
  • Hometown: Arlington, VA
  • Current City: Charlottesville, VA
  • Current Job: Photographer and founder of Cramer Photo
  • Bodo’s Order: Coffee plus bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel, and maybe even a dessert bagel afterward—cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese

Tell us about your current life.

I feel like the luckiest human in the world. I have the most amazing husband and kids, I get to live in Charlottesville and I have my dream job owning my own business, Cramer Photo. I love people, so I’m grateful that my day-to-day is filled with getting to know as many new people as possible.

Tell us your UVA story.

I visited Grounds with a friend of a friend when I was 13 and I immediately fell in love; I thought, “oh my gosh, this has to be where I go to college.” UVA was my number one pick when I applied, and I was over the moon when I was admitted. My great-grandfather, grandfather and two uncles all attended UVA, so I have a long history with the school.

What’s your favorite UVA memory?

Some of my best college memories were of doing charitable work with my sorority, and I also loved being a member of the Virginia Belles. Additionally, I was one of the few female photographers working on athletics for Cav Daily, and that was how I found and honed my passion for photography. I realized that working in that field—in a career that hinged on telling honest stories—was what I wanted for my life.

What makes you say “Wahoowa?”

Lots of things, multiple times a day! Anytime I see another Wahoo or see blue and orange, there’s just an automatic connection, a sense of “hi there, you’re family.” And it’s also my pride in Charlottesville. I feel like I was meant to live here.

What was your journey after leaving UVA?

I’ve always loved Charlottesville, so I knew I wanted to stay after graduating. I bought my house the year after I started Cramer Photo and my family and I still live there now. I met my husband Matt at UVA, but we didn’t start dating until after graduation when he walked into the bar where I worked. We realized that we loved hanging out with each other and are still hanging out today.

What’s something you learned at UVA that you apply to your life now?

Being a UVA student really taught me the importance of hard work and grit. I love to learn but test taking was never my thing, so I had to dig down deep to do well in all my classes. I also felt like there was an “anything’s possible” attitude at UVA, and I carried that mentality with me after I graduated.

What makes you a Wahoo?

I’m proud of UVA and of the people I experienced it with. All the Wahoos I know work really hard, and are always so kind—I’ve yet to meet a mean Wahoo.

What does being a UVA alumna mean to you?

Getting to graduate from UVA is not something I take for granted, and I’m humbled by the legacy that I come from—I was so excited to tell my grandfather when I was admitted. It took a lot of work and a lot of help to get to where I am, and I wear it with so much pride. I encourage other alumni to be involved, and to capitalize on that instant bond we all have with each other.