Edmond teen’s photos exhibited in Washington

EDMOND — An Edmond teenager’s photographs made their way during the holiday season to the home of the second-highest ranking government official in the United States.

Riley Klaassen, 15, said she was overjoyed when she learned from her mother that seven of the photos she had posted online would be in the home of Vice President Joe Biden.

“When I see something that inspires me, that is when I want to take a picture to capture the creativity of the moment,” Riley said.

The selected photos came from National Geographic’s My Shot, a photography community for young people.

“I love to capture all of the feelings into one picture,” said Riley, who said she takes her mother along when shooting family portraits to aid in gathering everybody together.

One of the photographs was displayed during December on a rotating digital frame in the vice president’s home, one of only 10 chosen. The other six were made into ornaments and hung on the tree inside the home.

One of the shots was a photo of Riley and a friend creating the shape of a heart using their hands with the golden sunset as a backdrop.

‘A creative bent’

Riley said she has never taken a photography class. She shoots with a Canon EOS Rebel T3 camera with a Tamron 28-75mm lens.

“She has always had a creative bent to her,” said her father, David Klaassen. “She takes her camera anywhere we go.”

During her four years of taking photographs, Riley has uploaded more than 500 to the My Shot website, receiving awards for many and feedback on how to become better.

“I have learned a lot from people who are higher-up photographers. They give a lot of tips on how to become better,” she said.

She had to create two accounts because of a 300-photo storage limit per account on the website.

She has been featured in the monthly National Geographic Kids Magazine and in a book that My Shot published that offers photography tips.

Friends, relatives and her two cats are some of her favorite things to shoot, but she is always looking to expand.

She also has been taking classes through her home school on how to run a business and how to start her own photography business.

Riley has amassed a collection of Polaroid photographs over the years, which she has hung on her bedroom door and a closet door. She has plans to cover the door to her bathroom with Polaroids.

“It is painstakingly hard for her to determine what is Polaroid-worthy on her tight budget,” David Klaassen said. “You only get one shot with a Polaroid.”

Her Christmas and birthday wishes included asking for film for her Polaroid camera.

CAPTION: Riley Klaassen, 15, looks through photos she plans to hang on her bathroom door. [Photo by Eriech Tapia, For The Oklahoman]

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