Sarah Palin's Personal Photographer, Shealah Craighead, Shares Exclusive Photos

06/24/2010 12:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Shealah Craighead, Sarah Palin's personal photographer, estimates that she's snapped about half a million pictures of the former Alaska Governor. Not bad for less than two years of work.

Craighead, who was hired by the Palin camp shortly after the then-governor was selected as John McCain's running mate in the summer of 2008, has since become "a member of the family," a Palin staffer told Shushannah Walshe in a recent AOL News interview. With Craighead in constant proximity to the political celebrity and her family, the trust is probably a good thing.

"[Palin] can kick back and be comfortable and take off her shoes and not be worried about 'Oh, she took her shoes off, let's photograph that,'" Craighead told Walshe. "I look for the details, I look for the highlights. I look for the moments in between the podium shots."

From Palin biographer Shushannah Walshe's AOL News story:

In keeping with her preferred approach, Craighead never talks politics or religion with Palin. If other aides broach those topics with Palin while she's present, she tries to excuse herself. Of course, that's not always possible in the rapid-fire world she's working in.

Craighead says she still recalls the infamous prank call on the Palin campaign from a Canadian comedy duo who duped Palin into believing she was speaking to the president of France. As staffers swung into damage-control mode, things got "awkward" for Craighead. "Those are the moments when I'm like, 'I'm out. You shouldn't hear this,'" she says.

Take a look at a slideshow of her exclusive, behind the scenes Sarah Palin photos.

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