Influencer of the Week: Thomas Lightbody, West Orange High School

Lightbody's passion for photography and West Orange High School have led to him becoming one of the school's most recognizable faces.

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  • | 1:00 p.m. May 27, 2020
Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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If you live within the West Orange High School bubble, then you know Thomas Lightbody. For the last eight years, Lightbody has served as the go-to photographer for the school in every way possible — shooting band concerts and sporting events. When he’s not taking photos for the school, Lightbody also operates his own photo company, TK Photography.

What do you love most about your school?

West Orange is family — once a Warrior always a Warrior. There is truly no place like it. 

What brought you to West Orange?

My daughter attended WOHS almost eight years ago as a freshman, and me not being one to sit in the stands somehow convinced the band director (Kenneth) Boyd to let me photograph the band from the sidelines. And the rest, I guess you could say, is history.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Being front and center for amazing moments in time — whether it be a game-winning touchdown or a trumpet player playing side-by-side on the same stage while his father conducts him. Being able to document those moments is truly priceless. 

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

The smile on a kid’s face when they see a photograph I took or a banner I designed is priceless and makes all of the hard work worth it. I want West Orange parents to be able to sit back and truly enjoy the game or show, letting me take the pictures and capture the moments for them. 

What’s the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you?

There are so many. A softball parent made me a “Photographer of the Year” trophy once, and recently, a band parent brought me back an official photographer/media vest from the London New Year’s Day parade that I was unable to attend. There are simply too many to mention. The kids, faculty and parents of WOHS are incredible.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Spare time? What is that? I am not familiar with that phrase. My spare time is spent volunteering at the WOHS agriscience yard with my wife and the ag kids, usually with the cows or in the greenhouse. 

What fun talents do you possess?

Not sure if fun, but I have been told I have the ability to be in the right place at the right time to capture the moments with my camera most likely to make a parent cry. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would love to go to Southeast Asia, because of the food and the incredible sites to photograph.

If you could meet anyone — past or present — who would it be and why?

I would love to see my grandmother Lightbody again. She passed when I was very young, and I would love to cook with her and play Scrabble with her and my grandfather. 

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

I once took a photograph of the West Orange painted senior parking lot that was featured all over the world — including People Magazine — and, to date, has been viewed in the neighborhood of 10 million times. 


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