How to Photograph the President

As the Chief Official White House Photographer, Pete Souza has an enviable job. He has to make the President look good:

For a start, Souza has access to President Obama almost 24 hours a day. He follows him wherever he goes. However, there’s more to it than just unlimited access.

“Everybody carries a digital camera these days. And they gotta do better than that. They can’t just be taking snapshots. They have got to really think about compositions, telling stories, using light, just all the things that encompass good photography.”

In more than one way, Souza’s work goes beyond regular photojournalism. In many of his photos you get to see intimate details, something that comes from having a close relationship with the president. You will also see people’s emotions. He really knows his trade. He also loves putting things into perspectives and finding ways to tell a story.

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President Obama speaking to civil rights activists

He is an intimate member of the President’s entourage, a position of privilege that allows him to capture images from a perspective that no one can. At other times he is like an invisible observer, photographing moments that pass by without being noticed.

At times he stays away from where the pool of press photographers will be standing, even going the distance to point his camera in the direction opposite from the action.

how to photograph the president

Capturing a different perspective


Pete Souza's photographs

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Pete Souza's photos of president

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President Barack Obama

While Souza has no power over the proceedings, it’s his great storytelling abilities that produce these amazing photos.

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