The History of White House Presidential Photographers

Would you ever want to be the official White House photographer? John F. Kennedy was the first President to have a full-time photographer during his time in the White House. Since then, only Jimmy Carter declined to keep an official photographer on hand during his years as President. Presidential photographers need to keep up with the technical side of photography as well. Reagan’s first term photographer made the switch to full time color photography and George Bush’s photographer Eric Draper transitioned from film to digital during his time there. DigitalRev In-Focus showcases the past photographers who have worked for United States presidents:

White House Photographer Pete Souza worked for Ronald Reagan from 1983–1989 before coming back between 2009 and 2016 to act as Obama’s photographer. Based on this, becoming an official White House photographer seems to lean toward someone who knows someone that has already worked there. You likely need to work your way from the campaign staff into the White House. Souza initially photographed Obama in 2004 while working for the New York Times. In 2007, he continued on to join his campaign staff.

For current President Donald Trump, there have been several names that go alongside him. Pulitzer Prize winner Daemon Winter is one of these names. Joe Raedle with Getty Images is another. Allegedly, Trump is extremely picky about how he is photographed and these photographers fit the bill for his image. As of the time of writing, there hasn’t been an official announcement on who he will select to work as his photographer. Overall, having a beautiful portfolio and an outstanding track record is a great start for this profession. Each past photographer has had a unique relationship with their subject and a great eye for photography.

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“Proven skill is the one thing that ties them all together.”

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One response to “The History of White House Presidential Photographers”

  1. Mike says:

    Did you mention Yoichi Okamoto, LBJ’s photographer? He did a great job and I believe that LBJ gave him complete access.

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