What Does it Take to Be a Photographer at the Olympics?

Have you ever wondered what the life of a professional sports photographer at the Olympics is like? My Daily Art‘s video is part of a documentary that discusses a sports photographer’s journey during the Olympic games—in this case, the most recent Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The photographers at the men’s 100 meter final all anticipated a close, hard fought race, but they also knew it was their time to shine. Watch as they talk about how they prepare for each event and cover every athlete who competes:

Photographers at the Olympics are always looking for a tight shot of the winner of a competition. This could mean they have a shot with one person on either side of the winner, as shown with Usain Bolt surrounded by his competitors. For the finish line, a photographer might set up a wide angle lens on a timer in case anyone sets a world or Olympic record. Yet, the work goes much further.

Olympic photographers look for that special photo that everyone else isn’t seeing because everyone there already knows how to take a great finish line or reaction photo. Innovation helps keep the work interesting to their audience that expects top quality images the day of the event. They go above and beyond this responsibility to deliver images as the event is happening. The winning shot of Usain Bolt was captured, sent to editors and delivered worldwide to viewers 58 seconds after he crossed the finish line!

shutter speed contrast aperture

A lot of work and energy goes into preparing the most special photographs. Editors pick and choose between millions of photographs to find the ones that best show the hosting city or the look of the Games. Many of them look for the Olympics rings to be in their picture, or the labels ‘Rio,’ ‘Olympics,’ or ‘2016.’

Great Olympic photos need precise planning, a solid understanding of the sport being photographed, and real initiative to get the work done and find the best shot. You want to show the emotion and passion of each athlete you capture. The visual legacy left behind by photographs is one of the most powerful and lasting remembrances for the host city.

sports photographer equipment camera

“With 100 meters it’s over so fast, so you only get one chance to take the key shot.”

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever