Photographers' Blog

50,000 images, 250 matches, 2 weeks, 1 champion

Melbourne, Australia

By Rob Dawson

Yummy, Fried Egg and Scrambled Eggs

Now that your appetites are whet I am going to disappoint you. This isn’t a blog about food.

Growing up in Melbourne you might think tennis was a big part of my life, with the first slam of the year being held every year in the city, but I don’t come from that Melbourne. I grew up in a small market town in Derbyshire in Britain. My experience of tennis growing up involved playing on this court and ones similar. Luckily the poorly maintained surface and nets did not quell my enthusiasm for the sport. I would often rush home from school so I could watch Wimbledon on the television while eating home picked strawberries and cream.

My first experience at editing tennis was in 2005. Within my first two months working at Reuters, I was assigned to be a processor at Wimbledon. I was ecstatic when I found out. Then on the first day my smile dropped. Over the next two weeks I went through one of my steepest learning curves in my career so far. The sheer amount of pictures taken, sent to clients and the tennis matches covered were eye-opening.

Luckily over the years Reuters has improved our editing technology, which not only makes our lives easier, most importantly it means we can cope with the advancements in the camera technology (more pictures to edit) and remain speedy with our delivery of a comprehensive file to our clients whose demands are ever changing.

GALLERY: BEST OF THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN

When I was asked if I wanted to edit the Australian Open for a second year I of course said yes. I looked at more than 50,000 images over the duration of the tournament, although this is only a daily average of 3700, at times it felt like I was drowning in pictures. The deft processing of the off-site editors Gil and Yen kept us on top of things so we could send a daily selection of approximately 250 images to our clients to meet their deadlines. This year I noticed clients would produce online galleries featuring comprehensive coverage of key matches of their countries top players swiftly after the match was complete.

Editing the Euro 2012

By Wolfgang Rattay

If you’re really interested in understanding how we at Reuters work as a team across Europe to make sure that the right pictures from the Euro 2012 soccer championships arrive in time at hundreds of online sites and the next day in the papers, read this insight. You will understand that everyone in the team is an important cog in the machine and that not everything is someone sitting in the right corner of the pitch and triggering the camera’s shutter. If you read until the end, you will be rewarded with Amanda’s secret “spell-checker” recipe. It’s worth it — but only if you don’t have any health issues with your stomach.

SLIDESHOW: BEST OF EURO 2012

At each game we have five photographers assigned to cover the match. Four are seated, preferably, in each far corner of the pitch near the corner pole and the fifth shooter has an elevated position in the middle of the tribune – more or less at the same position as the main TV cameras. The ‘tribune photographer” shoots with three cameras. Two cameras are equipped with a 70-200mm zoom lens and aimed at both penalty boxes to make sure we have the image that tells the story of the game. This can be a goal, a penalty or a disallowed goal like in the England-Croatia match. The third camera is hand-held with either a four, five or six-hundred mm lens to shoot clear action (with green grass and no advertising boards), reactions of coached players and what ever else happens on the pitch.

The pitch shooters have to operate three hand-held cameras with 400/500 or 600mm, one with a 70-200mm zoom and a third body with a 16-35 in case there’s a goal celebration just a meter in front of the photographer. On top of this, the pitch photographer has to trigger a foot-switch on a fourth (sometimes fifth camera) that is connected to a goal camera that is positioned just a yard or so behind the goal. Look for the cameras set-up behind the goal mouth next time it appears close on TV. These 19 cameras at least, for each game adds up to an average minimum of 4,000 to 5,000 frames that someone has to look at. One of these “someones” is me. But there is also another editor involved that is as important (if not more) as the photographer. This is the person known as the processor.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

MEMORY OF THE PRESENT

I have just received the first copy of the new book Our World Now 2. The title page reads “Executive Picture Editor: Ayperi Karabuda Ecer”. But besides pleasing my parents (my teenage daughter does not care), what does that mean?

On the one hand, everyone at Reuters is an editor. News flows between photographers, regional chiefs, global editors, picture deskers, keyworders and specialist editors. All are absolutely vital to deliver a daily output of some 1,700 images for the international media. My efforts are only in addition to what has already been produced.

On the other hand, within such a rich, global production there is no such thing as one final edit. Working with Reuters imagery is, like the book’s title, opening a window to our world now – it is live and constantly changing.