September 24, 2021


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Photography challenges with games in the real time era

Sports consumption is changing dramatically all over the world. We consume in multiple screens and this process seems irreversible. In this context, photographic records of sports events, prepared in advance for newspapers and magazines, with more time for editing and consumption, need to work in an immediate scenario. This requires adjustments in the work and a more flexible structure of delivery.

To understand these challenges, we spoke with Mike Hyman, Getty Images’ Chief Editorial Operations Officer. In addition to a gallery with beautiful and amazing photos, important clarifications about this new reality in the series.

Technology allows progress in the quality of records and also, I suppose, in terms of quantity. Throughout the event, how large are the photos taken and what percentage of these are “editorial significance” worldwide? How big is the structure assembled by Getty for this function?

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As the official photography company of the International Olympic Committee, Getty Images spends two years preparing for the Olympic Games. To prepare, our editorial team runs cables and remotely installs cameras on rooftops, underwater and at location kiosks that allow photographers to take a photo and post it to our website in less than 30 seconds. We’ve covered everything about the Olympics, and that usually means we take about two million photos. About 100,000 of these images are distributed on our website to clients all over the world.

The immediate nature was a basic requirement of the work that was developed. What is the time between image registration and its availability on the platforms for use?

Thanks to Getty Images’ technological advances and our team’s months of preparation, during big events like the 100m dash final, for example, photographers can take a photo and have it available on our site in less than 30 seconds.

The games have accommodated sports activities that are more relevant to a younger audience, such as surfing, skateboarding and soon breakdance. Is it also a challenge to “rejuvenate” photographic recordings to reach new audiences?

Certainly, the new sports in the Olympic Games are exciting and invite a younger generation to watch the tournament. At Getty Images, our mission is to create stunning, innovative images that contextualize the incredible accomplishments of athletes we see during the Olympics. Whether it’s team photographer Maddie Meyer covering diving or photographer Patrick Smith covering fencing, our photographers create images that resonate with fans around the world.

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The event, unfortunately, did not have an audience. To what extent did this make the local atmosphere less emotional, and if so, how might this be transferred to the records created?

Obviously, the lack of fans made these Olympics a little different. However, as photographers, the varied backgrounds and lighting due to these conditions have really created some amazing images, as you can see in the images we have provided.