How 5 IMAGO Photographers Manage High-Pressure Deadlines at EURO 2024

The roar of the crowd, the thrill of the game, and the fleeting moments of glory—all captured through the lenses of photographers at EURO 2024. As the world watches with bated breath, these visual storytellers work tirelessly under immense pressure, trying to balance the need for speed with the goal of perfection. But with deadlines looming and expectations rising, how do they manage to produce high-quality photos that capture the spirit of the event? In this article, five IMAGO photographers share their behind-the-scenes journey at EURO 2024 and explain their expert techniques, strategies, and innovative solutions for managing high-pressure deadlines in sports photography.

 


The Way to the 5 IMAGO photographers: 

Vitalii Kliuiev

Marcel von Fehrn

Uwe Kraft

Justus Stegemann

Bahho Kara



 

Vitalii Kliuiev: Be Prepared and Listen to Music

For handling the pressure during the matches at a tournament like EURO 2024, Ukrainian photographer Vitalii Kliuiev explains: “It’s like a computer game. The task is to select and send photos for publication within 15 seconds. Handling the pressure is helped by preparation and experience.”

Vitalii, an award-winning IMAGO photographer, says he always has plans for each game: “It’s essential to always have a plan for each match and backup options for unforeseen situations. Additionally, I use software that allows me to select and edit the best shots quickly.”

Another interesting strategy he uses is music: “Music also helps me cope with pressure. You can often spot me at the stadium with headphones on, playing great music.”

Cristiano Ronaldo thumbs upIMAGO / Vitalii Kliuiev I Cristiano Ronaldo shows thumbs up during the game Turkey vs. Portugal. 

Lamine Yamal hypes crowdIMAGO / Vitalii Kliuiev I Lamine Yamal hypes up the Spanish crowd during the game against Italy. 

Marcel von Fehrn: Ignore the Pressure and Don't Think About It

IMAGO photographer Marcel von Fehrn has a personal strategy for handling the pressure: he simply ignores it. “I keep it simple and ignore the pressure. I actually work best when I just do it and don’t think about it,” Marcel explains.

He says when photographers let the pressure get out of control, it impacts the results of their work. “If I worry about pressure and deadlines or quality, the result will be good, but not the way I want it to be. It also doesn’t show my full ability.”

Cenk Tosun Tomas Holes duelIMAGO / Eibner / Marcel von Fehrn | Turkish Cenk Tosun (l) and Czech Tomas Holes (r) fight for the ball.

Szczesny fouls SabitzerIMAGO / Eibner / Marcel von Fehrn | Austrian captain Marcel Sabitzer is fouled by Wojciech Szczesny.

Uwe Kraft: Stay Relaxed and Take it Easy

“Pressure is always a bad advisor.” Uwe Kraft, an IMAGO photographer with over three decades of experience, says the solution is to stay relaxed: “I try to stay as relaxed as possible because only then can I work with full concentration.” What else can help? Uwe says photographers must take it easy: “After a lot of life experience, I’ve also learned to take things easier.”

Gündogan celebrates his goal

IMAGO / Uwe Kraft | German captain Ilkay Gündogan celebrates his goal against Hungary.

Bruno Fernandes celebrates goal with Cristiano Ronaldo

IMAGO / Uwe Kraft | Bruno Fernandes celebrates his goal against Turkey with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Justus Stegemann: Don't Overthink

Who can give you the best tip on how to handle the pressure during a match? A sports photographer or an athlete? Or maybe both! Justus Stegemann is a former athlete who became a professional sports photographer after his athletic career ended. With all aspects in mind, he says, “Don’t overthink!” Justus explains he tries to make “quicker decisions and not overthink things. You continuously try to improve your workflow both in terms of software and hardware.”

He also says: “I like to compare it to a pit stop; it's a great feeling when everything fits together perfectly.”

imago1046924626hIMAGO / Justus Stegemann | German Antonio Rüdiger celebrates a tackle during the game Germany vs. Denmark.

Mikautadze dodges tackle by BarakIMAGO / Justus Stegemann | Georges Mikautadze dodges a tackle against Antonin Barak.

Bahho Kara: Just Get Into Your Routine

Eibner photographer Bahho Kara says for him the stress is all about before the work starts: “The pressure sets in early. Once I've sent out the first few photos during a game, I get into my workflow, and the rest becomes routine.” But what if there is an unexpected problem or a technical issue that breaks your routine? Bahho has one solution—stay calm: “If there's a technical issue, improvisation and calm, appropriate reactions are necessary.”

Manuel Neuer celebrates goal

IMAGO / Eibner / Bahho Kara | Manuel Neuer celebrates the goal by Kai Havertz against Denmark.

Turkish team celebrates Mert Müldür's goal

IMAGO / Eibner / Bahho Kara I The Turkish Team celebrates Mert Müldür's (18) goal against Georgia with Arda Güler (8) in front.

Keep Calm and Continue Learning!

Whether it's following the action, staying relaxed, or using music to cope with stress, these strategies can help photographers capture unforgettable moments in tournaments like EURO 2024. Capturing sports photography under high-pressure deadlines is no small feat. The insights from these photographers at EURO 2024 offer valuable lessons for anyone in the field. Aspiring photographers should keep in mind that “learning” and “experience” over the years will help them to enhance their abilities in this field.

 

For more photography tips, read “Behind the Lens” in The Game Magazine by IMAGO. If you are a photographer interested in becoming a partner at IMAGO, please fill out this form, and one of our content responsible will contact you as soon as possible.

Image selection by Robin Metz

 

 

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