photo processing in seconds

It’s 8:29 p.m. London time on Tuesday, November 29. In the Ahmad-Ben-Ali stadium in Qatar, England have just scored their third goal against Wales. 6,700 kilometers away, in the center of Getty Images London, at 6e floor of an office tower on the edge of the City, photos of footballer Marcus Rashford’s strike arrive by the dozens. The cameras of the eleven photographers of the agency present in the stadium – as well as twelve other cameras automatically triggered remotely – are connected by Ethernet cables, and the transmission is done automatically.

In front of his screen, a first operator selects the best photo and assigns it a red frame, that is to say priority. “Marcus Rashford Goal”, he announces. On the next row of computers, one of his colleagues does some light cropping and color and contrast adjustment. Then the snapshot is transmitted to a third row of computers, where an employee is responsible for entering a caption.

In total, about 30 seconds elapsed between the arrival of the photo in London and its dispatch to the approximately 836,000 customers of Getty Images, the official photo agency of the International Federation of Football Association. (FIFA) for this 2022 World Cup. Across the planet, news sites and other social networks are starting to publish it. “Our record is twenty-two seconds”proudly comments Paul Gilham, its editorial director of photography.

The profession has completely changed

The man began his career in 2003. At the time, Getty Images was in the process of ending the use of film. “We had technicians who developed them in a corner of the stadium, then transmitted them by telephone. At best, we sent a few shots at halftime, and maybe a dozen photos in total during the match. »

Two decades later, the profession has completely changed. In addition to their direct cable connection, Getty Images photographers have microphones to explain the context of certain photos. “Number 7”, announces one, the shirt of a player not being clearly visible on the picture, in order to avoid any error in the legend. In addition, when photographers press the button on their camera, they automatically trigger the cameras behind the goal – Getty Images has two on the ground and a third fixed at the top of the net – in order to offer different perspectives of the same stock.

Since the World Cup in Russia in 2018, Getty Images no longer relocates its image processing center on site, as it once did. The agency has sent nearly fifty photographers to Qatar, as well as a small technical and logistics team, but the management of the photos and their sending are done from London, which allows substantial savings. At each match, between 3,000 and 4,000 photos are sent.

Our selection of articles on the 2022 World Cup

Find all our content on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, from November 20 to December 18.

  • Know everything : The calendar, the results, the rankings, the “unofficial” guide to the 2022 World Cup
  • Investigation : France-Qatar, a friendship full of resources
  • To analyse : The reasons for discomfort
  • Editorial: The World Cup of Excesses
  • Decryption: The delicate speech of footballers on human rights
  • Narrative : A very political “World Cup”
  • Reportage : In the “engine room” of Qatar, where live the immigrant workers that Doha does not want to see
  • Podcast : Ecology, human rights, corruption: why the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a problem
  • Investigation : Award of the World Cup to Qatar: Sarkozy, Platini and the takeover of PSG at the heart of the French justice investigation
  • Video : A “carbon neutral” World Cup? What lies behind Qatar’s untenable promises
  • Grandstand (Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International) : “By calling to ‘focus on football’, Gianni Infantino is trying to exonerate FIFA from any responsibility”


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