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Inspirations >> Photos & People

In Conversation with Simon Bruty


Sports photographer Simon Bruty has shot renowned sportsmen including decorated Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps and three-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton. The multiple award-winning photographer, who travels extensively around the world to cover sports events and photograph athletes, stopped over in Singapore for the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II seminar. We caught up with him to learn more about his thoughts on photography and what it takes to be a sports/action photographer.

Tell us more about innovative portraiture. Why did you choose it, and what defines it?

I love the challenge of coming up with an idea and executing it. With a human subject you have to communicate, and in some cases, convince them that it’s going to be a wonderful image. Thinking on your feet and dealing with the stress of limited time is another challenge that I enjoy with portrait photography.

Why did you also choose action photography?

I wanted to be a photographer but I did not know much about the industry. My first chance of a job in the photography industry was with a sports photography agency­–Allsport. I loved sports but never thought I would get the chance to photograph it. When the opportunity came along I took it with both hands and made it work.

Do you incorporate both genres of photography into one? If so, how?

I use both when I am creating a story on a subject. The action side of things really helps me with the portraiture in terms of being able to control the pressure and work within the stipulated time. The flip side is that I’m more attuned to lighting when photographing subjects in action.

What is most challenging when it comes to photographing sportsmen?

It’s rare to find an athlete who wants to be involved in the creative process. Their aim, usually, is to get in and out as quickly as possible.

What does it take to be a sports/action photographer?

If you want to do a job well, no matter what it is, you have to dedicate yourself to it. Concentration or the ability to work in short bursts is an important skill for a sports/action photographer.

Tell us your experience on using the new Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

My experience with using the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II has been all positive. I’m a little upset that it does not make a cappuccino but for a sports photographer it’s a pretty crucial camera.

What are some of your upcoming projects?

The big event–Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

You’ve been to eight different countries for the EOS-1D X Mark II Seminar, which country left you with the deepest impression, and why?

There’s not one favourite because each country has its own particular personality. The food and the people shone through in all the Asian countries I’ve visited on this trip, which has never failed to make me smile. 

What was the most interesting question you got from the audience?

Too many questions from a very eager and willing audience to remember!


Simon Bruty
Profile of writer

Based in Washington, D.C., Simon is a photographer with Sports Illustrated. He has traveled extensively to work on feature stories as diverse as soccer in Zambia, golfers in Greenland, badminton in Indonesia, and haute couture in Paris. Canon featured Simon in a television ad before the 2006 World Cup. Rolex, Nike, and Reebok have used Simon's pictures in their ads. In 2003 The London Observer chose one of Simon's photographs as one of the World's 50 Greatest Sports Photographs.
To find out more about Simon Bruty’s photography, visit